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Why You Should Never Disable Automatic App Updates on Your Phone

Most if not all new Android phones and iPhones come with automatic app updates turned on in the Google Play Store and App Store respectively. You can, and might be tempted, to disable these updates if you’re on a limited data plan.

However, that’s a bad idea. You should at least set your apps to update automatically whenever you are on a Wi-Fi connection. Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t turn off automatic app updates on your device.

1. Your Phone Will Be Less Secure

Phone screen displaying a large padlock

An app may be fully protected against security exploits and vulnerabilities when it’s new. But new exploits and vulnerabilities may come up over time. App developers will promptly work on these new issues and push updates as soon as they are ready.

You need to install these new updates to secure your device in case any malicious player decides to take advantage of the existing exploits. Security patches are critical in keeping hackers out of systems and apps around the clock. Disable automatic updates and you’ll risk missing out on these crucial fixes.

2. Bugs Won’t Be Fixed

Some features on a given app may fail to work as expected. If a significant chunk of app users encounter these errors, the developer will debug their code to find the root cause, fix it, and send out an update on the respective app store.

A buggy app would hurt user experience and efficiency. To avoid these frustrations, having your apps up to date at all times will ensure you minimize the chances of using an app in its bad state. Bugs would be fixed before you even have the chance of experiencing them.

3. Apps May Become Unstable

Android phone and earpods on a table

Like cars, apps need regular maintenance to perform at their best. Major changes like operating system updates can affect how an old app runs. For this reason, developers always have to tweak their apps to improve performance and stability.

Developers will also keep trying to find ways to make their apps run smoother and faster for the sake of a better user experience, or so they drain the battery slower. Having the latest app versions on your device will mean most of your apps will be running better than they did before.

4. You’ll Miss Out on New Features

Developers may figure out new ways to make an app work better over time. They may scrap off unnecessary features, improve existing ones, or add totally new features that make the app much better. They might also re-design it so that it’s better looking or easier to use.

You’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of such changes as soon as they are available when you leave automatic app updates on.

5. You Might Not Be Able to Use the Latest Operating System Features

illustration of a man and a phone with android logo

iOS and Android undergo major updates annually. These operating system updates usually come with new and improved features, and older apps may be unable to use the new operating system features unless developers make the necessary changes to them.

If you update your operating system, having automatic updates enabled means your apps will be optimized as soon as developers work on them.

6. Apps Might Stop Working Altogether

For security reasons, sensitive apps like banking apps and digital wallets may become obsolete as soon as a new version is available. If automatic updates are turned off, you will have to run manual app updates before you’re able to use these apps.

Such apps may sometimes fail to notify you why they aren’t working and lead to unnecessary troubleshooting steps. Turning on automatic app updates will ensure you continue using app services without any interruptions.

How Frequently Should You Update Your Apps?

If you do decide to disable automatic app updates anyway, it would be good practice to do manual updates to fix bugs, improve performance, and have the latest security patches. We recommend checking for updates as frequently as you can but doing so weekly or biweekly isn’t too bad.

If mobile data consumption is your main concern, we recommend leaving automatic updates to be done over Wi-Fi. Storage can also be an issue preventing you from automatically updating apps. To solve this, clear any unnecessary apps and files to make room. Expandable storage may also come in handy in this regard, if your phone supports it.

Keep Up With the Latest App Updates

Automatic app updates are essential for removing bugs from apps to improve performance and protect your device from the latest vulnerabilities. Leaving this setting on comes with no significant disadvantage. For this reason, it’s a no-brainer to keep automatic app updates on your phone turned on at all times.

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