Automatically update applications on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Most applications on your iPhone , iPad or Mac are regularly updated. Usually new functions are added or problems are solved. The developer can also release an update to optimize the application.

The more applications you have installed, the more often you have to use the update button in the App Store. Fortunately, you can choose to have this done automatically by iOS and macOS. This means you always have the latest version of an app installed and you can get started immediately.

Not to be confused with auto-update

Please note, do not confuse automatic application updating with background automatic updating of apps. This relates to the content of an app on an iPhone or iPad. More information about this function can be found here .

Automatically update iPhone or iPad apps

  1. Open ‘Settings’
  2. Navigate to ‘App Store’
  3. Enable the ‘App updates’ option

Recommendation: If necessary, disable the ‘Automatic downloads’ option under ‘Mobile data’, when this is enabled you give permission to install app updates via the mobile data network and that may result in additional costs. Do you still want to use the mobile network? Then you can set a warning at ‘App downloads’ at 200MB or larger.

In addition to updates, you will also find the ‘Apps’ option here. This is a different feature and applies to other iOS and iPadOS devices. For example, if you install an app on your iPhone, it will also be installed on your iPad when ‘Apps’ is active.

Automatically Update Applications Mac

From macOS Mojave, open the Mac App Store and click App Store ▸ Preferences in the menu bar. Then enable the ‘Automatic updates’ option. If you still have macOS High Sierra or older, you can find these settings via  ▸ System Preferences ▸ Mac App Store.

Updating happens in the background

Good to know, updating an application does not happen immediately when the new version is available. iOS, iPadOS, and macOS will always run this in the background. For example, the iPhone or iPad can install this while charging the device and macOS when you are working. However, the app will be updated within 24 hours.

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