How to Disable Automatic App Updates on Android

Having automatic app updates is a smart and convenient way to keep your device up-to-date with the latest and greatest. Not to mention there’s no need for user interaction. The only problem is not everyone wants their apps to be updated automatically, especially if you’re on a smaller mobile data plan. That and general updates can often change the entire experience of an app.

As a result, Google’s added an option to enable or disable the automatic app updates on the Google Play Store, as well as an option to only update if the user is on a WiFi connection to save their precious mobile data from a carrier like Verizon or AT&T. By default, auto updates are enabled. There’s a few different ways to disable them though, including customizing updates for individual apps, and we have the simple instructions for you below.


Disabling Automatic App Updates

For starters you’re going to need to be inside the Google Play Store (formerly Android Market) to disable this feature. So head into your application tray and look for the white “Play Store” icon shown below. This is where we’ll start.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 12.09.01 PM

Once you open the Google Play Store you’re going to head into the settings panel to make the necessary changes. This can be done by selecting the dedicated menu button on your Android device (or the 3 dots in the upper corner if you have on-screen keys) and then selecting Settings. From here you’ll want to select the third option down titled Auto-update apps, as shown in the image below for your viewing pleasure.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 12.10.50 PM

Once you select the Auto-update apps from the menu shown above, you’ll be greeted with a pop-up of three different options. Those being Do Not Auto-update apps, Auto-update apps at any time. Data charges may apply, and Auto-update apps on WiFi only. This is where you’ll choose to completely stop auto-updates. Personally I have it set just to update when I’m on a WiFi network, as I’m usually home and get faster speeds from my home internet anyways.


If you’re really picky about updates or even notifications pestering you (since I usually have a few a day) there’s conveniently an option to disable the notifications. I’d suggest you keep that checked though, as you never know when an important update might arrive for Gmail, or any other key apps on your device.

Then last but not least, you can control individual apps. If you’d like certain apps to still receive the auto-update feature but not every app, there is an option for that too. As an example to the right we’ve navigated to the Facebook app in the Play Store. Again hitting that same dedicated menu button (or 3 dots at the top) to open the settings list you’ll see an option and check box for Auto-update. This check box will enable that particular app to still update automatically. This comes in handy for things like Facebook, Gmail, or Google Search considering they’re all constantly getting improved by updates.

Once selected these apps will update on their own without any user interaction, but you’ll still get the updated notification to know what is going on with your device and applications.

Should You Use This Feature?

This is an option that completely depends on each users needs and situation. Being able to choose between when apps are automatically updated via data or WiFi is excellent. And taking that an extra step by allowing users to disable this for most apps, but not all, makes the options rather limitless for Android users.

If you’re like me and want to wait and read reviews to make sure a recent app update didn’t break (or remove) a feature or cause issues, disabling auto-updates is probably a good move for now. As there’s no easy way to go back to the previous version. It only takes a few seconds using the details above and you’re set.