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How to turn off automatic updates in the Google Play store

AndroidPIT google play store 6916
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Ever picked up your phone to see that Google Play is auto-updating app after app, whilst your data allowance evaporating into thin air? We'll show you how to prevent this and allow Google Play to update apps only when you want it to.

As a general rule, apps you've installed from Google Play will download updates automatically (called auto-update apps) in order to improve their performance on your tablet or smartphone. Generally speaking, this is a good thing, but it can also slow down your phone, use up your mobile data or stop you from doing other things on your device. This is where manually updating apps can become more practical.

How to disable auto-update apps in Google Play

1. Open the Google Play Store app and tap on the 3-bar menu icon on the top left. Then scroll down and choose Settings.

2. In the Play Store settings, tap Auto-update apps.

3. You'll see three options (which can be changed at any time): Do not auto-update apps, Auto-update apps over any network (using your data) and Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only.

play store turn auto update off
Just select Don't auto-update apps. / © NextPit

4. Choose the bottom one. Note that this means you will always need to manually update all apps in the future. If you still want apps to update automatically, just not on your data connection, select Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only.

How to manually update apps in the Play Store

1. If you've told the Play Store not to auto-update apps, you'll have to do it manually. To manually update an app, you must go to My apps & games in Google Play, open the navigation drawer and select it (from the 3-bar button next to the search bar).

You can manually update one app at a time or all at once. / © NextPit

2. You will be shown a tab view of your apps: the ones currently installed on your device and a master list of every app you've ever downloaded. In the Installed list, you'll see the apps are broken up into categories: Updates, Recently updated and Up-to-date. 

3. Apps with updates available are listed at the top. You can choose to install them one at a time or all of them with the Update All button at the top. 

Do you have any other tricks for managing your app updates? Share your best tips in the comments.

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David McCourt

David McCourt

David enjoys staying abreast of the latest technology and newest Android apps. Outside of the office, he can be found playing snooker and writing bad 00s indie songs.

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  • 1
    HeyHere Aug 29, 2019 Link to comment

    Okay so on my Razer Phone 1
    I can't stop the automatic update of the google play itself to stop. I hate the new visuals and it works perfectly in the base version. I removed its updates and it WITHOUT ASKING updated back. Please fix this its the most annoying experience I've ever had.
    (16.3.36-all [0] [PR] 264275464)
    I turned off every possibility for apps to update. And it keeps updating.
    Feel free to reach me on to ask me about the problem.

  • 25
    Deactivated Account Jan 13, 2019 Link to comment

    Unlimited data plans here that too on both the sims, no trouble with Auto updates. :-)

  • 1
    codywohlers Dec 14, 2018 Link to comment

    What do you do if some apps auto update anyway despite the setting being off?

  • Flor Rolf 1
    Flor Rolf Apr 20, 2018 Link to comment

    Google will not allow you to turn off play store auto updating. Every time it updates itself it also resets your setting back to default. The best solution is to disable the google play store and install a different store app. there are many out there like Aptoide or Yalp store

    • 1
      eee May 28, 2019 Link to comment

      true it really annoys me a lot it's like they're gaining something out of it it gets me angry plus all of those updates kind of slows my phone a lot i rested it and it became like 400% faster maybe a virus dk

  • 1
    Dan S May 24, 2017 Link to comment

    How do I stop a single app from showing in the list of updates? I disable many apps installed by the carrier as soon as I setup a new phone but they still show up in google play's list of apps that have updates. I would like to be able to just hit update all and have it update all apps except the ones I disabled.

  • 1
    Zeni Apr 19, 2017 Link to comment

    I want my auto updates over Wifi to happen in the middle of the night. They currently happen from 10pm. Can I change the timing?

  • Albin Foro 30
    Albin Foro Mar 30, 2017 Link to comment

    I've always manually updated. My bigger concern has been when a current version of an app in the Play Store simply doesn't work on either my old J or stupidly balky new M tablets - everything works great on L. Usually I can sideload an APK for an older version that serves the purpose but then the new version shows up in Play Store waiting to be updated, and I have to remember to avoid it. (This is true for some mainstream apps like Skype and Kindle.) I'd like to instruct - either in Play Store settings or the device App settings - to stop updates at the current version and get them out of sight.

    Dean L.

    • Dean L. 34
      Dean L. Apr 1, 2017 Link to comment

      Yup, totally agree. And it's annoying when it shows you all the old stuff. A filter to transfer the stuff so that it doesn't Display the old or unwanted apps would be of great service..

      Deactivated Account

    • David King 1
      David King Jan 24, 2018 Link to comment

      My problem is, i turned auto update off and its still off but i wake up every morning with no space on my phone.

  • 20
    Reg Joo Mar 30, 2017 Link to comment

    I thought most of us knew that there were these options in play settings. It's good to know that you try to bring new people along.

    Shankar Prasad NandiMr. Guider

  • Jason Erskine 1
    Jason Erskine Jan 3, 2017 Link to comment

    This may help. After changing the setting to "Do not auto-update", I noticed all apps were updating automatically. That is because, when the auto-update is set, as it was before you disabled it, it set all apps to update. So when google play senses the WiFi, it continues to update the apps that were previously set. Open Google Play, and "Stop" the current download. This should stop all the updates from continuing. At least, this is what happened in my case. Good Luck.

    • 1
      SamuelCalifornia Apr 28, 2017 Link to comment

      I noticed that too. I forget he details, but all my applications had the "auto-update" on. I just had to go in and set it off for them. I did for some but not all; when I saw something getting updated that I did not want to auto-update, I set the "auto-update" off for it. Some, such as the antivirus program, I left to "auto-update".

  • Thaer Aldabbagh 1
    Thaer Aldabbagh Dec 10, 2016 Link to comment

    Help me guys
    I have already set the play store settings to Do not auto update apps, but still starting update once I activate the
    Wifi, what to do? i need to use the wifi without auto update apps. my cellphone is galaxy grand prime.

  • 3
    Tim C Nov 16, 2016 Link to comment

    Bottom line is this... Google has a problem that Google created and Google needs to solve it. "Unfortunately, Google play services has stopped". They need to just change it to "Unfortunately, Google Play services now suck". You may wonder why... well the new update is loaded with tracking BS to sell to advertisers. Of course Google sold their soul to the devil with Google adwords but that is another topic. Looks like Microsoft is going to be in business for quite a while. The Google idiots had a chance and instead of leaving the Andriod OS intact they decided to gut it and exploit it.... so bite it Google.

    Shankar Prasad NandiMark TurnerJeremy Noneya

  • 2
    Kevin Sack Oct 8, 2016 Link to comment

    After following the procedure to stop auto updates, the next day I find that XL and Powerpoint had been installed. It seems that the setting does not work. Is there a time delay for actioning.

    Jeremy Noneya

    • 1
      SamuelCalifornia Apr 28, 2017 Link to comment

      This article is incomplete. It should have explained that.

  • Gadgets Loud 1
    Gadgets Loud Sep 27, 2016 Link to comment

    Save internet and space, but steal to being in the latest tech world.

  • 10
    parayil h. Sep 25, 2016 Link to comment

    If you tap on the clear data button in settings>storage>apps>google play store , the settings" do not Auto update " will be cancelled, and app will return to default settings.
    Whatever the settings maybe, google play store and google play services update automatically.

    Reg JooMark TurnerTim CNext Hax

    • 3
      Tim C Nov 16, 2016 Link to comment

      Exactly and why does it do that... because Google has new BS in there updates to track and sell to advertisers. They are determined to make sure that we all stay with Microsoft until a legitimate company comes along that does not employee a bunch of freaking idiots.

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