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How to stop apps from updating automatically in Google Play

If you've ever picked up your phone to see that Google Play is going crazy and auto-updating app after app, you might feel your stomach tightening up as you see your data allowance evaporating into thin air. Fortunately, this is easy to solve. We'll show you how to stop apps from updating automatically so that Google Play only updates when and how you want it to.

As a general rule, apps you have 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 and stop you from doing other things with your device. This is where manually updating apps can be more practical.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 notifications app update
Generally speaking, you should keep your apps updated, but do so on your terms. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to disable auto-update apps in Google Play

1. Open Google Play and swipe out the navigation drawer. 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 at any time. Data charges may apply; and Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only.

AndroidPIT Google Play settings auto update apps never
You'll just need to select 'Do not auto-update'.' / © ANDROIDPIT

4. Choose the first 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 in Google Play, so open the navigation drawer and select it (from under the main Apps & games category).

AndroidPIT Google Play update my apps
Check 'My apps' for available updates and install them one at a time or all at once. / © ANDROIDPIT

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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  • Zeni 1 week ago 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?

  • 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. 3 weeks ago 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..

  • Reg Joo 4 weeks ago 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Tim C 5 months ago 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

    • Tim C 5 months ago 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.

  • Google & Samsung do not seem to realise that some applications on Android can be battery draining applications, and so glad i turned off my updates from the Play Store, some applications you never use but are on your phone you should be allowed to uninstall it or disable it to help your battery last longer, why some applications do not offer the Exit option is totally wrong on Android

  • Dean L. 7 months ago Link to comment

    Nice to see a few extra tips. I have been manual updating apps just to keep my data in control.

  • nice tip.. but i ony want to disable auto update of 3-4 apps max - i want autoupdate on everything else..

    • Kindly go to the app(s) on playstore. Click on the three dots on your upper right corner. You will see an empty box with the option to auto-update or not. Cheers!

  • Nice tips but with my s6 the issue is it is turned off but still it automatically updates all apps when wifi is on. What to do now ?

  • Hello friend, I have a problem. my symphony phone has always sow me ' unfortunately, phone has stopped. ' please give a solution, what can I do now.

  • phil r Feb 6, 2016 Link to comment

    Just bought a galaxy s6 and been charged a fortune in my first month on data usage because of automatic updates from google play.
    when i went into settings(on google play) it appears that it is already on wifi updates only?
    This can't be the case as i have seen updates outside of wifi on my phone. Maybe it automatically chooses this option because you have gone into that section.
    i would have thought that play store automatically sets itself to wifi updates only anyway.
    confused, i have choosen the no updates at all option.

    • My experience has been that Google will.update their own apps anyway unless I disable certain ones. Google Games is one of them. Google Play is another.

    • Exactly. Google is playing a stupid game by putting some devilish default settings that makes apps keep updating devilishly day in day out, eating our data as if we don't have to pay for it.

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