All these apps on your Android, it’s a lot to keep up with. Yet, it’s so important because not only do app updates bring you the latest features, but they can also help you to squash software bugs. If having to keep track seems burdensome or overwhelming, you can set up automatic updates for all of your apps. If you prefer to have more control, you can also update apps manually, and on an individual basis.
There may be times when Google deems it necessary to update an app despite the preferred update settings you have in place, but this should only occur if the update is meant to fix a critical security vulnerability. This is implied in Google Play Terms of Service.
We will also be providing information about how to update both phones and tablets (they really aren’t any different), how to cancel auto-updates, and what it means/what to do if you receive error messages. The options are somewhat tucked away in Google Play, and aren’t terribly obvious, but we will help you find them and use them.
Method 1: Update Apps Automatically
You can have all apps update automatically for a stress-free approach. Google Play has updated its own look somewhat recently, making things a little easier to navigate and use.
1. Open Google Play
If you don’t see it on your home screen, you are sure to find it in your app drawer.
2. Tap Menu
Sometimes called the hamburger icon for its three stacked horizontal bars resembling a patty of meat between two buns (you have to use your imagination), the Menu icon is in the upper left.
3. Tap Settings
You’ll have to scroll down to find it, but when you do, go into Settings.
4. Data versus Wi-Fi Selection
Do you have unlimited data? If not, you might want to select the option to only update apps over Wi-Fi. Sometimes it seems like every time I glance at my phone it’s doing or has done some sort of update. This can be significant when it comes to data usage.
In certain instances, you might have to reboot your Android to complete the updating of your apps. If Error 535 displays, the app update being downloaded is likely not optimized for your particular Android. Contact the developer to confirm.
Method 2: Update Apps Manually
This method can be used to update apps on an individual basis, or in bulk. It can be used on both phones and tablets. This is a good way to evaluate whether you actually want an update before you install it. App updates can be especially difficult to roll back if you don’t like them.
1. Open Google Play
Google Play might be right there on your home screen, but if not, it will definitely be in your app drawer.
2. Tap the Three Bars (Menu)
Select the Menu button, which looks like three horizontal lines stacked on top of each in the upper left. This button will be your friend when you go to find updates for your apps on your Android.
3. Select My Apps & Games
4. Choose Updates
Updates is a somewhat new option, located next to Installed towards the top.
5. Make Bulk versus Individual Selection
Tap Update on your installed apps individually, or choose the Update All option to download all available updates.
6. Accept Permissions
Some apps updates require new permissions. If so, you will be notified. You might be required to accept those permissions in order to accept the update.
7. (Optional) Go to Settings
Scroll down within the menu where you selected My Apps and you will find it towards the bottom.
8. Choose Auto-update Apps
9. Select Do Not Auto-update Apps
The default setting is to update apps automatically over Wi-Fi, so if you are wanting to do so manually you will have to select this option.
10. For Future Updates, Tap on Notifications
Apps will no longer auto-install without asking you first, but you will still be notified when they are available.
Note: How to Turn Off App Update Notifications
You will want to manually check for app updates about once a week if you turn off notifications, but some might prefer to do that instead of receiving annoying messages all the time. It isn’t exactly advisable, but if you want to turn off notifications, here’s how you do it. From that same Google Play Settings menu described above (Go to Menu > My Apps > Settings) find Notifications and uncheck the box next to it.
Method 3: No Google Play Necessary: APKUpdater
Android is about having options, so why should you be stuck using Google Play? Turns out, you aren’t, but there will be no option to update automatically through APKUpdater. APKUpdater is great, however, when you have a custom ROM that doesn’t offer Google Play, or a lot of third-party apps.
1. Install Latest Release
APKUpdater is available for download on Github or XDA.
2. Select Updates
APKUpdater has a very similar interface to Google Play.
3. Tap Install
4. (Optional) Search for New Apps
Tap on the Search tab and enter your query.
5. (Optional) Schedule Update Checks in the Background
Choose Settings (gear icon) and then Check for Updates. You can also specify the hour with Update hour.
6. (Optional) Display Notifications for Updates
Tap Settings (gear icon) in the upper right corner. Choose Always.
7. (Optional) Add Apps to Ignore List
From Settings (gear icon) find options to exclude certain apps and types of apps from updating under Filter Settings.
8. (Optional) Choose Theme
Customize the way APKUpdater looks. Theme is the top option under General Settings. I have no idea why the default theme is called Blue Meth.
9. (Optional) Check Wi-Fi Only
Save on data usage and have your apps only update when Wi-Fi is available.
If you want the alternative to the alternative, APKTrack is another third-party update app to Google Play, and is quite similar to APKUpdater. It performs website scraping to search for your updates, and even allows you to select which search engine you want to use to find available APKs.
Which method did you go with when it comes to finding updates for your apps on Android? Did you encounter any problems? Send us your thoughts.