How to Keep Specific Android Apps from Auto-Updating

Whether you’re on a tight mobile data plan or just don’t like apps updating themselves without your permission, auto-updating apps on Android can be a real annoyance. Apps can push out updates at any time, and if they’re big content patches, it can mean bad news for those on sensitive data plans. Nobody likes to see that their data has been mostly used up by updating apps! Even if your data plan is fine, you might find it annoying that apps download updates as they please and want a bit more control over what updates when.

In either case, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s possible to stop Android apps from automatically updating themselves without your permission. Unfortunately, Google did a good job hiding away the option to turn off automatic updates. Let’s take a look at where these options are and how to reach them.

If you want to stop all apps from automatically updating themselves, follow these steps.

First, go to the Google Play store. Beside the search bar on the left you’ll see an icon which consists of three lines, one on top of the other. Touch this, and then touch the “Settings” option.

AutoUpdateApp-threebars

AutoUpdateApp-settings

You’ll have a selection of options. Press the one that says “Auto-Update Apps” – it should be right at the top of the Settings options.

AutoUpdateApp-choices

Once done, you’re presented with a selection of different options for auto-updating apps. You can either have auto-updates run as normal, disable them, or have apps auto-update only when you’re on WiFi. The latter will be especially useful for people with a fragile phone data plan but a wholesome (if not infinite) data cap on their home Internet.

AutoUpdateApp-autooptions

Now that you’ve disabled automatic updates for all apps, how do they update? When an app wants to download an update, it now has to ask you first. You’ll know when an app wants to update when a Google Play icon appears in your notification bar. Tap this notification to see what apps want updating, and manually approve each one (or all at once).

That’s all well and good, but what if you want to stop only one app from auto-downloading? Perhaps you’re fine with certain important and critical apps updating themselves when they need to, but you’re not so keen on games or entertainment apps updating while you’re trying to do business-crucial activities. Thankfully, you can disable auto-updates for individual apps and allow other apps to auto-update when they want to.

To turn off a single app from auto-updating, first go to the Google Play store. Press the three bars at the top left, then select “My Apps & Games.”

AutoUpdateApp-appsandgames

You’ll be taken to a list of your apps. Find the app that you want to stop the auto-updates for. In this example we’ll be stopping Google Chrome from automatically updating itself, so we tap that app on the list.

AutoUpdateApp-selectchrome

This will bring you to the apps’ store page. When here, press the three dots at the top right of the app’s page and untick the box that says “Auto-Update.”

AutoUpdateApp-threedots

AutoUpdateApp-tickbox

Now this specific app won’t automatically download updates, but every other app will download as you told it to.

5 comments

  1. My issue with app updates is that after I move the app to my SD card, the update never installs again to the SD card. It always updates to the base phone. Is there a way I can correct this?

  2. I wonder if you could help me solve a specific, related issue.

    I have Facebook Messenger installed. I hate the new “My Day” feature. So, after some reading, I found uninstalling and then installing an older version would get rid of it. Sure enough, it did.

    10 minutes later, it’s back! So I repeat. Uninstall, install. But this time, I went directly to the app menu and disabled updates. I then went to Google Play turned off updates there! Lo and behold! A “My Day” free Messenger! *Excitement builds*

    30 minutes later, clear.
    60 minutes, I get a message, reply, open messenger….. Yeah, that garbage is back! Using 20% of my screen space!

    How on Earth can I 100% keep that app from updating as soon as it connects to the FB servers? Is there a port I can block? Anything!

    • Hi Kasey,

      I had a look into this issue, and people are reporting that the “My Day” feature is a server-side update. What this means is that Facebook has implemented My Day on their side, which means it will show up regardless of if you disable app updates. After all, it’s not the app that’s carrying My Day — it’s Facebook’s own servers doing it!

      I’ve seen some people reverting back to very old Messenger versions (2015-2016), back when the app didn’t support server updates such as My Day. Naturally, this means the app can’t physically display My Day, which solves the problem. I’ve also seen people have success using alternate messaging apps, including Facebook’s own Messenger Lite, which definitely sounds like the more painless solution.

      Good luck!

  3. Ho, i have a slightly different issue. I have an app in version which is working fine for me and i know that the newer versions (since december) are not working for me (its an vieo app for outdoor cam and latest versions can’t with my model).

    I update my apps manually like once in couple days and i would like use the button update all, and here comes my problem.
    Is it possible to remove one app from the update list?

    Because since i need the older version this app is still popping in the list among the other apps i want to keep updated, except for this one.

    Is there somethig i can do to keep this app out of update loop?
    I have almost pure Android 6.0.1 version.

    Thanks for any advices.

Comments are closed.

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