iPhone apps not updating automatically? – Here’s why

Out of date apps can cause a lot of issues on your iPhone. Not keeping your apps up to date can cause your phone to crash, slow down or randomly restart. 

This can be really frustrating. Some people have had issues with iPhone apps not updating automatically.

Since the average person has around 40 apps on their phone, it’s understandably pretty annoying if you need to go and manually update all of those apps one by one. 

In this article, we’re going to explore why your apps aren’t updating automatically and how to fix the problem. 

iPhone apps not updating automatically – Here’s the fix

The main reasons why your iPhone may not be automatically updating is that it’s not enabled or that you’re not connected to the Wi-Fi network.

In some cases, it could be that there’s not enough storage space on your device. If your iPhone has stopped updating apps automatically, then a lack of space could be the reason for that.

It could also be a glitch with the app itself – make sure you try force stopping the app first to see if this fixes the issue.

If not then don’t worry; in most cases, it’s something that can be easily fix by adjusting the network settings on your phone. Let’s run through some troubleshooting steps that can help you fix your mobile.

Make sure automatic app updates is enabled 

Having to update apps automatically is a really annoying task. Lucky iOS does have the option to have your phone update apps automatically when needed. 

Having this feature on will stop your apps from becoming glitchy or your phone from slowing down, so it’s worth making sure that the update automatically toggle is on. 

If you have iOS 13 or later, automatic app updates are enabled by default. If you’ve noticed that your apps aren’t updating automatically, make sure that you haven’t turned off automatic updates by accident.

To check this go to your iPhone Settings > App Store and make sure that ‘App Updates’ is ticked as on as shown below. 

Check that cellular data for automatic updates is turned on

If your automatic updates for apps is turned on, the next thing to check is that cellular data for automatic updates is turned on. 

This will enable your updates to download using your cellular data plan as opposed to your Wi-Fi router.

To do this go to your Settings > App Store and under ‘Mobile Data’, make sure that ‘Automatic Downloads’ is enabled as shown here. 

There is also a limit on cellular download limit on iPhone. You can choose to always allow, allow under 200MB or always ask before downloading an update on cellular data. 

You may be tempted to click ‘Always Allow’ here, but be very careful if you’re on a plan without a lot of data. 

This will allow your apps to update even if you aren’t connected to WiFi, so you can burn through data very quickly.

Ensure iPhone is running on the most up-to-date iOS 

Another reason that your apps aren’t automatically updating is that your phone hasn’t updated in a while. The most common reason for this is because your phone doesn’t have enough storage for the most recent update. 

Many apps won’t be able to run on older versions of iOS which will be the reason for your apps not updating automatically.

You can check if your phone requires an update in the Settings. A red badge will appear on your Settings, to update go to General > Software Update. You’ll need to leave your iPhone charging and allow it a good while to update to the latest version of iOS. 

Like the app updates, you can also enable iOS updates to go through automatically. You can check this is enabled by going to Settings > General > Software Update and check that ‘Automatic Update’ shows as ‘On’ as shown below. 

Check your device storage

As mentioned before, one of the reasons that your iPhone isn’t updating is due to lack of storage. This can also be the reason why your apps aren’t downloading automatically either. 

Long term iPhone users may remember when their iPhone or iPad would start cleaning – essentially this was clearing the cache data to ensure your iPhone stays working properly.

Nowadays, your phone should do this automatically, so outdated apps will clean themselves – you don’t need to do this to apps individually.


To check your device’s storage go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. Here you can see which apps are taking up the most room on your phone and start to delete apps that you’re not using. 

Update apps manually

If your apps still aren’t downloading automatically after these checks, you’ll need to go into the App Store and check for updates regularly (if the App store is not working, reset your device).

If updates are required on multiple apps, tap the ‘Update All’ button to bring all your apps up to date. 

Some people decide to opt out of automatic app updates. Sometimes you might prefer the older version of an app and decide you want to stick with that one.

To turn off automatic app updates by going to iPhone Settings > App Store, then you may choose to turn on or turn off ‘App Updates’. 

When automatic updates are turned off, your iPhone will show the “Update All” option, and the App Store icon will display a red badge when there are updates available.

This is letting you know so that you can manually update your apps each time an update is released.


To conclude, it’s definitely a little annoying if your apps don’t download automatically and you need to check and update your apps manually. 

Between adjusting your settings, double checking your connection and ensuring the App Store is working, it should be a relatively easy issue to fix.

Hopefully one of these fixes has resolved the problem for you, or you have opted to keep with the manual updates to be more in control of what’s being downloaded on your phone. 

For more troubleshooting advice, check out some of our other articles on a range of different apps.

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By day he's an engineer and by night (well, evening or very early morning but night sounds way cooler) Alex runs the Apps UK ship. He has a keen interest in language, fitness & especially social media - he is always on the lookout for the next hot platform.

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