Make Sure You Update Apps on Your Smartphone

Written by Felipe on February 19th, 2014

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If you own a smartphone, chances are pretty good that you have dozens, if not hundreds of applications installed on it. If you’re like many people who download and install apps, you often don’t give much thought to a particular app after you’ve downloaded it. After all, you downloaded it and you’re using it so everything must be okay, right?

Well, in some cases, this might be true but more often than not things are a little bit more complicated than that. Let me take a minute and explain. When software developers create applications for smartphones or tablet computers, they do their best to get everything right when they initially release the application. In reality, what really happens is they develop an application and release it to the public and as the public uses the software, they inevitably discover bugs or problems with it. In other cases, the people who are using the application provide feedback to the developers or they might request additional features to be added to the app.

Good Apps Evolve Over Time

An application is sort of like a living, breathing, creature that is constantly evolving. At least the good applications are anyway. Good application developers are constantly listening to the feedback they receive from their users and making tweaks and adjustments to the apps coding to provide a better user experience.

Here’s where things get a little tricky. When an application user downloads and installs an app on their smartphone or tablet computer, the code that makes the application work is installed with it. When the developer fixes bugs or makes improvements to the software, the application needs to be updated or installed again on your phone in order for the changes to take effect on your particular mobile device.

Sound complicated? Well, it doesn’t need to be. As a matter of fact, it can be quite simple. For demonstration purposes, I’ll be discussing how to update applications on Google Android powered devices in this article. The following instructions will work with all applications that are distributed through the Google Play Store.

You have two choices when it comes to updating apps that you’ve downloaded from Google Play. The first is to manually update the applications and the second is to configure your device so that the applications will automatically be updated as updates become available.

How to Manually Update Apps

Let’s talk about the first option for a second. All you have to do is follow these simple steps.

  1. Tap the Play Store icon on your smartphone.
  2. Tap the words “Play Store” that are located in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.
  3. Tap the words “My Apps” that will appear in the drop-down list. This will show a list of all of the applications that you have installed on your phone. If there is an update available for the application, the word “Update” will appear next to the icon for that particular app.
  4. To update the app, tap the word “Update” and the application will automatically begin the updating process. I should point out that in some cases you will have to grant the application additional permission to continue with the update. This only happens if the application needs to access features of your phone that you didn’t previously authorize it to access when you initially downloaded and installed the app.

How to Automatically Update Apps

How To Update Apps on Android Screenshot
Now let’s talk about how to put your phone on autopilot so that it will automatically download updates to your applications as they become available.

  1. Tap the Google Play icon on your phone.
  2. Tap the words “Play Store” that are located in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.
  3. Tap the words “My Apps” that will appear in the drop-down list.
  4. Tap the “Menu” button that is located at the bottom of your phone.
  5. Tap the word “Settings”.
  6. Tap the words “Auto-Update Apps”.
  7. Make your selection as to how you want the apps to be able to auto-update. Your choices are “Do not auto-update apps”, “Auto-Update apps at any time. Data charges may apply”, and “Auto-Update apps over Wi-Fi only”.

Regardless of what particular type of smartphone you own, it’s important that you keep the applications that you use updated. This way you’ll have full use of all available features and any bugs or problems with the application that the developer may have discovered and fixed will also be fixed on the version of the application that you are using.

There is one more thing that’s worth pointing out. If you have applications installed on your phone from an independent developer that you didn’t get from a source like Google Play, you’ll need to get any updated versions of the application directly from the actual developer of the app.

The bottom line is that if you want the applications on your phone to function properly, take these simple steps to make sure that you keep them updated to the most current version available.


I receive compensation as a result of endorsements, ads, or affiliate links on this website: Compensaton Disclosure