How to update apps on iPhone

When Apple first launched the iPhone App Store, one of its most important features was that updates to apps would be free, no matter how much the original app cost, and that it would be very easy to keep apps up to date. It was also important that iPhone users remained in control of how and when apps were updated. So, Apple came up with two options for updating apps that still exist today: you can choose to have apps update in the background automatically, or you can update them manually. We’ll show you how to do both in this article.

Why update apps on your iPhone

There are a number of reasons why you should update apps on your iPhone. Here are the most common ones:

  • Benefit from new features and interface enhancements
  • Maintain compatibility with iOS
  • Keep the app secure

On the flip side, if you never update an app, sooner or later, it will no longer be compatible with the version of iOS on your iPhone (assuming you update iOS every time a new version is released or, at least, do it from time to time) and long before that, it will look out of date and be unable to use the new features in iOS.

How to update apps on your iPhone automatically

Updating automatically is the easiest way to keep apps current, especially if you have dozens or even hundreds installed. You won’t be able to choose when each app is updated, but as updates are installed in the background, and iOS is smart enough to choose times when you’re less likely to be using your iPhone, that shouldn’t be a problem. Here’s how to auto update apps on iPhone:

  1. Tap Settings to open it.
  2. Scroll down and tap App Store.
  3. Under the heading Automatic Downloads, toggle App Updates to on.

You can also choose in that section whether to automatically download apps you purchase on another device, like iPhone versions of universal apps you purchase on an iPad. And you can choose whether to allow automatic downloads when you are using mobile data or restrict them to when you are using Wi-Fi.

When you choose to update apps automatically, you may sometimes see app icons on your Home screen that have a download progress indicator on them. That means they are downloading. You won’t be able to use them until the download is complete, but that should only take a minute or two.

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How to update apps on your iPhone manually

If you don’t want apps to update automatically, you can keep App Updates under Automatic Downloads in the off position and choose when you update apps yourself. When you decide to update an app, here’s what to do.

  1. Tap the App Store app to open it.
  2. Next, tap on your profile icon at the top.
  3. Scroll down to the Available Updates section.
  4. To update every app for which an update is available, tap Update All.
  5. To update individual apps, locate the app you want to update and tap Update.

What to do if an app won’t update on your iPhone

If you have automatic updates turned on and an app doesn’t update, try following the steps above to update it manually. If that doesn’t work, the next step is to try adding a payment method. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap your name and then Media & Purchases.
  3. Tap View Account.
  4. Sign in if you are asked to.
  5. Choose Manage Payments and then tap Add Payment Method.
  6. Enter the details of your payment method and tap Done.

If you get a message that says ‘’billing problem with previous purchase’ or ‘verification required,’ follow the instructions on the screen to solve the problem. You may have to try a different payment method. If you use Family Sharing and purchase sharing is enabled, and you’re not the family organizer, ask the organizer to update their payment method.

You can also try prioritizing the download. That will put it at the front of the queue if multiple apps are updating at once. Tap and hold the app icon, then choose Prioritize Download.

If nothing else works, restart your iPhone and try updating the app again. That should fix the problem.

Updating apps on your iPhone is easy and important if you want to keep them running properly and take advantage of new features. You can either update apps automatically in the background so that once you set it up, you can forget about it, or you can update them manually — all together or one at a time. Follow the steps above for the situation that best suits you.


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