How to update Android apps individually: stop Google Play apps from auto-updating

We show you how to stop Android apps automatically updating, and how to update them manually.

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One of the major appeals of Android as a mobile platform is its great library of apps. (See also: The 40 best Android apps of 2014.)

Keeping apps up to date, however, can be a drag. By default, Google Play will download and install updates as they become available, but this doesn't always happen at convenient times - and it can have unwanted consequences (the author of this article recently lost an incredible career on New Star Soccer thanks to an unwanted app update).

Updates can also change the way apps behave, so you may simply prefer to stick with the versions you're used to, and decide for yourself when it's time to upgrade.

How to stop/start apps automatically updating

Step one

The first step is to tell your Android device how and when you want to receive updates.

If you're looking for a new mobile phone, then make sure you take a look at our best Android smartphone of 2014 chart.

This can be done easily within the Play Store on your Android smartphone or tablet.

Start by opening the app's main menu, by either swiping in from the left-hand side of the screen, or tapping the menu icon (three dots stacked vertically) at the top left; then tap Settings.

android app settings

Step two

Now that you're in the Settings menu, tap "Auto-update apps" and then choose one of the options shown below, as applicable:

How to stop/start apps automatically updating

You can also enable and disable notifications when app updates are available by toggling the Notifications tickbox found at the top of the Settings screen.

How to update Android apps

Note: You can check you have the latest version of the Play Store installed on your device by tapping on the Build version button located at the very bottom of the Settings menu.

How to update Android apps individually

If you've chosen to disable auto-updates then in future you'll have to install app updates manually. Here's how it's done:

Step one

Open the Play Store and go to the main menu (again, by swiping or tapping as described above). Tap on My Apps to view a list of all the apps installed on this device (plus any other apps associated with your account under the "All" tab).

How to update apps individually

Step two

Apps for which updates are available will automatically appear at the top of the list, with a green Update label icon to the right of each app. To install the latest version of this app, simply tap on its list entry, then pressing the Update button on the next screen.

It's as simple as that.

android my apps installed

You can also choose to update all apps at once by tapping the large Update All button at the top of the list. We’d suggest doing this only when you're connected to Wi-Fi and don't need to use your Android device for any heavy tasks!

App notifications

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