It’s a good idea to keep all your apps up to date, as this means you're using the current version and that any problems with the older version will hopefully be fixed by its replacement. We show you how to make Android do this automatically or take the manual approach.
How to automatically update Android apps
The easiest way to have your apps on the latest release is to use Android’s automatic update feature enabled. To find this, open the Google Play Store on your device and tap the three lines in the top left corner to access the menu. Select Settings then scroll down until you find the option Auto-update apps.
Tap this and you’ll be presented with three choices where you can either Auto-update apps Over any network, Over Wi-Fi only or Don’t auto-update apps.
We recommend using Over Wi-Fi only, as Over any network will make use of your mobile data, which could be disastrous if a few bigger apps (perhaps games) blaze through your allowance with sizable updates. When you’ve made your choice, tap Done to save the setting.
How to get only certain Android apps to auto-update
Google offers the option to only auto-update particular apps, which puts you in greater control, should you want certain apps to remain on an older version. To be clear, this isn't advisable from a security point of view, but in rare circumstances you may not want apps to update automatically.
To do this, open the Google Play Store, tap the three lines icon, then select My apps & games from the menu. You’ll see all of your apps that have outstanding updates pending. If the app you want is in this list, tap on it, but otherwise tap the Installed tab along the top of the list and then find the app in question.
When you’re in the app’s information page, tap on the three dots in the top right corner, then select Enable auto-update. Of course, if you’ve already set your device to auto-update all your apps then this will already be turned on.
How to manually update Android apps
Should you prefer to keep a tighter reign over your updates, then it’s easy to do so. To begin with, you’ll want to follow the steps outlined at the start of the first section, only select Don’t auto-update apps at the end.
Now, whenever you want to check for any newer versions, open the Google Play Store, tap the three lines icon, then select My apps & games. From the list that appears you should see all the ones that currently have updates available. To bring them up to the latest iteration either select Update all or go through them individually and tap the Update button to the right of their names.
You’ll want to also make sure your operating system has the newest patches applied, so take a look at how to update Android for a step-by-step guide to achieving this. If you’re also contemplating upgrading your device itself, our best Android phone chart should prove invaluable.