How To Update Apps on iPhone

Updated: November 22,2022

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The last few years are widely viewed as the iPhone era. The Apple brand rearranged the concept of smartphones and changed the world. Thanks to these small phones, this technology has never been more popular.

Today’s iPhones are mini computers that can be used for snapping photos, listening to music, and even playing games. But the technological advances have also paved the way for an exhaustive list of apps. And if you’re wondering how to update apps on an iPhone, you’re not alone. 

That’s why we put together a short guide to help you avoid any confusion. We’ll also explain how you can control what your iPhone downloads in the first place and how to switch to automatic mode.

Enabling Automatic Updates

There’s a pretty good chance you don’t need to do anything to keep your phone up to date. In most cases, iPhones are already programmed to download and install updates on their own. 

To make sure the device can automatically update iPhone apps, head over to your iPhone’s home screen and tap on the Settings to open the menu. Then, tap on the App Store button to bring up its settings. In this menu, make sure App Updates is checked right under Automatic Downloads. You can also enable automatic updates over mobile data if you want your phone to always keep the apps up to date, not just when you’re on Wi-Fi.

Manually Update iOS Apps

If you have the automatic updates disabled for whatever reason, your iPhone won’t be getting the latest and greatest versions of the installed apps. While this is a big security risk nowadays, some people prefer to control what their phones install and when. This approach can also help you save up data from your plan, especially since iOS 13 introduced unlimited app downloads over an LTE connection.

So, if you’d like to disable all the automatic downloads for your apps but still keep your Apple device up to date, here’s what you’ll need to do. For starters, turn off automatic iOS app updates:

  1. Tap on the Settings icon from the Home Screen or find it in the App Library.
  2. From the Settings menu, find the App Store and tap on it.
  3. In Automatic Downloads, make sure App Updates aren't checked.

This menu also lets you disable downloads over a cellular network, as well as limit how big of a download your phone allows. By enabling this setting, you’re requesting that your phone asks for permission before downloading anything over a certain size through iTunes and the App Store.

Now that we’ve turned off automatic updates, let’s see how to update apps on iPhone manually:

  1. Open the App Store from the Home Screen.
  2. Tap on your profile icon (top-right corner).
  3. Swipe down to force your phone to scan for updates.
  4. If there are any pending updates, you’ll see an Update button next to each of them. Alternatively, you can tap on the Update All button.

Of course, you can always search the App Store for a specific app you’re trying to update. If there are any updates available, you’ll see an update button on its page.

How To Update iPhone Apps That Come With the iOS

A number of apps are pre-installed with every iPhone. These are called stock apps and are part of iOS, which means they can’t be fully uninstalled. Manually updating them works a bit differently than for third-party apps you download off the App Store.

Instead of individual updates, apps like Photos and Camera work through system software updates. To check for updates, open up the Settings menu and tap on general, then hit Software Update. Your phone will check whether there are any iOS updates that can be installed. You can also enable automatic checks.

When You Can’t Automatically Update Apps on an iPhone

Technology isn’t flawless. Glitches can happen even with Apple devices, and app updates are no exception. Sometimes, the phone may not pick up a pending update, and the user isn't notified. You’ll then have to swipe down to force your smartphone to look again.

If that doesn’t work, Apple itself offers some advice and quick fixes. First and foremost, open up the App Store and check whether you’re logged in at all. This can happen when updating to iOS 14, and you’ll notice the error if, instead of your chosen icon, there’s a blue button. 

We’ve already talked about how to update apps on iOS manually, but sometimes new app downloads and updates require payments. You should try adding a payment method if you get the following message: “your account is disabled in the App Store”. If that doesn’t fix it, you’ll need to contact Apple support.

Alternatively, you can try turning the device off and on again. Restarting your iPhone or iPad clears up its RAM and oftentimes gets frozen apps unstuck. The same applies to updates.

Finally, you might need to fully reinstall the problematic apps instead of updating apps on an iPhone. The method is called offloading, and it basically removes the app from your iPhone while keeping its app cache and data.

This is handy for preserving user accounts and other things. In Settings, tap on General, then iPhone Storage, and find the app you want to fix. Select Offload App, wait a few moments, and choose Reinstall App to download the newest possible version. If this doesn’t fix the issue, contact Apple’s customer support.


How do I check for updates on my iPhone?

If you need to manually update apps on an iPhone, you can check for updates in the App Store. You just need to open up your profile, and the updates will be waiting for you there.

Why can’t I update my apps on my iPhone?

Apps and, thus, their updates are tied to your Apple ID. Check whether you’re logged into your main account. You also might need to log out and then log back in or just restart your phone. If the app is still unable to update, you might need to reinstall it or contact Apple support for further assistance.

How do you manually update apps?

To update iPhone apps, open the App Store from your phone’s main screen or app library. Then, tap on your profile picture to bring up your profile, where you’ll be able to check whether there are any updates available. Swipe down on this page to refresh the list. You can also find the app in the store and download the update from its page.

Why my apps are not updating?

There are many reasons for issues with updates. Our guide on how to update apps on iPhone mentions that the problem may be with iOS logging you out of your account. Also, make sure your phone is connected to the internet over Wi-Fi, as the default settings disable updates over cellular networks.

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While Damjan started his career in humanities, his interests quickly moved on to the tech and IT world. VPNs, antiviruses, firewalls, password managers - cybersecurity is what he knows best. When Damjan’s not losing hair over the dwindling of our collective sense of tech safety, you’ll find him looking for solace in 100-hour-long RPGs and rage-inducing MOBAs.

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