App Updates on your iPad: Should You Download Them?

Do you see that red bubble above? It indicates the number of apps that I have on that device that currently have updates. Does that bother you? I know people who must always have their apps updated. On the contrary, for myself, that number in the red bubble grows every day. On my iPhone, it is up to 117, on my iPad: 53.

For the most part, updates are a good thing. Bugs are often fixed, and improvements are made. Features are added. Added hardware support can greatly improve the look of an app (e.g. when apps were optimized for the larger iPhone 5 screen).

How do you update apps?

Basics: Go to App Store, and tap the Updates tab on the far right. A list of apps will appear. Tap “What’s New” to view the new features. Then tap UPDATE if you wish to do it. That’s it. The next time you open that app, it will be the updated version.

iOS7 will have a new feature called Automatic Updates. Your iPads and iPhones will have the ability to download all updates without you ever having to worry about doing it manually. Sound convenient? Well, I for one, will turn this feature off (You will be able to turn Automatic Updates OFF in Settings).

Why don’t I update all my apps?

I did answer this question in my FAQ section, but in reviewing:

I have a TON of apps. It’s probably obvious that I spend a lot of time checking out new apps, both for education and personal uses. Honestly, there are apps that I have not touched since downloading them. Occasionally, I will go through them and delete the ones that I never intend on using.

When I do update, I actually like to review what the changes are before updating it. There are times, believe it or not, when it is NOT beneficial to update an app. Sometimes, developers will actually remove features that people like. Once an app is updated, there is no going back to any previous versions. An example would be the app Airfile, which I profiled a few months back. It was great: you could link multiple Dropbox and Google Drive accounts and move files between them. Then they got greedy and decided to limit the number of accounts, while charging an additional fee to users for the same features. I have even occasionally read in the update notes developers encouraging users NOT to update that version.

Warning: If you (accidentally) press UPDATE ALL, they will indeed all get updated, even if you turn your device off. This can be bad news if there is an app that you love that has “negative” update features.

Below, the red bubble indicating 53 updates:
On the iPad, you can see the descriptions of the updates immediately:
When apps I frequently use have updates, I look forward to the new features:

All this being said, all the major and popular apps will receive new updates for iOS7 coming out. New, flat icons have been created, and are awaiting the upcoming software update. The current icons will look outdated on the new iOS. New updates will take up more space on your device! If you have a smaller capacity iPad, definitely delete the apps that you won’t be using. Also, make sure you are on WIFI and not a data connection when updating, you don’t want to use up your data on this.

How about you? Do you automatically update an app when it comes up or are you selective? Let us know in the comments!

Related Posts:  

How to manage storage on your iPad, part 1 and part 2

How to prepare your iPad for the new school year

How to redeem promo codes and gift cards directly on your iPad.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Michael says:

    I like to have the latest versions, salivating over any changes, welcoming “bug fixes”, and generally getting rid of the annoying notifications bubble.

    As a side note, if you sync with a computer you should be able to “roll back” to an older version of an app. Update the app on your phone, but do not update it on your computer. Then play with the app, and if you don’t like the update delete it and re-sync to your computer, adding that app back in manually. The older version saved to iTunes will then load. Just know the potential consequence – depending on the app you may lose data or have to go through a long setup process. Even if you accidentally update the app in iTunes, you still have a chance. At least on my Windows 7 computer, when iTunes updates an app it sends the old version to the Recycle Bin. Delete the app from iTunes and Restore the app from the Recycle Bin and go about your business… This can be particularly helpful if a major bug sneaks into an update and makes an app unusable until the developer can push an additional fix.

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