Auto-updating of iOS 7 apps isn’t such a good thing after all

Jonathan Seff, Macworld
9 November, 2013
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One feature of iOS 7 that had me quite excited was its ability to automatically download app updates in the background. Both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks have a simple setting that lets your computer or mobile device automatically grab updates while on Wi-Fi, saving you both taps and time.

But now I’m considering turning off the feature altogether. Why? Because I’ve been burned too many times lately by bunk updates that render apps completely unusable.

Take for example iTeleport, an iPhone and app I use to connect to my computers when I’m not in front of them. The most recent update, which was supposed to add a new layout and hardware keyboard support for iOS 7 instead offered only a black screen when connecting to a computer while my iPad was in landscape orientation. Had I not had auto-updating turned on and read the reviews on version 6.1.7 before updating, I’d have held out for a fix.

And then this morning my wife called to say her PayByPhone Parking app, which was supposed to have added support for users in Switzerland and provide “minor look and feel updates” instead messed with her country settings and then refused to let her log in when she needed to pay for parking. Those problems eventually resolved themselves – more a hiccup than a mess-up – but not the kind of thing you want to deal with when rushing to a dentist appointment after dropping the kids off at school.

There are plenty of other buggy app updates that crop up as well.

Now I’ll freely admit that even before auto-update came into play, I’d generally just tap Update All when I noticed new versions of my apps. But for apps I rely on, I’ve always been a bit more wary. After all, Apple only vets apps and updates to make sure they’re following the rules, and doesn’t perform any quality assurance. Is it practical to check the reviews for every app update that comes down the pike? Probably not. But auto-updating removes even the most basic level of user control, which may be enough reason to turn it off. Fool me once and all that.

Whichever way you decide to go, remember that you can visit Settings > iTunes & App Store and look in the Automatic Downloads section to control how each iOS device handles app updates.

by Jonathan Seff, Macworld

2 Comments

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  1. Brent Roberton says:

    You said it yourself, when you didn’t have it you just went and updated by “Update All” anyway. BUT you are more wary on the Apps you rely on ?? But I’m betting you just pressed Update All anyway. I always use to go and read what was updated, and Updated All, i never read the “reviews” because most of the time, there aren’t any there because I usually update the day it comes out. 7am i would check every morning.
    To keep it safe, you need to make sure you have ALL your Apps on your Mac or Ext HDD if your have iTunes Library on one. This way you can either update the ones you rely on, or Update them all, but always one update behind so if this does ever happen, you can delete the App from your iPhone and then grab if from your Backup (1 version back) and away you go until you know they have fixed the bug.

    Funny thing is, that iOS bugs, don’t always affect everyone i have found. When people say they have problems with such and such, and i haven’t, I’m skeptical that they have, because we have the same hardware and iOS ?? Go figure. . . .
    But yea, I always have a old version on my Backup, iTunes, Ext HDD . . .

  2. David says:

    Another O7 stuff up on the iPad air is the inability to delete pics imported from external inputs eg another PC. The only way to delete pics from iPad air is, apparently to delete them from the source – the PC. Apart from the absurdity of that, how about those who no longer have access to the original source? Eg sold or discarded their old computer.

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