How to keep your Apple devices updated automatically


Keeping your Apple devices up-to-date helps ensure security and reliability. Don’t spend time on manual updates–leave it to iOS and macOS to automatically update your system and apps.

Image: Getty Images

Apple’s iOS and macOS have had long histories of receiving reliable updates frequently throughout the year to address new features and to patch security issues. It’s important that we keep our constantly connected devices as up-to-date as possible to thwart any potential security risks to our data. One way to ensure this is to update your Apple systems automatically and to have the App Store automatically update your apps as well.

I’ll explain how to keep iOS and macOS devices and apps up-to-date without lifting a finger when new updates are available.

SEE: Top 10 iPad tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to auto-update iOS

iOS devices like iPhones, iPods, and iPads can all be updated automatically whenever a new version of iOS or iPadOS is available. To set this up, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.  
  2. Navigate to General | Software Update.
  3. Select Automatic Updates.
  4. Enable the ON Switch for Automatic Updates (Figure A).

Setting automatic system updates means that your iOS device will automatically download the new updates and have them ready. They will install overnight after they download as long as your device is charging and connected to Wi-Fi.

Figure A

appstoreupdates-figure-a.jpg

Enabling the Automatic Updates switch will cause new updates to download and install automatically.

How to auto-update from the iOS App Store 

The App Store updates on iOS can be automated so you don’t have to visit the somewhat hidden update page in the App Store to manually refresh the view and update apps. To ensure that your iOS apps are automatically kept up-to-date, perform these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select iTunes & App Store.
  3. Under the Automatic Downloads section, enable the option for App Updates (Figure B).

This option will allow the App Store to consistently check for app updates and install them when they become available. Similar to the way that iOS system updates work, they will be installed when your device is connected to Wi-Fi and is plugged in and charging.

Figure B

appstoreupdates-figure-b.jpg

Enabling the App Updates option will cause the App Store to automatically download new updates as they become available from developers.

How to auto-update macOS 

Like iOS, you can automate the download and installation of macOS updates by performing these steps.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click Software Update.
  3. Enable the checkbox at the bottom of the screen labeled Automatically Keep My Mac Up To Date (Figure C).

Figure C

appstoreupdates-figure-c.jpg

Selecting the Automatically Keep My Mac Up To Date checkbox will keep your Mac updated, but selecting the Advanced button will let you fine tune the choices.

Click the Advanced button to fine-tune the settings for automatic updates and to enable or disable the following options.

  • Check For Updates
  • Download New Updates When Available
  • Install macOS Updates
  • Install App Updates From The App Store
  • Install System Data Files And Security Updates

Checking the box labeled Install App Updates From The App Store will keep all of the apps purchased from the Mac App Store up-to-date on your system without having to manually visit the App Store to check for updates and install them from there (Figure D).

Figure D

appstoreupdates-figure-d.jpg

Keeping Mac App Store apps automatically updated can save time by not having to manually check for updates.

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