One of the first settings you should disable upon acquiring any computer whether it is a Windows based PC, an Android smartphone or tablet, or an iOS device is the <auto-update function>. While you should still actively monitor new available updates particularily as system upgrades relate to security, it is dangerous to blindly accept auomatically everything Apple, Google and Microsoft push at your device.
The basic question is "why not auto-update". The temptation is to set your parameters to accept all updates, and then not worry about system currency. There are many problems with this blind accpetance approach:
- Is the physical time of day the upgrade gets pushed by the vendor convenient to you and your data plan? An update that occurs via your cell connection rather than wifi could end up costing you serious money depending upon your data plan.
- Software and App updates are not "bug free". It is not uncommon for some basic functionality to stop working or one of your apps to be incompatible with a new operatin system after newly installed updates. Here are two examples my family experienced recently:
- Upon upgrading to iOS7, my wifes iPad would not connect to our local wifi. This was obviously a problem.
- When Google upgraded my Nexus 10 tablet recently problems surfaced between the use of the OTG (on the go) USB cable interface for data transfer, and the actual ability to charge my tablet. Ultimately my tablet ran out of battery power and I lost valuable data. Given I was in the middle of my 2,300+ bike tour in a remote part of Quebec, I had few options available.
- In both of the cases outlined above, these "bugs" quickly became known issues for both Apple and Google. My families issues were not unique.
- An App you use may have different functionality, or lose functionality in an updated version. If you are on the road for a business trip or vacation, this could become a major a head-ache for you.
Assuming I've convinced you that "auto-updates" are a bad idea, here are some solutions for Android and Windows. Unfortunately as I do not use Apple's iOS devices, I can not recommend best approaches for dealing with this problem in that environment.
Windows: Disable Auto-Updates (click upon any image to view at full size)
Step 1: As of the date this blog post was published, it is impossible to disable Android system updates, but one MAY disable updates to individual apps. Thus open up Google Play on your Android device
Important Notes & Comments
- What if you've already allowed an App to ugrade. Is it possible to back out of an installation? Yes, if your App was already installed by the factory when you purchased your device. Navigate to your list of installed Apps via your Android device's settings and follow these steps: Force shut down of App; Delete data; Uninstall App. You should be presented with a message warning you your App will revert to the Factory Installed Version. This is fine! If desired, you may always update again at a later time. I used this option to return to a previous version of Google Maps (learn why from a prior post)
- How did you solve your Google Nexus 10 Charging Problem which was caused by the Android auto-update to 4.3 and your use of USB OTG (on the go)? Google has not chimed in with a solution, and the product forums have differing possible solutions. Here is what worked for me: purchase a Google Nexus 10 Pogo Charger (uses the magnetic port rather than the USB port on my Nexus 10). In addition, many people found the combination of these actions helpful: Shut down your Nexus 10 (do not just turn it off). Before your shut down insure your USB port has this setting enabled (see images).