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iOS 12 Complete Guide: Tips, Tricks and How-Tos for Your iPhone

How to Get Automatic Updates in iOS 12


iOS 12 adds a new feature that should make it even easier to keep your iPhone up to date. Best of all, this automatic downloads feature in iOS 12 comes turned on by default, meaning you don't have to do a thing to get iOS updates as soon as Apple makes them available.

Here's how it works: When Automatic Updates is turned on, you'll get a notification whenever an iOS update is available. That notification will alert you that the update will be installed later that night.

That's a change from how previous versions of iOS let you know that updates would be available. Previously, you'd get a notification along with the option of downloading the update now or putting it off until later by entering your passcode. iOS 12's approach is to essentially move the process ot the background.

Because iOS 12 remains a beta at this point, there are still some kinks to work out. It took a couple of tries to get my iPhone SE to update to the second version of the iOS 12 public beta, for example. The good news is that if an update fails, Automatic Updates will just try again the next night.

It's unclear if you need to be connected to Wi-Fi or have your iOS device plugged in for an automatic update to occur. Since the updates are pushed out overnight, though, it's likely that your phone will be connected to Wi-Fi and a charging cable.

Here's what else you need to know about Automatic Updates.—Philip Michaels

How to Manage Automatic Updates

Let's say you're not too keen on the idea of an update arriving on your iPhone without your say-so. (It's not a bad policy to have, considering that iOS updates can sometimes introduce new bugs.) If you'd prefer other people to uncover any gotchas with iOS updates before you automatically download a new version, you can always turn Automatic Updates off.

1. From within Settings, select General, then Software Update.

2. Tap on Automatic Updates at the top of the screen. The iOS 12 beta has the feature turned on by default.

3. Toggle the slider to off to disable Automatic Updates.

The Software Update screen within Settings > General is also where you manually check for iOS updates, though if the Automatic Updates feature is turned on, there's really no need to check manually. If a software update is available, it will appear here: follow the onscreen prompts to download it at your leisure.

How to Get Automatic App Updates

The Automatic Updates feature in Settings applies to iOS updates. But if you'd like to keep your installed apps up to date as well, you can do that from Settings, too, thanks to a feature that's a holdover from previous iOS versions.

1. From Settings, tap on iTunes & App Store.

2. In the Automatic Downloads section, manage which downloads you'd like to receive automatically. In the case of Music, Apps, and Books & Audiobooks, you're controlling whether your current iOS device downloads any purchases made on other iPhones or iPads that share your Apple ID. The Updates toggle allows for apps to automatically update without your intervention.

Below the Automatic Downloads section, you'll see a control for Use Cellular data. It's turned off by default, which means you'll only get updates when you're connected to a Wi-Fi network. Enabling the feature means those downloads will take place even when no Wi-Fi's available, though at the expense of your cellular data allotment.