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.

9 comments
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  • cothirteen
    "You don’t need to do anything special to use Google Maps or Waze on CarPlay, though of course, those apps first need to be installed on your iPhone. Once they are, you will see them on the CarPlay home screen alongside all of your other CarPlay-compatible apps. "

    Can anyone confirm this? I have the public beta installed but regular versions of those apps and it does not show up on CarPlay. From what I am reading the betas are needed.
  • cazdabear
    Most likely, those versions of the apps that you have... don't support Carplay. I read from a Waze Community post, that Waze has only likely released this to their own pool of Waze Beta testers.
  • cothirteen
    Makes sense and that's what I've read too. Just didn't want to miss out on information I wasn't privy to!
  • otisjuhl
    I just downloaded the new, full iOS 12 to my iPhone and connected it to my CarPlay (2017 Subaru). Neither WAZE for Google Maps showed up. Does anyone have any idea how to get it appear? (I have them both on my iPhone and opened them while connected). Thanks!
  • rotolosc
    You need to make sure to update google maps in the app store. Waze is not supported as of yet but coming
  • otisjuhl
    Very helpful - thanks! I did update Google Maps and it appeared on my cars's screen yesterday and works! As noted, WAZE isn't there yet.
  • ashwincampbell
    I’m not sure if anyone else is experiencing this but under screen time > always allow, some apps show up as only numbers with no icon. There’s no way to tell what those apps are. Any idea what is causing this?
  • diem2222
    After half an hour recording it is not possible to stop it, just the option restart and stop.
  • Jason3022
    While details/specifics are great, they could have made this much simpler - it is overly complex.

    Here's why:

    I simply want to know how much 'Screen Time' I've used since I unplugged my Ipad from the wall. That information is not available - it does not coincide with 'Battery' either, which is pure lunacy.

    I'm not sure what these techs. are thinking but it positively is not with the average end-user in mind.
    I am not alone in this thought.