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Question about Apps update

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Jacques Wegier, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. Jacques Wegier

    Thread Starter

    My Pixel 4a, which I purchased more than a month ago, is my first Android smartphone and in spite that some things work differently than my old iPhone, I already feel at home but yesterday I was surprised to see that 6 of my installed apps have some updates ready.

    In my iPhone, the presence of any available app updates was very easy to notice and hard to miss: on the top of the Apps Store icon on my Home screen, a notification dot with the number of available updates automatically appeared. One more click and the update process started for all apps.

    I do not see that this is the case on Android. The Google Play icon on my home screen does not show any notification dot.

    In the Google Play settings, auto-update is set on 'any network' and all the 6 apps have auto-update turned on but they do not update automatically. I can > Google Play > Menu Icon > My apps & games > Update all, but why don't they update automatically if I have turned on the right setting?

    How do I know that app updates are available without going through all these steps? Did I miss something?

    Thank you very much

    #1 Jacques Wegier, Oct 17, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020

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  2. Davdi

    Davdi Android Expert

    You will get a notification that there are updates for n number of apps, some will update automatically, and some will require you to start the update process yourself (even if set to update automatically) I don't know what the difference is, maybe someone can enlighten us.
  3. Jacques Wegier

    Thread Starter

    I almost missed the notification. It was less visible than a dot with a number on the Icon of Google Play on my home screen. I guess I have to get used to it.

    Yes, I have noticed that some apps have updated automatically and other not and like you I no idea why.
    dontpanicbobby likes this.
  4. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Dots with numbers on icons can be done in Android, but probably not if you use Google's built-in launcher. This is one of the differences by the way: with iPhone you don't think about the launcher (the app that is responsible for your desktops) because you have no choice, you use what Apple decide you want. With Android you can replace the stock one with a different launcher from the Play Store with different features, and the ability to have numerical badges is one of the things that some alternative launchers provide (e.g. Nova, which I use). Or you can have a non-numerical dot if you prefer (I'd have thought that the Google launcher would support that, but as I despise the Google launcher as an inflexible thing where the corporation chooses 2 large items on my home screen and won't let me remove them I've never investigated its options very deeply).

    Part of the visibility thing may be habit, i.e. what you are used to looking for.

    As for updates, I personally update everything manually so can't help with quirks of the auto update. I have been using an iPad for a couple of months though, and personally found the control for auto updates was quite hidden and information about what has been recently updated likewise: it's there, but it's put in places where you would not come across it without searching. This may be a counter example of how visibility is affected by familiarity.
  5. Jacques Wegier

    Thread Starter


    I have set Nova Launcher as my default launcher since day one. In Nova settings, I have the notification style set on Numeric Dots, but no dot with number appears on the Google Play icon.
  6. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I have occasionally seen a badge on the Play Store icon, but usually I check before any notification is posted, so I don't rely on it or pay much attention. I'll maybe keep an eye on itfor a bit.

    One thing is that as a long term user I have the TeslaUnread add-on. This is an add-on written specifically to provide such badges before android had any native support, and in my opinion works better than the native method Google provides (where badges disappear if you clear the notification). I believe it is no longer available in the Play Store, but can be found at Apkmirror.com and still works for me.
  7. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    Personally, I would always recomnend turning Auto-Update OFF.


    Because it is almost inevitable that you will get attached/dependent upon some apps that you will enjoy- and it is just as inevitable that someday one or more of those apps will get a bum update that doesn't work right or at all- or completely changes the app all together and now you hate it.

    To make matters worse, Google makes it nice and difficult to find older versions of apps, and developers almost NEVER go back and put an app back together the way it was.

    Yes, there are other app stores that provide the previous editions of apps.

    But, if the app is already updated, then it must be uninstalked in order to reinstall the older version- so you will lose all data- ie. settings, progress, files, account info, etc.

    So, manual updating is the way to go, to prevent waking up one day to apps (or even a device!) that you do not recognize.

    Once a week, I go through and check for updates.

    Saturday, usually.

    Also, if it is an important app, be sure to check out recent reviews before you update!

    I can't tell you how many times I have been saved by the reviews of people warning about problems with recent updates.

    Is it inconvenient?
    But nothing compared to a favorite app being messed up with an automatic update while you sleep- then waking up to find out that it sucks now or doesn't work altogether.

    Currently, there are about 17 apps on my device that I do NOT want updated, for various reasons.

    If you think that it is too inconvenient to manually update your apps, think about how I do this for three devices and use four app stores on each.
  8. Jacques Wegier

    Thread Starter

    I do not want my apps to Auto-Update. I just want to get a notification about available apps updates in the form of a dot with a number on the Icon of the Google Play icon. I will update manually the apps I wish to update..
  9. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    There are other app stores that can give you better notification results than Google PlayStore.

    In fact, any of the other ones that I use.

    But, because there is virtually always something(s) updated every week, there is nothing wrong about checking it that often.

    Google only recently changed their notifications system for Google Play.
    Honestly, it was bothersome before, and now it just plain sucks.

    And in all reality, I quickly became tired of constantly being pestered with notifications to update apps, so I have no notifications on for any of the four app stores that I use.

    Unless there is some malfunction with an app, there generally is no real hurry to update software that is working.

    Did you ever know someone that would work on something so much that eventually it just broke?

    That is more common than you might think in the world of software.

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