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Automatic App Updates: The iOS 7 Feature Many Already Love To Hate

Automatic App Updates: The iOS 7 Feature Many Already Love To Hate

July 9, 2013
No doubt, the majority of iOS 7 beta users are developers, which is exactly the way Apple wants it. But, let’s be honest here. A large number of beta users have never coded, and have no plans to do so. Instead, these folks are just curious souls that want to experience iOS 7 before everyone else in their neighborhood. I’ve had the opportunity to chat with some of these non-techy types who are using an iOS 7 beta, both online and in the real world. Most seem to like the new operating system. This doesn’t mean, however, that it has arrived complaint-free. Most of the criticisms I heard initially centered on the somewhat radical redesign of iOS 7. However, design refinements made by Apple in the last two iOS 7 betas have largely quieted those objections. Now, the biggest complaint I hear has to do with the introduction of automatic app updates in iOS 7. On this point, there is no middle ground – folks either love it, or dislike it. Or rather, many in the latter group absolutely loathe it. The new feature has one task; when updates are available, they are automatically installed on the iPhone/iPod touch or iPad. For good measure, users have the ability to turn this feature off entirely, or limit it to Wi-Fi downloads only. All changes are noted under the update section of the App Store, and as an added bonus, users receive a notification each time an update occurs. Sounds convenient and flexible enough to me. If Apple can save me a few minutes each day, I’m all for it. Opponents to the new feature are loud, vocal, and apparently numerous. Among the comments I’ve heard from users in the past month:
  • I want control over the apps that are installed on my device.
  • How dare Apple take away my control?
  • I just want to make sure an update won’t ruin my iPhone.
Where should I begin? First, I remind everyone that this feature is entirely optional. In other words, if you don’t wish to use it, don’t. Second, Apple is one of the most controlling software companies in the world in terms of what it allows users to do, hence the reason for the thriving iOS jailbreak community. Rather than wondering why Apple would want to take away a users’ control over app downloads, we should be happy that we’re given a choice at all. Finally, how exactly is someone going to make sure that an update is okay before installing it? What is the current process to determine this, besides waiting to see if AppAdvice or some other website alerts readers to a bad update? My point isn’t to mock those who are against the automatic update feature. However, after hearing the same complaint from so many, I continue to be at a loss for words as to why this is such a big deal. If you don’t want to use the feature, don’t. Worried that an app update will go against your cellular data limit? Make sure that automatic updates only install when your device is on Wi-Fi. Am I missing something here? See also: The 7 Coolest Features And Changes In iOS 7 Beta 3, So Far, and The AppAdvice iOS 7 Quick Pick: The Third Beta Is Bolder And Less Animated.

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