iPad is at iOS 12.3, iPad is WiFi only. iPhone is at iOS 12.4.

Both have got automatic download and updates turned OFF in settings → iTunes and AppStore. Yet in the last weeks both devices, without intervention or permission have updated every single App. This has resulted in ADS (apple disorientation services), where I have to login to apps again with passwords I haven’t used for years, and everything’s looking different and working differently. How has this happened?

I do iOS updates for security, but if my App ain’t broke I don’t wanna fix it. How do I stop this app auto-update feature on my iOS devices?

  • Hi and welcome! That is weird for sure. for a preventive measure, turn off "Cellular" below the Auto update setting you mentioned. Don't know about Wi-Fi
    – anki
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 21:15
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    It is called “use mobile data” on my iPhone. IPad is WiFi only. And the iPad has updated several apps today. IPhone 3 days ago. Still can’t see how this has happened. Several apps I REALLY didn’t want to update as I knew there were problems with the updates. No way to revert. Can’t get into some apps asking for passwords. Beginning to hate Apple.
    – Dave45
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 21:32
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    @Dave45 I think you're directing your anger the wrong place. Apple is not updating your apps without permission - that's not how this works. If you have automatic updates turned off - it won't automatically update. Therefore you need to look at other possibilities - did anyone else use your iPad in that week? - is it a managed device issued by an employer or similar? - could you have turned automatic updates on briefly and forgotten about it? have you inadvertently pressed the update button yourself (or perhaps a pet?)
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 9:20
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    @Dave45 For work purposes we have dozens of iPads and iPhones set to not automatically update anything - that has been working without any problems for several years.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 9:21
  • FWIW something similar happened to me about 5 years ago with another iOS upgrade. I checked all the settings and made sure no apps were set to be upgraded coz I knew there would be a problem with one. After the upgrade was complete, guess what? all my apps had been upgraded, including one mapping app that had been "upgraded" from my pay-for £25 edition to the "free edition" losing my ability to import from my CDs, causing me no end of pain. If I was to guess I'd say an iOS upgrade resets defaults to update apps automatically. Which they quietly fix a few days later.
    – Dave45
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


FWIW, this just happened to me. Had auto updates turned off, kinda freaked me out. Turned out, in my case, I had enabled “offload unused apps” to free up space - got a feeling this might be why all my apps needed re-downloading. Not sure if “re-downloading” == “upgrade”.

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