Digital Declutter Day #10: Update Apps

The Digital Decluttter

We are on Day 10 of the Digital Declutter Challenge, and today’s challenge is to update the apps on your smartphone.

update-1672353_1280. Today’s challenge is to update the apps on your smartphone.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Publishers often update their apps to provide bug fixes and improve functionality. Keeping your apps up to date is a good way to maintain their security and stability. Updating apps isn’t difficult, but it is one of those tasks we often procrastinate and consider a low priority.

In order to make this process easy and quick:

  • work in a location where you phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network
  • avoid using your phone for other purposes while updating

Both Android and Apple will periodically notify you if you have apps that need updating, typically with an alert or a number in a red circle. If you are not sure if any of your apps need updating, and to update those that do, follow these directions:

On Android:

Tap the “Play Store” icon. Swipe left or tape up at the top where it says “My apps” and a list of your apps will appear. Any apps with updates available will have the word UPDATE to the right. You can then tap the word UPDATE for each one individually, or simply select UPDATE ALL.

For an visual overview of the process, click below to watch a brief video:

On Apple:

Tap the “App Store” icon. Any apps with updates available will have the word UPDATE to the right. You can then tap the word UPDATE for each one individually, or simply select UPDATE ALL.

For an visual overview of the process, click below to watch a brief video:

Periodically, an app gets stuck and the update quits midstream. If this happens, simply move on to the others and then you can go back and try it again.


With newer phones, it is often possible to set your phone to automatically update your apps. The benefit of this approach is that you no longer have to manually update your apps. The major potential downside is that your phone may update apps when you are away from Wi-Fi, which eats up data and can be expensive. If you have limited data and/or are worried about your budget, you may wish to instruct your phone not to use cellular data to update your apps.


If you have multiple devices (e.g. a phone and a tablet), take the time today to update the apps on all of them. Going forward, either update apps as the alerts appear, enable your phone to perform updates automatically, or schedule time monthly to perform this task.

Do you update your apps regularly?

8 thoughts on “Digital Declutter Day #10: Update Apps”

    1. Yes, even when I update them manually I am often surprised by a small tweak here or there, or something new I need to figure out. This is especially true for me and operating system updates… I almost dread them because I know there will be significant change involved. I’m still trying to remember not to swipe to wake up my phone!

  1. If you are tight on space, your updates can be very slow, and sometimes fail altogether. On Apple devices you can update through the iTunes app on your desktop application and this method is faster and saves space on your phone or iPad – because it will first download the updated file to the desktop computer and not the mobile device.

    Always check to make sure that you have a good amount of free space on your device, whether it is Android or Apple. On Apple devices go to settings => General => Storage & iCloud Usage => Manage Storage. This will show you how much available storage you have free on your device. Apple does a good job of managing this space, but if you get too tight on free space, you will not be able to do updates. Check this periodically and remove unused or memory hogging apps. They will be listed here in descending order and you can see exactly which apps are taking up the most space. If it’s a podcast app, try deleting the app and reloading the app fresh, this will help restore memory that gets hijacked and never returned by the app – also known as a memory leak. Using this method on your apps can save you many many megabytes of space and allow you devices to run faster and cause less unnecessary pausing (a side effect of low memory on the device).

    On Android devices you can download a handy Auto Memory Management App that will kill off Zombie apps for you and prevent these random problems. The App is called “Auto Memory Manager”, here is a link to an article that describes it and what other steps you can take to manage your memory on Android:
    Bob Ruckle recently posted…Digital Declutter Day 22: BookmarksMy Profile

    1. Terrific, helpful, detailed advice. This is so true about not having enough space to handle the updates. It is easy to lose track of how much space you have, and then think get frustrated with failed updates. Great idea bout the Auto Memory Manager. I hope all of my readers pay attention to the extra advice in your comments, Bob!

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