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Step-by-Step Guide - Turning on Automatic Updates (For iMac & MacBook, and iPhone & iPad)

First published October 2019

Introduction

This step-by-step guide shows you how to turn on automatic updates if you use an iMac & MacBook, and iPhone & iPad.

What are automatic updates?

Laptop

New, improved or fixed versions of software installed on your computers or mobile devices.

Automatic updates allow you to keep your software updated without having to check for and install them manually.

Why is it important to turn it on?

phone with lock

Saving you time and worry, automatic updates are an important part of keeping your data safe.

Automatic updates protect your software from malware and hacking attempts. Without user intervention, they also keep your machine up to date and efficient.

Where do I turn it on?

Step-by-Step Guide to turning on Automatic Updates (For Windows) cover

How to turn on automatic updates can differ depending on your operating system and your software applications (“apps”).

This guide steps you through turning on automatic updates on an iMac & MacBook, and iPhone & iPad.

To turn on automatic updates for Windows, please refer to the Step-by-Step Guide to turning on Automatic Updates (For Windows).

Step 1 for iMac & MacBook

Check what operating system you are currently using

An operating system is the most important piece of software on your computer. It manages your computer’s hardware and all its programs. The steps to enable automatic updates depends on your operating system and edition.

To learn what operating system you're using:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the Finder bar at the top left corner of your screen
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step 1

  2. Select About This Mac
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step 2

  3. In the resulting window, you will see the name of the iOS you have installed under the Overview tab. Directly below that is the Version Number. The screenshot below indicates the operating system is macOS High Sierra.
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step 3

Step 2 for iMac & MacBook

Turn on automatic updates for your operating system

Automatic updates for all operating systems, including for Mac, are important in keeping your device secure.

Mac High Sierra & Mojave:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the Finder bar > Select System Preferences
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step 1 for high sierra

  2. Click Software Update icon
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step 2 for high sierra

  3. Click to tick the Automatically keep my Mac up-to-date
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step 3 for high sierra

Step 3 for iMac & MacBook

Turn on automatic updates for your apps

In addition to turning on automatic updates for your OS, it is recommended you also turn on automatic updates for your software applications (“apps”).

NOTE: Automatic app updates for Mojave operating systems can be enabled when you turn on automatic updates for your operating system (see Advanced Settings Step 2 and 3 for further detail).

  1. Click the Apple icon in the Finder bar at the top left corner of your screen, and select System Preferences
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step

  2. Open the App Store
    ap store

  3. To turn on Automatic Updates, select Automatically check for updates. Ensure all other check boxes are activated to guarantee installation
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step

  4. If you cannot activate the check boxes, click on the padlock and enter your details to unlock
    Automatic Updates for Mac Step

Step 1 for iPhone & iPad

Check what operating system you are currently using

An operating system is the most important piece of software on your portable device. It manages your device's hardware and all its apps.

To learn what operating system you're using:

  1. Tap Settings > tap on General.
    iphone step 1 .1

  2. Tap About

  3. In the resulting screen, you will see the version of the iOS you have installed. The screenshot below indicates the operating system is iOS 12.4.1
    step 3

Step 2 for iPhone & iPad

Turn on automatic updates for your operating system

  1. Tap Settings > tap on General > tap on Software Update
    iphone step 2 .2

  2. Tap on tap on Software Update
    iphone step 2 .2

  3. Tap to turn on Automatic Updates

Step 3 for iPhone & iPad

Turn on automatic updates for apps

In addition to turning on automatic updates for your iOS, it is recommended you also turn on automatic updates for your app.

  1. Tap Settings > [your name] > iTunes & App Store
    iphone step 3 .1

  2. Turn on the content that you want to automatically download
    iphone step 3 .2

  3. To get Automatic Updates for apps, turn on Updates. Any new versions of apps that you currently have on your device will automatically download when they're available
    iphone step 3 .3

Date
October 9th, 2019