App Avalanche! How Do You Deal with Constant App Updates?

App Avalanche! How Do You Deal with Constant App Updates?

For anyone in the tech biz, one of the scariest words is, “Upgrade”.  You’re bumping along just fine, things are going well, and you get that dreaded email from your IT department informing you that some critical change has been made (usually to security and networking software), and you are required to upgrade your system.  If you’re lucky, you can do it without stopping your work completely and rebooting your system; if you’re unlucky, you lose some hours and have to reboot multiple times and end up on the phone with your support guy.

But in the age of iOS and Android apps, where you can have hundreds or even thousands of individual apps on your device and stored on your computer, all of which are written by many different companies, working on their own internal schedules, it’s much more chaotic.  You can be forced to update at any time.  So what do you do?

I have just over 1000 iPhone apps on my system.  I have found that I have to update basically every day.  Heck, on some days, I check in multiple times; if you let them build up, you end up sitting there a long time and clogging your download pipe.  I asked the other folks here at Gear Diary how they were dealing with the issue:

Carly Z:

I try to check and make sure the update isn’t a big one that will disrupt my daily use. But when there’s a dozen updates I miss it sometimes and then get a shock when an app changes functionality or appearance.

Christopher G:

I have a similar number of apps , but I try to keep control/limit how many are on my device at any one time – roughly around 200. I update daily. The buildup would be too much otherwise.

I am not a big fan of auto-updating on ANY device. I want an opportunity to review any and all changes BEFORE they happen. I’ve turned all that automatic crap off on my computer, phones, and other devices. I only get notifications and then I approve them (or not). Far fewer surprises that way!

I prefer to NOT use OTA updating because it doesn’t backup things first making the process less secure and higher risk. Not so much on app updates but on OS patches/updates cabled is much preferred. That way if it blows up you can recover from a backup right then and there. With OTA you are usually blown out of the water until you can get to a backup or clean OS copy.

Joel M:

Most apps I have auto update on Android. My phone has: 153 My Tablet: 61 but I just reset that.

Never had a problem with OS OTA’s on any device….but then I usually hunt for the before my phone gets it. 🙂

Bryan E:

Most of my Android apps are set to auto-update. My one regret is the Google Maps/Navigation update. This is the second time the update has not played nice…and requires Google Maps to be started before Google Navigation or my phone locks up.


I open the App Store to update when I wake up and when I go to bed to keep everything up to date.

That’s how we handle this brave new world of unpredictable app updates; how about you?  How are you dealing with the need to continually check whether you need to update, and how are you managing your app updates?  Tell us below!

About the Author

Douglas Moran
Doug is a nerd from way back, falling for a Commodore PET at the age of 15, and never looking back. Riding the nerd wave, he got a Computer Science degree and entered the tech industry at a young age, deciding after a year and a half of front-line phone technical support that he should try something, *anything* else. He settled on technical writing, and has been cranking out documentation for companies like Unisys, SGI, Cisco, Juniper, and many others ever since. He is nothing short of ecstatic to be working for H-P from his home base in Austin.
  • And you can’t even skip the weekends!  As Dean Acheson once said, “When you’re asleep, half the world is awake and raising hell.”