Since Android 2.2 (Froyo), you can select "Allow automatic updating" for applications. For some reason, I haven't started using this yet. The benefit would be to save time, but are there any good reasons not to use this feature?

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    This isn't an answer really, but it may help you to know that if an app's permissions change, it will not auto-update - you'll have to manually update. So don't worry about not noticing an app make a power grab or something. – Eric Mill Oct 7 '10 at 4:17
  • @Klondike: I was about to make the same point. – ale Oct 7 '10 at 14:15

I leave it off so that I can review the list of pending updates and see what changed. Of course, that only helps for the apps that list changes in the market description.

Every once in a while, developers do release updates that are a step backwards- either because of introducing bugs or major redesigns that lose features (Astrid, I'm looking at you). If you wait long enough before updating, then you may be alerted to that situation via comments.

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    Ditto here. I like to know what has changed. – ale Oct 7 '10 at 19:01

The main reason why i won't use the feature is traffic. In germany, we have mostly traffic limitated flatrates. So after 250 or 300 MB of traffic or something like that, you'll be forced to only use 2G connections for the rest of the month. Because of that limitations, i only update my apps when i have wifi access somewhere around me.

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  • Interesting, I didn't consider traffic limited situations. You'd think the network could discern app updates from other data and perhaps not include it in the total usage. – gary Oct 8 '10 at 2:37
  • I noticed in the latest GMail update, there is not obvious UI to stop or suspend the download. This is problematic for the scenarios mru described. – benc Mar 5 '11 at 8:45
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    Doesn't market also have an option to auto-update over WiFi only? – Chance Feb 20 '12 at 20:29
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    Yes, but only with a recent version. You can now enable auto-update only over WiFi in the Play Store app. – Flow Sep 5 '12 at 12:27

Sometimes a developer might release a controversial update: interface changed, ads added, or a lot of bugs were introduced and therefore you may want to hold off before upgrading (or at least give yourself a chance to back up the apk). A good example of this recently was psx4droid.

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  • Backing up the apk is a good call... thanks for the answer. – gary Oct 8 '10 at 2:38

Also, you might want not to update apps automatically if you have a old/cheap device. On my HTC Hero, installing apps kind of takes a lot of resources and I don't want the device to slow down randomly.

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Everyone offers plenty of good reasons not to auto update so I'll offer a solution -- Use a good backup app such as Titanium Backup, and you can safely leave autoupdates on and manually revert to an older version if an app changes in ways you aren't happy with.

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  • Good advice. I went with the first answer by shmuelp but you make a great point. – gary Oct 8 '10 at 2:33
  • Doesn't Titanium backup require root? – ale Dec 3 '10 at 16:00
  • Yes, it does. I know others differ, but I'm of the opinion that root should be pretty standard for Android power users. – Saiboogu Dec 5 '10 at 18:52

A lot of things:

  • Traffic: if your data plan is pay-per-byte (or has a data cap/limit)
  • Battery life: Updating apps uses the processor (which consumes battery).
  • The new version of the program may have problems, bugs, etc.
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