PSA: iOS 16.4 Enables Auto-Installing Software Updates by Default

Apr 4, 2023 - 5 Comments

iOS and iPadOS update enables automatic installing and downloading of future software updates

All iPhone and iPad users should be aware that installing the iOS 16.4 update for iPhone or iPadOS 16.4 update for iPad will enable the system settings for automatically installing and downloading future iOS/iPadOS software updates to that device.

A splash screen noting this change appears right after the update has installed on a device and before it can be used, but since many device users are trained to just mindlessly tap forward on these setup screens, they may miss what exactly is being done on their iPhone or iPad, and the implications of this.

Furthermore, the splash screen on iPhone and iPad gives only two choices; the default is “Continue” which sets the device to both download and install future software updates automatically, or the secondary option to ‘Only Download Automatically’. This is a false choice (and arguably a UX dark pattern), because despite not being listed on this particular setup screen, users can actually choose to manually enable or disable either or both the automatic downloads and installations of future software updates for iOS and iPadOS.

If you wish to determine which setting your device is set to, or change what you set for your iOS and iPadOS updating preferences, you can do so at any time by going to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates > and deciding which switches to toggle on or off for your particular device.

Settings for automatically downloading and installing iPadOS and iOS software updates

The third option listed at this settings screen for “Security Response & System Files” is recommended to leave enabled, since most users will want to keep their devices patched from major security flaws or issues on their devices, but of course users can toggle that off as well if desired. Security Response updates are different from standard system software updates, and should not introduce any new features or changes to the system software, aside from patching known vulnerabilities and exploits to the operating system.

While this change appeared with iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, it is conceivable that future system software updates will push the same changes as well, and you may end up having to frequently make the manual settings adjustment to determine whether or not you want to enable automatic iOS updates on each individual device.

Many iPhone and iPad users do not want to automatically install system software updates for a variety of reasons, whether it’s bandwidth related, compatibility related, or simply wanting to determine when they install updates on their own devices rather than having that decided for them.

Do you use automatic software updates on your iPhone or iPad? What do you think of this feature being turned on automatically and with


Related articles:

Posted by: Jamie Cuevas in iPad, iPhone, News, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. arnii says:

    At least they didn’t do the automatic Game Center enable this time.

  2. Carla A says:

    *sigh* thanks, Apple.

  3. Cuppa says:

    I used to trust Apple updates (When Steve Jobs was still with us) but in recent years have felt more like a Microsoft guinea pig with their OS updates. No longer have trust that it will ‘just work’. I am 100% reliant on my phone for internet (hotspot) much of the time & if I lose that ability I am ‘in the dark’ in remote areas, so very much only willing to update when I have non-phone based access to the ‘net in case something goes wrong. Also the updates are so big these days trying to do them on a limited bandwidth phone plan is not good. So in a nutshell this change is not just annoying but in my case potentially dangerous. Thank you OSX daily for alerting me.

  4. Sheryl says:

    I really appreciate OSXDaily for highlighting changes like this and making it possible for me to actually use my iThings.

    I must not be the target audience anymore, because I feel like Apple used to make their operating systems more useable and better, reached a peak, and now make them less useable and more frustrating.

Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site