Typically, it’s best to let your smartphone update automatically – this saves you time and effort, as well as grants access to the latest features. But what if you feel your phone slowing down with each update? Or if you don’t have access to a meterless connection and run into hefty data charges? Here’s a quick rundown of software updates and how to stop automatic updates or an update loop.
What are software updates?
In the case of modern smartphones, there are two main types of software updates: application updates and system updates. You can manage updates for apps through an app store (most popularly Google Play, although you can use different stores, for example, Galaxy Store), whereas system updates make changes to, well, the entire Android system, and can be controlled via your device’s Settings menu.
What do software updates do?
App updates generally happen more often than Android system updates, especially if you have a lot of apps installed on your phone. Both types of software updates are mostly intended to do some or all of the following:
- add new features or improve the older ones;
- fix errors and bugs;
- improve stability and/or security.
Generally, your Android phone should receive software updates automatically. You can receive automatic app updates through the Google Play Store app, whereas system updates arrive as a notification that prompts you to agree to install a system update now or choose a later time.
If all works as intended, it’s recommended to use automatic software updates to get the latest features. Auto-updates also save you some time that you might have spent manually checking for updates and actually installing software updates. However, there are cases when you might need to disable automatic app updates or software updates.
When a software update becomes a problem?
Below are a few scenarios when you might run into issues with auto-update.
1) Low storage space
The Samsung S20 comes with limited storage space. You can add more storage space by inserting an SD card, but because the SD card slot is shared with a second SIM card slot, sometimes you have to choose between an SD card and a second SIM card. Besides, an SD card might work slower than internal storage.
When your storage is almost full, a software update usually doesn’t work, and you end up receiving constant notifications about failed auto-updates, or just seeing a persistent notification about a software update that you cannot install. If clearing out some space is not an option, it may be best to disable automatic updates.
2) Data charges
If you don’t have access to a meterless connection, an automatic update may use up your data. Some apps receive large updates (especially games), whereas system updates typically take up hundreds of megabytes or even a few gigabytes. Play Store is usually set to auto-update large applications over Wi-Fi only, but update notifications might arrive anyway and contribute to your data usage. Small apps typically auto-update, even over cellular.
3) Performance issues
While Samsung Galaxy S20 is not an old device, given that it was introduced in 2020, it’s not new, either. Some new applications might not be optimized for a phone that was manufactured a few years ago. Android phones typically receive fewer and fewer updates as they get older, because there are a lot of devices on the market, and the system must work well on all of them. Hence, sometimes disabling Android software updates is worth considering.
4) Update loop
When an update goes wrong, you might get stuck in an update loop when your phone keeps trying to update the app or the system and fails. To fix an update loop, you might have to disable auto-update, even if you plan to eventually update the software which causes the trouble. After fixing the issue, you can enable automatic updates again.
How to stop software updates on Samsung S20?
Depending on the types of updates you want to disable, there are two ways to stop them.
1) How to disable auto-updates for applications (Google Play Store app)
The following instruction for disabling automatic updates is for the Google Play Store app, but the steps you need to take for other stores should be similar:
- open the Play Store app. To do that, find the app on your Home screen or in the Apps menu and open it.
- open the settings. Depending on the version of the store you have, the Settings menu can be located in different places. In the older versions of the app, press the Menu icon in the upper-left corner (it looks like three lines and is located to the left of the search bar).In the newer versions of the app, you need to tap on your profile icon in the upper-right corner, to the right of the search bar. Then tap “Settings”.
- find the auto-update settings. Look for words like “auto-update apps” or “auto updates”. Tap them to open the Auto-update apps pop-up.
- disable automatic updates. Choose the “Don’t auto-update apps” option and press “Done”.
It’s worth noting that if your only issue with the auto apps update feature is data charges, you can instead select “Over Wi-Fi only”. In this case, your device will auto-update apps only if your phone is connected to WLAN, and no data will be used. But you might still receive notifications about new updates over cellular (although this doesn’t use up as much data).
If you want to update applications manually, you can still do that without turning on automatic updates. Just open the Play Store, find your apps (“My apps & games” in the older versions, “Manage apps and device” in the newer versions), and install pending updates. To enable automatic updates back again, follow the same steps, but choose either “Over any network” or “Over Wi-Fi only”. Your apps will be automatically updated again.
2) How to disable Android system updates
Android software updates are more complicated, and it’s not that easy to turn them off. There are a few solutions. One method is to turn off software updates in the Settings menu:
- open “Settings” and tap “Software update”.
- turn off the toggle for “Auto download over Wi-Fi”.
- open “Settings” again and tap “Biometrics and security”.
- navigate to “Other security settings” and turn off the toggle for “Security policy updates”.
You can also use the Developer options menu. Be careful with these settings and don’t needlessly change them, they may negatively impact your device if used unwisely!
- activate Developer options (skip this step if they are already enabled). To do that, open “Settings”, tap “About Phone”, then choose “Software information” and find “Build number”. Keep tapping on it until you get a pop-up saying “Developer mode has been enabled”.
- disable automatic updates. Find the “Auto-update system” option either by searching (press the search icon in the top-right corner) or scrolling down. Turn the toggle off.
3) How to fix a software update loop
If your device keeps trying to update and fails, this is a serious problem that may impact your day-to-day phone use. Even if you disable automatic updates like described above, it may not be enough. While this type of auto-update is difficult to fix, you can still try to solve it on your own without going to a service center.
Start by wiping the cache partition:
- switch your device off.
- enter into recovery mode. To do that, simultaneously press and hold the Volume up and Power buttons.
- scroll down using the volume buttons, select “Wipe cache partition” and press the Power button.
- to confirm, press the Volume and Power buttons. The cache partition wipe will take a few moments.
- scroll to “Reboot device” and press the Power button to confirm.
4) How to perform a factory reset
If this did not help, you will have to try a factory data reset. This action deletes all information and data on your phone. If you are hesitant about doing that, please keep in mind that service centers will almost certainly perform a factory data reset in the process of repairing your phone, as this is often required.
If possible, back up your files, settings, and other important information before doing a data reset. You can use Samsung Cloud, Google backup, Samsung Smart Switch, or some other methods. You can also back up your data automatically with Samsung Cloud if you have enough cloud storage and a WLAN connection.
There are two methods to perform a factory reset: through the Settings menu and via recovery mode. If your phone is turned on and is responsive to your actions, try using the first method:
- open the Settings menu, and scroll down to “General management”.
- press “Reset” (to open it, you might have to select “Advanced” first).
- select “Factory data reset” and confirm by pressing “Reset”. At this stage, you may be prompted to confirm your actions by entering your password/ PIN or drawing your screen unlock pattern.
- confirm again by tapping “Delete all” and wait for several minutes.
If your phone is turned off or unresponsive, follow the next steps:
- if your phone is unresponsive, turn it off by pressing the Power button for approximately 20 seconds.
- enter into recovery mode as described above (press and hold the Volume up and Power buttons).
- wipe the cache partition if you haven’t done that before, as described above.
- then select “Wipe data/Factory reset” and confirm.
While it’s generally better to automatically update apps and the system, sometimes software updates can be a problem. Whether you need to temporarily disable automatic updates or turn them off completely on your Samsung Galaxy device, this article got you covered.
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