Just switched from an Apple iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S7 and I love it. Love Android. Except one thing: how do I check to see if there are app updates for the programs I’ve installed?
Glad you’re happy with your new Galaxy S7. It’s a very nice smartphone, for sure, and both technologically and with its user interface definitely gives Apple a solid run for its money. Glad you don’t have a Note 7, too, because those are going through quite a recall with the exploding batteries. Nothing to joke about!
In many ways you can see how Android inspires iOS and iOS inspires Android too as both operating systems seem to have evolved to be more similar than dissimilar in the overall user experience. It’s certainly easy to switch for the most part with similar lock screens, apps you swipe to find and tap to launch, and so on.
One surprising difference, however, is that in iOS it’s a complete no-brainer to keep up on app updates and ensure you always have the latest and greatest of everything. In fact, that happens in background: The App Store icon gains a numeric badge when there are updates, showing how many new apps are ready for download.
On the Android side, it’s not as smooth and you have to do the work. The app you want to work with is the Google Play Store, and it has a briefcase icon:
Pretty unassuming and you might have only thought of it as a place to get cool new games and apps, but it’s also responsible for app updates. That feature’s just hidden…
Launch Google Play and you’ll see what I mean:
Lots of cool stuff to check out. But where’s “UPDATE“?
Turns out it’s hidden in a menu. Tap on the three-horizontal-lines icon on the top left to open up the main menu:
Still hard to find, isn’t it? You want to tap on “My apps & games” and then you’ll see all the available updates:
You can see that I have three apps with updates available – Google Drive, Google Street View and Google Zhuyin input – one app that was recently updated – Plex for Android – and 27 apps that are up to date.
You can update apps one at a time, or just tap the handy green UPDATE ALL button on the top right.
Google Play will step through all required permissions and prompt you to grant whatever your new apps need:
Pay attention to what the apps request, it’s often a bit weird. Like this one, above. Why does Google Drive need access to in-app purchases?
Once you’ve accepted all the requested permissions — or skipped those that you prefer not to grant — you can proceed:
The time needed to download your app updates is a function of the size of the update and your Internet connection, of course. Eventually, you’ll see things changing from the Downloading progress bar to actually being installed:
And once that’s done, you’ll end up with just a list of apps that are “Recently Updated”:
That’s how ya do it. Just remember to launch Google Play every week or two and you should be fine!