Neil
John

How to Block Automatic Updates in iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Apple TV Devices?

Neil John

Nov 11, 2016

10 min read

Some iOS, Android, Windows Phone or PC, macOS, and Apple TV users might have issues with app compatibility when upgraded to a later version of their Operating Systems. Some other users might know the issue and won’t upgrade to a later version, but it seems irritating when the OS update prompt pops up every time. Some updates end up eating significant bandwidth of data and keep the device battery running down a lot faster than usual. Some people don’t want some changes happening to the software in the first place, especially if they are contented with the current version and don’t want to relearn all the new features from scratch. Also, new updates may cause some weird issues, and it may take some time to get them fixed. It is always good to update the software to a newer version at a later time with the user’s express permission. So, many of you might have the question of how to block automatic updates in iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and tvOS devices. Well, this article will guide you through the process of blocking OS updates in iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Apple TV.

Keep in mind that most of these process are manual and cannot be done with an MDM service. Do it at your own risk as we will not be responsible for data loss or any other issues that might encounter in this process.

Block Automatic Updates in iOS

iOS download updates automatically and ask you every time whether to install it. Blocking iOS updates is a two-step process. The first thing to do is to disable automatic download of system updates, so the device will not download any updates, and then delete the file that is already downloaded.

  1. To disable automatic downloads:
    1. Go to Settings > iTunes & App Stores.
    2. Under Automatic Downloads, turn Updates off.
  2. ios-update

    iOS update
     
  3. To delete any previously downloaded updates from your device:
    1. Go to Settings > General.
    2. Select Storage & iCloud Usage.
    3. Under Storage, go to Manage Storage.
    4. Find an app starting with ‘iOS’ followed by the version number.

Block iOS Updates from Router

The apple servers mesu.apple.com and appldnld.apple.com are responsible for OS updates, where mesu.apple.com provides information about an OS update and appldnld.apple.com provides the update. Blocking these servers can block downloading updates automatically. The appldnld.apple.com not only provides updates to OS but to other apps too, so you will not be able to download other software or updates if you block it.

Probably from the backside of the router, you’ll find an IP address that will take you to the router settings page and a password. If you have them both, follow these steps to block iOS updates:

  1. Connect a device to your router.
  2. Open the default browser and go to the IP address mentioned on your router. Enter password if necessary.
  3. Go to Settings or Advanced Settings and look for something like Firewall or Domain Blocking where you find an option to block an HTTP hostname. Enter mesu.apple.com and appldnld.apple.com (not recommended) and save the changes.

Delay iOS updates using MDM

Using the MDM policy, iOS updates can be delayed to up to 90 days. Users will not be able to see the update until the specified number of days the software update has been delayed. After the delay period, users will be prompted to update to the earliest version of the software update available.

OS Updates policy for iOS
OS Updates policy for iOS
 

Block Automatic Updates in Android

There do not seem to have an effective workaround here. Since we don’t have another choice, try this method:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Navigate to Manage Apps > All Apps.
  3. Find an app called Software Update, System Updates or anything similar, since different device manufacturers have named it different.
  4. To disable system update, try any of these two methods, the first one being recommended:
    • Tap Turn Off or Disable button and then OK.
    • In case this button is grayed out, tap on Force Stop > OK to turn the process off temporarily. In such case, there is a possibility that the app may turn on automatically after some time. The app will surely be turned on again after the system reboot or if you check for updates manually.
  5. android-update

    Android update
     
  6. Disable any update notifications by unchecking “Show Notifications” checkbox in supported devices.

Block automatic updates in Android using the Developer options

There is another setting in Android hidden deep inside the developer options, which can be toggled to disable automatic system updates.

  1. Go to Settings > About phone.
  2. Tap on Software Information > Build Number.
    Tap Build number to enable developer mode
    Tap Build number to enable developer mode
     
  3. Tap on Build Number seven times until you’re notified that the Developer mode is enabled. You may have to re-enter your device passcode if asked.
  4. Head back to the Settings, where you see the Developer options section under System > Advanced (varies according to your device model).
    Developer options
    Developer options
     
  5. Go to Developer option > Disable Automatic system updates option.
    Block automatic system updates
    Block automatic system updates
     

Postpone Android updates using MDM

Schedule OS update policy for Android allows admins to configure system update settings for Android Enterprise device owner devices. Choosing the Postpone update option helps in delaying the OS updates to up to 30 days.

Schedule OS Updates policy for Android
Schedule OS Updates policy for Android
 

Block Automatic Updates in Windows Phone

Your device will not download or upgrade to Windows 10 automatically. Windows 10 update will not show up even if you go and search for updates. Windows 10 update shows up only when an app named Upgrade Advisor is installed on your Windows Phone.

If you are on Windows 8 or 8.1, then go to Settings > Phone Update and uncheck “Automatically download updates if my data settings allow it”. That’ll help.
OS updates in Windows phone

OS updates in Windows phone
 
But if you are on Windows 10, then you are doomed. There are no ways to stop the updates from downloading automatically. The only ways in this case that can be applied are:
  • Go to Settings > Network & Wireless > Data Usage and limit data usage. Maybe, using Wi-Fi can again be a problem.
  • On the same screen, you can see “Use mobile data if there’s no Internet access over Wi-Fi. This will use your data plan and ay incur charges” and a Don’t Allow button next to it. Tap on it and you can restrict the use of mobile data.
  • Use battery saver, which will turn all background processes off. Charging the device battery will turn off battery saver.

The other way suggested is to connect the same Wi-Fi network to a Windows PC and set the network as metered, the PC will then sync the settings to the phone. This is not checked, though.

Updates can be blocked in Windows 10 PC either by setting Wi-Fi as metered connection or by stopping and disabling Background Intelligence Transfer Service (BITS). We can hope Microsoft will bring a similar feature in any newer updates of Windows Mobile.

Block Automatic Updates on Windows PC

In earlier versions of Windows, there’s an option to turn off automatic updates. But in Windows 10, there are no such options.

If you are using Wi-Fi on your PC, then setting the Wi-Fi as metered connection can prevent downloading updates in the background. To set the network as metered connection, go to Start Menu > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi. Connect to any Wi-Fi network to set it as metered connection. When you are connected go to Advanced Options and turn on metered connection.

Windows Wi-Fi Settings

Windows Wi-Fi Settings
 

Set Wi-Fi as metered connection

Set Wi-Fi as metered connection
 

This will not help if you are on a wired network. In this case, you can stop BITS (works only on Windows 10 with anniversary update) to get rid of this problem. To stop BITS on your Windows PC,

  1. Go to Services. Any of the below steps can be taken to start Services.
    • Windows key + R > Type services.msc > OK.
    • Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Services.
    • Start Menu > Type services > Services.
  2. Select Background Intelligent Transfer Service.
  3. Background Intelligent Transfer Service

    Background Intelligent Transfer Service
     
  4. Press the Stop button.
  5. Set Startup type as Disabled and then click on OK button.
    Startup type
    Startup type
     

You can still turn off BITS and disable it if you are on a Windows 10 without an anniversary update, but BITS will turn on automatically in 1-15 minutes.

If you are on Windows 10 Pro, you can try this too:

  1. Windows + R > Type gpedit.msc > OK to open Group Policy Editor.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Configure Automatic Updates.
  3. Select Enable and goto the Options section.
  4. Under Configure Automatic Updating, select “2 – Notify for download and notify for install”, and click OK.
    Configure Automatic Updates
    Configure Automatic Updates
     

Defer Windows Upgrade

Defering Windows upgrade will download security updates only and will not install feature updates on your PC. To defer upgrades, follow any of these two methods:

  • With Group Policy Editor
    1. Windows + R > Type gpedit.msc > OK to open Group Policy Editor.
    2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Upgrade.
    3. Select Enabled and click OK.
  • Go to Start Menu > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options, and check Defer Upgrades

Pause Windows updates from Settings

Sometimes what you really need is just to postpone the system to be updated a fewer days later a new update is actually launched. This can be done on Windows 10 devices using the Pause Update feature. Windows updates can be paused up to a particular date.

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security.
  2. Tap on Advanced options.
  3. Under the Pause updates section, set the date until which the update is to be blocked.

You can resume updates anytime you prefer by changing the update settings and clicking on Resume updates.

Prevent Windows beta update downloads using MDM

MDM policy allows admins to restrict users from downloading Windows beta updates on Windows 10 devices.
Windows beta updates download restriction

Windows beta updates download restriction
 

Block automatic updates in macOS

Anyone administrating a Mac computer can prevent macOS updates from Apple from automatically downloading and installing to your Mac devices by disabling the option in Mac System Preferences.

  1. Tap on the Apple menu > Select System Preferences.
  2. Click on Software updates from the System Preferences.
  3. Untick the box Automatically keep my Mac up to date > Click OK.

Prevent automatic downloads using a configuration profile

Mac administrators can use a Configuration profile to block system updates from automatically downloading to their mac devices. In the com.apple.SoftwareUpdate domain set the AutomaticDownload key to False and push this configuration profile to the Mac devices on which the automatic software updates are to be blocked.

Block automatic updates in Mac using a Terminal command

The Mac terminal allows the system administrators to block automatic updates using the following command:
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate AutomaticDownload -boolean FALSE

Schedule macOS updates using MDM

For Mac devices enrolled via Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, there are options to schedule macOS updates to be only downloaded but installed manually at a later time.
Schedule OS Updates policy for macOS

Schedule OS Updates policy for macOS
 

Disable software update notifications using MDM

On devices running macOS 10.10+, MDM restriction can be pushed to disable software update notifications on devices.
Software update notification restriction

Software update notification restriction
 

Block automatic updates for Apple TV

Apple TV also allows admins to block tvOS updates from pushing automatically to their devices. Like all other devices, these system update preferences can be configured from the device Settings itself.
For Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD,

  1. On the front screen of your Apple TV, select Settings > System.
  2. Click on Software Updates.
  3. Turn off the option Automatically Update.

For Apple TV (3rd generation),

  1. Go to Settings > General.
  2. Click on Software Updates.
  3. Turn off the option Update Automatically.
Share
  • 29
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    29
    Shares

Neil John

Product Consultant @ Hexnode. Love to talk the talk and walk the walk.

Share your thoughts