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What are application updates and how to download them

The Windows Phone Marketplace hasn’t been all too friendly to Windows Phone users recently, in light of some recent app update problems.

WMPoweruser, reports of some Windows Phone users being unable to update selected applications, with the app update process continually failing around the 75% mark. The likes of Whatsapp, Microsoft Translator and Lindy Comics were three such examples affected. Microsoft has yet to respond.

Update applications

This follows on from WhatsApp disappearing from the Windows Phone Marketplace earlier in the month as spotted by Redmond Pie, only to have it reappear with no explanation from creators WhatsApp Inc or Microsoft as to its brief absence.

Why do I need app updates?

Application updates are software updates that can include new features, new levels in games and services for users. In some cases, an update fixes unstable or broken code used within an application or simply adds compatibility with more devices or versions of a particular mobile OS. 

How often do I need to update apps?

There’s no official framework for the frequency or the number of updates an application will experience, it depends on the type of app and developer. ZeptoLab tends to update Cut the Rope every few months adding new levels, wheres a game like Doodle Jump might not be updated as often. When there’s a significant software update – such as iOS 5.1 – you can expect a flurry of app updates as developers take advantage of new features.

How much do they cost?

Although all major mobile OS app stores offer both free and paid applications, updates in both cases are usually free. If an update does require payment it will be clearly listed as such, but for the most part, updates are free to download (excluding the data usage agreement you have with your carrier). Don’t get app updates confused with in-app purchases or in-app updates, these usually add optional features, but aren’t necessary to run the app.  

How to check for app updates on your smartphone OS

Android

The majority of the time, provided you have an active data connection, your phone or tablet should notify you automatically when an application update is available. To manually check for updates is a quick process too.

For Android Market users access the ‘Downloaded’ tab and this will then present you with a list of downloaded apps currently installed on your device. Should any applications require an update, the word ‘Update’ should be visible next to the application. Selecting one such application will then take you to a screen similar to any app purchase screen, save for the option to ‘Update’ rather than download or purchase. Hit the ‘Update all’ button to initiate simultaneous updates and you’ll be able to see the progress of your update from the notifications bar.

For Google Play users press the downloaded apps icon in the top right, to the left of the search icon, this will present you with a list of downloaded apps currently installed on your device. Should any application require an update, they will be prioritised at the top of the list with the word ‘Update’ visible next to the application. Choosing one such application will then take you to a screen similar to any app purchase screen, save for the option to ‘Update’ rather than download or purchase. Once you press the ‘Update’ button and select ‘Accept & download’ in the dialogue box, you’ll be able to see the progress of your update from the notifications bar

iOS

Typically the App Store icon on your iOS device will have a red indicator with the number of updates available for apps installed on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
To manually check for updates open the App Store application and head to the ‘Updates’ tab located on the far right at the bottom of the screen, should any application updates be readily available, you can choose to install them one at a time or select the ‘Update All’ option in the top right of the screen. You’ll be asked to enter your iTunes password if you wish to install any app updates.

Windows Phone

To check for updates swipe to the left and head down your applications list to the Marketplace app. Should any of your applications require an update, the words ‘X download(s)’ will appear in the bottom left of the screen, with ‘X’ denoting the number of applications with pending updates. Click the message to see a list of pending application updates for your device and tap each application listed to initiate the update.

Each time you initiate an update you’ll be taken back to the application menu and are required to repeat the process for each pending application. You can see the progress of each update from your application menu.

BlackBerry OS

Any BlackBerry apps that need updating are denoted by a number next to the BlackBerry App World application on the notification. Swipe down or tap and scroll down to BlackBerry App World and you’ll see a list of pending updates and version number. Simply select an application to initiate an update. You’ll have to start this process app by app.

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