Enable or Disable Automatic Downloads on Your iPad

Set your iPad to download content automatically, or turn off the feature

If you have a Mac, an iPhone, and an iPad, it's possible to use the same app on multiple devices. One convenient feature of iOS is the ability to automatically download content such as music, books, and apps onto every device logged in to the same account. Here's how to toggle this feature on or turn it off if you no longer wish to use it.

Instructions in this article apply to devices with iOS 10 or later.

What Are Automatic Downloads?

Automatically downloading content is helpful if you own multiple Apple devices, keeping your content in sync. For example, if you purchase music on your MacBook, that music is also available on your mobile devices.

If you have a family account, you and your family members don't have to purchase the same apps, ebooks, music, or digital magazines. With automatic downloads enabled, new purchases also download to other family devices.

What Are Some Problems With Automatic Downloads?

There's a downside to automatic downloads: lack of storage space. If your devices don't have a lot of room, they can fill up quickly with content, such as music or apps, that you may not want to use on that device. For example, you may enjoy reading ebooks on your iPad, but not on your iPhone's small screen.

Turning off automatic downloads is one way to save iPad storage space and helps you better manage your devices.

How to Turn Automatic Downloads On or Off on Your iPad

Here's how to manage automatic downloads:

  1. Open Settings and tap App Store.

    iPad settings with "App Store" highlighted
  2. Under the Automatic Downloads section, toggle on Apps. New purchases and free downloads made on other devices will now be automatically downloaded on all your devices.

    iPad App Store settings with Apps toggle highlighted
  3. Toggle on Automatic Downloads for App Updates if you want to update an app on only one device. For example, if you have YouTube installed on both your iPhone and iPad, update the app on only one device. The other devices with YouTube installed will update automatically.

    iPad automatic download settings with App Updates and the toggle highlighted

Download Content You Purchased on Other Devices

Disabling automatic downloads on your iPad or other devices doesn't stop you from downloading that content to another device. If you decide you want a book, song, or app you purchased on your iPhone on your iPad, re-download content purchased on other devices.

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