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Those apps aren't going to update themselves ... by default, that is

One of the best parts about owning a smart phone is the limitless possibilities of installing apps that can do so much more than the phone can out of the box. The unfortunate downside is trying to keep up with the seemingly constant flow of app updates coming to your device every day. But you're in luck, as Android has had automatic updating of apps through the Play Store since back in the day when it was still the Android Market, and it's a simple process to get set up.

Head to the Google Play Store on your device, hit the menu button and go to "settings". If it isn't already set by default, go ahead and tap the "Auto-update apps" setting and choose the most appropriate setting for your needs -- no updates, updates only on Wifi, or all updates. Most people with limited data buckets will be best-off with the "Auto-update apps over Wifi only" option. Once you have turned on automatic updates of either kind, you can always turn off automatic updates for a particular app by navigating to its Play Store listing (from the "My apps" area) and tapping the menu button, then un-checking the "Auto-update" box.

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Google Play update settingsGoogle Play update settings

Having auto-update selected will have most of your apps updating on their own any time there are small and non-consequential updates such as bug fixes. Whenever an app requires new permissions or is marked as a "manual" update by the developer for one reason or another, these will still need your approval. For these cases, make sure you have the "Notifications" setting in the Play Store checked so that you'll be notified in the status bar when apps are waiting for manual approval to install.

With these few quick and easy settings, you can reduce the headache of keeping apps up to date across your devices.