If you have an iPhone and iPad, or a Mac, iCloud can automatically download any music, books, or apps you buy on one device onto any or all of the others. For example, if you downloaded a hot new game on your iPad, you can have it automatically appear on your iPhone (assuming the game is also iPhone-compatible). Purchase a classic song while out and about on your iPhone? You can make sure it's on your Mac when you get home.

It's incredibly convenient if you want everything anywhere and like living on automatic. If you use your devices differently and prefer to keep the distinct, however, you may want to set things to manual.

Luckily, the choice is yours—all you have to do is flick a few switches in Settings.

Automatic download details

iOS offers several types of automatic downloads:

  • Music: If you purchase a song from iTunes, it'll automatically be available on any compatible iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac that supports iCloud and is authorized to use your iTunes account.
  • Apps: Apps downloaded on one device are automatically downloaded to any other compatible device that has an active connection to the internet. Some iOS apps are universal and will download to both iPhone and iPad. Mac and iOS apps, on the other hand, aren't cross-compatible and will never automatically download to both.
  • Books: If you download a book in iBooks, it should automatically appear in your other instances of iBooks on iOS and OS X.
  • Updates: Updates are a little different, and will only apply on a per-device basis. Turn updates on if you want App Store updates to install automatically, without you having to first approve them via the App Store app.

How to turn on automatic downloads for music, books, and apps on your iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on iTunes & App Store.
  3. Under the Automatic Downloads section, turn On the options for the types of content you'd like to download automatically.


To disable Automatic Downloads, follow the same steps, but turn the appropriate switch Off.

How to turn off automatic downloads over cellular data

Having your automatic downloads happen no matter where you are, even off Wi-Fi and out and about on LTE or 3G can be incredibly convenient, but it can also eat away at your data plan. If that's something you want to avoid, you can easily turn off automatic downloads over cellular.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on iTunes & App Store.
  3. Under the Automatic Downloads section, turn Off the option for Use Cellular Data.

Automatic downloads will still happen, but only when you're on Wi-Fi.

Ally Kazmucha contributed to an earlier version of this article. Updated July 2015.