New settings for Automatic Downloads now available

If you take a look at your App Store settings, you'll find some new options for Automatic Downloads. This new feature allows you have new purchases made on other devices automatically download to the device you're accessing the settings from.

For example, let's say I purchase 1password Pro, a universal application for iPhone and iPad on my iPhone. If I have Automatic Downloads for apps enable on my iPad, 1Password Pro will automatically download to my iPad over the air. This feature is available for music, apps, and book purchases.

For those of you who may be concerned about how much data this may be using, turn the "Cellular" setting to OFF so that purchases are only automatically downloaded when connected to Wi-Fi.

Personally, I will have options set to ON on my iPhone, but apps set to OFF on my iPad. I do not want iPhone apps installed on my iPad; if I purchase a universal application, I'll download it manually to my iPad. What about you? Do you plan to enable Automatic Downloads? And if so, for which combinations of music, apps, books?

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Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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Reader comments

New settings for Automatic Downloads now available


I had to tap on my Apple ID, sign in, and then it appeared. I would guess that if you have not already agreed to the updated EULA, they may not show it automatically.

weird... i did what you just suggested @(Copy of) Dev. @Leanna, I clicked on the App Store settings button within settings... nuthin'. I live in WA, USA, so idk what is exactly holding me up. I guess i'll hav to try again later.

i don't know if it has anything to do with it, but my iPhone 4 is jailbroken. i checked these same settings on my iPad 2 (non-jailbroken, of course), and the settings were there.

The settings showed up on my jailbroken AT&T iPhone 4. If they don't show up for you, try downloading an app from the AppStore, and then check again.

are you running the current version of iOS? also, have you updated the app store app?

This is gonna be especially nice for music, I hated having to sync to my pc and then sync back to another device.

Preference to open pages in Safari in a new page or in background (amazing!)
More alert choices for emails, calendar, and the ability to buy more
Ability to create keyboard shortcuts (autotext) to replace custom phrases. The default entry is “omw” which is replaced with, “On my way!”
Software update option in settings to check for the latest OS
Sync now button to wireless sync to iTunes
Ability to customize how notifications in Notification Center look — you can customize how many recent ones to show, 1, 5 or 10, if it’s showed in the lock screen, if it’s in Notification Center, and also the alert style, banner or alert style.
Notification Center, and also the alert style banner or alert style
Twitter installs directly from the settings page if it’s not installed directly, you aren’t even taken to the App Store
FaceTime button in iMessage messages at the top now
Tweeting photos is, so so slick. It displays on Twitter as powered by Photobucket, and it’s from iOS

There’s a new option to print out from the Maps app…
You can make new albums right from the device itself in Photos
You can move and add photos to albums
Doesn’t look iMessage is fully baked in here yet.
You can customize the default alert times. This is so needed — so now when you enter a calendar entry, you don’t have to set the default alert time
Email flagging doesn’t look to be enabled in this beta, though S/MIME support is

Email flagging doesn’t look to be enabled in this beta, though S/MIME support is. Never mind, it is. You have to go into the message and tap “mark”
It seems that Reminders sync with Exchange (Tasks basically), but you can’t set location-based reminders if you’re on Exchange, just with iCloud. You can selectively choose where to sync the reminder though, it’s just not streamlined if you use Exchange
You can set the caller ID for FaceTime calls, so if you call someone, you can choose it to display your cellular number or email address

In the weather app, there is a new pane for a current location which will show you weather for wherever you are
When syncing with iTunes you can use the device normally ‚ no more syncing screen
You can delete individual calls from the call list.

Under the "Turn on Genius for Apps" button, I have a heading that says, "iTunes in the Cloud beta - Enabling Automatic Downloads or downloading a previous purchase will associate this device with your Apple ID for use with iTunes in the Cloud beta." I have an iPhone 4 on Verizon, running 4.2.8.

Did all the steps, including agreeing to the ToS again and nothing. Verizon iPhone with 10.2.8

For you Verizon folks. I don't think you get the automatic download or app store updates since it's 4.3 or higher.

Yep, again Verizon customers miss out, there is notes about it in the account details (if you click on "View Apple ID" on the iphone and mentions icloud there but doesn't show any options.
It says;
Itunes in the cloud beta
Enabling Automatic Downloads or Downloading a previous purchase will associate this device with your Apple ID for use with iTunes in the Cloud beta.
Though following those instructions still doesn't have any effect to the Verizon iPhone.

Was there any word that iOS 5 was going to be universal? I have to assume Verizon will not be perpetually stuck on 4.2.8

Yup, on my At&t iPad these options are available, on my Verizon iPhone, not so much. I left Android in part because I was sick of the fragmentation problem.

ya i have att iphone running 4.3.1. do i need to be on 4.3.2 to see these changes? not worth losing my jailbreak at the moment.

U need to be on iOS 4.3.3. *Automatic downloads and downloading of purchase history available in beta now and require iOS 4.3.3 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM model), iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad, or iPad 2, or a Mac or PC with iTunes 10.3. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer in the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore. Music features are available only in the U.S. Download iTunes 10.3 free.

I've turned it on for apps, but the cellular switch is turned off. To buy on one and download on both is fantastic because of the 2 iphones in this household. I'm in Australia and don't get the music slider switch. (But I don't buy songs from iTunes anyway so no loss!)

I just tried this on my iPad 2 and iPhone 4 by downloading som apps on my iPhone. What happened was that the universal apps I downloaded were automatically downloaded to my iPad as well, but the iPhone only ones were not. This is great! I really don't care for iPhone apps on my iPad if I can help it. The ones I really do want/need I can download manually on my iPad...

Justed worked for me too, it downloaded and installed on my iPad 2 quicker than my iPhone 4 that I bought it on, thanks for mentioning that.

I use one iTunes account for my family.
If I turn on app auto updates on all of our iPhones, I hope this only updates the apps installed on each iPhone.
I don't want my wife and kids apps on my phone.

No -- that option is not for automatically updating your specific apps!
That option is so that if any device on your account (even one from your family which shares that account) downloads an app, then all the other devices on your account will get that app. So in your case (and in mine too!), keep that option off!

You have to have iOS 4.3.3 to do this. *Automatic downloads and downloading of purchase history available in beta now and require iOS 4.3.3 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM model), iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad, or iPad 2, or a Mac or PC with iTunes 10.3. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer in the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore. Music features are available only in the U.S. Download iTunes 10.3 free.

I have the purchased option under updates. My wife and I share an iTunes account and I was able to download an app she was telling me about on her phone. I could remember the exact name but when I read it I remembered.

Apps will only download to both iPad and iPhone automatically if it is a universal app. Test it.

Nope. And it's VERY annoying. Filtering option would also be very nice (e.g. universal apps only, games only, business apps only, etc.)
When on an app page in the iPhone app store, you still can't figure out whether you have previously purchased it or not (in iPad though, the download button will say "free" instead of showing you the price; in iPhone, you still see the price tag). Kindda renders the purchase history feature useless.

Yeah, or have some kind of "Archive" bucket where all those useless apps can be dumped and not seen except via special request.
I'm really regretting the 2000+ "free" apps I downloaded during my early more "exuberant" iPhone days.... SO MUCH CLUTTER!!

I have apps and books off on my iPod, but I will turn music on. Can somebody confirm if it works on the Mac too? Would be great if music or apps I download on my iPod automatically appear on the Mac.
Hopefully music comes to Germany too, otherwise it's senseless for me. Redownloading of all DRMed music DRMFree would be soo great. But the greedy Music Industry cenainly wouldn't allow that.

It's not true that u have to be on 4.3.3. Both my iPad 2 and my iPhone 4 is running 4.3.2, and I have the automatic download on both of them.

I am showing auto downloads for books and apps but not music.
Don't tell me Canada is left out of iTunes in the cloud.

I see where I can download songs that are not currently on my iPhone but what about the option to wirelessly remove songs from your library? My iPhone is synced to my old PC and I truly loathe firing that thing up to make changes.

I wonder if they'll add a way (notification?) to indicate that an app has been updated. I like the idea of automatic updates, however I also like to read what is being updated in the apps. This is one way that I keep tabs on whether an app is worth keeping or whether features have been added or improved.

Just tested downloading a new app via iTunes on my PC and it synced immediately to my iPhone. However I also updated two existing apps on my PC, should I expect those to automatically download to my phone also? At the moment I'm still showing two updates available on the phone. I agree with David however that it would be nice to see what changes are available in a new update, so maybe this behaviour is normal.

The music (iTunes) is not working in Canada, When i log into my American account it shows up, but not when I am using my Canadian account? why is this? it's iCloud i thought...

I have an i phone 4 and i set the settings on. And the songs that i download on my computer still wont transfer!
Any answers???

Does this work for podcasts too, as well as music? I downloaded a few podcasts to my iPad, but I don't see them on my iPhone4 yet and it's been several days now and I have all the settings for this turned on on both devices.

I download apps on my iPhone 4 but they do not automatically download on my iPad. They will if I download from iPad originally. It will auto download to iPhone. All of my set tins are set to on and they are universal apps. What am I missing?

My brother and I both use the same iTunes account so if I download an app he'll automatically get it. I've got a free messaging app that I have added people on, will he see my ID and contacts I've added on his phone? I hope not. Thanks for your help anyone.

I have these settings turned off on my phone and my ipad but the apps I install on the iPad still get downloaded to the phone

When I try to slide the bar to "on" for music, apps, and books, it won't stay! It slides right back to "off" on its own! Why is this? Is there a setting I need to change to enable automatic downloads?