How to disable automatic downloads and Wi-Fi Assist on iPhone and iPad

This article will show you how to disable automatic downloads on an iPhone, iPad or iPod running iOS. It will also show you how to disable a feature called Wi-Fi Assist which is enabled in the default settings as of iOS 9.

Automatic downloads can be problematic because they may use your mobile data without you knowing about it. Some automatic updates for Apps are as big as 60MB.

Please note: The automatic download of the latest iOS software updates seem to unavoidable. iOS software updates download automatically in the background and then prompt you to install them. Hopefully turning off the "Use Mobile Data" switch as per the instructions below would force this unavoidable download to WiFi only, however it's difficult to confirm this because there's no clear information on the Apple Support website.

If you’re finding some irregular download history for your Mobile service in Toolbox, automatic downloads are common causes.

Select one of the links below to jump to a query:

  1. On the Home screen, tap the Settings icon.


  2. Scroll down the Settings menu and select iTunes & App Store.

    Note: In iOS 9 or later, this will be labelled App and iTunes Stores.

  3. Scroll down this page until you see the AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS heading. Here, you’ll see three options:

    Music – When turned on, any purchased iTunes music will download automatically.
    Apps – When turned on, any purchased apps will download automatically.
    Books – When turned on, any purchased Books will download automatically.
    Updates – When turned on, updates for any apps on your device will download as soon as they become available.

  4. To disable any of these options, move the sliders to the left so they turn white/grey.


  5. Alternatively, you can keep automatic downloads enabled but make sure that your device never uses your mobile data for automatic downloads.

    This means that automatic downloads would only run when your device is connected to a WiFi network. It’s a good way to make sure your mobile data isn’t used up unexpectedly by automatic downloads.

  6. To do this, just turn off the Use Cellular Data option using the slider.

    Note: In iOS 9 or later, this switch is labelled Use Mobile Data. You should also make sure Wi-Fi Assist is disabled.


Wi-Fi assist is a feature that is enabled by default in iOS 9 and later. You can use Wi-Fi Assist with any iOS device with iOS 9 or later, except for these models: iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad (3rd generation), and iPad mini (1st generation).

If your iPhone, iPad or iPod is running and earlier version of iOS, your device will not have this feature.

We recommend following the steps below to disable Wi-Fi Assist. The feature automatically defaults to using your mobile data when Wi-Fi signal is poor. This means it could use your mobile data without you realising, causing your mobile service to exceed your monthly quota and accrue excess data fees.

  1. On the Home screen, tap the Settings icon.


  2. In the Settings menu, tap Mobile.


  3. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and then turn off the Wi-Fi Assist switch.