Preparing for iOS 15: How to Turn Off Automatic Download & Installation of iPadOS / iOS Updates

Update: As anticipated there are problems with iOS 15. See this info

Preparing for iOS 15: How to Turn Off Automatic Download & Installation of iPadOS / iOS Updates

It is anticipated that Apple will be releasing iOS 15 very soon.

Historically the whole number iOS updates tend to cause problems. Several years ago I had an iPad “brick” and it had to be restored to factory settings. Almost every whole number iOS release has caused issues with AAC apps and therapy apps.

It is wise to wait for awhile for kinks to be worked out and for app developers to have time to release updates to fix any problems. And Apple often releases secondary iOS updates to fix issues. I typically wait several months and watch for posts from app developers indicating that it’s safe to install the new iOS.

Unfortunately the “default” setting on an iPad is usually for the iOS updates to be automatically downloaded and automatically installed. In order to prevent that from happening, please check the settings on any iPad or iPhone being used for AAC or as a therapy tool. Even if you have toggled it off in the past please take the time to check it again. I found that a recent iOS update had toggled it back on.

  • Go to Settings (grey gear) – General – Software Update – Automatic Updates – toggle off Download iPadOS (iOS) Updates

While you’re on that device now would also be a good time to make sure you have backed up all customized programming.

If you’re in a very large school district that has hundreds of students using iPads for AAC, then I’d check with your IT department to see what the options are for temporarily toggling off the automatic download and installation of iOS updates. If that’s not feasible in your district, then take this as a “heads up” that you may need to have paper-based AAC options on hand just in case they are needed.

What to do if you have an iPad on an older iOS: Unfortunately on very old versions of iOS there’s not a way to prevent the iOS update from downloading. But it should ask for permission before installing it. A sign that an iOS update has downloaded is a sudden large drop in available memory. To find that file to delete it on an older iOS, go into Settings – General – Storage & iCloud Usage – Storage – Manage Storage. Wait for the app list to populate and then delete the one with the grey gear. For example, I have an iPad Pro 9.7” that I purposefully kept on iOS 10.3.3 in order to avoid losing a bunch of apps when iOS 11 rolled out. By deleting that iOS update file I am freeing up 3.7GB of memory and helping to prevent an accidental update. I periodically get a notification asking me to update the iOS. I am very cautious to tap “Details” and then close out of it. Also go to Settings – iTunes & App Store – and toggle off Updates under Automatic Downloads.

Why am I concerned? As I’ve been working on an update for my large app resource guide I’ve run across numerous apps that have disappeared from the App Store. I haven’t seen this many apps disappear in mass like this since iOS 11 rolled out. That particular iOS caused problems with several AAC and therapy apps. Of course I have no way to know what will happen with iOS 15 but am seeing enough red flags to be concerned and to post about it. It’s heartbreaking when AAC users lose their voice when a new iOS rolls out and causes glitches. Now is the time to prevent that from happening.

Have questions? The best way to reach me with any questions is via messaging on the OMazing Kids Facebook page: That way messages don’t get lost among the spam in my e-mail.

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC, OMazing Kids AAC Consulting

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