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Why I just turned off auto updates in iOS7

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by Bob Jansen on September 04, 2013 with comments

I'm a fan of two-factor authentication. I use it in my Google accounts to protect e-mail. It's a simple and effective way to secure yourself from a quick breach of your other accounts. If someone hacks your mail it's easy to gain access to others through password resets. I wished more services offered two factor authentication.

I'm currently using the iOS7 beta. One of the features a lot of people are excited about is auto updates. The app store icon prompting you with 42 new updates a week sounds good indeed.

I actually have one concern with auto updates. When an application with a bug is automatically updated, there is no way of undoing it. With that in mind I still gave it a try, just to see how often that scenario would play out.

Sometimes you can't afford being stuck with an app that's not working. If a big change affects how an app works or requires some reconfiguration, I want to prepare for the update and pick the right moment.

This morning I needed to access my Google mail account, quite fast. Every now and then that requires the two-factor authentication step, it keeps you logged in for 30 days. So grabbed my iPhone to use Google's Authenticator. Not being able to find the application, I discover it was updated and has a new icon. Actually it was completely updated and all my connected Google accounts were removed. So I couldn't retrieve my code to log-in to my email!

Google provides a recovery service through text messaging. But this time it took around 45 minutes for the text message to arrive. One time it took 24 hours to receive Google's text message.

Not being able to access email for 45 minutes is a small price to pay for the extra security. However, sometimes that is something you can't afford when there is an urgent situation.

So I just disabled auto updates in iOS7 again. It's a shame that the update experience of one app makes you change a system wide setting. These are the moments I wished I have more control in iOS7 and would make me consider Android with it's flexibility.

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