Beth writes: Hi Ben! Here’s my question. My husband, son and I are all using my iTunes account. It was originally set to my iPhone, but now whenever either one of them gets an app (free or otherwise) on either the iPad or iPod, I end up with a copy of that app on my phone.

Do you happen to know the iPhone setting I need to change to stop this from happening? And if I do turn it off, will I be able to get at those apps — especially the ones that were purchased — in the future?

Hi Beth! So, here’s what’s happening…

There’s a setting on your iPhone called “Automatic Downloads,” and when it’s enabled, your iPhone will automatically download and install every new application, song, and iBook purchased or downloaded using your Apple ID—that is, the username and password you use to sign in to the iTunes & App stores.

(In case you’re wondering, yes: it is possible to use different Apple IDs to log into the iTunes store and iCloud, which means you can share an iTunes account with your family while still maintaining your own iCloud account.)

iOS Automatic Download settings

Do mysterious new apps keep appearing on your iPhone? Try switching Automatic Downloads off.

Once you turn Automatic Downloads off, you’ll no longer find mysterious new apps, music tracks, and e-books purchased by your husband and son installing themselves on your iPhone.

That said, you’ll still be able to download (or re-download, as the case may be) any iTunes/App Store items purchased with your Apple ID, whenever you want.

Here’s what you do…

  • Tap Settings, then scroll down and tap iTunes & App Stores.
  • See the “Automatic Downloads” heading? Underneath, you’ll find settings for three types of media: Music, Apps, and Books. Go ahead and flip one or more of the three switches to “Off.”
  • Now, want to download or re-download a previously purchased app? Just open the App Store app, tap the Updates tab at the bottom of the screen, then tap Purchased.
  • To re-download music from iTunes, open the iTunes app, tap the More tab at the bottom of the screen, then tap Purchased.
  • Last but not least, you can re-download purchased iBooks by launching the iBooks app, tapping the Store button, and tapping the Purchased tab at the bottom of the screen.

Hope that helps, Beth. Still have questions? Let me know!

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