iPad mini app updates monopolize Wi-Fi connection

I’ve been meaning to ask about this for several months. I have an iPad Mini 4. I have exactly one complaint about it, and it’s been driving me batty.

I have it set to automatically update apps. This is great, except for one thing: it insists on doing this as soon as I wake it up, and nothing else can get any Wi-Fi bandwidth while it’s happening.

Most days, I don’t use my iPad for anything between breakfast time and dinner time—I’m on my MBP pretty much all day. So evening comes, and I wake up my iPad to read some news, or maybe a little Reddit—and nothing can connect. I take a look at the Home screens, and sure enough, something’s updating.

What’s worse, if I let the screen sleep, the updates pause. So I have to sit there and keep tapping the screen when it dims to keep the updates flowing for the up to fifteen minutes or more it might take for the day’s updates to install. While not actually being able to use the device to access anything online.

I used to have it set to manually update apps for this very reason, but I was never able to develop a habit of doing this regularly enough. So I’d end up with multiple weeks’ worth of updates needing to be done all at once, which would have me babysitting the device for possibly over an hour while it updated. That just doesn’t work.

I have already determined that it’s not my home Wi-Fi limiting this. I have the same issue on other (trusted) Wi-Fi networks, and it doesn’t affect any other devices while it’s doing this. It’s not maxing out my Wi-Fi bandwidth on either the per-device level or the total bandwidth. I don’t have this issue on my iPhone 7 Plus, which runs updates in the background without interrupting me at all. Spouse’s iPhone SE and iPad do not have this issue either, though they don’t have a tenth of the number of apps installed that I do, so I wouldn’t expect updates to need much bandwidth on their devices.

Am I the only one who has this problem? I would think that automatically installing app updates “in the background” would mean that it should share the Internet connection with other apps, not that it will monopolize it and prevent anything else from getting through. Is there a setting or configuration issue that might be causing this?

Can’t really help with your technical/WiFi problems but I can help your frustrations with all the tapping to keep the device “awake”. In the Display & Brightness, “Auto-Lock” settings should be a “Never” choice. Hopefully, your updates can complete successfully without your manual/physical attention.

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Thanks for pointing that out. There are many settings that I have seen and forgotten, and I appreciate being reminded.

For my usage patterns, a checkbox “Never while at home” would be whole lot more useful. Fear of forgetting to clear the Never choice and then losing the iOS device away from home would prevent me from setting it to Never.

If you activate the “Lock/Unlock” setting that locks the iPad when closing the cover, you just have to remember to do that when leaving home.