When is it safe to allow software updates for your tech

As technology ages, so does its software. That means to keep your computer, phone, tablet and smart devices running smoothly, their manufacturers will issue software updates. These updates are sent out for a number of reasons, including security patches, fixing known bugs, and additional functionality.

Some updates are mandatory and automatically download. Other times, though, you are presented with a choice. While generally you want to allow these updates, it’s not always a good idea to update right away every time. Here’s a quick guide to know when it’s’ safe to update – and when you should delay.

Security Updates:

IT specialists generally advise that anything marked as a security update is safe to apply as soon as possible since it has been dispatched to fix either an active or recently disclosed security vulnerability which can affect your devices.

Functionality Updates:

Updates that are marked as feature, functionality, or bug fix updates can be delayed, but are generally safe to apply at the user’s convenience since there is little risk of something being exploited with those types of patches. This is important, but it you are in the middle of a presentation or long writing project, you can delay for a few hours or to the next day.

New Software Version Release:

Most technology experts generally advise that it’s safe to hit the “Remind Me Later” button when a new software version is released as these can often contain bugs that are known and will need to be fixed in a subsequent update release.

Phone Updates:

For some updates you won’t have a choice and those will be automatically pushed through. In other cases, they are important, and should be done as soon as convenient. This goes for app updates as well. You can continue to use your phone without updating it. However, you will not receive new features on your phone and possible bugs on the phone or in certain apps won’t be fixed until you do.

Smart Home Devices:

This includes wireless devices such as MyQ smart garage devices, Amazon Echo or Alexa, Nest thermostats, or Philips Hue smart lights, which all run via an app on your phone. When it’s time to update their software, you will get a notice on your phone via the app. Always update these as soon as you can, as they can contain security and functionality updates.

When in doubt, or if something seems not quite right and you’re unsure whether an update is legitimate, you can check the manufacturer, software publisher, or app developer’s websites to verify it.

Kristy CooperWhen is it safe to allow software updates for your tech