I have just published a blog at https://developer.zebra.com/community/android/android-forums/android-blogs/blog/2017/11/03/preventing-unattended-application-updates-initiated-via-the-play-store with some recommendations on how to prevent Google Play Store apps from automatically updating, with a focus on enterprise use cases.
The summary is below but see the link for the full blog
- Disabling the Play Store entirely is a reliable way of ensuring no user or system applications get updated in the field. The down side is that this approach lacks the ability to control individual applications as it is an all-or-nothing solution.
- Play Store automatic updates can be reliably turned off via a Play Store setting however it requires manual interaction to adjust two settings. Firstly, the automatic updates themselves must be disabled from the play store and secondly, the Play Store must be blocked from presenting notifications which prompt the end user to install available updates manually.
- Whilst it is possible to prevent a specific application from being updated by disabling the app, the obvious side effect is that the app is no longer available to the end user.