Settings are for checking daily for updates and to download automatically and notify to install.
However don’t think it has every notified me or pre-downloaded. Every update has happened after manual check, download and install.
Think, but not sure, that every time I go to ‘Updates tab’ it say No updates, you are up do date or similar. Then I manually check and almost every time it has updates which I must manually download and install.
I’m having a similar issue, although I’m trying to dl updates over wifi only. Fdroid shows only apps that are more than three years old, and will not update over wifi it seems. I’m using a ZTE Z558 running Android 7.1 again that has been unused for a couple years. Fdroid v 1.7.1
Nothing is able to be downloaded to the phone at all. For some reason it’s not ‘taking’ files through the wifi. Dunno how to better diagnose what’s going on, but it can’t browse the internet over wifi or anything. I seem to be completely without options, but I am pretty noobish, so it’s quite certain that someone with a better understanding of android, networking, and fdroid could resolve the problem(s) I’m facing.
I do always use a VPN. I didn’t back when the phone was last in use, so you could be onto something. I’ll have to see if I can find anything in the settings, either on the phone or my computer, that might be causing the problem.