Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process central to host metabolism. Among its major functions are conservation of energy during starvation, recycling organelles, and turnover of long-lived proteins. Besides, autophagy plays a critical role in removing intracellular pathogens and very likely represents a primordial intrinsic cellular defence mechanism. More recent findings indicate that it has not only retained its ability to degrade intracellular pathogens, but also functions to augment and fine tune antiviral immune responses. Interestingly, viruses have also co-evolved strategies to manipulate this pathway and use it to their advantage. Particularly intriguing is infection-dependent activation of autophagy with positive stranded (+)RNA virus infections, which benefit from the pathway without succumbing to lysosomal degradation. In this review we summarise recent data on viral manipulation of autophagy, with a particular emphasis on +RNA viruses and highlight key unanswered questions in the field that we believe merit further attention.