Dysfunctional autophagy has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Previous evidence suggested disruptions of multiple stages of the autophagy-lysosomal pathway in affected neurons. However, whether and how deregulated autophagy in microglia, a cell type with an important link to AD, contributes to AD progression remains elusive. Here we report that autophagy is activated in microglia, particularly of disease-associated microglia surrounding amyloid plaques in AD mouse models. Inhibition of microglial autophagy causes disengagement of microglia from amyloid plaques, suppression of disease-associated microglia, and aggravation of neuropathology in AD mice. Mechanistically, autophagy deficiency promotes senescence-associated microglia as evidenced by reduced proliferation, increased Cdkn1a/p21Cip1, dystrophic morphologies and senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Pharmacological treatment removes autophagy-deficient senescent microglia and alleviates neuropathology in AD mice. Our study demonstrates the protective role of microglial autophagy in regulating the homeostasis of amyloid plaques and preventing senescence; removal of senescent microglia is a promising therapeutic strategy.