Google is making Android app updates a whole lot smaller

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Tired of spending a large chunk of your monthly data on Android updates? Well, good news! Google has come up with a way to drastically reduce the file size of updates by introducing file-by-file patching.

Details after the break.

This is, technically, a much more efficient way to handle patching. By doing it file-by-file, users are using much less data to update applications; however, it does require a bit more processing power from your device. On newer modern devices, Google says it’ll take a little over a second per megabyte to apply the update. That’ll be a little longer on older and less powerful devices, but you’re still using less data at the end of the month, which isn’t a bad trade off.

Here’s how Google explains the new file-by-file patching system in layman’s terms:

“Imagine you are an author of a book about to be published, and wish to change a single sentence – it’s much easier to tell the editor which sentence to change and what to change, rather than send an entirely new book. In the same way, patches are much smaller and much faster to download than the entire APK. “

Right now, file-by-file patching is only available with auto-updates. We don’t know if Google plans to expand that to manual updates soon, but for now, the thought process is that auto-updates usually happen during the night when your phone is plugged in and you’re not using it. That said, this all happens seamlessly in the background without you ever seeing it. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, if you’re someone who wants to view a changelog or wait for a few positive reviews to pop-up on the Play Store page in order to avoid an app-breaking bug.

From the sounds of it, developers won’t need to do anything to offer file-by-file patching. Since this is all apart of an internal Google algorithm, the file-by-file patching is added automatically.

source: Android Developers Blog


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.


  • Acrobat1991

    What I’m really been hoping for for a long time now, is to have a way in the Google play store to ignore a particular update but still be advised when a newer update is available (and choose to ignore or update). This way I can see and choose which update I want ! I don’t update every single app update all the time. But because I don’t do that, I might miss more recent updates thinking it’s an older update of no value to me. Why this is not possible already is beyond me.

  • http://www.rapidsofttechnologies.com/android-application-development.php Android App Developer

    What a new feature that will added in the android platform. The updates will be smaller from the normal size. This will save the memory space as well as battery.