Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Google further shrinks the size of your Android app updates

They're typically two thirds smaller than the app itself.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 6, 2016
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

If there's a regular bane in Android phone owners' existence, it's the never-ending stream of app updates. Even though they're smaller than full downloads, they still chew up a lot of data -- just ask anyone who has sucked down hundreds of megabytes updating a new phone. Google's engineers have a better solution, though.

They're introducing a new approach to app updates that promises to radically shrink the size of updates with "file-by-file" patching. The resulting patches tend to be about 65 percent smaller than the app itself, and are sometimes over 90 percent smaller. In the right circumstances, that could make the difference between updating while you're on cellular versus waiting until you find WiFi.

The technique revolves around spotting changes in the uncompressed files (that is, when they're not squeezed into a typical app package). Google first decompresses the old and new app versions to determine the changes between files and create a patch. After that, updating is just a matter of unpacking the app on your device, applying changes and compressing it again.

Don't expect to see this when you tap the "update" button, at least not yet. Google is currently limiting the new patching approach to automatic updates, since it needs extra processing power and might take additional time on older hardware. Your brand new Pixel XL should blaze through it, but someone's aging Moto G might take longer. Performance will improve over time, however, so you might well see this expand to all updates once baseline performance is high enough.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

View
Apple is reportedly planning 'Apple One' subscription bundles

Apple is reportedly planning 'Apple One' subscription bundles

View
Apple removes 'Fortnite' from App Store following direct payment push

Apple removes 'Fortnite' from App Store following direct payment push

View
Lyft will temporarily shut down in California if forced to reclassify drivers

Lyft will temporarily shut down in California if forced to reclassify drivers

View
'Fortnite' maker Epic Games sues Apple over App Store policies

'Fortnite' maker Epic Games sues Apple over App Store policies

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr