Google has changed the way app updates are pushed to users’ devices. The improvement will make updates quicker, take up less bandwidth and drain less battery. Functioning on Android devices running Gingerbread or higher, “delta updates” work by only updating the parts of an app that have actually been updated by the developers (rather than reinstalling the entire app). According to TechCrunch, the feature was announced at Google I/O in late June, but only launched this week. In fact, the launch was so quiet that it took some people noticing how much less space updates were taken to realize that the feature had even been pushed live. From TechCrunch:
According to Android Police, an update of the popular ezPDF Reader, which would usually weigh in at about 6.3MB, now clocks in at under 3MB. An update to Instagram, which went out this morning, is now a 3MB download instead of 13MB for the full app.
These numbers should be even more dramatic for larger apps and especially games. After all, instead of having to download all the graphics assets for a game again, you now only have to download the parts needed to enable that new level or feature.
Let us know if you notice any difference the next time you update an app.