If there is one thing we hate to love about our Android smartphones, it is these regular updates. Not that we mind the updates, we understand they keep us safe and sometimes roll in with new features, but they just too damn big. Yes, not as big as when installing the app in the first place, but big enough to make you not want to update while you are on the mobile internet as they will deplete all your data.
Therefore, you find yourself waiting until you have a unmetered internet connection. That is until you get to your workplace Wi-Fi, the internet café, or public Wi-Fi at the restaurant, library, or the airport. However, this could soon be outdated, if the news about Google engineers working on shrinking the size of app updates is realized.
Google engineers are said to be working on a new approach that will radically shrink the size of updates. They are working on a ‘file-by-file’ patching, which will result in patches that are 65% to 90% smaller. The save on data could be enough to sway you into start updating your app while on mobile data; you might no longer need to wait until you get Wi-Fi.
The engineers’ new technique is said to be revolving around looking for changes within the uncompressed files (files not squeezed into the standard app package). They will first decompress both the old and new app versions to determine the variance in the file sizes, and then create a patch. From this point, it will just be a matter of unpacking the app onto your device, apply the changes, and create a compression again.
App Updates will happen, but just not so soon
Don’t be so happy the next time you get updates notification from the Play Store app that you start updating while you are on mobile data. It will cost you just as significant amount of data consumption as it normally does.
Apparently, Google is limiting the new shrunk updates features to Automatic Updates only. The reason given behind that is that it first needs extra processing powers, and does take some time, especially on older hardware.
New hardware like the Pixel XL should not have a problem with that and will blaze through, but aging Android hardware will find the shrunk update a bit of a task on them. Though the engineers say shrunk updates roll out to older hardware will improve with time; once they have tweaked its performance on their dry runs of the new app updates technology.