Google Play enables smart app updates, conserving batteries

Google has enabled a Google Play feature that promises to save Android app users time and bandwidth.

(Credit: Google)

The web giant is now offering the ability for app users to download delta updates from its Google Play, the folks over at Android Police have discovered.

Previously, an updated app meant downloading it again in full, which could put a strain on a device's battery if the app was large and the connection slow. The new smart downloads allows users to avoid downloading the app and send only the incremental difference between the old and new versions, thereby saving data for the app user and Google.

First announced at the Google I/O conference in June, engineers predicted that delta updates would be about a third of the size of a full download, easing the pressure on users' batteries and bandwidths.

The feature quietly went live last night or early this morning, according to Android Police, and appears to work with previous Google Play releases, such as 3.7.15.

CNET has contacted Google for comment and more information, and will update this report when we learn more.

In the meantime, check out this video of the delta updates in action:


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Android Analyse posted a comment   

Good stuff. Will developers have to allow for it or will the system be smart enough to detect differences and just push out the files that have changed?


Chandler posted a reply   

I was wondering the same thing - is this something like App2SD where we're going to have some slack developers that don't activate this feature, or is this change system side and all apps will now be updated incrementally?

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