The New Google Smaller, Faster App Updates: Understanding File-By-File Patching
Google is constantly improving its Android OS. Every year, numerous features are released that make it faster, more powerful, and more convenient. The latest new feature is file-by-file patching. So what is this, and how will it help Android users?
Updating Apps Becomes Easier
Google announced the change to how it updates apps in its blog. It is a completely new system that Google claims will reduce the amount of data the phone needs to use to update the apps.
The technique is called file-by-file patching. It essentially means there is no need to replace the entire app, just a part of it, speeding up the process and requiring less data.
Every time you update an app at the moment, this uses up data. If you are updating your app on the go, this will use up your data allowance for the month. If you are overseas, this could even end up costing you a lot of money in roaming charges.
Google made a change to its app updating process earlier in 2016 to use the BSDiff algorithm, and this cut the size of app updates by 47% on average according to Google.
Now it has gone one step further. Its new file-by-file patching will reduce the size of updates by an average of 65%, and as much as 90% in some cases.
How It Works
File-by-file patching is based on the idea that only certain parts of the app need to be updated. Using this, Google Play sends the device a patch, and this describes the differences between the version of the app on your phone and the new version.
Google uses the example of a book. If you want to publish a book but you just want to change a sentence, the quickest option is to tell the editor which sentence needs changing rather than sending a whole new copy of the book.
The patches are much smaller than the whole apps, and that makes them faster to download. However, the speed will depend on the power of your phone, and the more powerful phones will compress and download the updates faster.
So whether you are updating your weather app to get a more accurate forecast, or updating another app to improve security, you’ll find it much quicker and more efficient with the new system.
As well as speeding up app updates on Android devices, the new file-by-file patching will reduce the amount of data used to update apps. While you may update your apps on Wi-Fi most of the time, you may also want to update them when you are out and about.
This can save you running up huge bills by accident, especially when you are abroad, and Google claims that it will save a total of 6 petabytes of data every day.
In addition, it will lead to space savings on your phone. This is because the amount of data that is required to process an update is compressed significantly, saving you space. This is especially important for phones low on space.
Enjoy Better App Updates
People download app updates all the time on their Android devices. Soon you will be able to enjoy faster and more convenient updates that use up less data. As developers update their apps to improve them more frequently, this is a very convenient development for all Android users.
Alex Hill is a geek at heart and shares his passion, and his knowledge. around the web through his article writing and social media participation.