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Google enables smart updates in Play Store, reducing app download sizes

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Google has turned on smart updates for apps in its Play Store, meaning that devices will now only download data for changes and new functionality.

Google Play logo
Google Play logo

Google has enabled smart updates for apps in its Play Store, reports Android Police, reducing download sizes and times. Rather than downloading a whole new APK file for each app, devices now only download data unavailable in their existing versions, corresponding to changes and new functionality — a difference known as the delta. The Play Store still shows a download bar for the full size of the package, but switches to the "Installing..." screen as soon as the necessary data has been grabbed.

Announced back at Google I/O in June, the feature coincides with an update to the Play Store itself, but does not appear to depend on it — implemented as a server-side change, it will work with older versions too. Users who haven't yet downloaded Instagram's recent update should be able to see the functionality clearly, with Android Police reporting a decrease in total size from 13MB to 3MB, a welcome cut for those without immediate access to Wi-Fi.