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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.

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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.