One of the more tedious tasks for Android users is updating apps. That’s because Google Play requires you to re-download an entire app in order to experience the latest patches. Fortunately, things are about to change, and it’s thanks to a technique called file-by-file patching.
The concept sounds a lot like the “middle-out” algorithm explained in the popular HBO series Silicon Valley, wherein data is saved during the download process using high-tech methods to compress and decompress files for better optimization.
Sounds complicated? Let’s dumb it down a bit by using the source’s analogy:
Imagine you are an author of a book about to be published, and wish to change a single sentence — it’s much easier to tell the editor which sentence to change and what to change, rather than send an entirely new book. In the same way, patches are much smaller and much faster to download than the entire APK.
This leads to an average of 65 percent smaller downloads when updating apps for users; in some instances, savings can hit as high as 90 percent.
Android’s developers have applied the technique to Google Play-supported apps, and consumers should see the difference soon — once the app developers themselves apply the code to their own software.
You can read more about the development process at the Android’s Developers blog, but be warned, it can get a little too in-depth.
As a reminder, updating apps is vital in keeping your device in top condition. By having the latest patches, you’re less prone to security breaches and the possibility of a single app slowing down your whole phone. Make it a habit to frequently check for updates, or turn on notifications from Google Play so you won’t miss a thing.