Incremental app updates (Smart App Updates) now available on Android

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Android Smart App Updates

One of the features that Google promised to bring to the Play Store is “Smart App Updates”, which is basically a term that describes incremental updates to apps. Traditionally, when there is an update for one of the apps that you use on your Android device, the update involves a re-download of the full app plus the new features. Smart App Updates does away with that, and instead, only the new features are downloaded.

Yes; this is good news for people on a limited internet data plan, because app updates will now be smaller – much smaller – than they used to be. From what I hear, Smart App Updates is available to users of Gingerbread and above.

I did check my device, and it seems indeed that this is the case. The Android LinkedIn app, for example, is 7.37MB in size, but the available update is 4.32MB. There’s a Gmail update of 2.72MB, whereas the installed Gmail app is a huge 19.10MB in size. Nice. I get to cut down significantly on the data guzzled for my updates from now on.

Now, please excuse me while I go update those apps. I’ve put off updating them for quite a while now 😉



  1. My too sure. My Instagram “update” is about 14MB with the original app about 18MB. Likewise, there’s a 14MB update for Firefox Beta which is about 23MB.

    So a marginal difference I suspect depending on the size of the original app, but not enough for me to get excited about.

  2. Nice one. I think database apps like dictionaries should also benefit immensely from this feature. Also I think that when apps address minor bugs. I have downloaded apps from the Google Play Store that has bugs that’s addressed in a few days. Such bug fixes could be effected on a few pieces of software that make up the whole package.

  3. This is great i’ve 7 apps that require an update. But i think i would hold out until i get to a wi-fi hotspot.

  4. Well I guess it’s time to finally respond to the several updates notifications that I’ve got. I naturally wait till I’ve got a wifi access. With the rate at which those updates pop up 1Gig a month just isn’t enof.

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