Earlier this year, at its I/O developer conference, Google announced that it would soon turn on delta updates for apps running on Android 2.3+ and it looks like this feature is now up and running. With these smart updates, users don’t have to download the complete app when there is an update. Instead, only the parts of the app that have changed need to be downloaded. When Google first announced this feature, its engineers estimated that smart app updates would only be about a third of the size of a full update, saving users bandwidth and extending battery life.
Developers, Google said at I/O, won’t have to do anything to enable this feature and according to the folks over at Android Police, this feature quietly went live late last night or early this morning. We have contacted Google to confirm this and will update this post once we get official confirmation that this is indeed the case.
According to Android Police, an update of the popular ezPDF Reader, which would usually weigh in at about 6.3MB, now clocks in at under 3MB. An update to Instagram, which went out this morning, is now a 3MB download instead of 13MB for the full app.
These numbers should be even more dramatic for larger apps and especially games. After all, instead of having to download all the graphics assets for a game again, you now only have to download the parts needed to enable that new level or feature.