Android Users Now Get Small "Delta" App Updates: No More Re-Downloading Massive Titles

You know, 2GB tiers of data don't seem so limiting when you spend a good chunk of time on a Wi-Fi connection at home or at work, but for those who have to tap into that 2GB to download app updates... well, things can get tight, and fast. For years, both Android and iOS have forced users to redownload entire apps whenever an update hits. Considering just how frequently those roll out, there has been a significant amount of data waste on that alone. But no more. At least for one of those platforms.

At Google I/O this year, the company announced that "delta updates" were coming. Effectively, this would allow updates to simply feed a user the new data needed for the update, instead of forcing them to download the entire app package again. Instead of sucking down a 15MB app once more, perhaps a 1-2MB app update would suffice. This is how things have worked with the "patch" system on desktop PCs for decades, but it's just now coming around to mobile.

Starting today, Android users have noticed delta updates being active. Downloads are shorten, installs are happening faster, and less data is being wasted. This is a huge boon for avid gamers, where single game apps could routinely run 500MB+ in size. Rumor has it that iOS 6 will introduce a similar delta update system, but it looks like Google beat Apple to the punch on this one.