Some Android apps will soon update even while still in use

Donna Miller
November 8, 2018

Another neat reveal coming out of the Android Dev Summit, however, is a feature that will allow users to continue using Android apps while they're being updated.

To address this, we're launching an In-app Updates API. It might seem like a small feature, but Google senior director for Android product management and developer relations Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson told TechCrunch that this was a widely-requested feature.

According to the example provided by Google, the first one - called "immediate in-app update" - will also have an on-screen pop up, letting you know that an update is available. It's a win for users who don't want to be bothered with the nuisance of updating as well as a win for developers, who want you using the latest version of their app. The API will give developers a couple options when it comes to updates. That update is then downloaded and installed right then and there, from within the app itself.

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With a flexible in-app update, there is no full-screen update message. This, and the fact that you're now allowed to use the app until the update is complete, suggests that this method will be used for critical updates like bug fixes and security hole plugs. Once the update finishes downloading, developers can either have the update applied immediately or whenever users open their apps again.

Right now, the in-app update API is being tested through the Android Google Chrome app and with select partnered developers, but Google plans to expand that early access program in the near future.

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