Every time there's an update in the Play Store the whole application gets downloaded again instead of some particular size.

For example, there are 45 apps installed from Play Store. The average size is almost 800Mb to 1Gb. So supposing that there are updates for all the applications then I will end up downloading 800MB or more depending on the update.

So why are updates full size? Why can't the updates be of some particular size so that we can save some data while updating?

I also tried Opera max data saver but it doesn't save data for downloads. It saves only when browsing or watching anything from the browser.

(Click image to enlarge)


  • 3
    The Google Play Store already uses file patching techniques similar to xdelta to save data. From personal experience I can report updating apps that are big (~50-100mb) but only downloaded a part of them (10-20mb). Unfortunately this depends on availability, the version of the app on your device and the complexity of the update; if too much has changed, they won't offer that feature because you would need to download 90% of the app anyway.
    – GiantTree
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 7:44
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    Possible duplicate of Why app updates download entire app instead of only "updates"?
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 9:37

1 Answer 1


Referring to @GiantTree 's comment, and adding on some of my own experience:

Google Play Store does its utmost to help you save data while updating apps.

App updates are usually about 20-30% of full size.

If the app does not contain .obb (expansion) files, it will use file patching techniques to update the .apk in your data partition. For the first update of a system app, the updated app is downloaded in its entirety once to /data/app, as the /system partition is read-only on unrooted devices and file patching cannot be done there. Also, once this first update has finished, file patching techniques are applied to reduce the amount of data needed to download.

This is not applicable as a whole to applications with .obb files, as these are stored on external storage and have a different, independent patching mechanism.

Updating an app through the Play Store saves you data already, in fact Google considers it a violation of its Terms of Service if developers who distribute apps through the Play Store employ means to update it other than Google Play's own mechanism.

For the moderators, I found a source (Although this is for APK expansion files):

Updating Your Applications-For Developers

And this, from Google Play's ToS:

An app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism.

From: Google Play Developer Content Policy

And this picture:

A screenshot from Google Play Developer Console, via [an article on Droid-Life][3]

  • 1
    I can confirm this from personal observations: the progress bar for download usually goes "slowly" (regular download) to about 1/3 of the size, and uddenly switches to "installing" – thus having skipped download of about 2/3 of the "full .apk size".
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 10:45
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    Can you backup your answer using legit sources?
    – Firelord
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 12:05
  • Well, that would involve infringing Google's IPR, but I tried. Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 8:44
  • Isn't @Izzy 's experience enough for you? Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 8:44
  • 1
    @Firelord OK, I've learned: "Izzy is no legit source". Every day comes with its specific lesson ;)
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 11:25

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