I recently removed and reinstalled Google Maps and there was something I noticed that made me post this question.

Before removing the app (which I had for about 2 years and had been updating regularly), it's size was about 60MB. After clean installing the application with it's latest version from the Google Playstore it now has a size of 44,5MB.

Why does this happen? Do updates add size in the app every time it updates? If for example an app occupies 30MB of space and an updates is 7MB, will this space be added to the 30MB? And last but not least....Is clean installing an app instead of updating a better solution if someone needs the app not to dramatically increase in size?

  • 1
    Related: (Probably the best explanation): android.stackexchange.com/questions/79334/… – xavier_fakerat Aug 12 '17 at 16:57
  • @xavier_fakerat This clears things a lot, Thanks! Still though I cannot explain the size difference. Perhaps dowloaded or temp data?? – papakias Aug 12 '17 at 17:03
  • I'd rather guess cache and data – which gets deleted along with the app if you delete the latter, but is kept when you just update it. You didn't state if you differentiated between the app itself and its data in your calculation ;) – Izzy Aug 12 '17 at 19:24

Usually when an application is being updated, its the case that files (resources in apk - code, libraries, assets, images etc) are being replaced rather than being added. Of course the question, is how big is the portion being replaced, which utimately determines the final size of the "update".

If new resources are added by the application developer without removing anything in the previous version then it will likely be bigger, and if some resources are removed and replaced with less, then its the other way round

If the update has contains more resources than before, it uses more space. If it's a bug fix (similar to a typo in text), it might even use a few bytes less space.

For most applications, updates will usually increase the total size to a larger value. But in your case with Google Maps, it seems the items that replaced ones in previous version are "compressed" i.e much smaller.

Uninstalling old version and clean installation of newer version

When a user application is installed, it usually keeps its data (settings, databases etc) and also cache in the /data partition and cache partition.

Uninstalling the application also deletes this related data.

If you then clean install it, you'd also note size difference (even say the were supposed to be same size apk!) Just as Izzy wrote in comments. In this case the clean install will seem to provide the user with a smaller sized update than updating straight (but its somewhat misleading)

But as expected, the size will also increase as new data and cache are saved.

Note: with this route you likely lose all saved data within the application.

Generally speaking though, uninstalling the old version and installing the new version will use roughly the same space as updating the old version.

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