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I have found that auto-updating apps from the Play Store sometimes causes me an inconenience: A newer versions of an app sometimes doesn't have the features I liked in the older version. Thus, I selectively update my apps

I'm wondering what happens in this scenario: Let's say I download an app today, call it version 1.0, that I do not auto-update. An update to 1.1 is released some time later, then a release to 1.2, then 1.3 etc. So let's say I decide to update when 1.3 comes out. Does updating then cumulatively capture changes from 1.2 and 1.1 as as well? Or have I missed functionality in 1.1 or 1.2?

Put another way, I would assume an update at that time would make that app identical to what is available on the Play Store that day. Is that correct?

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This is not about Android apps per se, but about softwares in general. Whether you make incremental update (say 1.3 to 1.4) or full update by skipping some versions (say 1.1 to 1.4), you finally end up with same version which would offer same functionality. The difference is that the changelog which shows the changes that took place in the most recent version is written in comparison to last revision. Thus, when skipping updates you would want to read all the changelogs available in between to get a full idea of what new features or lack of feature are available to you after the update.

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Android applications are used to perform a task or a group of tasks. App updates are additional features that are added to the current version of that app. An application has several states while running on mobile such as start, stop, resume, terminate etc.

Play Store is one of the secured source for downloading and installing android applications. A developer in play store will release two types of app(not for every apps).

  1. Stable : This version runs stable on most devices and may not have any app close or similar issues.

  2. Beta : Releases updates under development stages and not upto stable. User need to join beta program from play store.

So, if you have installed an app from play store, then you can run that app without updating for long time, because that is stable. The only thing you've missing will be updated features. For example, Google phone app(say version 23). It had added new design few months ago, but if you're running version 22, you can use as long as you can. And you'll only miss new design, dark theme like that. And, if you're installing version 29, after skipping 23,24,.. , you'll get features of that versions, after updating to version 29. It's because android apps are developed incremental basis( as Firelord mentioned below).

Also, there are some apps which requires strict updates. Example, WhatsApp. WhatsApp will check the current version of app and prohibits app usage until app update. This occurs because WhatsApp may stop support specific version after few months(may be yearly, you're redirected to play store while opening WhatsApp).

System apps may get auto updated during OTA/ security updates released by manufacturer.

If you're installing an app from play store today, you're installing today's latest stable version.

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