Some Android apps will soon update even while still in use

Android Dev Summit

For less urgent stuff, the new tools will let the app update in the background, even while it's being used.

Naturally, I go into Google Play to see if there is an update, only to find almost half of the apps on their phone in need of updating.

Called the In-App Updates API, there are two options developers can choose: Immediate or Flexible.

The feature was announced as part of Android's In-App Updates API, which Google said is now being tested and will launch to developers soon.

Talking about the recent updates, Android product management, and developer relations Stephanie Saad Cuthberston said, "This is something that developers have asked us for a long time is - say you own an app and you want to make sure the user is running the latest version". Well, it proved so popular (even among mainline Android users) that the app is getting rebranded to just “Files by Google”.

For those unfamiliar with this app, Files by Google allows Android users to free up space on their mobile devices by storing it in the cloud using Google Drive. From that notice you'll see an update button, meaning you won't need to go into Google Play to retrieve the update.

Today, we're rebranding the app to Files by Google. Though there's a catch, the app downloads the update when a user is using it, but it gets installed when you reopen the app. Once the update is downloaded, simply restart the app and you're done.

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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