Google’s Android 8.0 “streaming OS updates” will work even when phones have no space

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Google’s Android 8.0 Seamless Updates Will Download Even If Your Phone Has Insufficient Storage

Does a system update notification received on your Android device worry you because it doesn’t have storage space? No problem!

Google’s most anticipated and upcoming Android 8.0 OS will now allow you to download updates even if your phone is low on storage. Apparently, this new feature called “streaming updates” has been introduced by the tech giant in its forthcoming Android 8.0 OS, reports Ars Technica who spotted these changes in the new Android documentation for Seamless system updates. The system is borrowed from the update engine in ChromeOS and has been introduced in the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

The new feature is expected to reduce the storage space requirement on phone from 1GB to 100 KiB of metadata and help smartphones owners with smaller internal storage to stay abreast with the latest Android versions.

The “seamless update” feature (also known as A/B system updates) was first introduced by Google in Android 7.0, with a dual partition system scheme – “System A” and “System B”. In this, the active slot is partition A, while partition B is the unused or inactive slot that is not used by the running OS for normal operation. All update activity takes place on partitions in the unused slot.



So, how does it work? For instance, if the user is using the partition A, then the update will be installed on the partition B so that nothing is interrupted and it’s ready for installation as soon as the process is completed.

“The goal of this feature is to make updates fault resistant by keeping the unused slot as a fallback. If there is an error during an update or immediately after an update, the system can rollback to the old slot and continue to have a working system”, Google notes.

Seamless system update feature is already available on the Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

“Users don’t always have enough space on /data to download the update package, and neither OEMs nor users want to waste space on a /cache partition; so some users go without updates because they have nowhere to store the update package,” Google notes.

“A/B updates have the option of streaming the update to address this issue: streaming writes blocks straight to the B partition as they are downloaded, without having to store them on /data. Therefore, streaming A/B updates need almost no temporary storage and need just enough for roughly 100kB of metadata.”

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