Last year at Google I/O, the big G had announced that it would be increasing the Android app size limit to a whopping 4GB from the current limit of only 50MB. Now, more than 8 months after the initial announcement, Google has finally announced in a blog post that from going forward developers can host their APK files along with two companion files of 2GB each in size.
The increase in limit does not mean that Android apps APKs will be of up to 4GB in size. Instead, the maximum APK file size limit is still 50MB. However, this APK file is now accompanied by two expansion files, in any format as selected by the developer, with a maximum size of up to 2GB. When a user downloads the app, he will see the total size of the app, and not just the size of the APK. In newer Android devices, the 15 minutes refund window will also begin only after the whole file app (APK + expansion files) has been downloaded. On older devices though, the expansion files will be downloaded only when a user starts the app for the first time.
The advantage of this method from Google is that users don’t need to download the whole (APK + expansion) files again, if the app is ever updated. Simply updating the APK file will do the job!
While developers are free to host the files on their own server, hosting on Google will give them certain advantages. These include a progress bar in the notification bar and the estimated download time remaining, the ability to resume downloads safely, run in the background as a service and most importantly, pause a download when there is no Wi-Fi network available and then automatically resume it when it is.
Developers can find more info regarding this on Google’s official Android Developer’s blog.