When Android 7.0 Nougat arrived in 2016, Google introduced a new seamless update system that allowed users to continue using their device while updates were installed in the background. Later on, Google made it mandatory for all smartphone manufacturers, and it is most prevalent on Google’s own Pixel smartphones. But the system wasn’t without its faults – even on the latest Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro devices.
Now, it looks like the latest Android 14 QPR update has speeded things up considerably and fixed issues that plagued the entire update pipeline. However, what are seamless updates? It includes an A/B disk partitioning strategy, which ensures that you can continue using your phone while updates are installed in the background. It’s only when you reboot something to switch to an updated version that you realize something is wrong. After the update, rebooting your device is as fast as a normal restart without any additional waiting.
Another advantage is that if the over-the-air (OTA) update doesn’t work (let’s say a bad flash), it’s not a problem for you. Your device will continue to run the older version. Also, if an update is done but the device does not start properly, it will roll back to the previous software build without any risk of bricking.
This system also saves you the trouble of freeing up the internal storage before installation, as there is no need for a separate download. If there are any glitches such as I/O errors, they only affect the part of the device that is not in use. Also, these errors are less likely to occur as the update process tries not to put too much load on the system, keeping things smooth for you.
persistent update problem
Although this all sounds good on paper, it is not a perfect system. I have often noticed that even a small update takes a long time to install. In some cases, I have faced wait times of an hour or more. This is an issue that plagues all of Google’s Pixel phones, and it’s always annoying to encounter. However, reports continue reddit The Android 14 QPR2 Beta 1 update is suggested to offer significantly faster update times.
was able to independently verify that the update package took less than 10 minutes to install and get to the device reboot stage. Google hasn’t officially said anything about such improvements, but code hunter Mishaal Rahman spotted some changes last year in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which was seeking to improve the A/B installation process .
A key element of the seamless update system is compression, which effectively makes A/B update installation more space-efficient and speeds up merge times. Google has now apparently started using two threads instead of relying on a single processor thread to execute the entire process.
it was a tweak Merged in the AOSP resource back in December last year, and it looks like implementation has finally started on Pixel phones with the Android 14 QPR2 Beta 1 update. If you want to delve deeper into the technical aspects of how Google makes Android updates fast and secure, check this out detailed description By Rahman.