Google is planning to test the reduction of OTA update time in virtual A/B partitions of Android 13, as per the latest patches submitted to Android Open Source Project Gerrit.
The new mechanism is said to reduce the update time by around 40%, thus making the process faster. Although this is currently being tested only by Google on its latest Pixel phones, whole other OEMs are yet to try it.
Speeding Up the Process
Installing a new OTA update on your Android phone used to be a hassle, with the device downloading the data first and installing it slowly in batches – and restarting several times during the process.
This was transformed by Google with Seamless Updates in Android 7.0 Nougat, where it uses virtual A/B partitions to update the device without letting us know. Under this process, the system downloads and installs the software update in the background, a secondary virtual system partition, and switches to new when rebooted.
While this is an interesting concept, it increased the total process time to as long as 20 minutes – forcing Google to improve it. And with some new patches submitted in the Android Open Source Project Gerrit, the improvement is on the way.
Google is working on making OTA updates faster. A new set of patches has been submitted to AOSP that speed up OTAs on devices that use the virtual A/B with compression update mechanism. Combined, these improvements bring a full OTA install time from ~23 minutes to ~13 minutes! pic.twitter.com/2hDliWzUZZ
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) November 30, 2022
As spotted by Mishaal Rahman, Google is working on a new compression mechanism that’ll effectively reduce the OTA update installation time by as much as 10 minutes! That’s around 50% when compared to the average installation time now.
Testing this on a Pixel 6 Pro revealed that an OTA installation of a 2.2GB pack has reduced from 23 minutes to around 13 minutes. Further, an incremental update worth 376MB took 16 minutes, down from 22 minutes originally.
All the improvements Google made to the virtual A/B partitions on Android 13 will reduce the compression size by 25% to 40% and merge times by as much as 40%. Yet, this is being implemented only on Pixel as of now, with other OEMs yet to try.