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Seamless updates means Android N will now update in the background

The final version of Android N, and all future updates, are gaining a new trick: the ability to download and update in the background, without the need to restart first.

Published onMay 18, 2016

Android N easter egg

While the vast majority of the Android N features that Google talked about during its keynote this morning were mostly just recaps of things we already knew, there were at least a few new tweaks that were highlighted as well. Google also talked a bit about seamless updates, though amidst all the other announcements it was something we somewhat overlooked highlighting earlier.

The idea of automatically downloading new Android versions in the background is nothing new, but with the final version of Android N it doesn’t just download them in the background — it also installs them. That means you no longer have to reboot your phone and deal with a lengthy “installing update” type message. Instead, once everything has been installed, you’ll reboot and almost instantly things will be ready to go.

If this sounds familiar that’s because this is the same approach to updates that Chromebooks take. Android N accomplishes this by having two system partitions. When an update is found the update is installed to the secondary partition. Once you restart your device, the secondary partition switches over to being primary and that’s that.

This new method will be supported by all Android N devices, not just Nexus and other stock Android products. Of course this doesn’t mean OEMs will rollout updates any faster, it just means when Android N comes (and other future updates), you’ll be able to install them in the background while doing other things.

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