The Samsung Galaxy S23 and also various other tools introducing with Android 13 can ultimately be required to sustain smooth system updates. This indicates that you will certainly no more need to await mins as your phone mounts the most up to date system upgrade — rather, your phone will certainly set up the system upgrade behind-the-scenes and also just need you to reboot your tool to use it, similar to Google has actually done points with the initial Pixel onwards to the Pixel 6 and also 6 Pro.

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As Esper’s Android professional Mishaal Rahman records, the factor behind this is that Android 13 can make digital A/B dividers necessary for all mobile phones. Essentially, these dividers make it feasible to have the Android system mounted on your phone 2 times — one-time as the variation you’re utilizing, and also afterward as the variation that is being upgraded to the most up to date launch. As soon as the various other, extra variation is completed upgrading, your phone just requires too right into the dividers with the brand-new upgrade, which doesn’t take much longer than a simple reboot.

The option to opt for this install method has existed since Android 7, but Google is only now making it mandatory. That’s because the partition system has drawbacks, too. A phone that has two versions of Android on it needs a lot more space allocated to the system than one that only has one release that gets updated straight away. This has been one of the big problems Google wanted to overcome before forcing the update method onto everyone, and it looks like the company mostly succeeded over the years, with tricks like dynamic sizes for partitions, compression, and by cleaning up files that are no longer needed.

This table shows how much space different partitioning systems take up on Pixel phones, with compressed virtual A/B being the most recent one that only takes up about 0.7GB more than a system that does not support A/B at all

If you’re someone who likes to set up Android updates as soon as they’re available, the partition update system has actually another disadvantage revolving around time. While you have to wait for a few minutes for your phone to update when it only has one system partition, the whole process is fully finished in that timeframe. On Pixel phones, which use an A/B update system, the process can take a lot longer as it’s happening in the background, and other processes take priority. A system update that would take 20 minutes tops from download to fully installed on a Samsung phone can take more than an hour on a Pixel phone.

Since most people prefer their phones to be in a usable state for as long as possible and don’t care for faster update speeds, the forced a/b update system is a change for the better for most people, though.

Google initially already tried to make A/B partitions mandatory with Android 11, yet the company gutted the requirement due to storage concerns from manufacturers. This time around, it looks like the company stuck with the requirements, as it significantly overhauled the partitioning system and made it take up even less space than before, with a sample Google Pixel device just taking up 0.7GB more with a compressed virtual A/B system than it would if it didn’t have A/B at all.

For a deep dive into how Google got there, what kinds of dividers options there are, and also what this new requirement means for the storage offered to you on your phone, be sure to check out Mishaal Rahman’s deep study the subject on Esper.

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