Android developers can now force app updates

Half a year ago, at the Android Dev Summit, Google announced a new way for developers to force their users to update their apps when they launch new features or important bug fixes. It’s only now, at Google I/O, though, that the company is actually making this feature available to developers. Previously, it was only available to a few select Google partners.

In addition, Google is also launching its dynamics updates feature out of beta. This allows developers to deliver some of their apps’ modules on demand, reducing the file size for the initial install.

“Right now, if you have an update, either you have auto-update or you need to go to the Play Store to even know that there is an update, or maybe the Play Store will give you a notification,” Chet Haase, Chief Advocate for Android, said. “But what if you have a really critical feature that you want people to get or, let’s say, a security issue you want to address, or a payment issue and you really want all of your users to get that as quickly as they can.”

This new feature, called Inline Updates, gives developers access to a new API that they can then use to force users to update. Developers can force users to update, say with a full-screen blocking message, force-install the update in the background and restart the app when the download has completed, or create their own custom update flows.

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