Mar 06 AT 10:44 AM Anthony Domanico 25 Comments

Google increases maximum app size from 50MB to 4GB


If you’ve ever downloaded a game on the Android Market, you’ve probably noticed that most of the more complex games make you download large files the first time you launch the application. This has been a source of frustration for many Android users, especially when you take into account Android’s 15 minute refund window which begins as soon as the application is downloaded to your phone. Adding a 1GB download to an application can easily eat up most or all of that 15 minute window, leaving you with sunk costs if you don’t actually enjoy the game.

The reason these downloads outside the market exist is because Google has limited the maximum application size for any app on the market to 50MB, hardly enough space for most modern games. As a result, game developers have had to host the additional files needed to run the game on their servers, and users are stuck downloading extra game resources directly from the source.

Yesterday, Google announced that they would be increasing the application size limit to 4GB, though the maximum APK (the core application itself) file size will remain 50MB. Developers will be able to add two expansion files, each with a maximum allowable file size of 2GB. The announcement comes a staggering 10 months after they announced this change would be coming back at Google I/O in May 2011.

This change benefits both Android users and developers. For consumers, you’ll be able to see the total download size directly in the market, and the 15 minute refund window will begin after all files are downloaded, allowing you to truly try out the game before buying. This change only affects newer devices, and older devices will still have to download the extra files via an external download server (though one powered by Google).

Developers will now be able to host all files related to the application on Google’s servers, freeing up space and capacity on their servers for coming up with the next great thing in Android (or, you know, whatever else you’d need server space/capacity for).

For more information on the change, be sure to head over to the Android Developers Blog and read up to your heart’s content.

Source: Android Developers Blog

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • spazby

    Even though I have never tried to get a refund, a little extra time to evaluate is always welcome…

    • jaxidian

      Yeah, although I wish they allowed a full hour. That gives you time to:
      1) Install and set up the app/game/utility
      2) If it doesn’t work, it gives you time to Google a possible solution and try it
      3) If it still doesn’t work, it gives you time to get a refund

      15 minutes is simply insufficient, even with this change. However, this does help a little bit, so I’ll take a slight improvement over nothing! Also, freeing up server resources is actually pretty huge for devs!

      • Jeff Pan

        Google can easily track when the application ran for the first time and start counting from there !

    • jsweetser2

      This is great news. Even though games will probably not reach 2 to 4 gigs anytime soon, I know some developers of great games (hakfbrick and Mika mobile) had stated on their boots last year that the file size limit was keeping them from bringing updates and/or entire games from the iOS platform. They didn’t want to go through the hassle of putting a launcher and hosting the files.

      For anyone that’s been waiting a year for Battleheart updates with new classes or jetpack joyride, this new increase in file size could usher those updates to our wonderful android playground.

      • jsweetser2

        UGH. *Halfbrick and *blogs, not boots!

  • dpleus

    I find the increase to 4GB a little excessive. Internal storage capacities on phones can’t support apps of this size. Unless this is more designed around the sale of videos and not just the rental. I have a Rezound, and I only have 16GB internal, which mean realistically I could install three 4GB apps. It’ll be interesting to see what developers do though.

    • jaxidian

      This isn’t about getting everybody to install a bunch of 4GB applications. That is ridiculous! This is effectively about saying, “Hey, there is no limit.” However, in technology, “no limit” doesn’t exist, so you have put put a cap on it somewhere. Putting a cap at 4GB effectively makes it nearly unlimited.

      • junkiee

        this reminds me of Bill Gates saying that 700kb is enough for everyone :D

    • AsakuraZero

      4gb is big enough for games like modern combat 3, like jixidian said, i have found many apps and games that easy breaks the limit of 50mb file size, now atleast we are not getting a 2 phase download anymore.

      good to see this thinking from google, and it was on the right time (because games are getting beefy)

      • thel0nerang3r

        The going over 50MB is news to me. I have bought several games that are bigger then that. I think the change is what’s hosted on Google’s servers. I’ve bough several games that have a small initial download and and a lot of data to be dl over wifi.

      • ss

        why people sometimes ask for a limit??? i would say put as much as you can, how abot 8gb? 4gb is nice too, but not too big.. lol

    • Triplanetary

      Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to suddenly start seeing a bunch of 4GB games popping up. In my experience the average download size for that additional data is around 150 MB. Games of that size will now be downloadable entirely from the Market, and that’s a good thing.

  • Slith

    Code bloat? Check!

    • delinear

      Possibly, but smaller apps are still going to be more attractive on mobiles and tablets when you take tariffs, limited processing power and limited storage into account. The incentive is still there to optimise, if anything this might help as we’ll know up front how big the app is instead of downloading 50mb then realising you have to download several hunted more.

      • delinear

        *Several hundred – thanks for that Swype :)

  • kwills88

    This opens the door for console like games on tablets and our phones, if only they make our internal sd card hold a minimum of 32 gb. I’ve gotten screwed in the Android Market because of that 15min window would nice to increase the time.

    • delinear

      Yeah the 15 minutes can be harsh, especially for complex apps with a lot of functionality. It has saved me a couple of times with apps that don’t yet work in ICS but don’t tell you that in the description but you do have to be very thorough in that sort time.

      This move could definitely help with big apps but I wonder if some developers like the fact that the additional download uses up all your evaluation time and might still structure apps in this way.


    certainly simplifies things

  • xallies

    The application should have a counter at the bottom so we know how much time we have to evaluate it.

  • Hall Lo

    That is good. I always hate how games have to download additional packages in order to run, and when it’s downloading you cannot quit the app or the download stops. I really love this change :D

  • dVyper

    Good news, I like

  • CTown

    So, can we finally get GTA: Chinatown Wars (the DS version was pretty fun)? What about a NBA game?

    ^Those are some games I would like to hear about!

  • lokidokie

    Yay. Finally!!

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