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Google today announced a change that should help Android developers who are building more complex apps and games: The size limit allowed on Google Play has been increased from 50MB to 100MB. While it’s possible to build an Android app or game of any size, the Play store has a cap.
This limit serves two purposes. First, it ensures developers write code efficiently and keep an eye on the overall size of their project. Secondly, it ensures users don’t have to wait too long to download the app or game, install it, and open it. As Google explained, it’s a tight balance between taking advantage of the available hardware, targeting diverse audiences around the world, and offering a speedy experience.
The file size limit is now 50MB for APKs that target Android 3.2 and lower (API level 13 or lower). For APKs that target Android 4.0 and higher (API level 14 or higher), it’s now 100MB.
If a developer can’t support all devices with a single APK, he or she can upload multiple APKs using the same app listing. Each file will simply target different device configurations.
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Still, Google noted, “Even though you can make your app bigger, it doesn’t always mean you should.” Developers should be mindful of mobile data connectivity (users on a slow connection are less likely to install a big app or game), mobile data caps (users are wary of downloading large files for fear of being charged extra), app performance (the larger your app or game, the slower it may run, particularly on older devices), and install time (longer wait times increase the risk users will give up).
One last important point: If you’re worried about updates eating into your bandwidth, keep in mind that this doesn’t affect any settings you have on your device. The default update setting is still auto-updating apps over Wi-Fi only.
Like Apple, Google lets developers use expansion files to exceed the limit to 4GB. Microsoft goes further; the Windows Store has a cap of 150GB.
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