Latest iOS 6 Beta Makes App Store Updates Super Snappy

Latest iOS 6 Beta Makes App Store Updates Super Snappy

App updates appear to be snappier in the latest iOS 6 beta.

While Apple’s latest iOS 6 beta didn’t make any significant changes to the platform’s front-end — aside from removing the YouTube app — it did make some changes under the hood. In addition to “bug fixes,” it appears the fourth beta has made some improvements to App Store download times that make updating your apps super snappy.

As shown in the video below — spotted by Brazilian site BlogdoiPhone — an update to Apple’s Podcasts app on the iPhone takes significantly less time to download and install than it does on iOS 5.1.1.

While it could be that the iPhones in this clip are connected to different Wi-Fi networks, with one faster than the other, I was able to confirm this myself by downloading this morning’s BBC iPlayer update on my iPhone 4S running iOS 6 beta 4, and my wife’s iPhone 4S running iOS 5.1.1. Although there wasn’t a major difference — nowhere near the difference shown in this video — mine was slightly quicker.

BlogdoiPhone speculates that this could be a sign Apple has finally introduced support for “delta” updates in iOS 6. This means that rather than downloading entire apps all over again, just to introduce new features or bug fixes, you just download a patch containing the changes.

Of course, for that to happen, iOS developers would need to change how they upload their apps to Apple. Rather than updating the entire package, as they do now, they’d have to update just the changes — or the delta update. Or they’d have to update the entire app, and the delta update for existing users.

Having said that, seeing as the app in this video is Apple’s own Podcasts app, it’s possible the Cupertino company is testing delta updates before opening them up to third-party developers.

Delta updates would certainly be a welcome introduction to iOS, especially to users who use their data connection to update their apps. It’s likely to be only a matter of time before they arrive. But it is also hard to say whether or not this is a delta update in action.

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  • tarkwather

    How are you on airplane mode with wifi turned on?

  • marsk

    One thing that I want to able to tell the update app’s size…. I sent feedback quite a few times to Apple, but no one care…

  • Clark Wallace

    How are you on airplane mode with wifi turned on?

    It’s been around since iOS5 I believe.

  • TJDrennan

    I don’t believe developers need to change the way they upload files to Apple. Apple can generate binary delta diffs between old versions of the application and the new version of the application themselves. They can then download the correct version to a device requesting an update using only the delta.

  • Fabio Papa

    It might not be deltas making the download/installation quicker. It could be that iOS6 makes it so you download only the portion of the app that’s needed for your particular iDevice. Currently if you download, for example, Dropbox on your iPhone, you get the iPhone version with and without retina graphics, as well as the iPad version with and without retina graphics. That makes the app package much bigger than it needs to be. Sending you only the portion you will use on that particular device would definitely account for both the decreased download time and installation time. From a layman’s perspective, this would be easier to implement than deltas, and more efficacious, IMO. It would also lead to freeing up a lot of space on your iDevice.

    Of course that means that not just updates would be quicker, but also new installs. Which means my theory is easily testable.

  • SkolVikes88

    It’s also faster as you don’t have to put in your password for app updates. Purchases, yes. So it’s easier to update without having to fumble for the complex password you use :)

  • siddharthbandhu

    Let’s just hope the iPad has a good refresh too.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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