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March 6, 2012

Google increases Android's apps size — tackles security loophole, improves refunds

In a blog post titled Android Apps Break the 50MB Barrier, Google has said that the max app size has now been increased from 50MB to 4GB. 

Currently apps get around the 50MB limit by forcing the users to download "sd data" outside the market which has security issues, as Google has no control over what data is downloaded.

The refunding policy has also been changed so that the refund will start only after the app has been completely downloaded — which is a welcome change.
Current limit of 50Mb is avoided through data download
Currently Android market only allows an app to be upto 50MB in size. This works for most applications like productivity suites, timers, video players etc.

But many games already have overshoot the 50MB mark and get around the android market limits by forcing users to update outside the market through wifi or 3G from the developers website.

Users also, are not able to see the total size of the app before buying, which is important  on devices with limited storage memory.

What the update addresses
  • APK files still limited to 50MB
  • Every app to have up to 2 expansion files each limited to 2GB
  • So the total app size has been increase to 4.05GB
  • The total size, including the expansion files, will be seen before
  • downloading
  • Android market will be hosting the file
  • The 15-minute refund period won't start till the entire
  • app, including the expansion, is downloaded

The current limit of 50MB was arbitrary and was easily bypassed by the app developers. What this update forces the developers is to use the Android market for the sd data also.

This has two main advantages:
  • Closing security loopholes
  • Better refunds
Closing security loopholes
Because the "sd data" was downloaded outside the market, Google had absolutely no control over it. So a rogue app developer, could make the apk harmless, but the data download could potentially have a malware code.

With this update, Google is closing this huge loophole as the entire data will be hosted in the market and only the approved data, checked by Google, will be downloaded by the users. This is in-line with recent Google initiatives like Bouncer and running apps in emulators to check for rogue behaviour.

Better refunds
Another issue previously was that, the refunds process started after the apk was downloaded. Many times the refund windows used to expire even before the sd data was downloaded, which made the refund process meaningless.

This welcome update tackles this issue also, as the windows will start only when the entire app including the data will be downloaded. So you can not actually test the app for 15 minutes to see whether or not you would like to keep it

Overall a very welcome update, which not only has the potential to make Android more secure but will also help many users frustrated with the 15 minute refund window for games which had a huge of data to be downloaded. Thumbs up!

Now hopefully Google will look to address more security concerns like stopping access of personal photos by rogue applications.


  1. Thanks for the extra info on the subject matter.

  2. Thanks for Google to increases android app size 50MB to 4.05GB that is the way we can get benefit of Closing security loopholes and Better refunds in to Google android apps

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