Smartphones Updates: What Developers Need to Know

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As smartphones become more and more ubiquitous in our lives, the need for timely updates becomes increasingly essential. An OTA update allows developers to push out changes and improvements to their users without going through the often tedious process of releasing a new version of an app.

There are two types of OTA updates: major and minor. Major updates typically include new features or significant changes to the app, while minor updates are usually smaller bug fixes or performance improvements.

The importance of beta testing cannot be overstated for OTA updates. By releasing a beta version of an update, developers can get feedback from users and make sure that there are no significant issues before pushing it out to the general public.

Rolling out an update without affecting users is always the goal, but sometimes things can go wrong. Developers need to be prepared for this possibility and have a plan for dealing with it if it happens.

Background On The Need For Updates

Developers need to keep their apps up-to-date for a variety of reasons. Newer versions of an app can include bug fixes, performance improvements, and new features. These updates are often required to maintain compatibility with the latest versions of iOS or Android. 

Updates can be delivered in a few different ways, depending on the size and scope of the changes. For minor changes, developers can push out so-called “patch updates.” These updates are usually reserved for fixing bugs or making other minor changes to an app. On the other hand, larger updates require a new version of the app to be submitted to Apple’s App Store or Google Play. 

Types Of Updates And How They Work

Developers need to be aware of two types of updates: app updates and OS updates. App updates are released by the developers themselves, while Apple and Google release OS updates. 

App updates can be delivered automatically or manually. Automatic updates are the default setting on most smartphones and are generally the preferred method for providing app updates. With this setting turned on, your phone will periodically check for new versions of apps that you have installed and download them in the background. As the name suggests, manual updating requires you to update apps yourself from within the App Store or Google Play. 

These kinds of updates usually include major new features or changes to your phone’s operating system. For example, iOS 11 was a major update that introduced a new design language and a slew of new features like augmented reality and peer-to-peer Apple Pay. OS updates, on the other hand, can only be delivered manually. 

One of the most critical aspects of delivering updates is beta testing. This is when developers make their new app or OS update available to a group of users before releasing it to the general public. Beta testing allows developers to iron out bugs or problems before making the update available to everyone. 

It’s also important to note that not all users will receive an update simultaneously. Developers usually roll out updates gradually, with only a tiny percentage of users receiving the update at first. This helps ensure that any problems are caught early on and don’t affect many users.

The Importance Of Beta Testing  

Testing the update first is essential before releasing an update to all users. This is typically done by removing the update to a small group of users, usually those who have signed up for beta testing. Beta testing allows developers to catch any bugs or issues before the update is released to everyone. 

Beta testing can be done in two ways: internal and external. Internal beta testing is when a developer releases the update to a small group of employees or friends. External beta testing is when the developer releases the update to a larger group of users, usually through a service like TestFlight or Google Play Beta Testing. 

Both types of beta testing are essential and have their own advantages and disadvantages. Internal beta testers are usually more familiar with the app and can provide better feedback. On the other hand, external beta testers are more representative of the general population of users and can catch issues that internal beta testers might not think to look for. 

In general, it’s a good idea to release an update to both internal and external beta testers before releasing it to everyone. This gives you the best chance of catching any bugs or issues before they cause problems for all your users. 

How To Roll Out An Update Without Affecting Users

One of the most important things to consider when rolling out an update is how it will affect your users. A bad update can cause crashes, data loss, and a host of other problems. To avoid these problems, it’s essential to roll out updates gradually. 

The most common way to do this is to release the update to a small percentage of users at first. If there are no problems, you can then increase the rate of users who receive the update until it’s eventually rolled out to everyone. This gradual approach allows you to catch any problems early and prevent them from affecting all your users. 

Another thing to consider when rolling out an update is what version of the app your users are on. If you’re releasing a major update, it’s usually best to wait until most of your users are on the latest version before releasing it. This ensures that everyone has access to the same features and makes it easier to provide support if there are any problems.

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