Google will soon roll out Android 8.0 to compatible Pixel and Nexus devices, and that’s when the Pixels will receive a pretty neat storage trick that’s not going to be available another popular platform.
Android 8.0 devices will be able to “stream OS updates” even when there’s no available storage on the device. That’s right, instead of getting “storage full” error messages when updating to the latest Android release, Pixel users will still be able to update. That means you won’t have to deal with freeing up precious storage space to run the latest version of Android, which can be an annoying chore.
Google released new documentation that details an exciting new trick of the “Seamless Updates” feature that was first introduced in Android 7.0. Pixel phones have a dual system partition setup that allows users to experience fast updates. The way this works is pretty simple: You keep using System A while System B updates in the background. Once the update is performed on System B, it becomes the phone’s OS after a simple restart. That means less downtime and faster, seamless updates.
Starting with Android 8.0, this storage-management-and-updates feature will get “streaming updates.” That means the update will be performed even if you do not have any storage left on the phone. Update data will be streamed from the internet directly to the partition that’s offline (Partition B in the above example), and written block by block, ready to boot. As Ars Technica explains, an update will only need 100KB worth of free space for metadata rather than the 1GB of free space updates normally require.
You won’t need to delete any pics, apps or other content to enjoy fast updates. At the same time, however, Android 8.0 will occupy more storage on the device to pull off these streaming updates.
Ars further notes that the update will be ported to devices that can run Android 7.0 and later versions of the mobile OS via a Google Play update. That’s great news, but not really helpful to anyone not rocking Pixel handsets. Only Google’s Pixels come with a dual boot setup right now. That means the Pixels will be ready to upgrade to Android O even if you don’t have any storage space left.