Google Play APK maximum size moving up to 500 Mb instead of 100 Mb?

  • Hi everyone,

    I've read this on the site linked to a Google Play email received this morning:

    Improved support for large apps: you can now upload large app bundles with installed APK sizes of up to 500MB without needing to use expansion files. This feature is in early access and we will roll it out to all developers in the future.

    Source: android-developers.googleblog.com/2018/10/playtime-2018.html

    Does that mean we are not restricted to 100 Mb anymore for Google play!? That would be huge as I was just about to start reducing my 165 Mb APK to less than 100, which would have been a long and painful process.

    Anyone has more info about this ? Any idea how to use it right now (as they are speaking about an early access). Sounds like an excellent news for all Construct users as, as far as I know, there was no way to use APK expansion files with Construct.

  • This is for "app bundle", a new export format, which is not currently proposed by Construct.

    So right this minute, you are still limited to a 100 mb APK.

    You likely can already, at this time, export your project as an Android Studio project and pack it as app bundle from this software. This is out of the scope of Construct though and would require to check Android Studio's documentation to see how to do it.

    This is interesting though, and I'm wondering what the dev team will have to say about it and if they feel they could incorporate this export type in an easy way in the Build Service.

  • Sounds like an excellent news for all Construct users as, as far as I know, there was no way to use APK expansion files with Construct.

    I haven't tried, but maybe it's working.

    https://www.npmjs.com/package/construct-android-expansion

  • I hadn't seen this, so thanks for bringing this to my attention. The scope of the changes they are bringing in is quite wide, but I'm hopeful this will improve the situation around APK size limits.

    Before I get into this it's worth noting that APK's do not have an actual size limit, the current 100mb limit is imposed by the play store.

    So... they have basically introduced a new intermediate format called Android App Bundles ( AAB ). You can now export one of these instead of an APK from android studio. But the kicker here is that you cannot install a AAB on an android phone. They are intended for is to be published to the play store, then when someone tries to download that app an APK is generated from AAB. This allows the APK to only included the code needed for that device, theoretically decreasing the APK size.

    At the moment cordova does not support AAB exports, and I cannot find any mention of them on their feature tracker... So we are unlikely to support this format on the build server for awhile. Also you need a special command line tool to convert an AAB to an APK for device installation/testing which makes it less useful. If you want to try it out you can export as an android studio project, and then generate an AAB using android studio ( some minor tinkering is required, and you must be fully up to date ).

    It's unclear if the 500MB size change will be available to APKs it sounds like it's only going to happen for AAB files.

    It's not really clear if this is going to remove the need for expansion APKs... I will keep an eye out, but will keep working on expansion APKs for now.

  • Thanks A LOT for the clarification, Nepeo !

    It's great to know you're working on expansion APKs! Can I ask if you have any approximative timeline for the release of this feature?

    To be more precise, my app should release in something like 1 month, maybe 2 maximum. Would you suggest that I wait for the feature to be live or do I have to do the long process of reducing my (already optimized) game's size by half, which will be a very hard work? (which will in any case result in a great loss of graphical quality)

    Also, my game is exported with Cordova in C2, then I use C3's APK exporter. Is it planned to work in this case?

    Thanks again!

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  • It's on pause at the moment, but will hopefully revisit it soon. Our policy is not to discuss when a feature will be complete, as it can be hard to predict and some people take our word as gospel. Sorry about that :/

    What I can tell you is the current intention is that only the C3 runtime will support expansion APKs. So it would unfortunately not support your current project. It's unlikely that we will look into backporting support to either the C2 or C2.3 runtimes in the future.

    If your up to the challenge you may have some luck exporting as an Android studio project and generating an AAB. There's supposedly some size reductions to be had just switching format. Failing that if your trying to reduce the size of an APK you can use a tool like 7-zip to see what it taking up the most space ( APK, AAB and C3P are all technically zip files ), and then optimise accordingly. I believe you can technically edit an APK directly, but you will have to manually align and sign the APK afterwards.

    Here's a screenshot looking at an AAB I created yesterday, other than a few small tweaks they aren't that different from an APK. Looking through it I can see that 4MB of the 7.6MB for this archive is taken up by music, and 2.6MB is images.

    I tried re-compressing one of those images with tinypng ( lossy ) and it went from 404KB to 146KB with no noticeable change. If all the images compressed that well the archive would now be 5.9MB. You probably have 2 versions of each audio track as well ( m4a and ogg ) but only need 1 ( ogg I believe ). If all the m4a files were removed that file would lose around 1.2MB coming to 4.7MB. Which is a pretty healthy reduction!

    You can make these changes in windows explorer; directly to the android studio project. So you don't have to mess around editing an APK file.

  • Thanks for the info, so now I know what to excepct from a APK expansion files and it helps me take decisions. The C2 exporter allows to select only Android Audio, so the project only contains .ogg already, but I didn't take the Tinypng route yet for this project. That will help a lot!

  • Ah cool, I didn't know you can export only OGG for Android. It's been awhile since I used C2. You could use ffmpeg to recompress your ogg files, it has several options for modifying the quality/file size of the output. Best practise is to always start with a source quality audio file ( WAV ) instead of recompressing a compressed file ( OGG ). ffmpeg is kinda complicated, but there's a lot of people chatting online about how to use it and the documentation isn't bad.

    TinyPNG can get some excellent compression levels, better than PNGCrush for the most part. But if the image has a lot of colours in you may end up with some quality loss. So it's worth experimenting.

    Best of luck!

  • Thanks for the further advices. I'll keep it in mind for the next time, because I passed most of my graphical assets through tinypng, and successfully managed to reduce the APK size to 95 Mb. ;)

    So as far as my current project is concerned, it's all good. Thanks for your help!

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