Apps crashing on your Android phone? Google will soon prompt you to update them

Apps crashing on your Android phone? Google will soon automatically prompt you to update them
Google's Android Developers Blog announced yesterday (via AndroidPolice) an interesting new feature for Android users with a device running Android 7.0 or later. If an app they are using crashes in the foreground (as opposed to when it is running in the background) and a more stable version of the app is available, the Play Store will prompt them to update the app. Google notes that from a developer's point of view, this will reduce the app's "user-perceived crash rate."

Developers and users don't have to do anything to enable the prompt as it is enabled automatically when Google Play determines that a newer version of an app that has crashed has a lower crash rate based on valid stats. You might ask, how will the app send a prompt if it has crashed? The answer is simple. Since the notice is coming from the Play Store and not the app, the prompt will appear even if the app crashes on startup.

The notification shows the name of the app and the size of the update. The message states, "The app stopped working, but the latest update for the app may fix the issue. Install the update and then open the app again. If you want to update later, go to Manage apps & device in Google Play." There are two buttons that can be pressed. The white one on the left says "No thanks," while the green one on the right says "Update."

Google says that it takes three things into account which it adjusts over time in order to help developers make sure that their apps are delivering the best possible experience to its users. Those three thresholds include:

  • User activity level of an app version according to Vitals to ensure we have statistical relevance.
  • Foreground crash rate of an app version and of its newer version.
  • Number of times a prompt can be shown for each version of your app on a device, if the user doesn’t choose to update.

That last threshold would seem to indicate that it will be up a developer to determine how often a user of one of his/her apps will be prompted to update to the latest version of said app. Most Android users, we would surmise, might need to be told just once to update and it will be done right away. Apparently, not all users are determined to be running the most recent, stable, and usually the best version of the apps they employ and enjoy.

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