Google are rolling out a new In-App Updates API that will let apps updated while still running. Developers will also be given tools to help steer you towards installing more urgent updates, with in-app notifications to run updates immediately.
New features for the Android App Bundle tool have been announced at today's Android Dev Summit.
Developers won't able to force users into running urgent updates, instead they'll be able to display a full-screen message when a user starts up an app, strongly pushing them towards running the update.
This notification won't lock people out of the app. Users will still be able to opt-out of the update for perfectly legitimate reasons like lack of access to wi-fi, low battery or simply not wanting to run the update. That last one isn't really a legitimate reason, it's just going to happen. Which is why having more ways to get users to update their apps is a good thing for developers.
Other, less urgent, updates can be run in the background while the current version app is still running. Meaning people with slow download speeds can keep using their apps instead of twiddling their thumbs waiting for updates. Once the update is ready, it will run the next time the app is launched.
Eventually this API will be rolled out to all developers but for now it's being tested by a few Play Store app partners.