Play Store’s ‘Play as you download’ is coming to all Android 12 devices

Play Store’s ‘Play as you download’ is coming to all Android 12 devices

Google revealed “Play as you download” in July of last year, which would allow some games and applications from the Play Store to be opened while they were still downloading. After a long wait, Google says the functionality will roll out to all Android 12 devices soon.

This is more or less identical to functionality that has been available for years on other game platforms, such as PlayStation, Xbox, EA Origin, Activision Blizzard’s, and others. Developers have support Google Play Signing and Play Assset Delivery, but once that happens, you’ll be able to open a given application or game while the Play Store is still downloading.

Play as you download demo

Left: Without “play as you download. Right: With “play as you download.”

Google previously revealed to XDA Developers that Play as you downloaded uses Android’s Incremental File System, a “special-purpose Linux virtual file system that allows execution of a program while its binary and resource files are still being lazily downloaded over the network.” The Incremental File System is only available on Android 12, thus the requirement for Android 12 with Play as you download.

Google now says that Play as you download will become available for all Android 12 devices “soon.” There’s unfortunately no specific timeline, but even when Google flips the switch, you’ll probably only be able to use it with a few games at the start. Some games also might choose to not support the functionality at all, especially if the download size is already so small that it downloads within a few seconds with a reasonably-fast internet connection. That’s also the reason this functionality is primarily for games and not other types of applications.

Google has been testing other improvements for Android games in recent months, such as a Game Dashboard in Android 12 and a new Play Games for PC desktop emulator.

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer. Check out what he's up to at

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