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Modular System Components

Android 10 or higher modularizes some Android system components and enables them to be updated outside of the normal Android release cycle. End-user devices can receive updates to these modularized system components from the Google Play Store infrastructure or through a partner-provided over-the-air (OTA) mechanism.

About modular system components

Modular system components enable Google and Android partners to distribute updates broadly, quickly, and seamlessly to end-user devices in a nonintrusive manner. For example, the combination of media codec fragmentation and critical bugs can dramatically slow app adoption and user engagement. Frequent updates to media-related modules can reduce codec fragmentation to make media app behavior more consistent across different Android devices and fix critical bugs to build user trust.

Architecture

Android 10 or higher converts selected system components into modules, some of which use the APEX container format (introduced in Android 10) and some of which use the APK format. The modular architecture enables system components to be updated with critical bug fixes and other improvements as needed, without affecting lower-level vendor implementations or higher-level apps and services.

Modular system components

Figure 1. Modularized system components

Module updates don't introduce new APIs. They use only the SDK and System APIs guaranteed by the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), communicate only with each other, and use only stable C API or stable AIDL interfaces.

Updated modular system components can be packaged together and pushed to end-user devices, either by Google (using the Google Play Store infrastructure) or by the Android partner (using a partner-provided OTA mechanism). The module package installs (and rolls back) atomically, meaning all modules that need to be updated are updated or none are. For example, if a module that needs to be updated can't be updated for any reason, the device doesn't install any of the modules in the package.

Available modules

Android includes the following modules.

Module name Package name Type Release introduced
adbd com.google.android.adbd APEX Android 11
Runtime com.android.runtime.release.apex APEX Android 10
Captive Portal Login com.android.captiveportallogin APK Android 10
CellBroadcast com.google.android.cellbroadcast APEX Android 11
Conscrypt com.android.conscrypt APEX Android 10
DNS Resolver com.android.resolv APEX Android 10
DocumentsUI com.android.documentsui APK Android 10
ExtServices com.android.ext.services APK (Android 10)
APEX (Android 11)
Android 10
IPsec/IKEv2 Library com.google.android.ipsec APEX Android 11
Media Codecs com.android.media.swcodec APEX Android 10
Media com.android.media APEX Android 10 (extractors, MediaSession API)
Android 11 (MediaParser API)
MediaProvider com.google.android.mediaprovider APK-in-APEX Android 11
ModuleMetadata com.android.modulemetadata APK Android 10
Network Stack Permission Configuration com.android.networkstack.permissionconfig APK Android 10
Network Components com.android.networkstack APK Android 10
NNAPI Runtime com.google.android.neuralnetworks APK Android 11
PermissionController com.android.permissioncontroller APK Android 10
SDK Extensions com.android.sdkext APEX Android 11
Statsd com.google.android.os.statsd APEX Android 11
Telemetry Train Version Package com.google.mainline.telemetry APEX Android 11
Tethering com.google.android.tethering APK Android 11
Time Zone Data com.android.tzdata APEX Android 10
Wi-Fi com.google.android.wifi.apex APEX Android 11