Android smartphone users, particularly those who have limited storage space on their devices, will not have to delete apps. Google is readying ‘App Archiving’, a feature that basically makes space for new apps or data by selectively removing some parts of the unused or unwanted apps currently installed on the device.
Google announced that it is working on multiple new features for the Android operating system, with a particular focus on space management. Although devices with 64GB and 128GB of onboard storage seldom face an issue with storage space running out, there are millions of budget-friendly devices with limited storage. These affordable devices usually pack 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. With such devices, users have to get creative and routinely juggle apps.
With App Archiving activated, users could free as much as 60% of space, claimed a blog post from Google. Rather than uninstalling an app completely, and losing all associated user data, the feature will temporarily remove some parts of the app. After shedding select components, the feature will generate a new type of Android Package called an “Archived APK”.
The biggest and most obvious benefit of the Archived APK, besides the freed-up space, is that the package will preserve all user data. Whenever a user wants to reuse the archived app, the App Archiving feature would re-download the eliminated components, and restore its full functionality.
Once launched, archiving will deliver great benefits to both users and developers. Instead of uninstalling an app, users would be able to ‘archive’ it - free up space temporarily and be able to re-activate the app quickly and easily. Developers can benefit from fewer uninstalls and substantially lower friction to pick back up with their favorite apps.
Google has already started to offer Archived APKs to developers. The feature, however, won’t be functional until the archiving functionality is launched to consumers later in the year. Needless to add, most modern-day smartphones, even in the budget or affordable range, are now shipping with decent storage space, and also offer a micro-SD card slot. But the feature could help handset manufacturers offer some low-end Android smartphones with less storage, at an attractive price.