Google is rolling out a new Android feature that’ll free up storage on users’ devices without losing data or completely uninstalling apps.
The new app offloading feature will auto-archive certain apps, removing up to 60% of the storage space they occupy on the handset while retaining the important user data.
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Google is pitching this as a feature for developers to avoid complete uninstalls of their apps. The app icon will remain on the device, meaning users can simply tap it to download the meat of the app.
It’s essentially the same as Apple has been offering to iOS and iPadOS users for the last few years. Users will have to opt in, but it’s certainly a nice way to conserve resources on our mobile devices.
“Auto-archive is a new feature that allows users to free up space on their device without the need to completely uninstall an app,” Google writes on the Android developers’ blog.
“Once the user opts in, infrequently used apps will be partly removed from the device to save space, whilst the app icon and the user’s personal app data will be preserved. When the user wants to start using the app again, they can simply tap to re-download it and pick up where they left off (as long as the app is still available on Google Play).”
The feature has largely worked well on Apple devices, but there is the odd occasion where it can be troublesome. From my own experience, I remember it offloaded the Tile app for my Bluetooth trackers, making me think I’d left my phone at the grocery store, when really the tracker couldn’t connect to the phone because the app had been offloaded.
Hopefully Google will enable users to add exceptions for apps they maybe don’t use that often, but need to keep around for emergencies.