Google has launched a new feature called auto-archiving for Android devices to free up storage space – which it first previewed in March 2022 by introducing a new app package format called Archived APKs.
The main idea is to help reduce the uninstall rate of apps and allow users to download apps quickly when needed. In addition to archiving the app, the feature will also remove temporary files, and permissions and disable notifications. The feature removes over 60% of an app’s data that hasn't been used in a while, without deleting any user data.
Users will receive a prompt to use the auto-archiving feature when their device runs out of storage space while trying to install a new app. By activating the feature, the device will automatically archive unused apps, and the user's personal data will be saved in case they download the app again.
The feature will only be available for apps that use the App Bundle format, which is required for new apps since August 2021. By using this feature, developers will benefit as users are less likely to see their apps surface in uninstall suggestions when the device needs to free up storage space.
It is expected that the feature will make to make Android devices more competitive with iOS, which for years has made suggestions about apps to remove. In 2017, Apple introduced personalized recommendations to remove unused apps in iOS 11.