Google is introducing an auto-archive feature for Android that enables users to remove unused apps from their devices without deleting any user data. This new feature is similar to Apple’s Offload Unused Apps on iOS and can reclaim up to 60% of an app’s storage space. What’s more, the feature is automated, meaning that users won’t have to manually clean up their storage when they run out of space. However, the feature will seek permission before removing anything.
According to Google, this app archiving feature is only accessible on apps that are published in the App Bundle format. When a user attempts to download an app from the Play Store with low storage, they will be prompted to opt-in to the auto-archive feature. Once they agree, the device can archive unused apps to free up storage space.
Even after being archived, apps will still be visible in the app drawer and on the home screen, but they will display a grey cloud icon overlay. If a user wants to use an archived app, they can simply tap on its icon, and the app files will be re-downloaded, allowing them to use it like before.
Users can also adjust their app archiving preferences in the Settings section at any time. Google has not specified which Android versions the feature will work with, but it may not be compatible with older releases.