After a teaser last year, Google is ready to help you save space on your phone by shelving unused apps. The company is rolling out an auto-archive feature that removes key parts of apps without erasing personal data. So long as an app is still available on the Play Store, you just have to tap its icon to re-download the missing pieces. This can free as much as 60 percent of an app’s space, Google says.
You’ll get the auto-archive option if you try to install an app when your device doesn’t have enough remaining storage. If you want to look for unused apps, you can visit the Apps section of settings. The software will typically say that it hasn’t been opened for more than a few months. Developers have to publish their apps using the App Bundle format for the feature to work, but that shouldn’t be an issue as it’s been required since 2021.
The concept isn’t new. Apple has offered custom recommendations to pull unused apps since iOS 11’s release in 2017. However, the addition may be particularly helpful on Android, which powers a wider range of phones, including low-end models. You may not feel as much pressure to upgrade a budget handset if you know you can simply archive apps until you’re ready to use them.
Google adds that this could help developers. If users can auto-archive apps, they’re less likely to completely uninstall those apps. Creators may be more likely to hold on to users, even if those customers seldomly return.