Android 8.1 will reduce storage sizes of infrequently used apps

Google officially released the Developer Preview for Android 8.1 Oreo in late October, and after getting a chance to go hands-on with the latest build of our favorite mobile OS, we discovered a lot of minor tweaks compared to the current 8.0 release. Since then, a new commit has been discovered in the Android Open Source framework for 8.1 that should greatly benefit phones with lower storage amounts.

Discovered by the folks at XDA Developers, the commit is designed to decrease the size of applications that are installed on your phone once they've been detected as being inactive for a certain period of time. Inactive apps are essentially those that haven't been used for some time, and this is determined by a field in the OS called sysprop pm.dexopt.unopt_after_inactive_days.

Once an application is detected as being inactive, it's stopped from running through Android's dexopt tool to prevent them from taking up precious space on your device.

No action is required on the user's part to make this happen, and as ingenious of a system as it is, it's not perfect. OEMs are required to enable the feature in order for their devices to use it, and it's only available for 8.1 and not 8.0. In other words, while Pixel and Nexus devices will be able to benefit from it in about a month or so, it'll likely be quite a few more months before other hardware can take advantage of this.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.