Google is working on Android app archiving to help free up phone storage

Google Pixel 6 Pro app drawer
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is working on a new archiving function for Android.
  • The feature will allow users to remove parts of apps without completely uninstalling them.
  • This will enable the apps to be quickly restored while also temporarily freeing  up storage space.

On Tuesday, Google announced that it's working on a new archive tool for Android app developers to help users free up storage on their phones. It will do this by saving certain data on the phone and only removing the parts that the user doesn't need when an app is archived. This can help reclaim around 60% of app storage.

The benefit of this is that it can help save storage and that apps can be easily restored while retaining user data since they were archived and not uninstalled.

Google has worked hard to bring down the ever-growing size of more complex apps on the best Android phones thanks to App Bundles. However, apps can grow in size as they accumulate more data. And while certain apps may not be readily necessary, users may not want to completely uninstall an app if they figure they may need it later on. Google's new app archiving method should help alleviate those concerns by letting users tuck these apps away if they're facing storage constraints. Google also highlights how this will benefit developers by leading to fewer uninstalled apps.

The new archiving feature will be available to developers using App Bundles as part of Bundletool version 1.10. Apps built with Android Gradle Plugin 7.3 will include the new Archive APK, which will be used to retain user data if an app gets archived. Google notes that the feature won't be active until it launches later this year, and while a specific time frame was not provided for the launch, we could see this feature arrive alongside Android 13.

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Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.