Android will soon let you archive apps to save space

The feature will launch later this year.

David Imel for Engadget

At some point, most of us have had to uninstall apps to free up space on our phones. And while it’s become less of an issue in recent years with the introduction of devices that start with 64GB and 128GB of internal space, not everyone can afford to upgrade the storage on their phone. But with some luck, deleting apps on your Android device to free up space may become a thing of the past.

Google announced today it’s working on a new feature it estimates will reduce the space some apps take up by approximately 60 percent. Best of all, your personal data won’t be affected. The feature is called app archiving and will arrive later this year. Rather than uninstalling an app completely, it instead temporarily removes some parts of it and generates a new type of Android Package known as an archived APK. That package preserves your data until the moment you restore the app to its former form.

“Once launched, archiving will deliver great benefits to both users and developers. Instead of uninstalling an app, users would be able to ‘archive’ it - free up space temporarily and be able to re-activate the app quickly and easily,” the company said. “Developers can benefit from fewer uninstalls and substantially lower friction to pick back up with their favorite apps.”

Google has started making archived APKs available to developers ahead of the feature’s consumer release later this year. If you own a relatively recent and high-end device like the Galaxy S22, you probably won't get much use out of app archiving, but it's a feature that could be a significant boon for those with low-end devices.