Google Play product managers Chang Liu and Lidia Gaymond announced the introduction of a new feature called auto-archive to help Android users manage their device storage more efficiently. The primary goal of this feature is to minimize unnecessary app uninstalls while ensuring a seamless experience for users installing new apps.

One of the main reasons users uninstall apps is to free up storage space. Traditionally, when a user’s device is almost out of storage, they are prompted to manually uninstall apps to make room for new ones. With the auto-archive feature, users can now free up to nearly 60% of an app’s storage space without uninstalling the app or losing their data.

image of a phone screen illustrating the archiving experience

The auto-archive feature works by allowing users to partially remove infrequently used apps from their device while preserving the app icon and the user’s personal app data. Archived apps are visually indicated with cloud icons on the user’s device. When users want to use an archived app again, they can tap the icon to re-download the app and resume from where they left off, provided the app is still available on Google Play.

To be eligible for the auto-archive feature, developers must use the App Bundle to publish their apps. Apps that support archiving will be less likely to appear in uninstall suggestions, thereby reducing the chances of being uninstalled.

Users can opt into auto-archive in a few easy steps. When the device is out of storage and the user attempts to install a new app, a pop-up window appears asking if the user wants to enable auto-archive. If the user opts in, unused apps on the user’s device will be auto-archived, freeing up enough space for the new app request.

The auto-archive feature is a win-win for both users and developers, as it helps users manage their device storage more effectively while reducing the likelihood of developers’ apps being uninstalled.