Google wants to help you save space on your phone by archiving apps, instead of deleting them


We’re only halfway through the week and it’s already been a busy one for the folks at Google. Earlier this week, we saw the latest major Pixel Feature Drop released for most of the Pixel lineup, and now, there’s even more to get excited about.

In a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google announced a new feature that would allow users to “archive” apps on their devices instead of deleting them outright. Archiving an app, “will allow users to reclaim ~60% of app storage temporarily by removing parts of the app rather than uninstalling it completely.”

But perhaps more importantly, it allows you to keep the app on your device in some capacity, making it easy to re-download them whenever you need to. Freeing up space isn’t that big of a deal for some, but for those who love trying out a bunch of new apps, you don’t want to end up taking up too much storage space and this would solve that problem.

According to the post, this is coming as part of Bundletool 1.10, and will be compatible with apps using the Android Gradle Plugin 7.3. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait and see just how well this implementation of archived apps works, as the blog post also confirmed that it won’t be functional until the feature is “launched to consumers later in the year”.

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. Developers can benefit from fewer uninstalls and substantially lower friction to pick back up with their favourite apps.

This sounds extremely similar to Apple’s ability to “Offload Unused Apps”. This essentially removes all of the data that is being used by the app while keeping everything else intact. By doing so, you don’t have to go back and re-configure or set up the app after it’s been offloaded, as all of the potential account information has been preserved.

We’re excited to see this in action, and it’s an indication that Android 13 could be more of a “refinement” year, following last year’s major overhaul with Android 12.


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