Android Developers Blog posted information titled “Reduce uninstalls for your app with auto-archive”. It was posted by Chang Liu and Lidia Gaymond, Product Managers, Google Play. From the information:
Did you know that one of the main reasons users uninstall apps is to free up space? Today, whenever users try to install a new app on a nearly-full device, they see a dialog that allows them to manually uninstall the app to make room. However, sometimes uninstalling a whole app, including all of the user’s app data just isn’t necessary.
To reduce unnecessary uninstalls and help users successfully install new apps, we are introducing a new feature: auto archive. Once a user opts in, auto-archive can help them automatically free up to nearly 60% of an app’s storage space, without removing the app presence or users’ data from the device.
What is auto-archive?
Auto-archive is a new feature that allows users to free up space on their device without the need to complete uninstall an app. Once the user opts in, infrequently used apps will be partly removed from the device to save space, whilst the app icon and the user’s personal app data will be preserved. When the user wants to start using the app again, they can simply tap to re-download it and pick up where they left off (as long as the app is still available on Google Play).
Eligibility of auto-archive
Auto-archive is only available for developers using the App Bundle to publish their apps. If your app supports archiving, users will be less likely to see it surfaced amongst uninstall suggestions.
TechCrunch reported that Android users will see a prompt to use the auto-archiving feature when their device is running out to storage while trying to install a new app. They can then choose to activate the feature, which automatically archives their unused apps while also removing things like permissions and temporary files and disabling notifications.
“Your device is out of storage, and you won’t be able to install this app. With app archiving turned on, your device will detect when you don’t have enough storage and automatically archive apps that you don’t use often. Your personal data will be saved in case you download the app again,” the prompt reads.
The feature will make Android devices more competitive with iOS, which for years had made suggestions about apps to unload. In 2017, Apple introduced personalized recommendations to remove unused apps in iOS 11. To enable the automatic removal of these apps, iPhone users can head to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and tap Enable on the Offload Unused apps toggle.
To me, it sounds as though both Google and Apple want to give their users a way to offload unused apps by allowing them to archive the apps they do not regularly use. I like that there is an option, for both Android and iOS users, to save space on their devices without entirely losing an app.