Whether it’s the app you downloaded one time to get a restaurant coupon, that mobile game with too many ads, or the fitness tracker you meant to use but never did, we all have those apps that live on our phones until they get deleted to free up space.
And with our phones now serving as primary camera, music player, book library, streaming catalog, and file storage system, storage space can become sparse rather quickly, thereby forcing us to make decisions about which apps we no longer need.
Thanks to a new Android feature, however, that decision can be made for you as seldom-used apps can now get archived automatically — or partially deleted — to help maintain a healthy amount of free space on your handset.
Aptly titled “Auto Archive,” the official Android app technically debuted back in April of this year. But functionality was a little limited in that the feature wasn’t able to be turned on until storage got critically low.
Previously, a pop-up would appear when a user didn’t have enough space to install an app asking if they wanted Android to archive apps that weren’t being used.
Now, it’s available at any time.
First spotted by AssembleDebug on X (formerly Twitter), the app now has a toggle switch that enables the user to turn it on or off at any point. Auto Archive still activates itself only when storage is low, but the user can have their decision already in place.
Google explains that when this setting is on, “the apps you don’t use often will be removed, but your personal data on the app will be saved.” The app icon will remain on the device, but a small cloud icon will appear next to it and the app will have to be downloaded again provided it’s still available. This feature, Google added, is also excellent for developers because it lowers the number of uninstalls their app has.
If your phone does archive any apps, you’ll be able to see a list of those under the “archived” section of the library portion of your Play Store.
To turn on Auto Archive, open the Play Store app, click on your profile picture, and then settings. Once there, you’ll be able to scroll down to “automatically archive apps” and flip the toggle.
Auto Archive reduces app storage by about 60%, Google says.