For those who hang on to phones for longer periods of time or who decided not to break the bank and buy a $1,000 phone, a lack of storage can be a problem. Specifically, running out of space as you go to download new content, take photos, or install new apps is a reality many folks have to deal with.
To make managing storage less of an issue when it comes to the app experience, Google is introducing a new feature on Android called auto-archive. While this won’t solve all of your storage problems, it will at least allow your phone to automatically free up space if it needs to as you run out.
The system will attempt to recognize apps that are infrequently used and remove parts of them. By archiving instead of fully removing them (which Google only recently introduced), your phone will both free up space and also keep important user data around should you decide to re-install the removed app later on. A simple tap on an archived app later on will re-download and get you right back into the groove.
To take advantage of auto-archive, you’ll have to opt-in. As you can see in the image above, you may be prompted when attempting to install an app when your phone doesn’t have enough storage space. For now, that’s the only way Google has told us you can opt-in, but my guess is that there will be a setting within Google Play (or Google Play Services).
The other thing to note here is that the only apps that can participate in auto-archive are those from developers who take advantage of the App Bundle system when publishing their apps. That won’t be all apps, so if you are wondering why an app won’t auto-archive, let the developer know.