Google is working on a tool that should let you “archive” certain apps to help free up space on your device. In a blog post, Google explains that any app with this feature will allow you to partially uninstall it, reducing the app by around 60% without completely removing it.
To do this, it creates a new type of APK (Android Package) – otherwise known as courage that makes an application functional on your device – which it calls archived APKs. As Google points out, archived APKs are much smaller and save all your data until you restore them, returning them to their original size. The feature will be available to developers with Bundletool version 1.10, but it won’t be functional until Google releases the feature to the general public “later this year.” Developers can also choose to disable archived APKs, which Google also reviews in the blog post.
There are still no details on how the feature will look on Android – it may appear next to the uninstall option when you long-press an app icon. Anyway, archived APKs seem to be perfect for anyone (especially me) who has a graveyard of rarely used apps and isn’t totally committed to giving them up just yet (but doesn’t want to not that they take up tons of storage space either). Archiving them and then restoring them should be a lot faster than reinstalling an app, and will likely consume a lot less mobile data when you’re not on Wi-Fi.