The Google Play Store’s Nextbit Robin-style app archiving tool was rolled out at the end of last year, and today, Google announced on its Android Developer Blog that this feature would begin working automatically instead of relying solely on users’ archival actions. According to Google, this one action can save you up to 60% of the space on your device – that’s a significant number!
Do keep in mind that auto-archiving is not the same as uninstalling the app entirely though. Instead, it removes the app install but keeps your personal data (login credentials, settings, preferences, game saves, etc.) in place. When you want to start using the app again, you can simply tap to re-download it and pick up where you left off (so long as it’s still available on the Play Store, that is).
You must trigger auto-archiving by installing an app you can’t fit on your device
To opt into auto-archiving, you simply need to try to install an app on your phone when you have no space left to do so – an action that will prompt the above dialogue box. “Out of sight, out of mind”, they say, so I do like the idea of all 50+ games I have downloaded and my progress in them remaining visually on my phone (Final Fantasy Tactics, for example, doesn’t have cloud save!) without eating all of my internal storage. I get excited about a bunch of new release titles and hardly ever have time to play through them, but when I do, auto-archiving will let me simply tap the cloud icon overlaying an app icon as shown below to pick up where I left off.
Archived apps will remain in place, but show a cloud image over their icon
As someone who exclusively uses Pixel devices which don’t allow for SD cards, this feature seems long overdue, and I think it’s a no-brainer. It would be great if users could create a list of apps to exclude from auto-archiving. Let me know in the comments if you support this feature or if you think it’s too controlling.