Google adds archiving option for Android apps

Google Android will allow “archiving” of rarely used apps as an alternative to permanent uninstallation. Especially useful for Android game enthusiasts who’d like to try a different title without losing the saves made in the current game, the new feature lets you keep your custom settings in the cloud until you decide to revisit that app.

Archived apps will take up to 60% less storage space and can be restored in seconds if you need them again.

The archiving option became possible by introducing a new APK type, making it easier to “break” apps into smaller packages, separating items that provide essential functionality (e.g. receiving notifications, displaying the interface) from more advanced or simply rarely used functions. Technology primarily intended to reduce the amount of data downloaded and update application times will soon also allow the actual size of installed apps to be reduced, by repackaging them into locally created APKs, including custom user settings.

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In other words, the app is not completely uninstalled, essential files can always be re-downloaded from the Play Store.

Apparently, not all Android apps will support archiving, as developers can simply opt out of archived APK support. In such cases, rarely used apps will simply have the “Uninstall” option displayed, to be used if the user no longer finds them useful.

Another new feature is the display of a “bubble” for apps in the process of being installed or updated, informing users of their status. In the current formula, installed or updated apps can be tracked from the Play Store interface, or with temporarily displayed notification alerts. In the new format, a “bubble” will appear on the screen of Android phones, not unlike the one displayed for Facebook Messenger message notifications, with users deciding whether to interact with it for further information. Alternatively, you can ignore it by dragging it off-screen.

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