While we’ve been waiting to hear more about Google’s upcoming tool that “archives” certain apps to help free up space on your device, @AssembleDebug has managed to activate the feature ahead of its release (via Android Police).
Google first announced archiving earlier this year, claiming it can help users free up around 60 percent of their device’s storage for apps without having to completely delete them. In the screenshots shared by AssembleDebug, it appears that the tool will be built into the Google Play Store, allowing users to select between two options when they attempt to uninstall an application. The standard uninstall option is still present alongside a new ‘Archive’ option, which will whisk the app away into a separate ‘Archived’ category and provide an estimate of how much storage will be saved.
The Google News app is used in AssembleDebug’s examples. When archived it takes up a meager 1.4MB rather than 32MB, and should spare you from having to do a full account setup from scratch if you choose to re-download it. The archived app will still appear on your home screen, distinguishable by a cloud icon so you can tell at a glance which of your apps are fully installed. If you select it, you’ll be taken directly to the relevant download page, and once re-installed you can jump back in with your previous permissions already granted.
A few glitches have already been noted, as the Play Store currently labels the app archiving process as “installing” while restoring the app is called “update,” but the feature is still in development. There’s still no official release date for the App archiving feature, but we hopefully won’t have long to wait.