Google is working on a feature that would allow you to “archive” select apps on your smartphone to free up space. Any app that supports the capability, according to Google, will allow you to partially delete it, decreasing the program by roughly 60% without completely deleting it.
It achieves this by introducing archived APKs, a new sort of APK (Android Package). These are the components of an app that allow it to function on your smartphone. Archived APKs are substantially smaller and preserve all of your data until you restore them to their original size, as Google points out.
With the Bundletool 1.10 release, developers will have access to the feature, but it won’t be useable until “later this year,” when Google makes it available to the general public. Developers can also opt out of archived APKs, as Google explains in the blog post.
Digging In More Details
There are currently no details on how the feature will appear on Android, though it could appear alongside the uninstall option when you long-press an app’s icon. In any case, archived APKs appear to be great for anyone (like myself) who has a graveyard of rarely used programs that he or she isn’t ready to let go of (but also doesn’t want them to take up a lot of storage space).
When you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, archiving and then restoring them should be far faster than reinstalling an app, and it should use much less mobile data.