Always running out of storage space on your phone? Google Android is getting a new feature that may help… a little bit.

The upcoming Android 8.1 release will be able to detect shrink the amount of storage used by some apps when your device is running low on free storage space.

Spotted by xda-developers, the feature has been in the works in a while, and it’s designed to automatically “reduce app size by downgrading inactive apps.”

Basically, here’s what that means: if you haven’t used an app for a set number of days, Android will consider it an inactive app. And the operating system will free up disk space by basically removing that app from your device’s Dalvik compiler cache.

That means when you do run it again, it’ll need to be re-optimized. It also means that you won’t save any space if you do regularly use every app on your device. So this feature probably isn’t going to free up a ton of space on your device… but if you’ve got a phone without a lot of built-in storage, every megabyte helps.

It could take a while before we start to see this feature in the wild. It won’t be widely available until Android 8.1 is released… and many existing phones will probably never receive an Android 8.1 update.

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4 replies on “Android 8.1 can save space by reducing cache for inactive apps”

  1. so that means about 10% of Android users will be able to get that feature..

    1. Yes, after 2 years.

      Although, what frustrates me is Apps that want more resources to run, and more permissions to exploit than they need to. It kills your storage, performance, and battery life. Not to mention violates your Privacy, if you care for that stuff.

      Now, each time it wants access to a certain thing, I deny it.
      But then the App crashes, because the developers designed it that way (why would a Note taking App need permission to access the Camera?!?). And even when it doesn’t crash, every single time I go to use the App, it bombards me with the prompt to egg-me into letting it have access. And this isn’t just some suspicious Chinese phone with a weird AppStore… I’m talking a Google Pixel and the Play Store.

      Its a false sense of control/freedom, and I don’t like it.
      That’s why I need r00t, to contain such behaviour. Too bad, fewer and fewer devices and variants can even get r00t access. The entire ecosystem has reached its maturity state, and its now cashing in on the “brainless” public.

      1. Granular permission management is available on many phones. Any apps that crash when unneeded resources are denied should simply be uninstalled/frozen. There are plenty of app options. I know most won’t take the trouble, but those who try to maintain at least some control of their personal information will.

        1. Yes, but that is the minority and not the norm.
          While I dislike Apple’s authoritarian rule on their Walled Garden, I do have to commend them for actually paying attention to these little details and ensure the experience is great overall.

          My Android phone does have a better experience than the iPhone, but that’s only because I buy the device selectively, including the skins, screen protector, case, accessories, paid apps, root, the custom recovery, custom kernel, custom power management, custom rom, and personal custom mods. And update it every 14 months (until new/better model comes out with bootloader access/incubating community). The device usually becomes a hand-me down, and I continue to update/look after it for family members. And their older device (~2.5 year old, is sold and money comes back to reimburse my new purchase).

          However, the majority of (westerner) owners don’t go that far.
          They get a ~ US$800 device, which usually can’t be rooted. They use the Play Store and free Apps. And hit “I have Read and Agree” to every prompt they come across. And they drop and break the screen and back after 6 months and spend ~US$300 to fix it. Later they sell it 3 years total later for ~$80, and the cycle is repeated.

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