Google first announced archiving earlier this year, claiming it can help users free up about 60 percent of their device’s storage space for apps without having to completely uninstall them. In the screenshots shared by AssembleDebug, it looks like the tool will be built into the Google Play Store, allowing users to choose between two options when trying to uninstall an application. The default uninstall option is still present alongside a new ‘Archive’ option, which puts the app in a separate ‘Archived’ category and gives an estimate of how much storage space will be saved.
The Google News app is used in the AssembleDebug samples. When archived, it takes up a measly 1.4MB instead of 32MB, and you should avoid doing a full account setup from scratch if you choose to download it again. The archived app will still appear on your home screen, identified by a cloud icon, so you can see at a glance which of your apps are fully installed. Selecting it will take you straight to the relevant download page and once reinstalled you can jump back in with your previous permissions already granted.
A few glitches have already been noticed as the Play Store currently labels the app archiving process as “install” 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 hopefully we won’t have to wait long.