Android 12 May Include Feature That Will Hibernate Apps You Haven't Used in a While

Illustration for article titled Android 12 May Include Feature That Will Hibernate Apps You Haven't Used in a While
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

You probably have a bunch of apps you’ve installed on your phone but only use rarely, so to free up some extra space, it looks like Google is giving Android 12 a new feature that will automatically delete temporary files for apps you haven’t used recently.

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While the new app hibernation feature hasn’t been officially listed in any of the recent Android 12 preview builds, XDA Developers claims code for the feature has been found in an upcoming build of Android 12 that was recently leaked. 

The addition of app hibernation builds off a previous feature added to Android 11 that allows the OS to automatically revoke permissions for apps you haven’t used in a while, in order to help prevent an app from going rogue and potentially sharing sensitive data without your knowledge.

But in Android 12 it seems that activating a new “Unused apps” settings will lead to a new toggle that allows the OS to “remove permissions and free up space” for apps that haven’t been in the last month or so.

XDA Developers says that while the app hibernation feature can clear an app’s cache and clean up any leftover temporary files, the total amount of storage that gets freed up is relatively small, which means users with budget phones or limited storage will probably see a bigger impact than people with more expensive flagship devices.

It doesn’t look like Google is planning any major overhauls or redesigns for the next version of Android. Instead, Google is focusing more on increasing the privacy and security features in Android 12 while also adding support for more modern file types likes the AV1 image format, increasing the responsiveness of notifications, and more.

And while we’re expecting Google to give us a much more in-depth rundown of what’s coming in Android 12 when Google I/O kicks off on May 18 (including what will likely be the first Android 12 public beta), the team at XDA Developers has been keeping track of new features that have appeared in the first two Android 12 developer builds, including upgrades to scrolling screenshots, a new UI for Android’s volume panel, updated notification permissions, and more.

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

DISCUSSION

Can you opt out or disable it for specific apps?