Late last month, Google released the first Developer Preview of Android 8.1 Oreo for compatible Nexus and Pixel devices. At first glance, Android 8.1 seemed all about minor improvements and changes and bringing some Pixel-exclusive features to AOSP. While Google did provide a changelog of what’s new in Android 8.1, it did not talk about all the minor new features.
One such handy feature that Google is debuting with Android 8.1 is reducing the size of an installed but inactive app to free up storage space on your device. In the upcoming build of Oreo, Google automatically reduces the cache size of an inactive app to free up storage space. This might not seem like much at first glance but if you have hundreds of apps installed on your device, the improvement in storage space will definitely be noticeable.
Apple had debuted a similar feature with iOS 11 earlier this year.
If you are wondering how the feature works, below is what the folks over at XDA had to say about it:
In Android 8.1, applications marked “inactive” aren’t run through dexopt, the Android tool that optimizes .dex files to produce an .odex file. (If you’re confused about what those terms mean, check out XDA Member cyanidekiller‘s excellent guide.) As a result, they don’t take up space in the Dalvik compiler’s cache.
Sadly, Android 8.1 Oreo is still in its Developer Preview stage and it is going to take a long time for the OS to make its way to all major budget and mid-range Android devices which are actually going to benefit the most from this feature.