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Here's how Android 12 will hibernate unused apps to clear up storage space

Take a look at how the new app hibernation feature could work on Android 12.

Published onApril 20, 2021

Android 12 logo on Google Pixel 3 2
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Android 12 will automatically hibernate unused apps to free up storage space.
  • The app hibernation feature will remove temporary files and stop notifications from apps that haven’t been used for months.

The first traces of a new app hibernation feature on Android 12 appeared back in January and were spotted as part of the code changes submitted to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Now, folks over at XDA Developers have managed to make the feature work on a leaked Android 12 build they recently obtained.

The publication confirms that the code for app hibernation is present in the build which is apparently newer than Developer Preview 2.

Google seems to be building upon the existing unused apps section in Android 11 with the new app hibernation feature in Android 12. In addition to automatically revoking permissions for unused apps, Android 12 will also reportedly clear up temporary files to free up storage on your phone.

XDA activated the new unused apps section on the “App Info” setting of every app. It contains a toggle for removing permissions and freeing up space. In comparison, Android 11’s toggle to remove permissions can be found under the “App permissions” section of the “App Info” page.

After the publication managed to hibernate a few apps manually, the unused apps setting showed apps that haven’t been opened in a few months. The description of the unused apps states that Android 12 will remove permissions from these apps, stop notifications to save battery, and remove temporary files to free up space.

As per previously spotted code changes, the removed files will consist of an app’s cache. This might not make a huge difference in terms of freed up storage on devices that have plenty of it, but users with entry-level or low-end phones might notice the benefits.

XDA is unsure if the app hibernation feature will show up on the next Android 12 developer preview. However, it seems more than likely to be a part of the final build.

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