Here’s an early look at new features coming to the Play Store, including the ability to archive unused Android apps to save space and includes preparations for a floating bubble for download progress.
About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we have decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we can see various lines of code hinting at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We will try to activate the ones that are closer to completion, to show you what they will look like in case they ship. With that in mind, read on.
Download progress bubble
Speaking from experience, there have been a few times where I have way too much time on my hands, a slow public internet connection and not nearly enough offline games on my phone. In those moments, I’ll find myself perusing the Play Store and installing some games to see what’s fun.
While one game is installing, I keep browsing to pass the time while waiting for the download to complete. A small problem, however, is that the download progress is only visible through notifications. It looks like Google is preparing a way to keep an eye on how your Android app downloads are going while you’re browsing the Play Store, with a bubble that floats over the page you’re on.
Our team has force-activated the upcoming feature, starting with a new “Show installation progress bubble” in Play Store’s notification settings.
Once enabled, you’ll get a floating bubble showing the progress of the current app being installed. Like other bubbles in Android, you can move it around the screen wherever you want, or drag it to the bottom to dismiss it. Perhaps a minor feature in the grand scheme of things, but it’s certainly practical.
Archiving of Android apps
Meanwhile, as part of November’s “Google System Updates,” the company announced that “app archiving” would soon be coming as a way to save space on your Android phone. Archiving is primarily intended for devices that lack storage space, so you can uninstall an Android app but keep all your personal data for the app.
Although the feature is set to launch soon, it is yet to be rolled out to our devices. Instead, our team force-activated the Play Store’s app archiving feature to provide a small demonstration. In this example, our Dylan Roussel was able to archive the Fitbit app, which uninstalls it from the phone.
When you return to Fitbit’s Play Store listing, the “Install” button will be replaced with “Restore”. Restoring an archived app brings you to a dedicated page, instead of just happening in the background like a traditional install would. Once the app has been restored this way, everything is exactly as you left it, meaning you don’t need to sign in to an account again.
Thanks to the JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns take advantage of.
Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.
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