Google Allows Android 8.1 Oreo To Reduce Inactive Application File Sizes
Google added a new feature to Android 8.1 Oreo at the end of October 2017 designed to reduce the amount of storage space used on a device by inactive applications. Many high end devices are now shipping with at least 64 GB of internal storage, but low and mid-range 2017 devices can arrive with a quoted 8 GB of internal storage. Going forwards, Android will have the ability to reduce the amount of storage used by inactive applications.
The new feature reduces application cache sizes by removing entries from the Dalvik compiler’s cache, which frees up space. Applications are marked as ‘inactive’ after a period of days where they have neither been run in the foreground, or have run in the background having been called by another application. The new feature in Android 8.1 removes .odex files, that is, the optimised .dex files built for a particular device. This means that when an application marked as inactive and unoptimised is launched, the operating system must optimise the code. This is likely to cause a delay when opening the application.
At this time, the new code feature is not mandatory. Manufacturers can decide to implement the code or not. Furthermore, this is a brand new feature released for Android 8.1 Oreo, which only a handful of devices have. Many devices are still waiting for their upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo so it is likely to be some time before we see this feature widely used in customer devices. I’d also hope that fewer and fewer devices are released with 8 GB or even 16 GB of internal storage, but Android Oreo is gaining another technology to help customers manage low storage devices.