Play Store download progress bubble and Android app archiving

Here’s a first look at new features in the Play Store, including the ability to archive unused Android apps to save space and includes preparations for a floating download progress bubble.

About APK Insight: In this APK Insight post, we have decompiled the latest version of an application that Google has uploaded to the Play Store. If we decompile these files (called APKs for Android apps), we can see different lines of code within this hint to possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may not be perfect. However, we will try to enable those that are nearing completion to show you what they will look like should they ship. With that in mind, read on.

Download progress bubble

Speaking from experience, there have been a few instances where I’ve had 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 scour the Play Store and install a few games to see what’s fun.

While a game is installing, I keep browsing to kill time while waiting for the download to finish. However, a small problem is that the download progress is only visible through notifications. It seems Google is preparing a way to keep track of your Android app’s download as you browse the Play Store, with a bubble hovering over the page you’re on.

Our team has forcibly enabled the upcoming feature that starts with a new toggle “Show installation progress bubble” in the Play Store notification settings.

Once activated, you will get a floating bubble showing the progress of the currently installed app. Like other bubbles in Android, you can move it wherever you like on the screen or drag it down to close it. Perhaps a small feature in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly comes in handy.

Android app archiving

Meanwhile, as part of “Google System Updates” in November, the company announced that “App Archiving” will soon be available to save storage space on your Android phone. Archiving is primarily for devices that are running out of storage space, allowing you to uninstall an Android app but keep all your personal data for the app.

Although the feature is set to roll out soon, it’s not yet available on our devices. Instead, our team forcibly enabled the Play Store’s app archiving feature to offer a little demonstration. In this example, our Dylan Roussel was able to archive the Fitbit app, which uninstalls it from the phone.

After returning to Fitbit’s Play Store listing, the Install button is replaced with Restore. Restoring an archived app takes you to a dedicated page instead of just running 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 have to log into an account again.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which benefits some teardowns from APK Insight.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

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