Android 12 leak just revealed a smart storage-saving upgrade

android 12
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Along with a trash bin, it looks like Android 12 will add a new app hibernation feature to Google’s mobile OS — and it’ll help free up storage space as well as clear the cache.

XDA Developers recently obtained a leaked build of the Android 12 beta, and found a new “Remove permissions and free up space” toggle for individual apps. This appears to be an extension of the auto-revoke permissions feature introduced in Android 11, with the added ability to remove files as well.

In Android 11, you can select a “Remove permissions if app isn’t used” option for specific apps; if selected, Android will automatically revoke any permissions you’ve set for that app if you don’t use it for a few months. This Android 12 upgrade apparently works very similarly: after an extended period of non-use, it the OS will delete any temporary files the app had saved, freeing up storage space on your phone.

Essentially this puts apps into hibernation, as you also won’t receive any notifications for that app either. It could be a useful upgrade for those whose phones are stuffed with apps they rarely use, but don’t want to go through the hassle of uninstalling and reinstalling every time they need one again.

It’s important to note that this information comes from a leaked version of a beta OS, and isn’t necessarily reflective of how Android 12 will work when it eventually launches. But Google has definitely considered the feature enough to get it in working shape. And since it’s not likely to be an obtrusive or otherwise controversial feature, there’s surely a good chance of it making the finished product.

We don’t know exactly Android 12 will release, but given Android 10 and Android 11 both launched in September of 2019 and 2020 respectively, it wouldn’t be surprising if Android 12 launched in September 2021. We could also see a lot more of Android 12 at the next Google I/O developer conference, which kicks off on May 18 and ends on May 20.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.