Android 10 lets developers ask users if they want to retain app data before uninstalling

Android 10 is the most recent replace to Android from Google, bringing alongside a fair few improvements to the mature OS. Most adjustments and new options on the latest replace both get highlighted by Google themselves throughout Google I/O or are found shortly after public source release. However some notable adjustments do have a tendency to slide below the radar, surfacing months later when somebody by chance stumbles upon them. That’s what is occurring on this case as a result of because it seems, Android 10 permits builders to ask their customers in the event that they wish to retain app knowledge earlier than their app is uninstalled.

A latest report from AndroidPolice highlighted this performance. Apps like WhatsApp and ASR Voice Recorder have begun providing Android 10 customers an choice to retain the information of an app that’s about to be uninstalled.

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Android 10 lets developers ask users if they want to retain app data before uninstalling

Checking the field proven above retains the app knowledge on the cellphone regardless of the app being uninstalled. If you reinstall the app, you’ll be again to the identical state throughout the app as if you happen to had by no means uninstalled it within the first place.

Mishaal did a little bit investigating on what is occurring behind the scenes. To grasp that, you might want to perceive first how apps on Android can retailer recordsdata in your machine, and there are three major places for storing recordsdata:

  • App-specific Listing within the inner (user-inaccessible with out root) storage: These folders are positioned at /knowledge/knowledge and aren’t accessible to different apps, or when the person ordinarily plugs their cellphone right into a PC. Apps don’t want permission to jot down recordsdata to their very own app-specific listing on this location.
  • App-specific Listing within the exterior (user-accessible) storage: These folders are positioned at /knowledge/media/{person}/Android/knowledge and are accessible to different apps with the appropriate permission, and to the person after they ordinarily plug of their cellphone to a pc. Apps don’t want permission to jot down recordsdata to their very own app-specific listing on this location, however they do want permission to entry knowledge from different apps, as talked about beforehand.
  • Any listing within the exterior (user-accessible) storage: Apps can request permission to entry the exterior storage, permitting the app to create no matter folder it must on the exterior storage to retailer no matter it desires to retailer right here.

Extending WhatsApp’s instance, WhatsApp’s app-specific listing in inner storage resides at /knowledge/knowledge/com.whatsapp; its app-specific listing in exterior storage resides at /knowledge/media/{person}/Android/knowledge/com.whatsapp; and its customized listing in exterior storage resides at /knowledge/media/{person}/WhatsApp.

Previous to Android 10 and previous to builders enabling this for his or her apps, when a person uninstalls an app, its app-specific directories in each inner (/knowledge/knowledge) and exterior (/knowledge/media) storage are deleted by default. The additional directories on exterior storage aren’t deleted, and you might want to manually eliminate them or use an app like SD Maid to do it for you.

With Android 10, app builders can add a particular flag to their Manifest referred to as “hasFragileUserData” that enables them to ask the person in the event that they wish to retain the app’s knowledge upon app uninstallation, which is what you see above within the screenshot. If you do uninstall an app with the checkbox toggled to retain the app knowledge, Android will retain and never delete the app-specific directories within the inner and exterior storage. We confirmed this by checking the directories for apps that haven’t added the Manifest flag, and people like WhatsApp which have added the Manifest flag.

On the floor, having the choice is smart as customers can quickly uninstall apps and nonetheless return to their earlier state upon re-installation, which ought to avoid wasting hassles of backing up and restoring the app on the identical machine. However, remember the fact that /knowledge/knowledge isn’t accessible with out root, so that you as a person can not use this course of for root-free backup and restore throughout units. Additionally it is not doable for customers to delete the recordsdata left behind in /knowledge/knowledge with out root; so if you happen to do wish to clear the recordsdata sooner or later, you would want to reinstall the app, after which uninstall it with out ticking the checkbox. Use this selection for too many apps, and also you’ll seemingly overlook which apps you as a person had chosen. Since that is non-compulsory for builders to incorporate, after which non-compulsory for customers to decide on, we do really feel that is an general constructive change that provides extra energy to the tip person.

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