Storage space on smartphones has become a luxury over the years, as the size of everyday files like photos, videos and apps stored on our devices have increased. Usually the first items on the chopping block when freeing up storage space are applications we may not use on a daily basis. It can also be frustrating having to make room for application updates, new apps and OTA updates when storage is near capacity.

High-end flagship Android devices like the Pixel 2 and LG V30 that offer a base storage option of 64GB, are less susceptible to this issue as opposed to the low-end and midrange Android devices without as much built-in memory. To help alleviate this problem, a new mechanism in Android 8.1 will free up hard drive space by reducing application cache sizes.

The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) framework contains an October 31 commit which describes a space-saving feature that activates automatically when it detects a device is running low on storage. After a length of time determined by Android's (sysprop pm.dexopt.unopt_after_inactive_days) field, apps that haven't been used are labeled inactive and downgraded. The OS considers applications active if they are present in the foreground, or running in the background while other packages are using it.

Users with several apps installed who prefer to keep that random application they only need three times a year, will appreciate not having to delete the program entirely if space is running low, but rather, rest assured the app is taking up minimal space until labeled active.

Unfortunately, because this is an Android 8.1 feature, it's doubtful devices currently on the market will see this option anytime soon. Also, OEMs would have to manually activate the mechanism in the OS, meaning some devices won't get the capability even after updating to Android 8.1. Despite the fact the new space saving feature is still a year or two down the road, it will likely be a welcomed addition for individuals who tend to suffer from storage woes.

Drop a comment below letting us know what you think about Android's inactive application option coming to 8.1 Oreo.