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Android phones will soon get a killer storage-saving trick

Google is working on a new app archiving system for Android phones that will allow users to free up precious internal storage without having to uninstall the app or losing the linked data. It is no secret that Android phones come preloaded with a ton of bloatware hogging the onboard storage. For users who are into mobile gaming or count their phone as part of their multimedia-heavy workflow, every gigabyte of storage is crucial.

So far, the only options on the table have been uninstalling the less frequently used apps, or clearing the stored user data on each one. That will soon be a thing of the past. Google is working on something called Archived APKs. For the unaware, an APK — short for Android Package Kit or Android Application Package — is the building block of code for making an app.

Google says the app archiving system will allow users to free up to 60 percent of the storage space taken up by an app. Google plans to seed the archived APKs tool to developers with the release of the upcoming version of Bundletool 1.10. The company’s blog post defines Archived APKs as “very small APKs that preserve user data until the app is restored.” The feature will be rolled out for Android smartphone users later this year, most likely as part of the Android 13 update.

Apps neatly arranged on the home screen of a Google Pixel 6 with a plant in the foreground. on the right.

It’s an opt-in feature, which means developers can choose to enable the app archiving system for their respective apps. Or, they simply can overlook it. For users, the ability to archive an app will be a huge convenience to preserve the onboard storage on their phone. The stakes get higher in a world where smartphone brands sell phones preinstalled with apps that are barely used but can’t be uninstalled.

Take for example the T-Mobile version of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which comes preloaded with 89 apps, a sizeable number of which are deemed essential apps that can only be disabled but can’t be installed to clean up storage space. This is a phone that starts at $1,199 and doesn’t even allow storage expansion. The situation gets even worse for cheaper phones. But Samsung is not the only brand with the bloatware problem, as the likes of Xiaomi and Vivo engage in similar tactics.

Google hasn’t shared many technical details about the app archiving system, but assures that user data stored by each app will be safe. Once an archived app is installed again, it will be back as if nothing had happened. The system is essentially app hibernation on steroids.

With Android 11, Google started offering a hibernation tool that reset an app’s runtime permissions. Android 12 further built upon it by disabling background alerts and activity for hibernated apps, removing all app cache files, killing push notifications (even high-priority messages), and restoring the runtime permissions.

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You may want to think twice about buying a Samsung or Pixel phone
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra next to the Google Pixel 7 Pro.

A new report from Project Zero, Google's internal security research team, says that a laundry list of devices using Exynos modems are at a high risk of major security breaches that would give remote users the ability to very easily "compromise a phone at the baseband level." Notably, the recently released Pixel 7 is among those that are open to attack, alongside the Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S22, to name just a few.

Obviously, this is a major issue, but not all hope is lost, as the problem is certainly fixable. The big question is when a fix for all affected devices is coming. Here's everything you need to know about the vulnerability and what you can do to keep your smartphone safe.
Why Samsung and Pixel phones are in danger

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The Google Pixel Fold may not be as expensive as you thought
Alleged renders of the Google Pixel Fold in black.

Google’s long-in-development foldable phone — the Pixel Fold — is reportedly eyeing a late June launch. A recent leak predicted that the Pixel Fold will hit the European shelves priced at 1,700 Euros, which equates to roughly $1,800 based on current conversion rates. That’s not easy to digest, especially for a first-gen foldable phone and considering Google’s own shaky history with its Pixel hardware and software.
But it appears that the Pixel Fold’s price won’t be inexplicably exorbitant at all. Leaker Yogesh Bear shared on Twitter that the foldable phone could actually cost anywhere between $1,300 and $1,500. Assuming that turns out to be true, the Pixel Fold could undercut the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 and its successor by a healthy $500.

In fact, such an asking price would put the Pixel Fold in roughly the same ballpark as the higher storage configurations of phones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max. Of course, Google won’t be able to match the asking price of foldables from Chinese brands, but it would at least look competitive in the Western markets.
Now, a price of around $1,300-1,500 makes a lot of sense. First, the biggest deterrent for foldable phones is their high asking price. There’s a reason Samsung managed to sell bucketloads of its flip-style foldable phones because they cost nearly half vis-a-vis the phone-tablet hybrids in the Galaxy Z Fold series.

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6 years later, the iPhone X still does one thing better than the iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone X.

I’ve been an iPhone user since the very beginning, starting with the original iPhone. You know, the one with the 3.5-inch display that was perfect at the time, making it super easy to use a phone with one hand? As the years go by, the iPhone — and every other smartphone out there — just get bigger and bigger. We now have phones that with almost 7-inch displays, and honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can comfortably use these giant phones — especially if you have smaller hands!

With the iPhone, we’ve gone from 3.5-inch to 4-inches, then 4.7-inches to 5.8-inches, and now the standard 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch of the iPhone 14/iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Plus/iPhone 14 Pro Max, respectively. I personally use an iPhone 14 Pro as my primary device, and while I have gotten used to the 6.1-inch size over the past few years, I still think it’s too big. In fact, the last perfect size iPhone was the iPhone XS with the 5.8-inch display ... and I really wish Apple would bring it back.
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