Could Microsoft be taking inspiration from the iPhone and iOS for the next Windows 10 update? It seems so, with a feature that will allow you to archive apps you rarely use – which seems awfully similar to the useful offload apps you can find on Apple’s smartphones.
At the moment, if you want to save storage space and remove an app, you have to completely uninstall it, which means also removing all of the data from your machine.
If you change your mind and want to reinstall the app later on, you have to find it on the Microsoft Store (or the website), redownload it and install it again – and usually start from scratch.
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However, as Windows Latest reports (opens in new tab), it looks like Windows 10 could be getting a new iPhone-esque way of handling apps. In some preview builds of Windows 10 which are rolling out to Windows Insiders (people who have signed up to try out early versions of Windows 10, essentially), there is a new ‘Archive apps’ setting, which is turned on by default.
With this on, Windows 10 will automatically archive the app – which essentially deletes the app, while keeping the files and settings associated with it. When you want to use the app again, Windows 10 will automatically download and install it, and it will run as if it had always been there.
Microsoft claims that “To save storage space and Internet bandwidth, apps you don’t use frequently will be archived automatically. Your files and other data will be saved. The next time you use an archived app, it’ll connect to the internet to restore the full version (if it’s still available).”
If it works as expected, it could be a handy way of keeping your hard drives from getting filled with unused apps, and it should be seamless – as long as you have a fast internet connection. The way offloading apps on iPhones works is certainly convenient, and we imagine it’ll work the same here.
However, there will be times when this feature is an annoyance – for example if you go to use an archived app and you don’t have an internet connection. Presumably, that would mean you could not access the app.
Also, if an app gets removed from the Microsoft Store, it may mean you won’t be able to access it. The good news, at least, is that this feature is optional, and it looks like it is pretty easy to turn off.
Microsoft has often been accused of playing catch up to Apple, but this is a case where we’re glad it is.
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