Google has introduced a new feature with Android 10 which will allow the system to save the app data locally when they are being uninstalled. The new feature has started appearing in a handful of apps, including WhatsApp.
Most apps when being uninstalled clear their trace from the smartphone including the data. Now, with the release of this feature developers are now offered an option to keep the data stored in local storage.
Eligible apps will now show users a prompt on starting an uninstall, which will include a checkbox to keep the data. If they decide not to tick the checkbox all of the data will be deleted alongside the app. However, if they tick it, all of the data will be stored and restored the next time they download the app.
As of now, very select apps support this feature, which includes WhatsApp and ASR Voice Recorder. But, we might see added support in many apps in the future.
According to XDA Developers, apps, when installed, save their data in three locations, one of them requires root to be accessed, the second under /Android/data and reachable with the right permissions and the third in the regular user-accessible storage on Android.
When an app is uninstalled, it clears the first two places and the third one remains. However, if a developer adds the flag “hasFragileUserData” to their app’s manifest, Android 10 will push the prompt to keep the user data, if the user ticks the checkbox the system will also keep the first two folders intact.
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