Android 12 could include a handy ‘app hibernation’ feature
Google's latest code for Android 12 points to a potential new service that manages app hibernation state for apps that are not being actively used and optimize them for storage
Even as manufacturers are currently updating their devices to Android 11, which was launched last September, Google is already hard at work preparing for Android 12 for its release later this year and new features are slowly beginning to appear online.
According to reports, code changes to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Gerrit (which lists out all the new changes being made to the Android project in real-time) points to a potential new service that manages app hibernation state - a state that apps can enter when they are not being actively used and then be optimized for storage.
According to XDA Developers, who spotted the changes on the AOSP Gerrit, there are no further details about the change - whether it can be configured by a user or is determined automatically, whether users can manually select apps for hibernation, or whether there will be an indication of whether an app has actually been ‘hibernated’.
It’s notable that Samsung already has a feature called Sleeping Apps and Deep Seeping Apps - the latter completely disables applications, but keeps their shortcuts in the app launcher. Looking at the ‘App Info’ for a Deep Sleeping app shows a ‘manually disabled’ label under the app name. However, Google’s solution will probably allow for a deeper OS-level hibernation of an app and will probably be more effective.
If we go by last year’s schedule, an Android 12 Developer Preview should be available for Pixel users sometime around February. However, considering how many of Google’s employees have been working from home or remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, we can’t say for sure. There’s also no guarantee that the code changes that have been submitted will actually make it to the final release - Google may simply decide to hold the feature back until Android 13 rolls around.