Scoped Storage is bringing a lot of changes in Android 11 after first being launched in Android 10. To begin with, now its use will be mandatory for any app targetting Android 11. But it will also reportedly deliver a new feature or two for app developers. And those are going to make things easier on and more convenient for users.
Based on a recent video shared by the Android development team, the first of the new features is a new trashing mechanism. Described as similar to a Recycle Bin, that’s hidden from view by default but allows apps to trash files –with user confirmation. And those can later be recovered after up to 30 days. At 30 days, the trashing mechanism deletes the file.
Tucked into MediaShare API as part of Scoped Storage, this is all about security and privacy. This change, in particular, gives more granular control over how apps handle file movement and deletion. On the user side, that means that users will be able to decide exactly what files apps can delete. The app will provide a pop-up asking for permission and explaining that the file will be deleted after 30 days.
Another change with the introduction of Scoped Storage is the added ability for apps to stack a “favorite” attribute onto files. Again, that’s going to require permission from the user, specifically for modifying files outside of the app’s purview. The favorites attribute lets the app assign a file with an attribute that lets other apps know that the user thinks the file is important.
One example of that is when a piece of media is starred in a gallery or other photography app. If a user gives permission for modification and then favorites the file, it’ll be more readily available elsewhere.
So, what is scoped storage in Android 11?
Digging deeper into what, exactly, Scoped Storage is, it’s just one of many new features coming in Android 11. More directly, the feature was first introduced in Android 10 but wasn’t mandatory as it is about to be in Android 11. And it serves as a way to make app data more private and secure from other apps.
What exactly it does is a little more complicated. In summary, Scoped Storage puts an end to apps being given access to all of a gadget’s storage. Instead, apps will only have access to their own private storage partition. Access to files outside of that is on a more file-by-file basis, with the user granting access to specific pathways in the file manager.
As noted above, that means that applications need permission explicitly to manage, delete, or view files outside of their own internally-stored files. That’s any file that’s not shared in a collective for every app to view. Specifically, in the organized Media and Download collections in the file system.
When does Android 11 arrive and when will this feature become visible to end-users?
Google expects Android 11 itself to arrive sometime in Q3 2020. But that doesn’t mean the new features outlined here will arrive at the same time. Android developers will want to review documentation for these changes and work to incorporate them into their apps. And they’ll want to do so as quickly as is feasibly possible if the plan on targetting Android 11. But smartphones won’t necessarily see the update quickly.
That means that users won’t necessarily see the update soon either since there’s little immediate motivation for many developers to implement the changes. And that motivation won’t improve until a larger percentage of users are on the latest Android OS version.