Android 12 could finally fix a problem with photo storage getting bogged down by screenshot captures via a new storage requirement. That’s based on documentation spotted by XDA Developers, outlining the change.
The change itself comes down to just a few words. Summarily, Google’s documentation says that devices “MUST” save screenshots or screen recordings in a specific directory. Namely, that’s the “Screenshots” directory stored under “Pictures” in device memory. But it also goes a bit further, stating that they “MUST NOT” store those in DCIM, Pictures, Videos, or any other custom directory.
What’s more, the requirement effectively applies to all Android 12 devices. The company says it must be followed if the device has the capability of capturing those media. And that applies to both hardware shortcuts for that or software-based recording solutions.
Why does it matter where screenshot or recording files are stored in Android 12?
The requirement to store any user screenshot or recording files in a specific directory doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with Android 12. Instead, this relates to an ongoing, long-running issue on many OEM devices. Ranging from Samsung and Xiaomi to Oppo and any number of other OEMs.
In short, phones from some OEMs have been either creating custom directories for storing screenshots or saving them alongside camera captures. The end result of that, of course, is that the photos don’t always appear as they should when users are looking for them. Whether that’s screenshots showing up in Google Photos unwanted. Or screenshots showing up in an OEMs dedicated photo and video file management tools.
The former case is arguably worse and potentially the biggest reason for Google’s decision on this matter. The search giant has been charging users for extended storage in the cloud tool since last year. So every screenshot saved to the cloud, without meaning to, is costing users money.
Just as importantly, screenshots showing up where they aren’t expected can lead to massive headaches in keeping those files organized. Or when it comes to finding that one photo a user might be trying to seek out. That’s setting aside what a hassle it can be to rediscover screenshots. Especially when they’re spattered throughout the camera storage directory.
Will Google follow through on this change?
Now, Google has, in the past, pushed for big requirements changes just like this one without following through. And this particular change, at least for now, hasn’t been officially announced. At least not as part of this week’s Google I/O 2021 event. So it may or may not appear in Android 12 at all. Or it may be announced later on with upcoming updates to the new version’s beta program.