Android Q's Scoped Storage feature delayed until Android R in 2020
Android Q is coming soon, and with it will come several new features. One that has stirred the pot quite a bit is Scoped Storage, a new method of handling app permissions. However, due to some negative feedback (primarily from app developers), Scoped Storage will not be a part of Android Q. Rather, the feature has been curtailed until next year’s Android R release.
In a nutshell, Scoped Storage contains applications within their own “sandboxes.” Typically, Android apps will request certain access permissions to interact with various phone hardware or file systems. Scoped Storage attempts to solve many of the privacy issues that have plagued Google’s mobile OS for almost a decade by containing apps within their own restricted storage partitions.
The intent behind Scoped Storage is a good one and reflects some of the more privacy- and security-focused Linux distributions. However, the feature’s execution has been met with heavy criticism, mainly from app developers.
Apps that were designed for prior OS versions (Android 9 Pie and below) aren’t compatible with Scoped Storage. To that end, the latest Android Q beta includes a “compatibility mode” for legacy applications that aren’t yet designed to implement Scoped Storage, allowing them to run as normal. Unfortunately, if these legacy apps are ever deleted and then re-installed, Scoped Storage will break the app.
Android developers have been vocal in their distaste for the app-breaking nature of Scoped Storage and have offered heaps of negative feedback to Google. The loudest point is that Android Q’s imminent launch doesn’t give app developers enough time to retool their older applications in order to be compatible with Scoped Storage.
As a response, Google is delaying the official launch of Scoped Storage until Android R launches in 2020. Google believes this should give app developers enough time to adopt the new standard and adjust their applications as needed.