Google update will help Chromecast users free up storage space

The new Chromecast by Google features Android TV’s operating system built-in, which the company has since renamed “Google TV.” (Photo: Matthew Keys/Graphic: The Desk)

A new update for Google TV-powered devices will limit the amount of storage an app will need to install and run, and will allow users to free up unnecessary data with just a few taps of their remotes.

The announcement was made in a post on the Google TV Support website by a verified Google employee, who said the updates are rolling out to users of Google TV-powered devices, including the popular Chromecast with Google TV dongle.

A Google spokesperson said the changes are being made after the company received feedback from Google TV users that they were running into performance issues attributed to low internal space. The Chromecast with Google TV device, for instance, has 8 GB of on-board memory, of which around 3.5 GB is reserved for the Google TV operating system.

The rest of the space quickly gets gobbled up by television-hungry streamers who install more than a handful of the 10,000 apps available in the Google Play Store for Google TV devices. Many of those apps cache data as they run, which can also reduce the amount of available space, making it difficult to install new apps or run them smoothly.

As part of the rollout, Google is introducing a new “Free Up Storage” option within its settings menu that will allow users to delete app caches, which will help maximize the limited amount of space on budget Google TV devices like the Chromecast with Google TV.

Some users might not have to use the feature thanks to a new automated process that will see Google TV proactively free up space while an app runs in the background. Google also says it is changing how apps are downloaded from the Google Play Store, so users should not run into as many error messages due to space.

Google is also making minor tweaks to other features throughout Google TV, including a new caching mechanism that helps the Google TV home screen load faster, smoother scrolling on the “For You” recommendation tab and image caching on profiles for kids.

Caching and storage space issues may be less of an issue down the road, if rumors of a future, updated Chromecast with Google TV device are to be believed. Those rumors point to the newer Chromecast with Google TV having 16GB of on-board storage, which would certainly alleviate many of the concerns users have over how many apps they’re allowed to install at a single time.

Google has also held meetings with various hardware partners in which the company urged them to adopt 16GB as a standard for Google TV-powered devices in the future, according to the technology website Protocol.  That strong encouragement comes as the company readies a new version of Google TV that runs on top of Android 13, which will require slightly more space for software updates and apps that are needed to run the operating system.