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Android’s new filters will help you purge unused apps

Use a smartphone for long enough and you’ll likely accrue a bunch of apps you don’t really use — think dead social networks or games you only ever tried once. How do you do that spring cleaning without sifting page by page through your app list? On Android, you now have some help. After some earlier experimentation, Google has started the broader rollout of a Play Store update that gives you more control over your “My apps & games” section. Installed apps and updates are now separate, and the installed section now lets you sort by alphabetical, last updated, size… and most importantly, last used. If you have a slew of apps you haven’t touched in ages, you can get rid of them all in short order.

Updates themselves are better. It now takes just one tap to update a specific app where you previously had to visit each app’s store page to upgrade. That’s more than a little helpful if you’re pressed for time. You can also refresh the updates section to look for fresh apps instead of having to relaunch the app, and it’s easier to quickly install apps from your library. And did we mention that the app listings themselves are much more compact, so you won’t have to scroll quite so much?

This isn’t a perfect update. It’s no longer possible to easily mass-install library apps, so you may have a harder time bringing back all your apps on a new phone. From a first glance, though, it looks as if Google has made a number of small Play Store updates that could make a very practical impact on your day-to-day use.

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