What you need to know
- The Files by Google app on Android has an “Important” tab in India that holds critical documents, like government IDs.
- The feature was introduced last year, but will be removed on February 15.
- Google says that anything in the Important tab will be permanently deleted, so users have a month to make copies of their documents.
If you have documents stored in the Important tab in the Google Files app on Android, you’ll want to back up those sooner rather than later. That’s because Google is removing the tab next month, and anything saved inside will be permanently deleted at that time.
The company’s plans were first spotted by 9to5Google, who noticed a warning related to the Google Files tab in an APK teardown. “The Important tab on Files will no longer be available from 15 February 2024,” the notice says. “Your saved documents in the Important tab will be permanently deleted from Files after this date.”
If you haven’t heard of the Important tab before, that’s because the feature is region-limited. It debuted last year in India, and is exclusive to that country. When you enable the Important tab, the feature automatically looks for government documents you might have saved in the Google Files app. These might include IDs, passports, or other critical documents.
Though it wasn’t available in the U.S., the feature seems useful in keeping key documents readily available. Having copies of these documents can help you in a pinch, but keeping them organized can be tricky. Unfortunately, the Files app and the Important tab won’t be a way to do that going forward.
Google hasn’t publicly announced this change, and since it has not been rolled out yet, the canceling of the Important tab isn’t confirmed. However, the wording used in the notices uncovered in a recent Files by Google update APK very strongly suggests the feature is being discontinued.
Users will need to manually save copies of their files by tapping the Share button in the Files app. Then, they can select their destination of choice and preserve the documents. This is necessary, because everything in the Important tab will be deleted on Feb. 15, 2024, when the tab shuts down.
Google will actively warn users of the shutdown via push notifications, according to the 9to5Google report.
The company doesn’t have a fantastic track record when it comes to supporting individual features and services. It discontinued over 10 features and services last year, including big ones like Google Stadia and YouTube Stories. That track record looks to be continuing just shortly after entering 2024.