Running out of storage on your phone is an all too common problem.
So what do you do when you see the dreaded ‘Storage space running out’ message?
Firstly, you can use these top tips to expand your storage with an external SD card.
Secondly, here are more useful tricks to make the most of the space on an Android device.
1. Delete apps you don’t use much
This one may seem obvious, but apps take up most of the free space on your phone.
You’re probably already in the practice of deleting old games you’re bored with, but if you find yourself running out of space often it’s time to be more strict with which apps you’re keeping.
Your phone probably came with a bunch of apps that you’ve never really used, or apps that fill a very specific purpose you just don’t need all that often. Anything that you’re not using regularly just isn’t worth the space it’s constantly taking up – especially when you need to free up some storage.
To remove an app, go to Settings and then Apps or Application Manager. From the list of installed apps, select the one you wish to remove and then press Uninstall. Some integral apps, such as messaging and the Google Play store, cannot be removed.
2. Move photos to Google Photos
If you can’t make space by deleting your less-useful apps, the next thing you’ll want to look at are your photos and videos. Nobody wants to have to delete precious photos for extra space, but with Android you really don’t have to thanks to the Google Photos service, which stores all your images in the cloud.
The first step is to download the Google Photos apps from the Google Play store (you will need a bit of space to do this).
One thing to be careful about is clearing your cache (see below). Google Photos creates 200px thumbnails of your images for you to view everything in the same place – and this itself takes up storage space. If you go into the app settings and clear cache then this should free up any space Google Photos takes up.
Once it’s installed go to the app’s Settings and then turn on the Back up & sync option. You can choose to save your files as high quality or original quality.
Google Photos provides unlimited, free storage for high quality photos and, unless you’re keeping professional-grade photography on your phone, you won’t notice any drop in image quality. All of the photos and videos saved to your device will begin uploading to the cloud once you’ve set a quality option.
When you’re files are done uploading, go to the Free up device storage option, again in the app’s Settings menu. This will automatically delete all of the files off your phone that have been saved to the cloud.
You can enable automatic backup so any future photos or video you take will be automatically uploaded to the cloud, but you’ll still have to use the Free up device storage option to easily delete the files from your phone.
3. Clear your cache
Many apps store extra data on your phone in a cache. This saves things like passwords and preferences and helps apps run smoother and faster.
Over time, a cache can get clogged up with useless data. Regularly clearing your cache is an excellent way to free up your storage.
To clear the cache on all your apps go to Settings and then Storage and select Cached Data to open the option to delete all the cached data on your phone.
To clear the cache for a specific app, go to Settings, then Applications, then Application Manager to open a list of all your installed apps. Select an app to view the space it’s taking up on your device. If the cache is large, select Clear Cache to delete the data.
4. Move files to Google Drive
If you have other types of large file on your phone (like image-rich PDFs), you can move them over to your Google Drive storage. Unlike Google Photos, which is strictly for images and video, Drive can store any kind of file.
Google Drive is pre-installed on many Android devices but, in case you don’t have it, it can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store.
Once it’s installed, open the app and press the + icon in the bottom right of your screen. From here you can hit Upload and choose any files on your phone to be saved to your cloud storage.
You’ll have to delete the files from your phone yourself after saving them to Drive, so make sure to only delete what you’ve uploaded.
Drive provides 15GB of free storage space to use, but you can upgrade to 100GB for just £1.59 a month or 1TB for £7.99 a month (but you definitely won’t need that much space just to clean up your phone).
5. Delete old downloads
Any time you open an attachment from an email or make a file available for offline viewing, your phone downloads that file and keeps it in a folder. There’s a good chance that your Downloads folder is full of stuff you don’t need anymore, so emptying it out could save you a bit of space.
Deleting files is essentially the same for all Android devices, although the screens and process for your specific phone may differ slightly.
Locate your My Files app and select the Download History folder to open a list of all your downloaded files. Highlight all the things you want to delete and select the Remove option at the top of your screen.
If you’re constantly running out of space even with these tips and tricks, you may want to consider expanding your phone’s storage with an extra SD card – learn how to do that here.