It doesn’t take long for a new Android phone or tablet to get cluttered up with rolls of pictures, redundant apps, unused widgets, cached files, and the troublingly vague “MSc” data. It takes up increasing internal storage day by day and slows down your phone speed.
Now, follow these tips and take a few minutes to blow the cobwebs out of your device’s cupboards and get your streamlined, lean gadget back.
Use a MicroSD card
Many smartphone manufacturers have ditched the slot, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, a MicroSD card is definitely the easiest way to add storage space to your device. If you can use a MicroSD card, you can snag an extra 128GB for less than $30. It’s important to choose a good MicroSD card with decent read and write speeds, however. Don’t be tempted to pick a card solely on the price tag, and make sure that you get a Class 10, UHS (1 or 3) card.
You won’t be able to move every app onto your new card, but with older versions of Android — Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and earlier — you can probably move some.
To do so; go to Settings > Apps and tap on each app listed under Downloaded. Then, tap Move to SD Card, if the choice is available. Keep in mind that some phones house the option to Transfer Data to SD Card under Settings > Storage.
If you’re running Android 6.0 or later, then you can also choose to format your card as internal storage during the setup process by selecting Use As Internal Storage. This is a good idea if you intend to keep the card permanently on your Android device. However, it also means that it won’t work with your PC or other devices. If you want to remove it and use it to transfer files, then opt for the Use As Portable Storage option. If you do format it as internal storage, then Android will automatically copy some apps and other data onto it. The operating system will also save new apps and files onto it by default when it decides that’s the best option.
Additionally, devices running Android 6.0 and later feature built-in file management, which you can access via Settings > Storage > Explore. You may also find it easier to simply plug your device into your computer or laptop and drag and drop files from your phone to your computer and then onto your MicroSD card. This is a good opportunity to back them up, too.
Delete old files
If you have any old documents, videos, or other files on your Android device that you could live without, get rid of them. To do so, go to Settings > Storage and take a look at the different categories. Consider deleting things like Other, Miscellaneous, or Files. You can tap on an entry and then tap Explore when it pops up, or scroll down to find the Explore option at the bottom. Folders like Download will often have old files you no longer need in them. You can tap and hold on an item or folder to select and delete it.
If you have a Google Pixel phone, going to Settings > Storage > Manage Storage will take you to Files by Google, which will present you with options for freeing up space, such as deleting duplicates, temporary files, downloaded files, and old screenshots. If you have a recent Samsung Galaxy, you can go to the Samsung folder on the home screen, and then My Files > Internal Storage. This will let you delete files according to category (e.g. documents, copies).
Remember to take a look inside specific apps, too. If you use a photo-editing app or a document scanner, for instance, you may end up with duplicate files or older files you’ve likely forgotten about.
Delete old messages
You should also sift through your messages and delete anything unimportant, especially if it has an attachment. Most devices will also give you the option to automatically delete old messages. For example, on a Samsung phone, open the Messages app and tap More > Settings > More Settings and make sure Delete Old Messages is toggled on.
Use Android’s built-in storage tool to clear the App cache
Modern versions of Android have a Storage pane that will show you exactly what is taking up storage on your device. To find this, open the Settings screen and tap Storage. You can see how much space is used up by apps and their data, by pictures and videos, audio files, downloads, cached data, and miscellaneous other files.
In order to clear the App cache, go to Settings >Applications manager, find apps that take up the most space, and then tap on ‘Clear cache.
Limit the size of photos and videos
Photos and videos are likely to be taking up a lot of space on your Android phone. While the camera will differ from device to device, you should always take a look at your default settings and consider the amount of space you have available. In general, the higher the resolution of your photos, the more space they will take up. For videos, you should also consider framerate. Modes like HDR and 4K will use up more space, so use them sparingly or offload the video files quickly.
To review these settings, open your camera app and find the settings menu — it’s usually depicted by a gear icon.
Back up your data in the cloud
A good way to deal with photos and videos is to back them up in the cloud. There are many different methods for doing so, but Google Photos remains the best given it’s free and straightforward. It’s always a good idea to back up your files for safety reasons, but doing so also allows you to delete local files from your Android device without having to worry about losing your data. To make sure Google Photos is set up to automatically back up your photos and videos, launch the app and tap your profile image in the top-right corner of the screen. Afterward, select Turn on Backup, if the backup hasn’t already been turned on. If a photo or screenshot hasn’t been backed up yet, it will have a cloud icon with an arrow pointing upwards.
You can also get some free storage space with services such as Dropbox and OneDrive. Once you sign up for either service, simply offload the files you don’t need — you’ll still be able to easily download them when you need to.
Use a storage manager or cleaner
You can shortcut a lot of the tips we’ve listed here by employing a cleaning service to do it all for you. If you’re lucky enough to have a device with Android 8.0 Oreo or later, you can look in Settings > Storage and simply tap the Free Up Space (or Manage Storage) button at the top. The phone will sort through everything it has stored and will give you the option to deselect the files and apps you want to keep. When you make your choices, you can hit delete to wipe out everything that remained selected.
Go factory reset
If you want to take a truly drastic approach to the problem, how about a factory reset? It would rest the Android device to its original system state by erasing all of the information stored on the device in an attempt to restore it to its original manufacturer settings. Doing so will effectively erase all of the data, settings, and applications that were previously on the device. However, don’t forget to back up your phone content using Syncios One-click backup tool as we mentioned above.
Above are useful ways that we provide for you to free up space on Android phones and tablets. There must be something for you. Any other space-saving tips we missed that have worked for you? Share them below!