The latest Android devices come with 128GB of internal storage, but these phones cost several hundreds of dollars and even several thousands of dollars. Sure enough, there are budget Androids that give you 128GB of storage for less than $200, but these phones fail in other areas like performance, speed, camera quality, and low RAM. There is a name for these cheap Android devices: burner phones.
But your primary device is not a burner phone. It contains all the memories you have captured over the years, such as pictures, messages, and phone numbers. Your phone is still as good as it was a year ago, but the storage is almost filled up.
Eventually, you will get the annoying “low storage” warning when you try to record a video or install an app update. If you cannot afford to buy a one-thousand-dollar Android phone yet, there are several ways to free up space on your Android phone.
If you don’t want to limit your photo or video quality or deal with space issues, you can back up your content. Although there are multiple options for cloud back-ups, Google Photos is the native solution for Android. If you use Google Photos to organize your media, you can back them up to the cloud, straight from your Android device.
To be sure that Google Photos is automatically backing up your phone’s photos and videos, open the app and tap on your profile picture. If Google Photos is not automatically backing up your media, you will see the option to Turn on Backup.
If you’d prefer to use a third-party cloud storage service provider for a backup, there are alternative options like Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive. These providers offer a reasonable amount of storage space for free. Once you sign up, you can move your unneeded files over and still have access to them whenever you want. If you have sensitive data on your phone, you can also back up the files to a cloud storage service provider that uses zero-knowledge encryption.
Although your phone comes with several stock apps, you get to install all the apps you want from the Play Store. But, of course, these stock apps take a lot of space. So, if you want to know how heavy each app on your phone is, go to Settings > Apps or Settings > Apps and Notifications. There, you’ll find a list of apps and see how much space each one takes.
If you find any apps that you don’t use regularly, uninstall them to free up space. These apps are always available for you to download and install later.
An app might be light when you install it and then take up more space as you use it. To clean up apps like these, check them out in Settings > Apps and Notifications. Tap on them individually, and you should see the Clear Data option. If your device runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later, tap on Storage when you see the app you want.
Tapping Clear Data (Or Clear Storage on some devices) may reset the app. If this happens, you may need to re-enter your password when you reopen the app. Also, if the app was a game, you may lose your gaming progress. However, if you connect your gaming profile to Google Play Games, you don't have to worry about losing your progress.
After purchasing a phone, you might realize that you need more space than for your photos and apps. Buying a phone with more storage would be expensive, but getting a MicroSD card is a great and affordable alternative.
In some stores, you can get a MicroSD with 128GB of space for less than $30. However, be careful not to select for price and lose out on quality. Instead, choose a reliable MicroSD card that reads and writes at decent speeds. For best results, ask the storeowner or attendant for a Class 10, UHS (1 or 3) card.
Once you’ve got an SD card on your phone, move as many of your apps and media onto it. Your phone may not let you move all your apps, but if your phone runs an earlier version of Android, you can move some apps.
To transfer your apps from your phone’s internal storage to an SD card, go to your phone’s Settings, tap Apps, and select each app listed as “Downloaded.” Once the app’s options appear, look for the option "Move to SD Card" and tap it if it is available.
Meanwhile, if your phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow or a later version, you can set your micro SD to function as internal storage. To do this, select :Use As Internal Storage” during the initial setup. When you choose this option, your Android device will immediately move some apps and data onto the new card. The device will also begin saving new apps and files onto the SD card by default.
Setting SD card as default internal storage works great if it stays on your phone permanently. But once you set it up for internal storage, it won’t work on your PC or any other device. If you’d like to take the card out and use it on different devices, then choose the “Use As Portable Storage” option during setup.
Not all Android devices come with MicroSD card slots. If yours doesn’t, it’s still possible to extend your phone’s storage capacity using a USB flash drive or an external hard drive.
But first, confirm that your phone is compatible with USB On The Go (OTG) before you buy a USB OTG cable. With a USB OTG cable, you can connect your phone to a USB flash drive or a MicroSD card (if you have a card adapter). You can even connect your device to an external hard drive. With the added storage, you can easily store and back up your phone’s files.
Cache refers to the temporary files, scripts, images, and other multimedia that your phone saves to shorten load time. Left unchecked, your app cache can take up substantial space. There is no downside to deleting your app cache. To delete the app cache, go to:
Settings > Apps > [app name] > Storage (or Storage and Cache) > Clear Cache.
You can also delete all the cached data on your device at once, by going to Settings > Storage. Options may vary by device, but you should see Cached Data, Clear Cache, or similar options. If you use a Samsung phone, go to Settings > Storage > Device Care > Optimize Now to clear your app cache.
Different phone makers have varying instructions for their devices, so you’ll need to find the instructions for yours.
If you’re like most people, you probably keep music and movies for offline entertainment. However, music and movie files can take up a lot of space. To avoid running out of space, don’t keep music, movies, podcasts, and other media files downloaded on your Android device.
Instead, download apps that offer streaming services - like Netflix, Tidal, Spotify, or Amazon Prime. When you stream, you can simply listen to or watch your content without using your phone’s storage.
Although messages do not typically take a lot of space, they can reach significant sizes if left unchecked. Look through the messages on your phone and delete the unimportant ones - especially if they have multimedia attachments.
These days, some devices allow you to automate deleting old messages. For example, Samsung users can automatically get rid of old messages by opening the Messages app, taping More > Settings > More Settings, and activating “Delete Old Messages.”
As phone camera technology has advanced over the years, it’s become commonplace to have a super-high picture and video quality. These high-quality images, however, take a lot of space on your phone. If you want to save space for other things, look at your camera’s settings and reduce its shooting resolution.
If you’re recording a video, HDR and 4K modes will take up lots of space. Use those modes only when necessary, transfer, and delete the files from your phone as soon as possible.
If you apply the tips above individually, you’ll definitely free up space on your Android phone. If, however, you don’t want to go through the manual process, you can download a file manager or cleaning app to do it for you. Examples of popular file managers for Android include Astro File Manager and Cx File Explorer.
Android devices running Android 8.0 Oreo or later have built-in space management tools to help free up space. If you have an Android phone that runs Oreo, simply look in Settings > Storage and tap the “Free Up Space” button. The app will look through everything stored on your phone and give you the option to save any files you don’t want to delete. It then deletes everything else, freeing up space on your phone.
These days, some Android phone makers also include storage management apps on their devices. For instance, Samsung now includes a “Device Care” section in its device’s settings. If you open up Device Care and tap on Storage, the option “Optimize Now” pops up. When you tap that, your Samsung phone gets rid of cached files and other unnecessary data.
A factory reset is basically a nuclear button on your phone. Performing a factory reset will delete everything you have on your Android device, so make sure you back it up first.
Also, make sure that you charge your phone fully before you perform the reset or plug it into a power source. Once you wipe your phone, you can start all over again. Installing all the old apps might not be the best idea. Instead, identify the apps and files you really need to have on your phone.
To perform a factory reset on your device, go to Settings > System > Reset Options > Reset All Data. On a different Android phone, the options might be Settings > System > Advanced > Reset Options > Factory Reset.
Running out of space on your Android phone can be annoying to say the least. Lucky for Android users, there are plenty of ways to fix the situation. You can buy a MicroSD card to expand your memory space, back up your data, clear your app cache, and stream instead of saving music.
If you implement all the tips above and find that you’re still running out of space, perhaps it is time to buy a new phone. This time, however, make sure it has enough storage for your needs.