5 Ways To Free Up Storage On Your Android

5 Ways To Free Up Storage On Your Android
We’ve all been there. You open the Google Play Store, find the app you want and hit download, only to get that pesky “Insufficient storage available” pop up window reminding you that your device’s storage is almost totally filled (probably with music files, large apps and internet memes from your friends’ group chat.

5 Ways To Free Up Storage On Your Android_opt

It’s time to get rid of some unused junk and free up some of that precious storage. We’ve put together five simple ways to do just that on your Android smartphone or tablet.

You’ll first want to find out how much space is being used. Go to Settings -> Storage and you will see a breakdown of your device’s storage usage into categories like apps, images, videos, audio, documents, system, etc. Take note of which categories are using the most storage.

N.B: On some android devices, the storage settings will be within a sub-category in the settings menu, such as ‘Advanced’ or ‘Battery and Device Care’ on Samsung devices. If your device has a search feature in settings, you can type ‘Storage’ in the search bar and it will take you directly to the storage settings.

Delete unwanted apps, app cache and app data

When freeing storage on your Android device, the best place to start is with your currently installed apps. Mobile apps vary in size based on their features and functionality.

Go to Settings -> Apps and select an app that you don’t use often and want to remove. Select the ‘Uninstall’ button. A dialog box will ask you to confirm if you want to uninstall the app; select ok and wait a few seconds for the system to remove the app. Repeat this process for any more unused or unwanted apps.

Most android phones come with preinstalled apps called bloatware which you may not need. These apps are a little more tricky to remove because the software blocks them from being uninstalled. However you can disable them if the option is selectable. Follow the same process above but this time select the ‘Disable’ button. This disables the functionality of the app and frees the storage space it occupied.

If you have an app that you don’t want to remove, but it’s using a significant amount of storage, you can choose to delete the app cache or app data.

This time, instead of selecting the ‘Uninstall’ option, choose ‘clear app cache’. This will delete all the temporary files that the app uses to load faster, which can accumulate over time. Clearing the cache will not delete and permanent or important app data so it’s a low cost way to free up some storage.

5 Ways To Free Up Storage On Your Android

App data builds up while using the app. Choosing to select the ‘clear app data’ option will mean deleting all of that app’s saved data including saved accounts, in-app settings, downloaded app files and game progress. Think carefully before you decide to delete it.

Delete old files:

Old files in your device can take up a large potion of the storage. Deleting documents, images, videos that aren’t useful anymore is a great way to reclaim space. Remember those internet memes we mentioned earlier? Be sure to get one last chuckle at them before this next step.

From your home screen, scroll left/right or open your app drawer to show your app list and select the Files or My Files app then select the Internal Storage folder. You’ll see file folders such as Download, Music, DCIM and WhatsApp. You will have to open each folder, select the files you want to remove and delete them. You can delete multiple files in a folder by long pressing a file until its highlighted, selecting the ones you’d like to delete then press the ‘delete’ button.

Use cloud storage:

If you don’t want to delete any files for whatever reason, you can choose to upload them to a Cloud Service. These services allow you to store files on remote servers instead of your physical device storage, up to a specified amount.

Google Drive is Google’s own cloud service and comes pre-installed on most Android devices. Drive offers Google account holders 15 Gigabytes of free cloud storage. They also have Google One, a paid version of Drive that gives you 100 Gigabytes of storage for $1.99 per month and up to 30 Terabytes for $299.99 per month.

To store files on Drive, simply open the app, select the + symbol on the bottom right of the screen, and select the files you want to upload. Once you confirm, copies of those files will be uploaded to the cloud. You can delete the copies on your device’s internal storage.

There’s also third-party apps like Dropbox and Amazon Drive that offer free and paid cloud storage options. Some brands like Samsung and Huawei have their own native cloud services built into their devices as well.

5 Ways To Free Up Storage On Your Android
Use external storage:

Another great alternative is the use of physical external storage devices. These range in type and storage size from Micro SD cards to USB Drives and even PCs. Similar to cloud storage, you can transfer your files to these devices to free space on your device’s storage.

Micro SD cards are tiny storage devices that can be inserted into compatible devices to act as a separate storage location for files. Once inserted, the SD card storage will be visible in the My Files/Files app. You can then select a file or entire folders by long pressing until they’re highlighted, selecting the ‘move’ button then select the SD card storage as the destination. The file will then be transferred to the SD card storage, freeing the space in the device memory.

USB Drives require an OTG (On The Go) device to connect to your smartphone or tablet. Once connected, your device will prompt you to choose a connection type. Select the ‘USB drive’ option, go to My Files and you will see the USB device storage option. Go to Internal Storage, long press on the file(s) you want to transfer, select ‘move’, navigate to the USB device storage and select ‘move here’. The file will be transferred to the USB device.

5 Ways To Free Up Storage On Your Android

On a PC, the file transfer process is simple. Connect your device to the PC via a USB cable. The PC will display your phone as an external storage device. A dialogue box will open. Select the ‘open folder to show files’ option. This will display your device’s files. From there you can drag and drop any file or folder directly onto the desktop. This creates a copy of the file on the computer after which you can delete the file from your device.

Factory Reset

If you want to totally free up storage and get a fresh start, you can choose to perform a factory reset on your device. This option resets your device’s settings and apps to the default setup as well as deletes all of your saved files and downloaded third-party apps.

This option is only recommended in extreme circumstances as it permanently removes every change on your device since you began using it. It is recommended that you back up your important files and settings before performing a factory reset.

To perform the factory reset; go to settings -> back up and reset. Scroll to the bottom and select reset, then select the factory data reset option. If you have a Lock screen passcode, you will be asked to enter it here. Once entered, you will be prompted to confirm your choice to factory reset the device. Select yes and the phone will automatically restart and reset to factory settings.

N.B: on Samsung devices running android 11, the reset option is under General Management, in settings.

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