Virtually everyone is familiar with the unique frustration that comes along with running out of storage space on your device. Whether you’re a snap-happy shutterbug or someone who’s got an app for everything, running out of storage space is always a concern. Of course you can always painstakingly delete photos or music or apps to squeeze more in, but who wants to do that? Fortunately, there are a few often overlooked ways to free up space on your Android device. Some of these methods can even reclaim gigabytes of storage space.
Use Oreo’s Built-In Storage Tools
If you have your hands on a relatively new Android device or are lucky enough to have a phone eligible for an Android 8 upgrade, you have a couple of brand new tools to manage space on your phone.
1. Open up the Settings app and tap on “Storage and memory.” Here you’ll find a button labeled “Free Up Space.”
2. Tap this button and your device will scour its innards for files and apps it can delete. Generally, it will scrub your phone for forgotten downloads and infrequently-used apps. When it’s all done, it will present you with a list of files it has targeted for deletion. Here you’ll have the opportunity to de-select any files you wish to keep.
3. If you want to have a little more say in the process, you can skip tapping on the “Free Up Space” button, and you’ll find that underneath the button, there is a list breaking down what’s taking up space on your phone. Categories include things like “Music,” “Photos” and “Apps.”
4. Tapping on any of these categories will bring you to another screen which will list the apps chewing up space under that category.
5. Tap on any of the apps and select “Manage Space.” On this screen you’ll be able to clear the data from that specific app with the “Free Up Space” button.
Turn on Storage Manager
Oreo also includes a new feature called “Storage Manager.” This automatically deletes the photos and videos from your device after they are backed up to Google Photos. To enable Storage Manager:
1. Open the Settings app and tap on “Storage.”
2. Directly underneath the “Free Up Space” button, you’ll see the “Storage manager” option. Simply flick the toggle on, and it will do its thing.
3. If you tap on the three stacked lines on the left, you can specify how frequently the automatic deletion of your photos and videos takes place. You can opt for 30, 60 or 90 day intervals. Keep in mind that even if you don’t have Oreo and the Storage Manager feature, you should still get in the habit of deleting space-hogging photos and videos – you’ll just have to do it manually.
Delete Unwanted Apps
There’s no better way to reclaim useful storage on your device than to remove old, unwanted apps or games. If you have been using your phone for a while, the chances that you’ve accumulated a lot of junk apps on your device is rather high, so take some time to remove the stuff you don’t need so that the space gained can be put to better use.
1. Launch the “Settings” app on your device.
2. Scroll to “Applications” and tap on it.
3. Tap the app you want to remove.
4. Tap “Uninstall” to remove it.
Unfortunately, you cannot remove pre-installed apps using this method.
Clear the app cache
Most apps cache some data on your phone’s internal memory, and as time passes the size of your cache will increase. In fact, while writing this article, I noticed my cached data has grown to over 1GB in size.
Just click the “Cached data” option to clear the cache of all your apps or visit the applications menu to delete cached data on a per-application basis.
Delete Offline Maps
Google Maps is one of the most reliable and accurate navigation apps available, and if you have used its offline navigation feature, you are bound to have maps that take up huge chunk of your storage space.
Some of the maps that you download and forget about can be hundreds of megabytes, if not gigabytes! Obviously, you’re going to want to delete any old maps that you don’t need anymore.
To do so, open Google Maps and tap the menu button in the top-left corner. Select “Offline” to see which maps you’ve downloaded as well as how much space they take up. Tap on any maps you don’t need to bring up the option to delete them.
Clear Your Downloads Folder
We may call our Android devices “phones,” but they’re so much more than that. Most of us use our phone in much the same way as we would a computer. Of course, this means that we download stuff to our phones constantly.
PDFs of restaurant menus or concert tickets, documents for work, ZIP files, you name it, and you’ve probably used your phone to download it at some stage. The question becomes how often do you go into the downloads folder on your phone and delete those files? Open “Files” (or “Downloads” on older devices) to see what files are hiding in there.
Keep an Eye on Downloaded Music and Podcasts
The Google Play Music app is a great way to manage all of your audio in one spot. In addition to being an online retailer, it also gives users access to their personal libraries in one of two ways. Either you can stream content that you own or you can opt to download it directly to your device for offline use.
Google Play Music can be configured to automatically download songs you have purchased or uploaded. Furthermore, it is set to automatically download the next three episodes of any podcast you’re subscribed to by default. All of these automatic downloads can quickly contribute to a bloated device. Fortunately, you can change these settings quickly. Simply open the Google Play Music app and tap on the menu button (three stacked lines) in the top-left of the screen. Tap on “Settings” and select “Manage downloads.”
Don’t Forget About Google Drive
Finally, don’t forget that everyone gets 15GB of cloud storage for free. If your Android device is running low on space, and you can’t bare to delete, consider moving it!
How do you free up space on your Android device? Let us know in the comments!