How to Remove Leftover Files and Folders After Uninstalling Apps on Android

Sometimes, when an app has outlived its usefulness, you’ll want to uninstall it to make way for new ones. Uninstalling apps is easy enough: simply go to the Apps list, find the app, and hit the Uninstall button.

Unfortunately, for those who like a clean file system, some apps will leave behind “orphaned files” on uninstallation. These files were created by the app so it can do its job but weren’t properly deleted after the app was uninstalled. This can get annoying when your device’s system is slowly clogged up by files and folders that aren’t being used. The solution then, is to find a way to reliably remove leftover app data on Android devices.

The following are some ways to remove that data.

You can reduce the amount of data that’s left behind after uninstallation by clearing the data. This won’t always be perfect, but it’s a good solution if you don’t want to install any additional apps to do it. It’s also important to note that you perform this before the app is uninstalled.

To do this, go into your device’s Settings (this can vary from device to device, but you can generally get there from the Settings app in your app list). From here, select Apps.

leftover-files-apps

Select the app you want to uninstall.

leftover-files-select-app

Select “Clear data” and/or “Clear cache.”

leftover-files-clear-buttons

This will wipe the additional data the app has installed, which might give a cleaner uninstall.

If you’d prefer to do a proper clean (or just want a simple app solution), SD Maid is a fantastic way to remove leftover app data on Android phones. It’s a general cleanup app with some options locked behind a premium paywall. The ability to clean up dead files, however, isn’t locked away.

As soon as you run SD Maid, you’ll be given several options. The one you want is the morbidly-named “CorpseFinder.” Tap the name to see what it does, or tap the circular arrow on the right to begin.

leftover-files-corpse-finder

It’ll hunt for files left over by uninstalled apps. After the search, it’ll tell you if it has found any files. You can tap on the “CorpseFinder” button to view the files it believes are orphaned or press the bin icon on the right to throw them away.

On the file results screen you can tap individual files to delete them or hold-press to batch-select files to delete. This is particularly useful if you want to target specific files that CorpseFinder has detected.

leftover-files-multiple-selection

If you want to exclude a file, make sure no other files are selected, then hold-press the file you want to keep and select the pin at the top.

leftover-files-exclude-file

ES File Explorer is a little more feature-packed than SD Maid. At its heart, it allows you to organise files on your device as well as on devices on the same network as you. It also comes with a durable Cleaner tool which helps clean up dud files. It can pick up on APKs that are no longer needed, advertisement junk, and thumbnail files. For the sake of what we’re trying to do, however, we’re going to focus on how it can remove leftover app data on Android devices.

To use it, after installing ES File Explorer, use the Cleaner tool.

leftover-files-cleaner

The app will then scan your device for redundant files. Any files that have been left over from installed apps will appear under “Residual Junk” on the results page. Feel free to also browse what else ES File Explorer has found to really give your file system a scrub.

leftover-files-residual-junk

You can tap a result to see its details and tap the checkmarks on the right to select/unselect files for deletion. Once done, hit “Clean Now,” and it’ll get rid of those pesky files for you.

leftover-files-cleaned

Having redundant files sitting around your system can be highly annoying. With these tricks you can remove leftover app data on Android devices to make room for new ones. You can do it manually or install an app that will take care of all the tedious work for you.

What’s your favourite method of removing redundant files on your device? Let us know below.

Leave a Reply

Yeah! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Check out our comment policy here. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.