That 15GB phone may seem like it has a lot of space, but after taking all those photos, syncing all that music, and downloading all those audiobooks, it could dwindle pretty quickly. With so many files on your device, how are you supposed to figure out which files are taking up the most space? We’ll show a couple of ways to analyze the storage on your Android device.
How to View the Space Usage Using Android’s Settings
There’s an option in Android’s settings that provides some basic information about your storage, so you can analyze the space without installing any third-party apps. To access the settings, swipe down from the top of the screen to access the notification center.
Then, swipe down again on the notification center to access the “Quick Settings” screen. Tap the “Settings” icon in the upper-right corner.
In the “Device” section, tap “Storage & USB”. (On some devices, this may be in a different area–on Samsung devices, for example, it may be under the “System” section).
The “Internal storage” (or “Storage”) screen displays. The amount of space used and the total space on the device is listed at the top of the screen. The amount of space taken up by “Apps”, “Images”, “Videos”, and “Audio” is listed below that. You can tap on a category for more detailed information.
NOTE: If your device has an external SD card, the information for that is listed at the end of the internal storage list.
For example, since most of our storage is taken up by apps, we tapped on “Apps” to see which ones are taking up the most space. You’ll see a list of apps organized from largest to smallest. If there are any near the top of the list that you don’t use, you might consider uninstalling them.
To sort the list by name instead, tap the menu button (three vertical dots) in the upper-right corner of the screen and select “Sort by Name”.
When viewing “Images” from the “Internal Storage” screen, you can not only sort the files and folders using the sort menu (three lines), but you can also switch between List view and Grid view using the view menu (three vertical dots).
It looks like “Other” is also taking up a fair amount of space, so let’s tap “Other” on the “Internal Storage” screen to see where that space is going. This will show all the files and folders on your device.
A warning displays saying that the entire contents of the internal storage will be displayed. To continue, tap “Explore”.
The entire contents of your device’s internal storage will be listed. However, this will list folders by name rather than by size. Tap the three lines icon in the upper right-hand corner to re-order them by size, to see which folders take up the most space.
Tap on a folder to drill down and view information about specific files and subfolders.
How to View More Detailed Information with Device Storage Analyzer
The “Storage & USB” settings may provide enough information for your purposes, but there are other options that provide a more detailed graphical representation of the storage on your devices. The Device Storage Analyzer app (known in the Google Play Store as “Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage”) is a popular choice that’s free and allows you to view disk usage information for both the internal and external SD card storage on your device.
We used a Samsung Galaxy Tab A to illustrate how to use the Device Storage Analyzer app, but it works the same way on other Android phones and tablets.
To install the app, search for it in the Play Store on your device or on the web, choose it from the search results, and then tap “Install”. You can also go directly to its Store page by clicking here.
A “Drives” icon will appear on your Home screen. Tap on the icon to open the app.
The “Device’s Storages” tab displays showing the “External Storage”, which is actually the internal storage, not the external SD card storage. To view information about the external SD card storage, tap on the “extSdCard” icon (on the right side in landscape mode or at the top in portrait mode).
A graphical representation of the external SD card in your device appears.
The “Device’s Storages” tab only allows you to view an overall representation of the storage on your internal storage and external SD card storage. For more information, first select the drive about which you want more detailed information on the “Device’s Storages” tab, then tap the “File Categories” tab. Tap any of the groups in the list on the left for more information about the files of that type on the selected drive.
For example, we tapped on the “Images” group. On the internal storage, we have “Portable Network Graphic” (.png) and “JPEG Image” (.jpeg) images and they are grouped by those file types under the “Images” group.
When we tap on the “Portable Network Graphic” group, all the “.png” files on the internal storage are listed. You can sort the list different ways by tapping the plus icon in the lower-right corner and then tapping the “Sort” icon.
On the dialog box that displays, tap an option for sorting the files.
You can view more information by tapping the info icon to the right of the file name, by the date of the file.
Additional information about the file, including its size, displays in a box at the top of the screen. If the file is an image, it displays below the box. If you want to delete this file, you can do so on this screen by tapping the menu icon (three vertical dots) in the upper-right corner of the screen and then tapping “Delete”. You can also “Open” the file from this menu.
Alternatively, you can delete a file by pressing and holding your finger down on the file until options display in the lower-left corner of the screen. Tap the “Delete” button to the delete the file. You can select and delete multiple files, too–just press and hold on each file to select it. Selecting multiple files displays the number of files selected next to the left arrow. In either case, tap the left arrow to de-select all the files.
To select all the files, tap the “Select All” icon.
The “Drive Usage” tab displays the directories on the drive you selected on the “Device’s Storages” tab. Tap on a folder to get more detailed information about the subfolders within it.
The subfolders within the selected folder display and the graphical representation on the right changes to reflect those subfolders. You can keep tapping on subfolders to drill down to the file level. You can view information about the files and select, sort, and delete the files the same way described earlier.
To access more options, tap the menu icon (three horizontal bars) in the upper-left corner of the screen.
In this menu, you can choose to group files and folders “By type” or “By size” (in the free version of the app). The “Biggest Files” option shows a list of the 10 files taking up the most room on whichever drive is currently active on the “Device’s Storages” tab. On the list of biggest files, you can select, sort, and delete files same way we discussed earlier in this article.
NOTE: The Pro version ($2.99 as of the writing of this article) of the app allows you to view the top 50 and 100 biggest files and sort files and folders by date as well.
There are many, many other space analyzers on the Play Store, some of which (like Memory Map) showcase your space in a unique, easy-to-read format:
But the built-in storage setting should serve most people well. If you need more detail, apps like Device Storage Analyzer and Memory Map are great options.