Storage space on smartphones and tablets can be easy to fill up, especially if you use a phone or tablet for a long time. We’ll show you how to take back some of that space on your Android device.
It’s possible to get Android phones and tablets with 128GB or 256GB of storage, but there’s a chance that you still have a device with 64GB or even 32GB. If you don’t keep all of your files in cloud storage, it can be easy to run out of storage space.
The good news is you can clear out some extra space whenever you need it, and Android phones have tools built in to do the job. Plus, there are third-party apps that you can download to make it even easier.
Android’s Built-in Storage Tool
There is a “Storage” section in the settings on every Android device that gives you information about what is taking up storage space. This section can also be used to free up space.
On your Android phone or tablet, swipe down from the top of the screen once or twice, then tap the Gear icon to open the “Settings” menu.
Next, select “Storage” in the “Settings” menu. On a Samsung Galaxy phone, you will need to tap “Device Care” first to get to the “Storage” option.
Toward the top of the screen, you will see how much storage you have used, and how much is available. Underneath, there’s a list of storage categories. Some Android phones include a “Free Up Space” button on this screen (more on that below).
Select one of the categories to clean it up.
You will see a list of apps associated with the category. In this example, we see music apps as we’re cleaning up the audio files. Tap one of the apps.
Tap “Clear Storage” or “Clear Cache.” Be aware that selecting “Clear Storage” will reset the app, signing you out, and clearing all data.
Alternatively, each section will have a more generic “Files” option under the apps list. This is where you can remove files that are not directly associated with an app.
A file manager will open to the folder and allow you to select which files to delete.
As mentioned above, some phones include a “Free Up Space” button on the “Storage” screen. If your phone has this button, tap it.
If you have file manager apps installed on your phone, you might be asked which app you’d like to use to complete the action. The one we want to use is “Smart Storage.” Select it, and tap “Just Once.”
The next screen can vary, depending on the device you have. In some form or another, you will see a list of suggested areas that can be cleaned up to free up space. Here are some common areas you might see:
- Backed Up Photos & Videos: This will remove media that has already been backed up to cloud storage.
- Temporary Files: Files such as cached data and clipboard items that aren’t needed anymore.
- Downloads: Items that you have previously downloaded.
- Idle/Infrequently Used Apps: Usually, this will show apps you don’t use often and allow you to uninstall them in bulk.
Look through the different areas and select anything you would like to remove. Tap “Free Up,” “Delete,” or “Remove” to remove the files.
You can head back to the main Storage menu and check how much space you now have available on your Android smartphone or tablet.
Files by Google
If Android’s built-in method isn’t good enough for you, there are additional tools you can install from the Google Play Store. “Files by Google,” the company’s own file manager app, includes a tool to help people keep storage space tidy.
Some Android phones come with “Filed by Google” preinstalled, but it’s available to everyone from the Play Store. The app has a handy tool that recommends things that can be removed from your phone, saving you the trouble of doing it manually. Check out our guide for freeing up storage space with “Files by Google.”
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