android free up storage hero

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.

RELATED: All the Cloud Storage Services That Offer Free Storage

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.

swipe down to access the android settings shortcut

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.

select storage from the settings menu

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).

pixel LG and samsung storage screens
Left: Pixel | Center: LG | Right: Samsung

Select one of the categories to clean it up.

select a section from the storage overview

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.

choose an app to clear its storage

Tap “Clear Storage” or “Clear Cache.” Be aware that selecting “Clear Storage” will reset the app, signing you out, and clearing all data.

clear storage or clear cache

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.

choose files to delete general files

A file manager will open to the folder and allow you to select which files to delete.

delete general files from the file manager

As mentioned above, some phones include a “Free Up Space” button on the “Storage” screen. If your phone has this button, tap it.

select the "free up space" button

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.”

choose "smart storage" from the pop up menu

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.
pixel free up space menu
“Free Up Space” on a Pixel phone

Look through the different areas and select anything you would like to remove. Tap “Free Up,” “Delete,” or “Remove” to remove the files.

choose files to remove

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

The Google Files app icon

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.

RELATED: How to Free Up Storage Space on Your Android Phone with Files by Google

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.”

Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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