How to Free up Space in Android

How to Free up Space in Android

Few things in life are as annoying, everyone is familiar with the frustration of running out of storage space on your device. You can always take the pain of deleting photos or music or apps to squeeze more in, but who wants to do that? That’s why I am going to help you on how to free up space in Android.

Unlike many of life’s little annoyances, this one is easy to fix. In this article of mine, I share some easy ways to free up storage on your Android device — both the internal storage and microSD.

It doesn’t matter if your Android phone has expandable storage via a microSD card or not — you will fill up whatever space you are given(32GB or 200GB).

Use Android’s Built-in Storage Tool

Modern versions of Android have a Storage pane to show you exactly what is taking up storage on your device. To find out, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Settings screen on your device

Step 2: Click on Storage (To see how much space is used up by apps and miscellaneous other files) 

Note ** It works differently based on the version of Android you’re using.

Using Android Pie ( Android 9.0)

Follow these steps to manage storage on Android Pie.

Step 1: Go to Settings.

Step 2: Scroll down to device care and Open it.

Step 3: You’ll see various options like Battery, Storage, Memory and Security.

Step 4: Click on Storage. You’ll have the details of storage. You’ll be suggested to clean unnecessary files by big “Clean Now” button. You can also see what all apps are consuming most of your data. Clean out the apps which you dont want.

Using Oreo (Android 8.0)

Oreo uses a fundamentally different approach than previous versions of Android. Google breaks down the Storage menu into a more granular list. (List grouped together by apps and then varying types of files in Nougat and lower) Oreo groups and files together by category.

For e.g. You open “Photos & Videos” option, it also shows you which pictures and videos are taking up space on your phone along with the associated apps, as well—like photo editors or Video editors.

Not all apps will fall into the predefined categories, some come under “Other apps.” Likewise, there is a “Files” option that lists any file that doesn’t fall into another category.

There is actually an easy way to free up space in Oreo without digging through every menu entry:

Just tap the big “Free Up Space” button at the top. It will bring up a list of Downloads on your device, as well as any photos and videos that have already been backed up, and any “Infrequently used apps”.

If applicable. Select what you want to delete, and magic! 😀 — free space in the house baby!  

Easy step by step working

  • Go to the Settings app and click on “Storage and memory.” 
  • Tap “Free Up Space” button and your device start scouring its innards for files and apps it can remove. Generally, it will scrub phone for forgotten downloads and not in frequent-used apps. It will present you with a list of files it has shortlisted to remove. Here you can unselect any files you wish to keep.
  • If you want more say in the process, skip clicking on the “Free Up Space” button, and you’ll find underneath the button, a list of apps breaking down in the form of what’s taking up more space on your phone. Categories include things like “Music,” “Photos” and “Apps.”
  • By clicking on any of these categories take you to another screen that will list the apps chewing up space under that category.
  • Click on any of the apps and tap “Manage Space.” On this screen, you’ll be able to clear the data from that selected app with the “Free Up Space” button.

Nougat (Android 7.0 ) and Below

For any version of Android below Oreo, tap an option to see exactly what’s using up space and delete it. For instance, tap Apps to see a list of apps using up the most space and remove them. To view your downloads list, tap downloads and here you can delete files and tap cached data to clear the data of all installed apps. For the files, those taking up more space and are required no longer click on other options to view such files are taking up space and delete the unwanted one.

For apps, bear in mind that the app itself, its data, and its cache all add up to the total space. For example, you have Spotify and you have cached lots of music offline, Spotify is using over 1 GB of space. Clear Spotify’s cache to forcibly delete this all, or launch the Spotify app and tell it to cache less data for offline listening.

To see how much space an app is using for those data files and remove the cached data for an individual app tap the Apps list. (accessible by clicking Apps on the storage pane or by clicking Apps on the main Settings screen).

Turn on Storage Manager in Oreo

Oreo includes a new magnificent feature called Storage Manager, it will delete the photos and videos from your device after they backed up to Google Photos. How to turn it out: 

  • Go to the Settings app and click“Storage.”
  • Underneath the “Free Up Space” button, there is the “Storage manager” option. Flick the toggle on.
  • To specify the time interval click on the three stacked lines on the left. (Opt for 30, 60 or 90-day intervals)

Delete Unwanted Apps

 A better way to reclaim useful storage on your device is to remove old, unwanted apps or games.

Follow these steps to delete or uninstall unwanted apps on Android.

Step 1: Launch the “Settings” app 

Step 2: Go to “Applications” and click on it.

Step 3: Click the app you want to delete.

Step 4: Click “Uninstall” and you are done.

Unfortunately, you cannot remove pre-installed apps using this method. But you should disable them or clear their data if you don’t want them.

Clear the cache

To give you a better user experience data is stored in the cache. Cached data save a little time, but this data is not strictly necessary to keep. To clear up space quickly, the app cache is the first place to look.

Step 1: Go to Settings

Step 2: Scroll to Applications 

Step 3: Then click on Application Manager and Click on the app you want to modify. 

Step 4: In the app’s Application info menu, Click Storage and then Click Clear Cache.

That’s all.

Check Files Taking Up the Most Space with Files Go

Files Go app will give you the exact amount of space used by individual folders and files. Download Files Go app from the Google Play Store. Grant storage permissions and app access to the Files Go.

The main interface will show you stuff like Unused apps, low-res files, duplicate files, temporary files, downloads, and files that are taking up a lot of space. The app allows you to quickly pinpoint apps and files that are just wasted space.

Click on any of the category cards and it will show you contents of that category, you can select and choose what you want to remove. 

Clicking the “Files” option at the bottom, let you take a look at your storage in a more categorized view. (similar to Android devices running Nougat or older)

Clicking on each option will show you a more granular breakdown. For example, the Images entry will show you everything like Screenshots, Downloads. You can also sort the results by name, date, and size. I recommend the latter as you are trying to clear up space.

You can check my complete review of Files Go App here.

Clean up the Downloads folder

We call our Android devices “phones,” but they are more than that. We download stuff to our phones constantly. So, it’s become a favorite hideout for miscellaneous junk files downloaded from the Web. Now the question arises how often we lurk inside the downloads folder and remove unwanted files. To clean up files follow the below procedure:

Step 1: Locate the folder “Downloads” in the app drawer. 

Step 2: In case you don’t have a Downloads app, open Android’s file manager, navigate to the Downloads folder.

Step 3: Click on three horizontal lines and several options will appear.

Step 4: Click size. 

Step 5: Click and long press a file name. A pop-up will appear.

Step 6: Click the trash can/delete. This will remove the file from your Android.

Move Photos to the Cloud

Photos take up a lot of space. Rather than storing them all on your device, you could use an app that automatically uploads photos to an online account like Google Photos, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Flickr.

Google Photos, integrated with the “Photos” app and offers unlimited storage of photos.

You can access your photos from the Photos app or at photos.google.com on any computer. Just login with your associated account. 

If you are new to Google Photos, check the video below.

Google Photos – Getting Started

If you don’t like Google Photos, you can do this with other apps, like Dropbox.

Erase offline areas in Google Maps

Keeping searchable offline “areas” cost: storage space, and potentially lots of it.  Even a single offline map can consume more than a gigabyte of storage.

Find out how much space your offline maps have reserved:

Step 1: Click on the 3-line menu button of the main Google Maps interface.

 Step 2: Tap Offline. Below the map name, the storage used by each offline map is displayed.

Step 3: Click the map and click Delete to reclaim space.

Take advantage of Google Drive

Google gives 15 GB free cloud storage with every account. If your Android device is running low on space,  then in spite of delete, consider moving it!

If you don’t know how to use with Google Drive, get started with this video.

Google Drive: Getting Started

Anything inside your Files app or Downloads can be sent to your Google Drive by clicking the menu button in the top right corner and by selecting “Send to…”, A share sheet will open, where you can click Save to Drive to choose which folder to add it to. Then delete it from your phone without losing it forever. 

You will get an extra 100GB of space @  $1.99 per month and $2.99/month will double it. Check Storage Pricing here.

Add an SD Card and Move Data There

Android devices with microSD card slots are becoming less and less common. If your phone has a microSD card slot insert it into your device to gain more storage. After installation of the SD card, format it as portable or internal storage (if your phone has Android 6.0 Marshmallow), then connect the phone to the computer and move music, media, and other files to the card’s free space.

Move Apps to the SD Card

Depending on your Android phone and version of Android, you can also move apps to the SD card. Users with Android Marshmallow and above version of it can do this by formatting the SD card as internal storage. This makes your SD card as local storage on the device. A pre-Marshmallow version  Android phones can move some apps using Android’s built-in features, or move any app by rooting the phone and partitioning SD card.

I tried to cover simple and easy strategies to free up space on your Android device. If I have missed something then let me know in the comments section.

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