How to free up storage space on your Android smartphone

There are several ways to free up space on an Android smartphone. If you need to empty some storage, here it is.

Currently the most popular smartphones have features that are powerful enough to meet the most common needs. Including in terms of storage, so that (too) there is no shortage of space. However, this is not always true: entry-level models may be a little tighter in this case.

The good news is that there are many ways to properly manage your storage space on your smartphone.

Some of these methods are probably already familiar to you. Others may be a little less. These can also be combined. If you are looking for how to transfer your data to your brand new iOS or Android smartphone or how to delete all data from your smartphone before reselling or reusing it, we also have a dedicated guide.

The screenshots and hints below are taken with a Google Pixel 6 Pro smartphone running Android 12. If you use an iPhone, the handling will be different, but the logic of these tips will prevail. Similarly if you use another phone model or a different version of Android: the position of the word or options may vary.

This guide was written with Pixel 6 Pro, but the advice is valid for any model. // Source: For Louis Audrey Numermar

Delete unnecessary pictures, videos and files

This is the most obvious line of work for implementation. Take a look at the “Photos” section of the phone and check the duplicates If you shoot an event with your mobile, you may end up with very similar shots. Keep only a handful, or even one, the most successful, and delete the other.

The same recommendations may apply to videos you shoot, but may also apply to other files you download. Blurred images, poorly framed videos, old PDF documents, and more can be sent to Trash. Be sure to check in advance what you put in the digital dumpster.

Remove your files, photos and videos from the smartphone

Is your smartphone close to being overweight? You’ve already deleted all the obsolete and unwanted files, but you need to free up more space? One solution is to transfer some of the files you want to keep elsewhere using a remote storage service like your desktop computer or a local tool.

There are various remote storage services (popular “cloud”) such as Google Photos, Dropbox, Flickr, Amazon Photos, etc. Offers vary from one platform to another, ranging from paid with different levels of service to free. Be careful about what and where you’re sending: For example, if you don’t want to send very private content, check the privacy terms of the services.

Another solution is to go through local storage: a USB key, a desktop computer, a laptop PC, an external hard drive, an SSD or a network storage server (NAS). Multiply the backups, if the medium you ever chose is permanently broken. This comment also applies to your smartphone, note.

For the future


Uninstall the mobile app that you no longer need

Over time, you may have accumulated many mobile apps.

If one doesn’t take up much space on the smartphone, the others have taken their comfort – this is true for video games on the phone. It might be a good idea to go to the “Applications” section and see a list of applications that haven’t been used for more than three months – and remove some of them.

In Android 12, the procedure is as follows:

  • Click on Settings;
  • Go to applications;
  • Go to the “Unused Apps” section;
  • Tap the trash can icon in front of any program you want to remove;
  • Confirm by pressing “OK”;
  • A confirmation message appears at the bottom of the screen to confirm the uninstallation;
  • Repeat the operation as many times as needed.
Uninstall unused apps
Ways to uninstall an Android application. // Source: Screenshot

Take advantage of phone suggestions and tweaks

Android, in its latest version, can help you manage your storage space better. Android 12, for example, provides advice and internal tweaks to identify what can be cleaned up depending on the operating system. In fact, it allows you to apply the first instruction above to delete files, for example.

  • Go to settings;
  • Click on “Storage”;
  • Select “Free space”;

From this screen, Android shows you how much space is occupied on the phone compared to the total available space, with an indication of distribution (what is in the app, image, video, audio, document and trash). The gauge also specifies the space occupied by the operating system.

Then there are several levers available to you from this screen: you can delete all the things that are considered as unwanted files at once, which can free up a significant amount of space – in our case, it was 448 MB. Review the screenshots you took that could be useless

Android junk file
You can delete temporary files at once. // Source: Screenshot

The app also offers to check out unused applications – which we’ve advised you to do earlier), but also large files and downloaded files. Each time, Android provides a small account of the number of files involved, as well as the space occupied by this or that section, to help you prioritize your activities.

You have no obligation to follow every recommendation in the letter. Google only offers suggestions based on its own cues, such as the age of a screenshot, but such screenshots should probably be kept. For apps and files, it is possible to categorize them by weight, to know what to look for.

Free up Android storage space
Android makes different recommendations depending on the situation. // Source: Screenshot

Keep in mind that in the Cleaning Tips grouping section, you have the right to aim a sort of file (app, photo, video, etc.) to display sorting options (by weight, by date of use), with the up arrow. , Games) to search a specific category for cleaning.

Clear the app cache

Android allows you to lighten the space occupied by certain applications from time to time by emptying the cache of each of them without uninstalling them. This manipulation is much like the option of deleting recent history from existing web browsers like Firefox, Chrome or Edge. Easy to handle:

  • Go to settings;
  • Go to applications;
  • Ask them to display all on the screen;

From there, you’ll get access to a list of all the applications, with a hint of the location under each one.

  • Click on the application of your choice;
  • Go to “Storage Space and Cache”;
  • Click “Empty Cache”;

It saves some space. For example, the Instagram app, which was 711MB, has been reduced to 327MB. It’s worth doing in apps that seem to be taking up a lot of space, because that’s where the biggest gain will be Trying to clean an app that only holds 25 MB is of little interest.

Reduce the size of your photos and videos

If you run out of space on your smartphone, one thing to consider is reducing the quality of the photos and videos you take, so that your storage space is not overloaded. Android 12 allows you to play with certain settings. Obviously, this will save the next photos with a slightly smaller size with a slightly lower quality

  • Launch the Camera app;
  • Go to Settings (usually accessible by an icon located in a corner of the screen);
  • Look for the image resolution section;
  • Choose a lower setting.
Android quality camera
Taking low quality pictures is an indirect way to free up some space on your Android smartphone. // Source: Screenshot

Buy a smartphone worthy of the name

This last part of the advice is intended to be somewhat provocative, but also a last resort. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to multiply strategies to free up storage space on your mobile, this may be because the model you have chosen is not exactly scratch by this standard.

If you are not immediately asked to replace your phone with one that has enough storage space for a lifetime, then the next time you change devices you will pay more attention to product features. If you want to recommend some models, here is our guide to help you find the best smartphone.

All our practical guides in the how-to section

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