It’s bound to happen sooner or later: you’re trying to take a photo or download a new app and suddenly, the dreaded “storage almost full” message appears.
Whether the culprit is an extensive music library or a few graphics-heavy apps, most of us have run out of space on our smartphones at one time or another. The good news? There are a few simple steps you can take to get some of that precious storage space back.
Read on to learn how you can manage your smartphone’s storage and get the most out of every last megabyte.
1. Move photos and videos off internal storage
Since photos and videos generally take up the biggest chunk of space, offloading these files to a cloud-based system will make a world of difference when your phone storage is full.
If you use an iPhone, go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Photos and tap the iCloud Photo Library toggle to turn the service on. Once you’ve enabled iCloud Photo Library, your photos and videos will automatically upload to iCloud so you’re free to delete any locally stored files.
Android users can set up Google Photos to automatically back up files by launching the app and going to Settings > Back Up & Sync.
Beyond iCloud and Google Photos, there are various apps you can use to upload your photos and videos to an online account, including Dropbox and Flickr.
2. Delete unused apps and games
The next biggest space hog after photos and videos will likely be your apps and games.
There’s a good chance you have at least a few apps that you’ve only ever opened once or twice, so be sure to regularly remove the ones you’re not using.
To see how much space each app occupies, iOS users can go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. On an Android smartphone, open Settings > Storage > Apps.
By deleting a handful of apps, you could potentially free up as much as 500MB with little or no effort.
3. Get rid of unnecessary downloads
Loading up your phone with music, podcast episodes, books, and documents can take up more storage space than you might imagine. The same goes for any offline content you’ve saved for periods when you don’t have WiFi access.
Take a look at apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Google Maps to see if there’s any offline content you can purge.
If you have an Android device, don’t forget to clear out your Downloads or Files app – which is a favourite hideout for miscellaneous junk you probably no longer need.
4. Clear out old text message threads
Your phone automatically stores all the text messages you send and receive, so a significant amount of your storage space could be wasted on old conversations – especially if they contain photos or videos.
Luckily, you don’t have to go back and delete individual conversations manually; both Apple and Android phones allow you to auto-delete older messages.
To enable this feature in iOS, go to Settings > Messages and scroll down until you see Message History. Then, tap Keep Messages and change Forever to 30 Days or 1 Year. Immediately after, you’ll be prompted to delete older messages.
For other devices – like Samsung phones – you simply need to head to Settings and make sure “delete old messages” is toggled on.
5. Delete cached app data
Whenever you use a certain app, it continually downloads and stores a collection of files – or cached data. These files enable faster loading times and give you a better user experience, but they also eat into your phone’s memory over time.
You can clear the cache of individual apps on Android by going to Settings > Apps, selecting an app, and choosing Clear Cache. Alternatively, you can delete all cached app data at once by tapping Settings > Storage > Cached Data.
On an iPhone, you may have to delete and reinstall certain apps in order to clear out cached data. Follow these steps to free up extra space:
- Tap Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
- As you scroll down, you’ll see your apps arranged by the amount of storage they take up. Select an app that’s taking up a lot of space.
- Take a look at Documents & Data – if 500MB or more is being used, it’s worth deleting and reinstalling the app to clear the cache.
- Tap Delete App and then head to the App Store and re-download it. (Bear in mind: when you delete an app, all saved settings will be lost – including your log-in details.)
Try a few of these methods today – you’re guaranteed to regain some much-needed storage space.
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