Running out of storage space on your Android mobile phone? Here’s how to delete unnecessary junk and free up plenty of space for your apps and media, in just a few easy steps.
If your Android smartphone’s storage is filling up fast, don’t panic. There are loads of quick and easy ways to get rid of unnecessary junk and free up loads of storage space on your mobile, without resorting to deleting photos and apps that you might eventually need.
Here’s our quick and easy guide to freeing up your mobile’s memory.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Check how much storage remains
To find out how much storage you actually have left on your Android mobile, head to your phone’s settings and then scroll down to ‘Storage’.
In here you’ll see an exact breakdown of how much space you’re using and what is taking up that space. This is broken down into apps, photos and videos, audio (music, podcasts and so on), downloads and cached data. If you spot that one particular section is hogging loads of space, then it’s time to do something about it.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Delete any apps you no longer use
Apps are usually the biggest drain on your storage space, so head to your Android phone’s settings and then scroll down to ‘Apps’ and give it a tap.
In here you’ll see a list of all of your downloaded apps, with an indication of how much space each one is taking up. The bigger that number, the more storage you’ll get back if you delete it; so it’s time to work out if you really need that ‘Hilarious Farty App’ or if it can go straight into the bin.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Backup your photos to the cloud
The essential Google Photos app allows you to store your snaps and home-made videos in the cloud for free, and it comes as standard on most Android phones now – but if you don’t have it (only likely if your phone is already over a year old), then head to the Google Play store and get it downloaded.
With that done, tap the menu icon in the top left of the Photos app (which looks like three horizontal lines) and choose ‘Settings’. Finally, tap ‘Backup & sync’ and make sure that this is turned on. Any photos that you snap on your phone will automatically be saved to Google’s cloud service, so you can safely delete them from your mobile to free up space.
Of course, we highly recommend checking your Google Photos account from another device first, just to make sure that they’re 100 percent backed up. After all, you don’t want to accidentally lose that photo of your mate Brian lying face-down in a puddle of his own stomach contents after too many Drambuies.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Ditch the downloads
These days it’s actually reasonably affordable to grab an All You Can Eat (AYCE) data contract, which allows you to download media to your heart’s content at no extra cost – provided you don’t roam abroad, of course.
That means you can happily delete all of the music and videos from your Android Phone and just stream your entertainment instead. Services such as Spotify, BBC’s iPlayer Radio and Netflix offer a massive catalogue of online content, which you can stream as much as you like for a small monthly charge. Just remember that you won’t be able to take advantage when travelling abroad, unless you’re covered by something like Three’s Feel At Home service.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Messaging hogs
If you use third-party messaging apps on your Android mobile, these could also be eating up your valuable storage space.
For instance, WhatsApp users should try going into one of their popular conversations and tapping the Media/Group Media option in the settings. This will bring up all of the photos that have been sent back and forth in the conversation, which can be deleted en masse to free up more space. Thankfully these pics do get automatically deleted as time passes, so you should only bother with this step if your mates send a lot of photos.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Clear your Android phone’s cache
After using a phone for a few months, chances are you’ll have at least a gig of cached data cluttering up your Android handset’s storage space. This is just garbage saved to your phone by apps and your web browser, to speed up operation, and can be safely blitzed to free up storage space.
In the Android settings menu, head to Storage and then tap the ‘Cached data’ entry. This will prompt you to delete all of the cached data. Tap ‘OK’ and it will all be erased – for now. Check back again soon and it’ll be back, ready to be re-deleted.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Clear old downloads
If you save a lot of documents, photos and so on to your phone, they’ll appear in the Downloads section of the Storage menu – or in the Downloads app. Give this a tap and you’ll see everything you’ve downloaded and how much space it all takes up. You can delete them directly from here.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Add extra storage with a microSD memory card
Many Android phones allow you to add extra storage, in the form of a microSD memory card. The microSD memory card slot is usually found in the same tray where your SIM card sits.
These memory cards are affordable and a great way to get a huge chunk of bonus storage, for your photos, videos and other bits. Check out Amazon for a huge selection of cards.
Phones from 2016 that don’t support microSD memory cards include the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, and the OnePlus 3 and 3T. In these cases, you’ll need to check out the next section instead.
How to free up storage space on your Android phone: Add extra storage via third-party accessories
If you’ve harvested all of the spare storage space that you can, but your Android phone is still pretty full, you could consider adding extra storage using accessories such as a special phone case with a built-in memory card slot. Alternatively, you can stream your media from home with a NAS device.
Check out our guides to adding extra storage to your phone: