How To Free Up Space On Android

It doesn’t take up to fill up your storage space in Android, especially if you’ve got a phone that only comes with 8 or 16GB of space straight out of the box. Once you subtract the operating system space from those numbers, that doesn’t leave a lot for apps, photos, and videos.

After you start loading up your favorite apps and taking beautiful photos and videos, things start getting crowded fast. Around this time, you might be noticing things like your phone bogging down, random restarts, and other bugs or glitches. In addition to the operating system taking up space, there needs to be some free space for Android to run freely. Without the space, you start experiencing problems like we’ve just covered.

So, with only 8- or 16GB of space, how do you free up enough space to hold onto your favorite apps, photos, and videos with enough left over for Android? It’s not impossible, especially with features in recent versions of Android. Here’s how.

Android Oreo and Above

Storage issues like described above were troublesome in early versions of Android, but now with Android 8.0 Oreo, things have become more efficient. In Oreo, Android groups everything into categories. For example, in your Storage option, there will be a Photo & Videos category, which shows you not only the cumulative space photos and videos are taking up, but also photo- and video-related applications (i.e. Google Photos).

That said, Google isn’t able to fit everything into a specific category. That’s what Other Apps and Files categories are for, and those are likely the categories where you’ll find the most content delete (it’s as simple as going into these categories and finding content that you can get rid).

Aside from that, Android 8.0 Oreo has a neat new feature to get rid of useless data. Under the Storage setting, there’s a Free Up Space button. Once you tap this button, Android brings up a long list of Downloads, photos and videos that have already been backed up (thus, don’t need to be stored locally), and infrequently used apps. Android won’t get rid of these automatically, you have to go through and check what you want to delete, and then you can select the Free Up button to get rid of all that content. It’ll tell you how much space you’re freeing up right next to that button.

Maybe that didn’t free up enough space for you. That said, we’ll have to go through applications manually and make sure they’re not taking up too much space. Some applications can accumulate a lot of data over time — particularly stream services — so cache and data will need to be cleared manually. Simply click through your apps, such as Pandora, and select the big blue Clear Data and Clear Cache buttons.

The processes described above are similar in Android 7.0 Nougat and lower; however, Nougat doesn’t have the neat Free Up Space button. You’ll have to go through your apps individually and check them for the amount of space they’re taking up.

Photos, Video, and the Cloud

If you didn’t realize already, photos and video take up a ton of space, especially photos in their highest possible definition. Photos usually sit at a few megabytes each, but once you start accruing hundreds and then thousands of photos, that takes up a lot of space.

One way you can free up space in this area is by using Google Photos, which will allow you to send your photos and video to the Cloud. You’ll never have to store photo and video locally again. If you don’t already have Google Photos on your phone, you can download it here for free.

Once downloaded, open the app, and if prompted, sign in with your Google account.

Next, tap the Menu button near the top of the app, and navigate to the Settings options. Next, click Backup & Sync.

Here, sending all of your photos and video the Cloud is easy. Simply turn the Backup & Sync slider on or off. When you turn it on, Google will begin automatically backing up all of your photos and video the Cloud. And don’t worry — none of this will take up your Google Drive space. It’s all free storage.

Now, we can get rid of the device copies of our photos and video. Select the photos that were backed up (you can select by album as well to speed up the process), and then at the top select the three-dot menu icon. Finally, tap the button that says Delete Device Copy. Your local photos and videos are deleted forever, but the Google Photo version remains in the Cloud, which you can pull from and view in the Cloud whenever you please.

If you followed the Android 8.0 Oreo steps, you might’ve attempted to already get rid of device copies of your photos and videos. However, the Free Up Space button only gives a quick check of photos and videos that are already backed up, but doesn’t look through your entire library. That said, you might need to head into Google Photos and make sure that you’re device copies have been deleted.

Not a fan of Google Photos? You can also transfer photos and videos to other Cloud storage solutions, such as Dropbox.

Use an SD Card

There are plenty of smartphones that come with microSD card slots now. The microSD card was disappearing in phones, but due to popular demand, they’re making a comeback, even in flagship phones. If your phone has a microSD card slot, we can expand our storage exponentially — you can move photos, videos, music, and depending on your Android version, even apps! If you don’t already have a microSD card, you can pick one up here.

The storage size you buy all depends on what your phone can support. Most flagship phones these days support 256GB or more, but go online and double check. If you just want a few gigabytes to add, a 32GB or 64GB microSD card will work great and won’t cost you more than $10 or $20.

Once you get your microSD card and throw it in the microSD card slot, if you have Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, format it as portable or internal storage. Once done so, connect your phone up to your computer, head into the file system in your File Explorer, and then you can just drag or cut files over to your microSD card.

Moving Apps to the SD Card

You can also move many of your Android apps to your microSD card. Once you set it up as portable or internal storage, if you’re on Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, Android will offer to automatically move some data over to the SD card. When you select this option, Android will intelligently move applications over to the SD card (apps that make the most sense). You can tell it to move apps now, or you can go through this process again later. If you choose to move your files and apps over, Android will let you know how much storage space you’re freeing up.

It’s worth noting that, if you formatted your microSD card as internal storage, you won’t be able to manually move applications over. It’s all an automatic process at this point.

If you’re on a version of Android older than 6.0 Marshmallow, you can move some apps over to Android using built-in options (again, only some apps). To do this, you would go into your Storage setting, and go through applications one by one, looking for a button that says something along the lines of Move to SD Card. It’ll move as much app data as it can the microSD card, as well as some cache data.

Closing

As you can see, freeing up storage space on Android is easy, but can be an involved process. By following the above steps you should be able to free up enough storage space to make Android work smooth as butter again, or at least free up space for other content that you might want to consume. Got your own tips? Be sure to leave us a comment in the comments section below!

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