Free Up Storage on Your Phone: When you buy a new phone, you might be surprised at how much free space you have. But eventually, the day comes when you get a pop-up warning that it is about to expire. But there are ways to make room on an iPhone or Android smartphone without sacrificing your favorite digital possessions.
And when that happens, you may not be able to compress it into a single app or image. So what can you do about it? Many people like the idea of deleting even a snapshot of their children’s backup.
Get a Look at What You’re Storing
But there are ways to free up space on an iPhone or Android smartphone without sacrificing your favorite digital devices. Here is the way. Some Android phones have a “Free up space” button at the top of the main storage screen. Tap to check the list of files, including old files you might do without.
- On iPhone, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage
- This will bring up a small color-coded bar graph showing how much storage you’re currently using and what it’s taking up.
And below you’ll find a more detailed list, showing all the apps and data on your phone and how much space they take up. Photos and videos are common culprits, of course, but you might be surprised to learn how many gigabytes are used by infrequently used apps. With one click, you can remove any unwanted culprits or “wipe” them, which frees up space used by the app but keeps user data and settings on the phone in case you choose to. reinstall later.
Optimize Your Storage Space
Once you have a good idea of what is taking up space on your phone, there are a few things you can do about it. For most people, the best strategy is to start with photos and videos and then move on to downloads and apps. Move your files to the SD card. If you’re using an iPhone or some Android phone, that’s not an option. But if you have a phone with an SD card slot, feel free to use a digital pocket mouse and expand your available storage space. Here are instructions for Android devices with Files by Google and the My
Files app for Samsung Galaxy
Don’t forget to configure your phone to save your photos, videos, and music on the card. Otherwise, they’ll end up in the phone’s memory, says Richard Fisco, who oversees electronics testing at Consumer Reports. Apps can also be moved to SD cards, but beware, he warns. “Some apps that you move will have their icon disappear from the home screen, although they will still appear in your app drawer,” says Fisco. “And most app widgets won’t work if you move the app to an SD card.”
Prepare Your Photos
Enhancing photos on your smartphone saves full-resolution versions to the cloud while leaving smaller versions on your phone. You might think that would result in blurry or grainy photos, but that’s not necessarily true, says Fisco. He notes that high-end smartphones shoot at much higher resolutions than their screens will support. For example, the iPhone 14 has a 12-megapixel camera but only the same 2.96-megapixel display. “So you can’t see all the details of the image,” Fisco said. Moreover, you point out that you are viewing them on a screen of only 6 inches.
On an Android phone or iPhone, go to your Photos app settings. Google Photos has an option to “Free up space”, which will save your photos to your Google account while freeing up space on your phone. On an iPhone, under Settings > Photos, you can enable the “Organize iPhone storage” option. But be at least a little more selective about the photos you keep. We all take pictures that are blurry or not good enough to be used for anything. It’s much easier to delete files as you go than to collect thousands of photos later when your phone is full.
Clear Your Cache to Free Up Storage on Your Phone
On an Android phone, when you select particular apps in the “Storage” settings section, you’ll usually get the option of clearing the cache or deleting all data. Clearing the cache removes temporary files, such as search history in YouTube or Chrome. Deleting the data clears the cache as well as all other information stored in the app, such as user settings. Both options will free up at least a little bit of space. On an iPhone, your best bet is clearing history and website data in the Safari browser, Fisco says. This could free up a couple of hundred megabytes of storage space, depending on your browser usage. For Safari, go to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data. You can do this in other iPhone browsers, such as Chrome, too.
Delete Old Files to Free Up Storage on Your Phone
Some phones come with extra storage management features. Google Pixel phones, for example, have a “Smart Storage” option. When this is enabled, which you can do with a toggle switch on the Storage settings screen, the phone automatically removes backed-up photos and videos that are more than 60 days old. And when a phone’s storage is almost full, it will automatically remove all backed-up photos and videos. If you don’t want to do that, you can manually clear out your downloads by going through your download directory, Fisco says. You’ll find this in the Files app on an Android phone or iPhone or the My Files app on Samsung Galaxy phones. Or you can open an individual app and delete the files it downloaded, such as the downloaded songs in the Google Play Music app.
On that note, make sure to weed through all of your music libraries. In the age of streaming, you don’t need to store a lot on your phone. That goes for podcasts, too. It also helps to clear out your old iMessages or at least any big attachments tied to them. On the iPhone Storage screen, you can click on “Review large attachments,” which will give you a list of the biggest attachments stored on your phone. Delete what you don’t need anymore. You can also save space by changing your settings to save messages for a year or just 30 days instead of forever.
Pare Down Apps to Free Up Storage on Your Phone
As mentioned before, your phone’s storage screen will show you exactly how much storage each of your apps is using, along with the last time you used the app. Don’t think an app is worth the space anymore? Just tap on it to delete, or off-load it instead. Off-loading deletes the app but keeps the documents and data related to it, often freeing up more than half of the space that had been taken up by the app. And if you later decide that you want to use all the data, you can just download the app again, free, and pick up where you left off, Fisco says.