Have you been receiving whiny notifications about your iOS or Android phone running out of storage space? Surely that’s a sign that you need to go out and buy a new one, right? Well, don’t let us stand in your way, but you can probably fix the situation with a little spring cleaning on your smartphone. Here’s a breakdown of what you can safely delete to give yourself some more space:
Check your phone space usage
The first thing you’ll want to do is check if any of your apps are presenting a serious drain on your smartphone’s storage. On your phone’s usage screens, you will see your available storage, along with a list of apps that are using the most space, from top to bottom. With a little luck, you might find an app you never use that is sucking up all your space. Delete!
- On Androids: Check your app space usage under Settings or the My Device app
- On iOS devices: Go to the Settings menu, click General, then Storage & iCloudUsage, then look under Storage for Manage Storage
Check out this video, where we walk you through the steps of clearing space on your iPhone:
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Evaluate your apps
Next, consider whether the apps that you use sporadically really and truly need to be on your smartphone. Ask yourself, “Does this app provide a function that I cannot get by going to the company’s website?” If it does, then by all means, let it be. If not, delete the app and bookmark the company’s web site instead.
And there’s hope for Android users who wish they could reverse download some of the apps pre-installed by Google or their wireless carrier. You may not be able to uninstall those, but for newer Android devices you can at least “disable” them and covet the storage space they’ve taken up. Simply select the item, tap Uninstall Updates, then tap Disable.
Move photos, videos, music off your smartphone
If you’re still not comfortable with the available storage on your smartphone, check out your photo and video albums. While getting rid of a dozen photos of a bowl of corn chowder helps, the more videos you can get rid of, the better. Video files are gi-normous. Post them on social media or a cloud storage account, or save them to your home computer before deleting them from your smartphone. You can also consider enabling automatic uploading from your camera roll to Dropbox or directly to your SD card, which you can change out at your leisure (although, these are becoming less common on newer devices).
Music is another storage stealer. Music-streaming apps like Pandora or Spotify take up much less space than a big music library. Otherwise, consider keeping only the stuff you really love.
Delete old text messages and voicemail
You’d be surprised at how much space old text messages and voicemail take up on your device. Sure, there are certain exchanges you keep for the sake of cherished memories, but the photos of your kids you sent to your mother over the holidays two years ago probably don’t make a good use of storage space on your phone. Take a few minutes to go through these and delete where necessary.
Clear your cache
The longer you use your phone, the more extraneous information will be stored on it. On an Android phone, clear the cache for a specific app in “Manage My Applications.” On an iPhone, click on any app listed under “Usage” to see whether there is extra data that can be deleted.
Lastly, take the relatively minor measure of clearing your internet browsing history, deleting outdated or unwanted contacts, old notes, and text messaging conversations.
No one measure will automatically free up your phone, but together they could make a real difference. And when paired with the more major tweaks, chances are very good your smartphone will have some much-needed wiggle room.