Not enough room on your phone? What to delete

Tech Tips

What to delete to save space on your iPhone or Android

Have you been receiving the “Phone storage is full” notification on your iOS or Android phone? You can easily 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.

How to free up space on your phone

Check your phone space usage

The first thing you’ll want to do is check to see which apps on your smartphone are the biggest users of space and delete the ones you can live without. On your phone’s usage screens, you will see your available storage, along with a list of your apps ranked from top to bottom based on how much space they’re occupying. With a little luck, you’ll find an app that’s taking up a lot of space that you never use, so you’ll have no problems saying goodbye to it.

  • On Androids: Check your app data usage under Settings > Connections > Data Usage
  • On iOS devices: Go to the Settings menu, click General, then iPhone 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 website instead.

For Android users who wish they could remove some of the apps pre-installed by Google or their wireless carrier, you’re in luck. You may not be able to uninstall those, but for newer Android devices, you can at least “disable” them and reclaim the storage space they’ve taken up.  Simply long press the app icon in the apps menu and choose Disable from the pop-up window.

For many social apps on your iPhone, you can choose the Offload App option to help save some space. Settings > iPhone Storage > choose an app > then enable Offload App. This feature will automatically offload your unused apps when you’re low on storage, while saving your related documents and data for future access.

Back up photos, videos, music from your smartphone to the cloud

If you’re still in need of additional storage wiggle room, check out your photo and video albums. Deleting duplicate photos will be a huge help – and you’re likely to have a lot, since it typically takes 10+ tries to get that perfect selfie. But the biggest space saver will be deleting video files. Video files tend to be huge, so the more you can get rid of, the better. Post them on social media or a cloud storage account, or save them to your home computer before deleting them from your smartphone. You should also consider enabling automatic uploading from your camera roll to Dropbox or another cloud storage solution – check out our easy guide to backing up your phone photos.

Keeping music downloaded on your device can also take up room on your device. Consider keeping only the stuff you really love and want to be able to listen to if there’s so WiFi or wireless service available. Otherwise, stick to music streaming apps like Pandora or Spotify, since they take up much less space than a big music library.

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 dogs in their Halloween costumes you sent to your spouse two years ago probably aren’t the best 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 non-essential information will be stored on it. On an Android phone, clear the cache for a specific app in your device’s Settings. 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.