How to Free Up Space on Your Android Device

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You remember the old saying: You can never be too thin, too rich, or have too much storage on your phone. The first two are foolish. But the latter is very accurate and really comes front and center when you find you have no room left to take pictures, download music, and install apps.

Some of the Android tablets and phones offer and easy fix: Put a microSD card in. But if there’s no expansion slot what happens then? Do you have to buy a whole new device?

Perhaps someday, but that’s not the case right now. There are ways you can free up space that you may have not considered. So before you begin to delete your family photos, here are some strategies to try.

Audit your apps

Managing Android apps

Apps are plentiful and cheap, which is why people tend put so many on their devices, and that includes even those that they use very seldom. So start by asking yourself which are the apps that you really need, and which ones are you able to live without. Remember, when you delete an app it is gone just for now, but you can install it again later if want or need it.

Games are usually the largest apps. So if you are done playing, let’s say, Grand Theft Auto, clear it and you can get back an impressive 2.4GB of storage.

If you want to know which apps are using up the most space, the Android operating system can tell you, but you will need to drill down to get the information. Venture into Settings, find Storage (on some devices it is listed as Storage & USB). Then tap Apps and wait for the OS to calculate the storage numbers for you. This will help you to make some decisions about which apps to keep and which to get rid of.

Offload photos and videos

Android photo storage

The more movies and photos you take with your phone’s camera, the more of your available storage you will use up. After a year or two of capturing all the best of life’s moments (and perhaps all those selfies), it can lead to a storage crisis.

The solution is to move to another location the older or stuff that are less important. This might be the hard drive on your PC or a cloud service such as Flickr or Dropbox.

Google Photos gives you unlimited storage for both photos and videos. The only limitation is that the photos have to be smaller than 16 megapixels and videos have to be 1080p or less. It’s also very helpful that it can automatically delete those items it has already backed up to the cloud from your phone.

To access that feature, just load the Photos app, tap Menu > Settings, and then hit Free up device storage.

Switch to streaming

Android streaming

We already talked about how your media eats an excessive amount of space on your phone/tablet. There is the stuff you created, but the bigger culprits will be your podcasts, videos, and music you download.

But unless you have a specific need to keep a library of that stuff on your device like if you are going on a long trip, and you will not have reliable ore easy access to Wi-Fi – instead of storing it, just stream it.

Take music. If you are used to the old-school method of copying your MP3s all or in part to your device’s library, think about instead switching to a music-streaming service. That way you will still be able to access all of your favorite tunes and them some, but you don’t have to keep the files in memory.

If you don’t want to pay, you can turn your PC into the music-streaming “service.” All you need is media-server software, such as Plex, which is a very popular option that is able to streamline all your music to your mobile devices. That is extremely powerful, because now you have access to your enormous desktop hard drive and there is no need to store anything on your limited mobile drive. Whenever and wherever you want stream rather than store.

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