How to free up space on your Android smartphone

Android smartphones can often become slower as they get older, and a big factor affecting this slowdown is the accumulation of unnecessary files.

Smartphones have a limited amount of internal storage, and while high-end devices now boast up to 512GB, the camera and display hardware of these handsets is also improving.

This means higher-resolution photos and videos are being taken by and downloaded to smartphones, and these take up significantly more space.

Other issues include apps with large cache files, email history, images saved through messenger, and temporary Internet downloads.

If your Android smartphone is experiencing speed issues or is running low on free space, we’ve listed a few steps below which can help you to clear up your device.

Built-in cleanup tools

Android comes with its own built-in storage manager tools, although this can vary according to the version of Android you are using.

Android systems running version 8.0 or newer have a dedicated “Free Up Space” option under their storage settings, along with a per-app breakdown of internal space used.

Using this “Free Up Space” will clear backed-up photos and videos, as well as your Downloads folder and infrequently used apps, giving you the option to spare specific files from deletion before clearing this data from your device.

Users on Android 7.0 and below will have to free up space on individual apps and categories by tapping on each option within the internal shared storage menu.

Some manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei also offer their own storage cleanup tools which can quickly diagnose inefficient storage usage and optimise your device by deleting files.

Deleting files

If you’re running low on space on your smartphone and know what your biggest storage hogs are, you can manually delete these files easily by using the Files application.

This app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and can be used to navigate your device’s storage and delete bloated folders which may not appear in the standard Settings app.

In addition, you can also uninstall apps directly from the Home Screen if you have a few applications that have a large storage footprint. The biggest offenders in this category are mobile games.

Google recommends deleting your downloaded files using the Files app, as these can quickly eat up your internal storage.

Add MicroSD card

The easiest way to free up storage space on your smartphone is to add more of it.

If your device has a MicroSD slot, you can easily upgrade your maximum storage space by purchasing a compatible memory card and inserting it into your smartphone.

This external memory can then be accessed as long as the MicroSD is inserted in your device, although you will need to make sure you change your app settings to save data to external storage instead of your phone’s flash storage.

If your smartphone was previously running slowly due to a lack of free space, it is a good idea to move files such as photos, videos, and music to your MicroSD card.

Cloud backup

MicroSD cards are a great solution for smartphone users who store a large amount of data-heavy content, but the easiest way to keep your smartphone storage clean is to back your files up to the cloud.

Using platforms like Google Photos, Huawei Gallery, and Samsung Cloud, you can automatically back up photos and other files to the cloud whenever you are connected to Wi-Fi.

Not only does this protect your data in the event of the loss or theft of your device, but it also allows you to regularly clean out your internal storage, safe in the knowledge that your photos and videos can be restored from the cloud at any time.

While this is certainly the easiest way to free up storage, it does require a lot of mobile data or regular access to a strong Wi-Fi connection in order to back up your files.

Additionally, if you ever wanted to view an old image or video, you would need the mobile data to download it from your cloud provider.

Now read: HarmonyOS vs Android – What’s different about Huawei’s new OS

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How to free up space on your Android smartphone