How to Free Up Space on Your Phone

smartphone with warning memory full message

Why does it always seem that phones run out of space at the worst possible times? When your family member is walking to the podium to receive their diploma or your dog is begging for tummy rubs in the cutest way ever, that’s when you’re bound to receive a not enough storage message as you try to capture that photo or video. Whether you have an Android or iPhone, try these tips to free up valuable space on your phone.

Get Rid of Big Attachments

On the iPhone, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. If you have lots of large attachments on your phone, you’ll see an option to Review Large Attachments. This will show you a list of attachments in your messages or email app sorted by file size. Videos and high-resolution photos are typical space-taking culprits.

On an Android phone, you can see how you’re currently using your phone storage space by going to Settings > Storage. To delete downloaded photo and video files from your phone, go to the app tray and select Downloads. You can view and remove large or unused files by touching and holding the file and selecting Delete. There’s also a handy Free-Up-Space button on your Android. You can select that and view old files that have been taking up valuable storage space.

Uninstall Unused Apps

Unused apps take up space that could be used elsewhere. Delete them. You can view the apps that take up the most storage on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. To delete an iPhone app, press and hold then tap once. The small x appears.

To delete an app from an Android, go to the Play Store > Settings > My Apps and Games. Then go to the Installed section, tap the app you want to delete from your phone and tap Uninstall.

Check Your Podcast Settings

Both iPhone’s Podcasts app and Android’s Play Music have default settings that automatically download recent episodes of the podcasts you subscribe to through those apps. Those long audio files take up a hefty amount of storage space. On iPhone, go to Settings > Podcasts to change your download settings. On Android, go to Settings > Downloads to manage your podcasts and other audio files.

Get Into a Space-Saving Routine

Take a few minutes to do these cleanup tasks now, and then set yourself a reminder to do them again in the future. How often you should follow these steps depends on your individual demands for phone space. Here’s how to keep space free on your phone:

  1. Set your phone to back up to a cloud, such as iCloud or Google Drive. This frees space on your phone and ensures you don’t lose your files if your phone gets lost or broken.
  2. Reduce the resolution of your photos and videos. Most people don’t notice a quality difference with a slight reduction in resolution, and the smaller file size saves space on your phone.
  3. Clear your phone’s browser cache. All that web data takes up storage space. On Android, select Settings > Storage > choose your browser app > Clear cache. For iPhones, tap Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data.
  4. Delete old unwanted files. This was described in detail above. Use it or lose it is a great motto when it comes to phone storage.
  5. Offload old files that you want to keep to your computer or a hard drive. Most cloud services have a size limit before they’ll start charging you for storage. If you don’t want to pay, you can download files to your computer or an external hard drive instead.

Keep an eye on your phone’s data usage, and get rid of or offload space-hogging files. That way, you can keep your smartphone running as the lean, mean communication machine that it’s meant to be.