Are you living the nightmare of constantly worrying about your Android storage space running out? Read on to discover some of the most effective ways to free up memory and a few Android storage apps that can help you effectively do it.
There was a time when the measly 1.4MB floppy disk seemed like the paramount of storage technology, and today we are ready to abandon the mighty 9GB DVD. This shift in storage requirements has not been limited to external storage devices. The first generation iPhone came with 4GB internal storage to start with, which seemed like more than plentiful back in the days.
However, as we progressed into a new generation of smartphones, aspects such as the camera, video quality, apps, and file sizes has increased dramatically. Today, Android devices with a storage capacity less than 16GB have become an abomination, especially if you have no way to expand the storage via MicroSD.
Whether you’re stuck with your bad decision of not spending the extra cash for upgraded storage, or just suffering from storage space running out, there’s always something you can do about it. Here are a few methods that you can implement to free up space on Android and reclaim those valuable gigabytes with useful tips and storage apps for managing device memory.
Why is device storage always less than promised?
While those of you rocking around with a 128GB Android device never even think about storage capacity filling up, the poor souls with 16GB and 8GB internal storage tend to count every megabyte. However, you might have noticed that even on a brand new Android device with 16GB storage, the available memory is no more than 12GB.
So where are the 4GB you were promised and is there a way to get all 16GB of storage space? The simple answer is no because manufacturers tend to play with numbers when it comes to providing internal storage. While you are given 16GB of storage at the rate of 1000MB = 1GB, the Android system calculates the storage using binary, where 1024MB = 1GB.
Moreover, there is around 2GB of internal storage space that the Android OS takes up, which is the heart of your device. Hence, there is no way to increase the total internal storage capacity to more than what you see in the Storage menu of the Settings app.
Remove apps that you don’t use
We all have an app drawer on our devices that is filled with dozens of apps that we install, use a couple of times, and then forget about. More than just taking up real estate on your screen, these unused apps could be harboring a fair amount of storage space that you desperately need. For instance, Facebook app for Android takes up as much as 250MB of your device storage, which can be quite the blow on a device with low memory.
You can start off by heading over to the Applications menu in the Settings app, tap on the app icons that you have no use for and hit “Remove”. Apart from giving you back some much-needed storage space, keeping your Android device free of unwanted apps with also improve the overall performance.
Apart from the apps that you have installed, there are certain apps that the smartphone manufacturers try to force down your throat. These apps are hardly any use to the mainstream user, and brands such as Samsung are infamous for the memory hogging bloatware such as Galaxy Apps, S Health, Flipboard and many other.
If you aren’t too keen on removing these bloatware apps entirely by rooting your Android device, disabling them is the next best thing. Simply head over to the Applications menu in the Settings, navigate to these bloatware apps and use “Disable” to render these bloatware apps useless.
Streaming is better than downloading
We have come a long way from physically hoarding movies on the phone to streaming the best entertainment content via Chromecast. However, the fact that online streaming service like Netflix offers offline downloadable content makes it too tempting for those who aren’t actively connected to the internet.
Having just a few hundred songs downloaded offline from Google Play Music or just a handful of movies on your device can clog up the storage capacity. If you’re concerned about your Android storage space running out, hoarding movies on your device’s internal storage won’t just take away precious space, but will slow down the system drastically.
Move to the Cloud
Whether you’re an avid photographer who spends snapping pictures on your phone or an Instagram celebrity who desperately needs all those selfies, there’s only so much weight that your internal storage can pull. If deleting those thousands of pictures is just not an option, why not back up all your media to the cloud?
To make things easier, Android OS offers an automatic backup feature in the Google Photos app. From the Google Photos app, head over to the menu option and select “Free Up Space”. This screen will alert you on how many pictures have been backup up to your Google account and how many images can now be safely deleted.
Apart from photos and videos, you can back up large documents directly to your Google Drive account and access them online, without sacrificing the internal storage space. Since a single Google account offers 15GB of free storage, you can add multiple Google accounts, back up your media content and enjoy virtually limitless space.
Add expandable storage and move apps to SD card
In case you do have a MicroSD card slot on your device, set it up with your Android phone and transfer your app data. By heading over to Settings->Applications->Manage Applications and selecting “Move to SD Card” option in the menu, you can easily move high-volume apps to the external storage and give your device the much-needed space.
Moreover, you can even make sure that media apps such Amazon Prime Video store offline content on the SD card and not the internal memory. The easiest answer to Android storage space running out is adding expandable storage to the device. While some popular devices like the Samsung Galaxy lineup come with expandable storage, even the most popular smartphones like the Google Pixel tend to skip out on the expandable storage slot.
If you are stuck with an Android device that does not come with expandable storage, OTG could be a lifesaver. By connecting a MicroSD adapter or a regular USB flash drive directly to your phone, you can transfer your data physically to the external storage device without cluttering up the internal storage capacity of your device.
Using Android’s storage tool
Before we go ahead and venture into the world of Android storage apps to help you fight the low memory warning, there is a memory manager tool built right into the system that deserves recognition. In the Settings menu, you can find the Storage option that gives you an insight on how much memory you have in total, how much you have left, and what the used storage space is divided into (apps, images, videos, audio, other, etc.).
By tapping on each of these available options, you can find out more about the space occupied by them. For instance, by tapping on the “Audio” button, you can go ahead and view the audio files saved on the device and delete the ones you don’t need.
However, the most important option here is “Cached data” which harbors tons of saved content and data from the apps installed on your device. While removing the cached data on your device could remove some saved settings, it will not delete any of your saved data. Simply press “Cached data” and hit OK to retrieve a considerable amount of internal storage space.
Android storage apps – The last resort to storage space running out
Now that we have discussed all the spring cleaning tips that you can use on your Android to counter the storage space running out, let’s get into the apps. While these may not be as effective as the physical ways we have shared above to increase internal storage space, there are Android storage apps that can help you recover a whole lot of megabytes by removing cached data, temporary files, and unused elements.
Best Android clean-up tools
SD Maid – System Cleaning Tool
Possibly the best Android app for when your storage is running out, SD Maid is essentially a suite of tools to not only get your additional space but to speed up your system while doing so. Apart from the usual rodeo of removing cached data and unused files, SD Maid uses “Corpse Finder” to remove the residual data that an already uninstalled app may have left behind.
Equipped to work with rooted and non-rooted devices as well, this app doubles up as a file manager to help you navigate through the Android root directory and remove unused and unnecessary data while providing an in-depth and detailed overview of the device storage available and in use.
If you have ever looked for a clean-up tool for your computer, CCleaner is a name you would’ve definitely come across. Starting off with disk-space recovery, this app helps you optimize the performance of your device while helping you retrieve some of the valuable internal storage space taken up by app cache, browser history, clipboard content and more.
While you can make use of all the basic features of CCleaner for free, the Pro version comes with amazing features like automatic cleaner scheduling, priority support and more. Unlike many other clean-up tools that hemorrhage the battery to give better performance, CCleaner works on low memory and CPU usage.
Clean Master (Antivirus Boost)
Created by Cheetah Mobile which is known for making all kinds of apps and security tools, Clean Master is among the most popular clean-up tools for Android. Built with the ability to help you clean up cached data, temporary files, browser history and more with a simple click, this app is best if all you need is a sweet and simple cleaner app.
Apart from the ability to get rid of junk files and the so-called “Phone Boost” feature (which simply kills background apps to speed up the device), Clean Master also comes with an Applock and Antivirus built into it. However, if you are keen on Android security, there are better antivirus apps that are tougher on malware and viruses than Clean Master.
Best Android file managers
ES File Explorer File Manager
One of the first Android file manager apps ever created, ES File Explorer has millions of users worldwide, thanks to its local and network-capable file management features. Apart from some cool features like built-in RAR and ZIP support to compress large files into smaller ones to save storage space, the file manager itself makes it easy for you to navigate and delete unwanted junk.
The ES File Explorer comes with remote access feature to connect with popular cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and much more. With additional features like App Manager and SD Card Analyst to keep a check on your expandable storage data, this app works as so much more than a simple file manager.
Android comes with a pretty decent Storage menu that gives you an overview of what files are taking up space on your device. However, DiskUsage is the app that you’re definitely going to need to find an in-depth map of what is taking up space on your Android device and how you can delete it.
A great way to get to the core of your Android system and find leftover data from deleted apps, stagnant files and more, the visualized graphic chart helps you find out exactly how much space each file is taking up. By simply tapping on each of the folders or files, you can access them and delete the ones that you have no use for right from the DiskUsage app itself.
File Commander – File Manager
File Commander is yet another veteran in the file manager genre of Android apps, offering everything you would expect and more. Apart from helping you navigate through the internal storage and SD card, the app comes with integration for cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and others, along with local networks and FTP servers as well.
When it comes down to helping you curb the storage space running out on your Android, File Commander offers a well-defined overview to see what files are located in the different sections. Apart from directly moving your files to the SD card or cloud storage, you can even connect File Commander to your PC and share files directly.
Are you prepared to buckle up and thrive with a 16GB Android device with these useful tips and Android memory management apps? If you have anything to add to these methods of combatting the problem of storage space running out on Android, make yourself heard on the Updato Forum.
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