How to free up storage space on your Android phone?

How to free up storage space on your Android phone?
Smartphones have become our digital homes and just like the places we physically live in, they get cluttered with stuff over time until there’s literally no space left for anything else. Luckily, freeing up space on your phone is much easier than cleaning your house or apartment.

Below, we’ll show you a few things you can do to remove some unnecessary files from your phone and give yourself some breathing room.

Back up your photos and videos to the cloud and delete some (or all) of them

If you’re using an Android phone (and if you're reading this, that's a safe bet), it’s almost certain that Google’s Photos app is already installed on it. However, if your device uses another app to manage photos and videos by default, it’s possible that you’re not signed in Google Photos and your photos aren’t backed up.

Open the Google Photos app. If you’re not signed in, you’ll be prompted to do so. After that, you’ll be asked how the photos should be stored. You have two options: Original quality and High quality.

Original quality means the photos and videos will be copied to Google’s servers exactly as they are on your phone. However, they will take up part of your Google Drive space, which can fill up quickly.

The “High quality” option means Google will compress your photos and videos before uploading them, but in return, you get no limit on how many photos you can store in Google Photos. For the average user, this option is the one to choose. The quality is good enough for almost all practical uses, including printing out photos if you want. If there’s ever a photo or a video you want to preserve in full quality, you can always manually upload it to your Google Drive.

Once you’re logged in Google Photos:
  1. Tap on the three-stripe menu in the top left corner.
  2. Tap on Settings
  3. Tap on Back up & sync to adjust your settings

If this is the first time Back up & sync is activated, you’ll have to wait until your camera roll is safely backed up before starting to clean up space. Once that is done, you have two options:

Use Google Photos Free up device storage to delete files

  1. Open Google Photos
  2. Tap on the three-stripe menu in the top left corner.
  3. Tap on Settings
  4. Tap on Free up device storage
  5. Tap on Free up [X amount]GB to confirm

This will delete all the files that are already backed up in Google Photos. However, sharing photos on social media or messaging apps is a bit more cumbersome if they’re on the cloud, so you might want to keep your favorite ones on the device, in that case...

Delete photos and videos manually

The easiest way to delete photos in bulk is to open your gallery app and go to All media/All photos and videos. Then, if the app allows you, you can select all files and deselect the ones you want to keep, if you’re planning to delete the majority of your photos. Alternatively, of course, you can scroll through the thumbnails and select only those that you want to delete.

Delete app data

Cache and app data are often culprits of ballooning the size an app takes on your phone and slowly taking up precious storage space. However, if you get to the point where your phone is running out of free space, newer Android versions will automatically delete cached files. They are non-essential files that apps have stored in order to speed up certain processes. Since they pile up over time there’s a good chance that you’re not even benefiting from most of the stuff that’s kept around just in case. 

When it comes to App Data, things aren’t as simple. This where the data related to your personal use is stored. Deleting it would likely result in the app behaving as it was just installed on your device. For some apps, that’s not really a problem. Music and video streaming apps can store large amounts of app data that’s harmless to delete. You just have to sign in with your credentials after that and you’re good to go.

For other apps, however, deleting the app data could mean losing valuable in-app settings or files. If you clean the app data from your notes app you’ll likely lose all your saved notes (unless it’s cloud-based).

Keep that in mind and choose wisely when it’s safe for you to do it.

Uninstall apps you don’t use

If you’ve had your phone for a long time, chances are that it’s become home for plenty of apps you don’t use. Games, in particular, can take up a lot of valuable storage space.

By going to Settings > Apps, you’ll get a list of all the apps on your phone and the amount of storage they’re using. Some phones will even show the last time each app was used, so you can get rid of the unused ones even easier.

Use a dedicated cleaning app

You can't be bothered with going through menus and manually cleaning cache and deleting junk files? 

Well, you can always install an app that will do that for you!

The reason we're leaving this as our last suggestion is because the Play Store is flooded with apps that say they'll clean your phone and even improve performance but a lot of them have a totally different goal. From the somewhat benign ones that only shove way too many ads in your face, to the ones that straight up send your personal data to an unknown entity, smartphone cleaning apps can sometimes do more harm than good. 

However, there are some that are worth your trust, if you want to free up space on your phone the lazy way.


CCleaner is a name many PC users are familiar with, as it's been around for more than a decade and now it's on Android to help you deal with the mess in your phone.

Navigating CCleaner is quite straightforward. 

Tap on Quick Clean to get a list of the things CCleaner is about to delete and select any additional items that you want gone from the provided list. 

Tap Finish Cleaning and you're done!

If Quick Clean didn't free up enough space for your needs, from Media Overview and Apps Overview, you'll get more detailed info and can pick individual files (or apps) for deletion.

Files by Google

Another useful app comes from Google itself.

As you can see from the screenshots above, Files isn't as aggressive as CCleaner. It focuses on the files you've accumulated on your phone rather than those apps are storing for their own needs. It even uses AI to recognize which pictures might be of lesser importance and should be deleted (I don't really have a "Memes" folder), as well as larger files that you might choose to part with. From then, it's just a matter of tapping a button and the rest is history.

Avast Cleanup & Boost

Avast is another popular name in the software industry. Its storage cleaning app has all the necessary tools to let you easily get rid of unwanted files that clog up your phone. 

AVG Cleaner

And lastly, we have AVG Cleaner. AVG has been around forever and its foray into Android apps has been quite successful. The Cleaner app will help you not only free up space whenever you run out of it, but can also do it on its own periodically, if that's what you'd prefer. 

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