It has happened to us all at some point – you go to take a picture or a video on your cell phone, only to be told that there is insufficient storage space available. Not only is the moment for the snap missed, but you are faced with the arduous task of cleaning up your phone and making some space. However, before you rush to delete your treasured snaps, there could be other steps you can take to clear space in your phone. Here’s how to free up storage on your cell phone – without losing your content in the process!
Figuring out what is taking up your storage space
- Album folders
The first assumption everyone makes is that photos and videos are taking up space – after all, it is usually when using the camera that this error message strikes. In some cases, this can be true. If you take a whole lot of photographs and they are starting to eat up all your space, consider moving them to another device, such as a storage drive.
Check whether your cell phone supports an additional memory card. Many models have a dedicated SD card slot for micro memory cards, which can double the space available. If your phone does not have space for a card – or if you have filled up the memory card as well – then it might be time to shift some files to a computer or storage device.
To do this, connect your phone to a computer or laptop with a USB cable. This will usually open a prompt automatically. If nothing happens, go to your ‘My Computer’ settings and look for the device there. Double click to open. Either way, you will be able to open the files on your phone in a folder, and transfer them directly to another folder on the computer. Depending on your phone and computer models, this will either create a copy of the images, or move the files directly. If the files remain on your phone after they have transferred safely, you can then delete them and reclaim the storage space.
- Shift to the Cloud
Cloud storage has had a bad reputation when it comes to mobiles, with people worrying about hacking and other risks. However, aside from the high-profile celebrity photo theft some years back, mobile Cloud storage is actually highly secure and there have been very few incidents. Apple and Android devices both offer access to Cloud services, and these Cloud spaces can hold apps, images and more to free up phone space.
Using the Cloud is easy, though instructions vary depending on your model of cell phone and the host you subscribe too. To make sure you follow the correct procedure, check your phone’s manual or consult the internet using your specific brand and model number.
- Remove unused apps
It is easy to forgot about apps on your phone. They download in seconds and many are free, so you can choose them on a whim. You may use them and then forget about them, you may never even have opened them, but they are bound to be there. If you don’t use or need it, get rid of it! Unused apps are taking up space, and could be replaced with new ones.
Apps become dated quickly, and many are updated frequently. Each update adds a little more to your storage and fills up your phone. Sometimes it can be worth deleting an old and oft-updated version of an app, and replacing it with a reinstall of the newest version. You might even find that a new app has come along in the meantime, which is smaller and suits your needs more closely!
- Clear your cache and remove app data
Here is the big one – the main culprit behind most cell phone storage problems. Your phone’s cache, or in other words its memory bank, gets stuffed full of data every time you use the program. From stored messages, passwords and settings to general use and download traffic, that data clogs up your storage drive and can overwhelm your phone’s memory capabilities. If you’re seeing that ‘storage full’ error message, this is probably why.
If you use an internet browser on your computer regularly, you will be familiar with cache clearing. In your Chrome, Safari, Opera or Firefox settings, you can find a ‘clear history’ option – the one you use to clear your browsing history. This setting also has options to clear the cache and clear your cookies.
These ‘cookies’ are pieces of data that the browser stores, so it can customise your experience on returning. Just about every website uses them – and you phone uses them too. The little data bites can save your passwords and keep you logged in, provide information about your location and contain all your settings for any website. Along with the cache data from traffic and activity, this is where your storage block is coming from.
How to clear your phone’s cache and app data
The steps below will talk you through how to clear your phone’s cache and removed unwanted app data. One note of warning before you begin – make sure you have noted down your user name and password for each app you use! The clear-out process will log you out automatically and you will need to sign back in when finished.
- For Android devices
- In your menu, go to Settings.
2. Choose Storage.
3. Select Clear Cache and delete all data at once.
4. Select Apps to clear individual app data.
4.1 In Apps, open an app’s settings e.g. Facebook, Chrome
4.2 Select ‘Clear Data For App’
4.3 Repeat for as many apps as necessary
- For Apple devices
- Follow this menu path: Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage
2. Open Manage Storage
3. Select individual apps to clear data
4. Close App settings and open Safari
5. Follow this path: Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data
This process should be repeated regularly – perhaps once every month. There are some major offenders when it comes to apps that eat data – Snapchat and Messenger are particularly good at using up your storage space! When activities through apps are happening in real time and when messages are being sent frequently, data can rack up fast. Cut it down with a regular clear out and you can prevent those annoying ‘storage full’ errors for good.
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