How to Free up Space on Android

Clear the internal storage on Android

What to Know

  • Android 8 and later: Go to your Android settings and select Storage > Free up space > select the items you want to delete > Free up space. On some devices, it's Storage > Manage Storage.
  • To automatically delete old photos and videos when your phone's storage is low, go to Settings > Storage and toggle on Smart Storage.
  • Enable automatic backups in Google Photos by going to Photo settings > Back up & sync. Then delete old photos and videos.

This article explains how to free up space on Android phones and tablets using several different methods. Instructions apply to devices running Android 8 and later made by all manufacturers (Google, Samsung, LG, etc.).

Use Free Up Space on Android

On Android 8 and later, there's a built-in tool that will remove downloaded files, photos and videos you have backed up online, and apps you haven't used in a while.

Some phone brands do not support the Free Up Space and Smart Storage tools, but instead, they have their own enhanced storage features. For example, Samsung phones have Samsung Cloud.

  1. Go to your Android settings and select Storage.

  2. Tap Free up space.

    Not all Android devices are the same, so on some devices, it's Storage > Manage Storage.

  3. Select the items you want to delete, then tap Free up space again.

    Storage and Free up space in Android Settings

If you want to regularly delete photos and other files that you've already backed up to the cloud, go to Settings > Storage and tap the Smart Storage toggle.

Back Up Photos in the Cloud

The Google Photos app backs up your photos and videos to your Google account so that you can delete them from your device. You can then view and download your pictures on the web using your PC or any other device. Google Photos should do this automatically, but to be sure:

  1. Tap your profile icon.

  2. Tap Photo settings.

  3. Tap Back up & sync and make sure the toggle switch is turned to the on position

    Steps to take to backup photos via Google Photos.

Once you've enabled automatic backups, you can delete photos and videos from your device, or turn on Smart Storage to delete them automatically. The fastest way to do that is to go to Library > Utilities > Free up space from the Google Photos app.

Delete Android Apps

Like your photos and videos, your apps and app data are automatically synced with your Google account. That means when you delete apps from your Android, you can re-download them later along with all your associated data. In other words, if you delete a game, you won't lose your progress, so long as it's backed up to the cloud. When you're running low on space, go ahead and uninstall any apps you rarely use.

If you don't want to remove an app, another way to free up a minimal amount of space is to delete your Android cache files. In newer versions of Android, there's no way to delete all cache files all at once, but you can clear the cache for each app individually.

Offload Apps and Photos

Likewise, you can move Android photos, files, and apps onto a memory card or your computer via USB cable. If you have pictures and videos that you don't want to be uploaded to your Google account, it's a good idea to keep backup copies elsewhere. You can even set your default camera storage to the SD card by going to Camera Settings > Storage Location SD Card.

Not all Android devices will have this option.

Settings gear, Storage Location, and SD card in the Android camera app.

If you're still running low on room, it might be time to buy a new Android phone with more storage space.

Use a File Manager to Free Up Space

Third-party file managers save internal storage space on your Android by deleting duplicate and unnecessary files. They can also help organize your files by creating folders, making them easier to locate. In addition to built-in Android cleaners, many file manager apps come with other tools for optimizing your device's performance, so browse the Google Play Store to find one you like.

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