iPad and iPhone owners have a limited number of options for managing the storage on their device (which is why we were all so excited to learn about the movie rental trick) but Android owners do not.
Android tablets and smartphones can fill up quickly as you download apps, videos, and other files, and the storage problem will only get worse as those apps download and cache data for use offline. And what with lower-end devices often only including a few GB of storage, it’s not too hard to run out of space.
So here are seven ways you can solve the storage problem on your Android device.
There are a lot of cheap and good-quality Android devices on the market, but if you dig through the discount bin you can still come across older Android devices from years past which have limited storage, an under-powered CPU, and are running an old version of Android.
Some of those older Android tablets ship with 1GB of storage (or even less) and if you have one then you should consider replacing it.
You can get a decent Android tablet for only $50 (the Kindle Fire, for example). A budget Android smartphone can be had for as low as $15, if you know where to look, and you can find a good one for $50 or so.
But if simply replacing a device is not an option, or if your Android device is still new and in good shape, you do have other options.
Add an SD card
Many Android devices still ship with a microSD card slot, although they are becoming a little harder to find on newer models. But if your tablet or smartphone has a microSD card slot, you can buy a card and insert it into your device to gain more storage.
You won’t always be able to use the card for system files and apps, but you can store ebooks, images, music, video, and other media files on the card. That frees up the internal storage for other uses.
And with some apps, you can also move the app to the SD card entirely. This saves even more critical internal storage for other uses.
And even if your device already has an SD card, this is still a good option if you want more storage. MicroSD cards are fairly cheap, and they go on sale on a regular basis, so you can upgrade and get a lot more storage for a really low price.
If you’re like me then chances are you have a bunch of apps on your Android device that you downloaded and used once, and then abandoned. You should delete them, and while you’re at it you should also delete any of the pre-installed apps that you’re not using.
You can delete apps from the app management menu under the settings menu.
Lost.dir is the name of a system folder that the Android OS creates on your device. It’s used to store files recovered during a system reboot or files which were lost due to download interruptions, power outages, copying problems, etc.
Sometimes you can use this folder to recover files, but generally it doesn’t serve any purpose other than to waste space. Deleting this folder can free up as much as several GB, according to one report, so you should definitely consider getting rid of this folder.
- Do you really need to keep a copy of every blurry photo you took with your smartphone?
- Do you still need all those old work files, or are they backed up to a cloud service like Dropbox?
- And is that downloaded video really worth keeping around?
If the answer to any of these questions is no then you should spend some time cleaning up your work files, sorting through the gallery app and deleting unwanted media files, and making sure that your cloud storage apps only contain the files you actually need/want.
Video files in particular take up a lot of space, so getting rid of unwanted videos could solve your storage issues in one fell swoop.
Erase Temporary Data
Lost.dir is not the only example of how Android squirrels away file. Your tablet or smartphone hangs on to all sorts of cached data for easy access, and most of that data can be deleted.
The best way to find and delete cached data is to use a utility app like AVG Cleaner (free) or CCleaner (free) and let the app tell you what can be deleted. If you’re running a late version of Android, you can also manage the storage from the settings menu.
If all else fails, the final solution for clearing up your storage problem is to perform a factory reset. This restores the device to the same software configuration as it had when it left the factory.
This won’t help in all cases (some devices just don’t have enough storage in the first place) and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. A factory reset will wipe all of the files from your device, leaving you with a blank slate. Literally everything will be gone, so you should make sure you have all of the important files backed up before doing a factory reset.
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Did I miss any space-saving tips which worked for you? Share them below!
lead image by Johan Larsson