No matter how large your handsets’ storage is, at some point, you might have to deal with the annoying ‘Not enough storage’ or ‘Storage almost full’ warning just when you need to install a new app or download a file.
And because our phones have become multiple-purpose devices than ever before, it is harder to figure out which among your photos and videos, apps, music, podcasts or documents you are willing to let go of.
However, it does not have to be a matter of letting go.
Before contemplating losing important files stored on your phone altogether, there are a few steps you can take to tackle the junk items eating up your storage space in the first place.
1. Disable auto-download
One of the biggest culprits of filling up your storage with data you don’t even know you have on your phone is the auto-download feature. It is found in messaging services like WhatsApp and Telegram, as well as emails.
From the settings of your respective messaging and mail apps, uncheck the auto-download feature which downloads all photos, video, audio, and documents immediately after they are sent to you or the god-know-how-many groups you are a member of.
On WhatsApp, for, instance, simply go to Settings > Storage and data > Media auto-download.
This way, you have control of what you want to download and view.
2. Unnecessary chats
Old chat threads, especially group messages on WhatsApp and Telegram, alongside their promotional cousins in your SMS inbox hog a lot of space on your device. Take time to go through your SMSs and delete unwanted conversations.
On WhatsApp and Telegram, you can go to the specific ‘noisy’ groups (which I am sure you muted or archived and forgot about, without thinking about the space they are consuming) and utilise the ‘Clear chats’ function.
On WhatsApp, open the individual or group chat you want to clear, tap More options > More > Clear chat. For a Telegram chat, tap More > Clear History > Auto-delete messages in this chat.
Uhm, can we take a quick look at your file manager?
Manually browse through your files, beginning with photos and videos. Delete any bad, duplicate, pixelated, or those annoying forwarded WhatsApp photos and clips.
We shall not talk about the screenshots folder.
You might need to be extra keen on some files which Android phones tuck deep inside the directories.
In some Nokia phones, for example, the WhatsApp files folder is tucked under Files > Android > Media > com.whatsapp > WhatsApp > Media.
If you look closely you can see that those wedding invitations from last August, documents from your previous job, notices from your old landlord and course outlines from classes you took ages ago have been living in the WhatsApp Documents folder.
3. Offline files
Go through the apps which have the ability to download files for offline use, as chances are you will not see them in the file manager.
Whether it is music streaming apps, podcasts and radio apps, or YouTube, you will find files that you downloaded and listened to, but forgot to clear, or some Adele albums you downloaded when in some mood that you’ve now gotten over.
4. Do away with unused apps
Reports show that an average smartphone user has over apps installed on their device, yet they on average use only 9 apps on a daily basis and 30 apps on a monthly basis.
That means you can remove unused apps from your device to free up storage space and just install afresh when the need arises.
5. Clear cache
You are only left with the ones that you use, now what? These are also storing data locally on your device. An app could be 140MB in size but with this extra data it has stored on your phone, it ends up consuming 600MB of storage space.
From the list of apps on your phone, click an app and click the Storage & cache button > Click Clear cache.
6. Make use of cleaner apps
Look out for cleaner apps which help you remove junk, clean your phone’s RAM, and reclaim more space.
7. Cloud storage
Lastly, move your data to cloud storage services from time to time. Not only does this help you optimise your device’s storage, but it also acts as a backup if anything goes south with your device or you lose it.