7 insanely easy ways to clean up your phone storage

Ever fallen victim to the dreadful “storage full” message when you’re trying to capture a once-in-a-lifetime picture? Those 16 GBs aren’t taking you as far as you thought, even with cloud storage available for both Android and iPhone devices. Sometimes it limits what you can and can’t download (apps, games, etc.) and makes phone operation more sluggish.

Here are some helpful tips to clean up your phone storage (both Android and iPhone):

  • Delete apps you don’t use
    • It’s simple; you downloaded that game everyone at the office is playing during breaks. You are trying to get into it and play on your friends’ guilds – but your phone does not have the capacity for it. If you are not using certain apps more than once a week, it’s time to re-evaluate if you even need it.


  • Find out which apps are taking up the most space
    • Go in to your phone’s storage settings and your apps will be presented in the order of how much space they take up. You should consider deleting unused apps in your phone’s app storage.


  • Clear the cache on your apps/browser (or app data): this means clearing stored or archived messages, images or videos and browser cache (web data).
    • Typically, you can find this feature in your Settings à Storage à Cache Data


  • Delete old, archived, saved messages
    • This especially pertains to iPhone users and imessages. You can change your message history to purge any messages that have been on the device for longer than a stipulated period of time.


  • Optimize how and where you store your photos and images
    • Don’t double save photos if you have an HDR option on your phone camera, which generally will save the HDR version and the normal version. Also stop double saving Instagram photos!
    • Stop the photo stream (if you have that option) and don’t join other people’s photo streams. Sure, it’s a nice way to share images of events and whatnot, but it quickly fills up space on your phone.
    • Download Google Photos app – it’s a cloud storage option that will sync to your photo library. It will backup your photos daily, and even give you the option to delete all the photos on your phone to clear up space.


  • Delete downloaded podcasts & books
    • Have you already listened to those podcasts on your five-hour road trip to the mountains that one weekend this past spring? Well, it’s unlikely you’ll return for a repeat listening- delete them!!
    • Same with books, once you read ‘em- toss ‘em. You can always re-download books if you want to re-read them.


  • Move apps to a microsSD card (mainly for Android users)
    • If your mobile device supports adoptable storage, move some of your larger-storage apps to a microSD card.
    • Some apps only allow you to move a portion to a microSD card, depending on the type of app.

About the Author

Krithika is a Raleigh local of about 20 years and an NC State alumna who believes the power of the wolf is in the pack. She has experience in technical writing for HP and Dell sales and marketing newsletters. She did a 180 and went to work at UNC under the Dean of the School of Public Health, editing graduate dissertations and creating content for UNC’s public health outreach initiatives. Post- UNC, she flipped another 180 and worked in publishing for the tobacco manufacturing industry where she created video content for various tobacco publications. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her dog- Coco, and cat-Trixxi, cooking, traveling, playing soccer and basically anything dinosaur-related.