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Is your phone's space filling up too quickly? This is how you take back control

A little effort can go a long way.

IF YOU HAVE only 16GB to play around with on your phone, you’ll likely know how quickly that can fill up. Thankfully, with a little effort, you can free up some space pretty quickly.

The potential solutions aren’t life-changing but a little bit of pragmatism can go a long way.

Deal with photo overload

Easily one of the fastest ways to fill up a phone’s storage fast, numerous similar photos can easily take up a good portion of your phone’s storage.

The easiest method to counter this is to start using a photo storage service like Google Photos. Unless you’re absolutely concerned about image quality – as in you want to keep them in their RAW format – then using the unlimited storage option is a great way to free up space on your phone.

Save them onto it first and then clear your photo roll. A quick way is to connect your phone to your PC and clear them that way. Don’t forget that placing photos into the bin doesn’t delete them immediately.

Some like the iPhone keep them saved on your phone for 30 days in case you change your mind so go into the Recently Deleted folder and remove them properly.


Get rid of redundant apps

A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used an app in a month, it’s best to ditch it entirely. Removing games is usually the easiest way to free up space as they require more space than usual to run, especially the more intensive 3D games which can take up to 3GB.

After that, you need to look at exactly how much space an app is taking up. Some apps like Facebook only need a certain amount of space for the app itself (108MB on iOS) but will store extra data when in use.

The same thing applies to games that download extra data for levels or to add updates. Chances are if it’s doing this a lot, then it’s taking up a significant amount of storage space.


Switch from saved to streaming for music and podcasts

If you’re regularly listening to music or podcasts at home, then there’s really no need to have it downloaded when there are a number of free services out here.

Music is pretty straightforward if you have a service like Spotify saved on your phone, but you can also stream podcasts as well if you wish.

The latter is only more useful if you have a good data plan as some podcast episodes can average around 50MB which adds up if you’re a heavy listener.

If you use these services and save music and podcasts on your phone, you can limit the number of songs saved on your phone. The same can be done with podcasts as well, only downloading the latest episodes and deleting older ones at the same time.

Clear temporary data

As mentioned earlier, many apps and browsers will store temporary data so you can access certain services faster. This is useful for those app you visit regularly, but if you don’t need it saved but want to keep the app, it’s better to clear it entirely.

The drawback to this is it might take certain apps a bit longer to run or load since temporary data is saved for a reason, but if you haven’t used an app for a while, then clearing it isn’t any harm.

There may be other things you might have forgot about like saving maps of certain places. Be sure to be thorough and think about what data has been saved first before you start cleaning space indiscriminately.


invest in a micro SD card 

This is more for Android and Windows Phone owners but considering how cheap they are, using a micro SD card can really give your storage a boost.

This is more useful for saving photos and videos but most newer Android devices running Marshmallow can treat it like an extension of your phone’s current storage space. Some phones can support up to 2TB but you can get a 16GB or 32GB micro SD very cheaply.

Micro SD card Laura Gilmore / Flickr Laura Gilmore / Flickr / Flickr

Change from app to mobile web version

Certain apps can be accessed through the web anyway so if you’re really stuck for space, you could replace the official app for say Facebook with the mobile web version.

In some ways, you might find it better than the app itself although you’re sacrificing functionality and a few other things as well if you go down this route. Also since you’re using the browser to access them, you’re depending more on mobile data too.


Reset it entirely

This is the nuclear option, and should only be done if you (a) have a backup of important files and (b) don’t mind spending a bit of time signing back into your accounts.

The reset option can be found in settings – on iOS, it’s under General while Android has its own section dedicated to it – but once you go down this route, be prepared to start (mostly) from scratch.

Read: What exactly is the ‘other’ section in your phone’s storage space for? >

Read: This is how you can set a volume limit for your devices >

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