Sooner or later your phone or tablet will run out of space. If you have a device with a large amount of storage space, such as 32 or 64GB, it might take longer to fill up, but it eventually will. What can you do about it?

This happened to me recently and while trying to download another app from the Google Play Store on my Samsung Galaxy S4 I got a message saying that there simply wasn’t enough room for it. The device was out of space.

Uninstall apps

There are several things you can do when this happens and different methods work for different people. The first task was to remove unused apps. We all have them on our phones and tablets – the game we no longer play, the app we downloaded because it looked good, but we never actually used, and so on.

Go to Settings, Apps or Application Manager and list all the apps on the phone or tablet. Find one you can live without and tap it. Tap Force Stop if the button is enabled, then tap Clear Cache, tap Clear Data and finally tap Uninstall. Repeat this for any other apps you can do without.

Uninstall apps on Android

It is important that you clear the cache and data so that no files are left after the app is removed.

Clear Play Music cache

If you use the Google Play Music app to stream music to the phone or tablet, it stores a copy on the device to reduce bandwidth used. This can be deleted to free up space. Open Play Music, tap the menu button in the top left corner and then Settings.

In the Downloading section is a Clear Cache setting. Tap it and copies of recently play music is deleted. This does not delete any of your music in your music library online, just the offline copy. I have uploaded all my music to Google Play Music (music.google.com) and use the app to listen to it. If I listen to my favourite track 10 times, instead of streaming it each time, it saves it locally so it doesn’t have to stream it again. It is just this local copy that is deleted.

Keeping your music online is a good way to free up space on a phone or tablet because none needs to be kept on the device.

Clear your photos

Every photo and video you take uses up and bit of memory and eventually they will consume it all unless you do something about it. Save them elsewhere and delete them off the phone or tablet.

An Android phone can be plugged into a PC using a USB cable. It then appears as a drive in Explorer. Find the DCIM (digital camera images) folder and drag it to the PC’s disk drive. You can then go into the Gallery or Photos app and delete the photos.

ES File Explorer

I took an alternative route to backing up the photos. I ran the ES File Explorer app on the Samsung phone, found the DCIM folder, selected it and use the Copy function. I then went to the menu, Network and connected to my desktop PC. I opened the Public Pictures folder and pasted in the DCIM folder. All the photos and videos transferred wirelessly.

Clear out podcasts

If you listen to podcasts you might have lots of episodes stored on the device and they can use up a lot of storage space. Every podcast app is different, but each has a way if displaying downloaded podcasts. I use Podcast Republic and there is a downloads tab. Tap it and the podcast episodes are listed. Slide one to the left and a Delete button is uncovered. Tap it and the podcast is gone.

Delete unwanted podcasts

Use a cleanup app

There are many cleanup apps that will remove junk files and caches from the Android phone or tablet and I chose Avast Cleanup (GrimeFighter). This was selected for two reasons, one is that it looked good, and the other is that I haven’t tried it before. I like to try new apps.

Avast Cleanup is a simple tool that just cleans up, whereas some apps are multipurpose ones that do a dozen different things and cleaning up is just one function. It scan the system for system caches, APKs (install files), and residual files when apps are deleted. There is then a simple Safe clean button on the screen with the amount of space that will be recovered. Tap it and the job is done in a second or two.

Avast Cleanup Avast Cleanup

There is an Advanced cleaning option and this displays applications, media, files and app data. Go to Applications and it lists apps grouped by size, such as 100-250MB, 50-100MB, 10-50MB and less than 10MB. You can select apps and uninstall them.

A clean phone

The result of this cleaning was an extra 3GB of storage space on my Samsung Galaxy S4. The space was down to a couple of hundred megabytes and now it is around 3.4GB, which is pretty good. I didn’t have to delete much, just two or three apps, about 250MB of photos, and the rest was caches and junk. There must have been at least 2GB of it.