Having enough space on your phone to download pictures, music, or the latest app is a priority for many smartphone users. We could all use a few extra gigabytes (GB) of storage on our phones. While some smartphones let you add small memory chips, if you’re a heavy user, that extra space might not be enough.
Freeing up memory to hold new pictures or apps can be nice, but regardless of your storage capacity, having too much stored data can actually slow down the performance of your smartphone over time. You can help keep your smartphone running at the top of its game with these four simple steps.
1. Uninstall Unused Apps
There’s an app for everything. Some of them you use quite often while others may lose their luster after the first use. For example, an app featuring the 2014 Olympic Games schedule was useful… until the games ended.
If you simply visit your settings on most smartphones, you can find a complete list of apps you have downloaded. There are some apps that cannot be deleted, like the Gmail App on Android, but some may be disabled to save space and cut down on unnecessary notifications.
You’ll just need a little spare time to go through them all and delete or uninstall them one-by-one. If you make a mistake—don’t worry. You can always download the app again.
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2. Remove Extra Pictures and Videos
There are pictures and videos you might want access to all the time. But you certainly don’t need all those pictures of the new grandkid or the family dog. These image and video files quickly accumulate and end up using some serious storage space. You can simply delete unwanted files or move them elsewhere for storage.
Deleting pictures and videos is an easy step. When you have some spare time, go through your phone’s gallery. You’ll probably find several photos you no longer need—like those blurry selfies or that gorgeous cake you ate months ago. If you’ve uploaded it to a social network like Facebook or Twitter, there’s no reason to save it on your phone, either.
As you go through your photos and videos, you may also discover ones you want to keep but don’t necessarily need on your phone. Simply move them off your phone by uploading them to a social network or saving them on other digital storage options like Dropbox, your desktop computer, or other hard drives. Once you’ve moved them to a safe place, you can delete them from your phone.
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3. Clear Browser History and Cached Data
When you visit a website on your smartphone, your phone saves it in the browser history. It also saves every action you take on a visited website or app to the “cache.” If you don’t frequently clear your cache or browser history, you may have a bunch of stored data you don’t need. You can find and clear your search history and cache data using the settings menu on iOS and Android devices. For more specific instructions, a simple Google search will give you step-by-step screenshots for Apple and Android smartphones.
You may not want to clear cached data from all apps. Depending on the app, you may want to save stored cache data because clearing it would mean the app would perform as if it were just downloaded. For instance, clearing the cache from a game app might mean you lose all of your progress and start from the beginning of the game if you aren’t signed in. If you still want to clear app data caches, you can access those options via the ‘Settings’ menu on iOS and Android devices.
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4. Delete Unimportant Text Messages
Although text messages don’t take up nearly as much storage space as pictures or apps, they are easily overlooked. They’re small, but they can really add up over time.
As we’ve mentioned, 97% of cellphone users send or receive a text at least once a week. Even if you only message a handful of people, that’s still a ton of messages at the end of a month. If you’ve never deleted any text messages, you may be able to scroll for pages and pages with your favorite contacts dating back months or even years. And that can take up a surprising amount of storage space!
Similar to deleting photos, videos, and apps, you can delete unwanted text conversations by going through your messages and conversations individually. Smartphones give you the option to delete all messages between you and each contact in one easy step, or you can choose what you want to keep.
We hope these tips help free up some space on your smartphone. Even if your device is equipped with hefty GBs of storage, cleaning it up can give you better overall performance.