“This app seems interesting, but I do not have any more space in my phone!”
“Let me take a photo…but first, let me delete a few older ones first!”
If you are a smartphone-owner, you have probably uttered stuff like these at some point of time or another. The more advanced a mobile, the more insufficient its memory space seems to be. Now, there is not much to be done about the (fairly significant) space taken up by System Files on Android handsets, or by ‘Other’ on an iPhone. However, you can certainly follow a few tips and tricks to clear up as much space as possible – to maintain the performance levels of your device. Over here, we deliberate on some of these ways:
- Don’t keep duplicate copies of photos (iPhone) – Do you use the Instagram app regularly on your iPhone? If yes, you are probably already aware that it stores two versions of each picture – the normal version, and the one which is filtered and cropped. You don’t need the former, and in order to stop saving it (and building up the clutter), go to the ‘Settings’ tab of the app, and toggle the ‘Save Original Photos’ to OFF. In the HDR mode of iPhones too, 2 versions (normal and HDR) gets saved. Make sure that you get rid of the normal versions of images.
- Use external microSD cards (Android) – Any professional Android app developer or device researcher worth his/her salt would agree that this is one of the smartest ways to prevent the device memory from filling up too soon. Most Android handsets still ship with microSD slots – and all that you have to do is purchase a SD card (16 GB or 32 GB; get a larger one if required), insert it in your phone, and move your apps, music and other stuff on it. Some applications even allow their cache information to be moved to SD cards.
- Remove older messages (iPhone) – There is no NEED to delete text messages from your iPhone (after all, the inbox of any decent smartphone cannot become ‘full’). Still, it would be a smart option to not keep every message forever. In particular, if you have a lot of picture messages, they take up a large space. Navigate to Settings – Messages – Message History – Keep Messages, and set up your messages to be auto-deleted after 30 days. Take a backup of your important messages, if required. Stay away from the ‘Forever’ option.
- Be stingy with your music and videos (iPhone/Android) – You love to capture videos with your iPhone 6, happily snap away on your premium Android smartphone…and all of these contribute to your phone memory becoming cluttered (a 1-minute HD video takes up close to 80 MB of storage space). The same goes for MP3 music files, each of which is, on average, 2.8-3 MB in size. The message is clear and simple: do not download too many music or video files on your phone. They will inevitably lead to your phone getting slowed down.
- Clear app cache (iPhone/Android) – To prevent battery drainage, all mobile apps should be closed (and not kept running in the background) – you probably know this already, right? What you might not be aware of is the need for deleting the cache data of an application after using it. To cite an example, if you play Candy Crush for 30 minutes or so at a stretch, about 5MB of cache data will be stored. At the end of every day, clear the cache of every app. It is unnecessary, and should be deleted regularly.
- Use Cloud Storage services (iPhone) – So, you really need to keep a large number of photos on your device? Do your handset a favour, and use a cloud service – like Dropbox or Google Plus – for this. Your photos will remain for as long as you like, without your device memory space getting all clogged up. Apple’s very own iCloud is also offers good storage options, and it is much more secure than before. You can access photos stored on the cloud on any time…why jam your phone memory for that?
- Utilize OTG USB storage (Android) – Not all Android smartphones support OTG (or, On-The-Go) – but if yours does, not using it would be a serious mistake. The OTG cable can be used to plug in third-party storage devices with your phone (like it’s done on computers and laptops). There are multiple card readers and USB ports on a standard OTG, ensuring that practically any type of peripherals can be connected with your handset. You will need to purchase an OTG adapter too, which is available online and at very competitive rates.
- Get rid of some apps and games (iPhone/Android) – This is, according to most general smartphone users and mobile app developers, one of the best ways to free up memory space on handsets. Take some time out to think whether you really need the long list of apps and games that you have downloaded and installed on your device (the average size of applications is 23 MB, and it shoots up to 60 MB for games). Delete the ones that you are not likely to use frequently, the ones that you had downloaded on a whim. On your iPhone, go to General → Usage → Manage Data, and find out how much space each of the iPhone apps is taking up. If ‘Music’ or ‘Photos & Camera’ is hogging too much memory, that’s an indication that you need to delete some photos/videos or MP3. Quickly.
- Be wary of Newsstand (iPhone) – Apple’s digital magazine subscription app is a nice one – but it has one serious drawback. For certain magazines (the ‘London Metro’, for example), it can store old issues, dating back to months and years. Experts from the field of iOS app development advise users to keep checking the Newsstand app, to find out whether it is unnecessarily storing old copies of any subscribed magazine. If yes, delete them immediately and clear up some space.
- Disable certain pre-installed apps (Android) – Android phones often come with several pre-installed applications, provided by Google, or the vendor, or by the network service provider. These take up a large amount of space, and in most cases, they cannot be deleted either (particularly if you are not willing to root your Android device). You can, however, salvage a large portion of the memory space they occupy – by selecting them, and then, tapping on the ‘Uninstall Updates’ and ‘Disable’ options. The rogue apps will disappear from the home screen, and most of the space they had been occupying would be freed.
- Compress photos and videos (iPhone/Android) – We have talked about deleting media content and storing them on the cloud. There is a third option available for managing photos and videos – and arguably, it is the easiest. All that you have to do is compress the files, which would reduce their sizes considerably, while having minimal or no effect on the quality of photos/videos. The option of compressing pictures and video files is available on both iPhone-s and Android phones.
- Do not keep too many Voicemails (iPhone) – Keeping a couple of voicemails on your iDevice is okay, but if you keep all the voicemails you receive in your phone – it won’t be long before the device flashes that dreaded ‘insufficient memory’ message. Select the visual voicemails that you want to remove, do a left swipe, and then tap the ‘Delete’ app. It’s an often-overlooked method of freeing up space on an iPhone…but it’s mighty effective.
- Clear the cache of your phone browser (iPhone) – Doing this is simple, and essential if you regularly use the Safari browser to access the internet from your device. Head over to Settings → Safari, and tap on ‘Clear History and Website Data’. All the accumulated web history information in the browser cache will be deleted, and Safari will become just a tad faster too.
Note: Check if too much of offline data has accumulated from your browser (e.g., in Safari reading list). Remove the web pages that you no longer need.
14. Be careful with iBooks (iPhone) – iBooks in simple text format hardly take up any space, but the same cannot be said about the ones that have detailed pictures and graphic illustrations. iOS app development professionals also highlight educational/reference books as memory hogs – since many of them have embedded video files in them. Hence, the onus is on the user to periodically clear out his/her stock of iBooks and delete the ones that are no longer needed.
15. Do not download every app (iPhone/Android) – Don’t be one of those typical ‘serial downloaders’. While browsing through mobile applications at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, do not simply download and install everything that catches your fancy. Check out the features of the apps you like, see their store rating and reviews, decide whether you would actually need them, and then take a call. If you do not have too many apps on your phone to start with, you won’t have to worry about deleting them later.
16. Browse through ‘Other’ (iPhone) – The ‘Other’ section generally takes up a sizeable chunk of the overall memory space of your iPhone. It contains browsing, email and music data among others – and if any of the files here get corrupted, they start taking up even more space. To counter this, mobile app development experts recommend restoring the iPhone on iTunes (after, of course, taking a full backup). After completing the Back Up Now → Restore iPhone → Restore Backup procedure, you will find that the space taken up by ‘Other’ has become significantly lesser.
Bonus Tip: Doing a hard reset (Restore Factory Settings) is the last-resort option for freeing up memory space on smartphones. Of course, you will have reinstall all your apps after doing the reset.
As long as you are a smartphone-user, concerns about memory space will always be at the back of your mind. The above tips and suggestions can, however, ensure that you can free up quite a bit of space on your device easily.
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