Smartphones are great for recording those moments that we want to last a lifetime, from taking a video of a child’s first steps, to capturing photographs of your favourite musician in concert. Whilst most phone’s built-in storage has the ability to store hundreds of photos, videos, files and apps, we can be caught off guard with that dreaded ‘storage almost full’ warning message – which can often lead to many of us paying out each month for cloud storage.

It needn’t necessarily be this way though, and there are plenty of steps you can take to free up space on your handset before committing to any monthly storage plans. Our experts have put together some helpful solutions to free up some space on your handset, as well as shedding a light on the worst culprits for clogging up a phone’s internal memory.

(Costs and services mentioned below correct at the time of publishing.)

Demands For Extra Storage

According to research[1], the most desired smartphone feature is more storage space, with 51% of those surveyed saying it’s more important to them than improved charging capabilities and increased durability amongst other things.

Depending on brands, some smartphones do come with the option of inserting an SD card, which can bump up storage space, however some don’t have that capability. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on your remaining storage space often so you don’t run out of space.

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To back up photos, files and videos, many are turning to cloud storage. Research[2] has shown that since 2015, theuse of internet-based storage services has increased by 39% amongst 16–24-year-olds and 35–44-year-olds, highlighting the demand for additional storage space on our devices.

Further data also shows that three quarters (75%) of 16-24-year-olds currently pay for cloud storage. Scaling this up to create an estimate of a nationwide spending among this demographic, this means if 16–24-year-olds pay for a 50GB of extra storage with Apple for £0.79, this equates to a huge £11,713,725 per month collectively from this age group alone.

Cloud Storage Costs

Depending on your handset brand and the monthly package you choose, you can expect to pay from around £0.79 to £7.99 per month.

For iPhone users, Apple charges the following:
• £0.79 for 50GB
• £2.49 for 200GB
• £6.99 for 2TB

Google/Android prices for Google Drive per month:
• £1.59 for 100GB
• £2.49 for 200GB
• £7.99 for 2 TB

With Google Drive, users get 15GB of free space, before paying for additional storage space.

Samsung handset users will find that the company is replacing some of its important Samsung Cloud services with OneDrive. this currently gives users 5GB of free storage and bumping this up to 100GB for £1.99 per month.

Free online storage

There are actually a number of ways to store content from your phone online that won’t cost you a penny. Services such as Google Photos can be accessed by anyone with a free Google account and can be used to store and back up images and videos to relieve your smartphone’s memory. Upgrades are available at a cost, but the basic free package gives you 15GB of memory, which should be suitable for most people's needs.

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Flickr Pro and Imgur are also a good choices. Flickr comes with an editing tool should you want to get creative. This option is free up to 1,000 saved photos, whilst Imgur allows you to upload photos, gifs and videos hourly, creating a safe haven for your memories whilst also ensuring your phone isn’t overflowing.

Typical File Sizes

Most smartphones have the capability to take photographs in a high resolution, capturing lots of detail. High-res photos need a lot of storage space, with a typical high-res photo being between 5 and 7MB in size. So, a smartphone with 64GB of internal storage, you could store around 12,800 photos.

Going back to the first camera phone to land in western markets, the Sony Ericsson t68i[3] had just 1MB of internal storage, meaning storage capabilities have increased by a staggering 63,999% in this instance.

Apps, pictures and videos can often use a lot of storage space and memory on a mobile phone, especially if you don’t have an additional memory card to boost the available storage space. Typically, large apps and large videos take up the most space, but having lots of photos and unwanted files can also drain your storage.

General Storage Management

You can easily find out what is using up your space if you find yourself struggling to take photographs or download apps. Below are some ways to find out what is taking up most of your storage and how you can easily free up some space.

Android users:
• Open the My Files app, where it will show you how much space different file types are taking up.
• Select through Images, Videos, Audio or Documents, where you can delete any unwanted images, videos or documents.
• To look into your storage in more detail, tap on three dots in the top right-hand corner and select Analyse storage.
• Here, you can find any duplicate files, large files and any unused files.
• To delete a file, simply tap in circle to the left of a file and select Delete.

iOS users:
• Open Settings, then go to General > iPhone Storage > Review Large Attachments. Before you review them, it will tell you how much storage you could claim back if you delete them all.
• You'll be shown large files in order of size; to delete some or all of them, tap Edit, select the files you want to delete, and then tap the bin icon.

Apps Storage Management

According to Kaspersky[4], Android users typically download two new apps a month. However, most users will have apps that they no longer need or rarely use. You can easily organise your apps by last used, which is a great way to spot apps that you have forgotten about.

apps

Android users:
• Open the Play Store and tap on the three horizontal lines in the top left-hand corner.
• Select My apps & games > Installed. Then tap the three-line icon on the right (it should say Alphabetical next to it) and select Last used. This list apps from most recently used to least used. To delete an app, tap the app you want to delete > Uninstall.

iOS users:
iOS allows users to automictically delete unused apps, or manually delete them.
• To automatically delete them: Settings > General > iPhone Storage and enable Offload Unused Apps.
• To manually delete: Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage – you'll be able to see how big each of your apps is and when you last used each one. To delete one, tap its name and then Delete App.

Regularly going through your apps and deleting any that you haven’t used in a while is one way to increase storage space. Apps also have cache which can also take up space on your phone. This is essentially information from an app that can build up over time, so it’s important that you clear your app cache from time to time.

Below is the easy way to clear your app cache on Android. Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific clear cache function for iOS users, however you can delete and reinstall any apps to clear any of its cache.

Android users, go to Settings and tap Apps. Here you’ll see all your apps in alphabetical order. Select the app you’d like to clear its cache > Storage > Clear cache to clear an app's cache – you'll be able to see how much space the app's cache is using beneath this.

Google Maps Storage Management

Downloading specific areas on Google Maps is a great way of getting directions without using your data. However, after time they can clog up a phone’s storage, especially if you have no plans to use it again. A single downloaded Google Map can use around 1GB of phone storage[5], so if you’re low on space, try deleted any unwanted maps.

maps

Android and iOS users:
• Open Google Maps and tap on your profile photo in the top right-hand corner.
• Tap Offline maps > Select the downloaded map you want to delete > Delete > Yes to confirm.

Keeping a track on your phone’s storage space every so often is always recommended to avoid any disappointments when you try downloading an app or recording a video. Why not try taking a look today to find out what is taking up the most space on your phone?

For the latest phone deals, don’t forget to visit mobiles.co.uk

References:


  1. https://blog.globalwebindex.com/chart-of-the-week/smartphone-features-consumers/ ↩︎

  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1212285/cloud-computing-service-use-age/ ↩︎

  3. https://www.zdnet.com/product/sony-ericsson-t68i/ ↩︎

  4. https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/my-precious-data-report-one/14093/ ↩︎

  5. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mobiles/boost-mobile-storage/ ↩︎