Get more stor­age in An­droid

Marie Brewis ex­plains how to free up some space

Android Advisor - - Contents -

The more our phones and tablets are able to do the more we do with them, whether that’s tak­ing high-res­o­lu­tion pho­tos and video, play­ing in­ten­sive games or just down­load­ing apps for ev­ery­thing from Poké­mon Go to BBC iPlayer. It’s easy to run low on stor­age in An­droid, even with a phone that comes with 16- or 32GB as stan­dard. Here are some tips for how to free up space on An­droid, plus some ad­vice on ways you can get more stor­age in An­droid.

Free up space Back up pho­tos and video to Google Pho­tos, then delete them from your phone

Pho­tos and video are one of the big­gest space hogs on any An­droid phone, and more so as their integrated cam­eras come with in­creas­ingly high megapixel counts.

Down­load the free Google Pho­tos app from Google Play, then in the Set­tings menu se­lect to back up all pho­tos and video over Wi-Fi. Once the me­dia has trans­ferred you can delete them from your phone (though be care­ful to delete them from the Gallery app rather than Google Pho­tos it­self).

Move other files to Google Drive

In a sim­i­lar fash­ion to mov­ing your pho­tos and video to Google Pho­tos, you can use Google Drive or any other free cloud-stor­age app to store other files. Both steps are worth tak­ing even if you aren’t run­ning low on stor­age, since they will mean you won’t lose your me­dia should you break or lose your de­vice. The only down side is you’ll need an ac­tive in­ter­net con­nec­tion to view your files.

Delete any old apps and games you don’t use

Some apps and games con­sume a sur­pris­ing amount of stor­age, and if you don’t use them they don’t need to be gob­bling up any space on your phone. If you later de­cide you need them then just down­load them again – any apps you’ve paid for at Google Play will be avail­able to any An­droid de­vice on which you’re logged into your Google ac­count.

It’s easy to miss some when you’re look­ing at short­cuts on the home screen or mul­ti­ple slides

in the app tray. In­stead, open Google Play, tap the three lines at the top left to open the Set­tings menu, then choose My apps & games. The In­stalled tab will show you ev­ery app on your phone or tablet (ex­cept those in­stalled out­side Google Play). To re­move any sim­ply se­lect the app and choose Unin­stall.

Clear out your cached files

Cached files are bits of data stored by apps ev­ery time you use them. Over time you can col­lect an alarm­ing amount of cached data, so if you’re look­ing for a way to save some space, clear out these old files. Open the Set­tings menu and se­lect Stor­age, then scroll down to and tap on Cached data. Se­lect OK to clear cached data for all apps.

Delete old down­loads

Ev­ery time you down­load a PDF or other doc­u­ment from the web it is stored in your Down­loads folder, but the chances are you prob­a­bly don’t need it any­more. If you have a File Man­ager app use this to browse your Down­loads folder and delete any­thing you don’t need; al­ter­na­tively, you may have a Down­loads short­cut in your app tray.

Move files to a mi­croSD card

If your phone sup­ports mi­croSD, you can use this medium for stor­ing pho­tos, video and other files cur­rently on your phone. De­pend­ing on your phone and its op­er­at­ing sys­tem you may not be able to save apps to the mi­croSD card, though you may be able to for­mat the card as in­ter­nal- rather than portable stor­age.

Get more stor­age Add a mi­croSD card, even if your de­vice doesn’t sup­port one

If your phone or tablet sup­ports mi­croSD then great, go ahead and buy one. Be sure to check how much ca­pac­ity it can ac­cept – you don’t want to pay out for a 128GB card only to find it sup­ports only 32GB.

If your phone or tablet doesn’t na­tively sup­port mi­croSD, it’s easy to at­tach one to make use of on an ad-hoc ba­sis us­ing a mi­croSD card reader, which con­nects to your phone’s Mi­cro-USB port, or a wireless ver­sion such as the Ver­ba­tim Me­di­aShare Wireless Mini, which is avail­able for £18.49 from Amazon UK. It looks like a USB flash drive – and, in­deed, can be in­serted into your PC’s USB port where it will act as such, al­low­ing you to drag and drop files on to it – but inside is a mi­croSD card, which sup­ports the trans­fer of files but also con­tent stream­ing.

By down­load­ing the Ver­ba­tim Me­di­aShare Wireless Mini app (free from Google Play or the App Store), you can con­nect it to your An­droid phone or tablet over Wi-Fi to ac­cess the con­tents

of the mi­croSD card. The great thing about us­ing the wireless con­nec­tion on the Ver­ba­tim is that up to five peo­ple can share that con­nec­tion, and you can pass­word-pro­tect ac­cess to the drive. An in­ter­nal bat­tery lasts for up to three hours and is recharged over the USB con­nec­tion.

Plug in a flash drive on OTG-en­abled An­droid de­vices

You might not re­alise it, but the ma­jor­ity of An­droid phones and tablets sup­port USB OTG (On The Go), which al­lows you to plug in pe­riph­er­als such as stor­age drives, just as you would with a PC. Whether or not a de­vice sup­ports OTG won’t al­ways be listed in its spec. A quick and easy way to check whether your de­vice sup­ports OTG is to down­load to it the USB OTG Checker app, free from Google Play.

Once you’ve es­tab­lished that your de­vice sup­ports OTG you sim­ply need an OTG adap­tor, which cost very lit­tle over at Amazon. Note that you may need to power the drive from an ex­ter­nal source while it is plugged into the phone. For more in­for­ma­tion see How to add mi­croSD sup­port to your An­droid phone or tablet.

Get a wireless hard drive

One fi­nal op­tion you have for get­ting ac­cess to more stor­age on your An­droid de­vice is by us­ing a wireless hard drive. A wireless hard drive is ex­actly the same as a nor­mal portable hard drive, but you con­nect to it via Wi-Fi. Loads of op­tions are avail­able, and they’re be­com­ing more af­ford­able, too.

Ver­ba­tim Wireless Mini

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