What to Remove First When Your Phone Storage Is Full

Originally published on Mashable.com on September 25, 2013 By Rebecca Hiscott
With the iOS 7 upgrade requiring 3.1GB of free space on your iPhone, you may find yourself making some tough choices about what to purge from your device. You’ve painstakingly built up a stellar collection of apps, photos and videos that you’d hate to part with, but some things just have to go.
We’re here to help. By identifying your device’s storage-suckers, you can delete or uninstall some items without having to wipe your phone clean. And don’t forget that by uploading your apps, photos and music to iCloud, Dropbox or to your computer, you don’t have to lose anything permanently.
See also: Top 25 Free iPhone Apps of All Time
First, find out what’s draining your storage space. On an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Usage. At the top of the screen, you’ll see your available storage, followed by a list of apps that are taking up the most space.
What to Remove First When Your Phone Storage Is Full
Android phones will have a similar usage menu, usually found under “Settings” or in the “My Device” app. With Android, you can also export some data, including contacts and apps, to an external SD card to free up your internal memory immediately.
1. Photos and Video
Image: Flickr, drea
Video files are enormous. HD videos take up roughly 78MB for every minute of footage, so all your saved clips are probably tanking your phone’s storage. Once you’ve posted your video to Instagram video (or wherever else), save it to your computer, delete it from your phone and watch the MBs magically reappear.
Next, ask yourself if you really need 10 photos of hamburgers on your phone. What about the five selfies you took before you found one worthy of Instagram? Photos can take up a fair amount of space, too. Back up your photos, then delete as many as you can handle. Your internal storage will thank you.
Enable automatic uploading from Camera Roll to Dropbox or the Google+ app to save time backing up.
2. Music
iPhone music
With every MP3 taking up more than 3MBs of space, your music collection is the next most likely culprit. Music-streaming apps such as Spotify take up way less space than a massive music library; keep the stuff you really love, and leave the rest on your computer — you can always switch up your playlists later.
3. Apps

Image: Mashable, Nina Frazier
Most apps don’t take up that much space, but if you’re a serial downloader or have half a dozen apps that you’re willing to part with, it might pay to uninstall them.
See also: 10 Free Android Apps You’ll Use Every Day
On an iPhone, press and hold the app you want to delete (yes, this feature is the same in iOS 7). On an Android phone, go to Settings > Applications > Manage My Applications, and click on the app you want to uninstall.
Widgets and folders will also take up space on Android. Delete or deactivate any folders or widgets you aren’t using in “Manage My Applications.”
4. Clear Your Cache
The longer you use your phone, the more extraneous information will be stored on it. On an Android phone, clear the cache for a specific app in “Manage My Applications.” On an iPhone, click on any app listed under “Usage” to see whether there is extra data that can be deleted.
5. Little Tweaks
There are a few more minor things you can do. Try clearing your browser history or deleting outdated contacts, completed reminders, old notes or text messages. It won’t make a huge difference, but just think: “Clean phone, clean mind.”
What else do you get rid of to save space on your phone? Let us know in the comments.
Image: Mashable, Nina Frazier
Rebecca Hiscott
HeadshotRebecca Hiscott is a Mashable features intern with a master’s degree in journalism from New York University. Originally from Montreal, Canada, she now lives a quiet and caffeinated life in Brooklyn. You can read her recent work at Vanity Fair, The New York Observer and Bedford + Bowery. Follow her @rebeccahiscott.