Fix: Android phone says ‘Storage is full’ or “Insuficient storage”

Even though contemporary devices usually come with more than enough storage space, there’s a limit to anything. Especially if your storage space is on the downside and you take a lot of high-resolution videos, and photos, play AAA games and store a lot of music. Over an extended period, it tends to fill up. And then some users cannot update apps or system firmware on Android due to the “Storage is full” error. Today, we’ll show you how to simply address this problem by making some room in your internal storage.

  1. Use Cloud or PC storage to relieve some storage space
  2. Inspect your storage for the ‘heaviest’ files
  3. Use your SD card as internal storage
  4. Clear apps cache
  5. Reset your device to factory settings

How to fix the “Insufficient storage” issue on Android

In order to fix the Insufficient storage problem, we suggest these steps:

  • Delete some local files to create more storage space. Either back up your files to a PC or use one of the many cloud services to keep your files online.
  • Remove the large files and use an SD card for multimedia files if possible.
  • Clear local data from apps.
  • Reset your device to factory settings if the System starts taking up too much space. On some Android skins, you’ll just see Other and there’s no way to clean this section unless you start from scratch.

1. Use Cloud or PC storage to relieve some storage space

First and foremost, online storages are your best bet to easily put away your data and reach for it whenever is needed. Additionally, it is the safest option. You may lose or break your phone or corrupt SD data.

With the files uploaded, you may stay sure they will be there the next day: safe and accessible. Android implements Google Photos which offers unlimited photo storage (at least until late June 2021). For other file types, you can choose between Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive, MEGA, and many others.

A viable option is moving data to a PC. True, you won’t be able to access it on the move, but remember, that will give you more space for new photos, videos, and other multimedia files. All while keeping enough storage space to avoid the “Storage is full” error on your Android.

2. Inspect your storage for the ‘heaviest’ files

Android phones have a built-in Storage tool that will give you an insight into what is exactly taking all that space on your storage. It is good enough for the classic clean-up of the drive but won’t show all the details.

There are leftovers of uninstalled apps and unnecessary or duplicated files. Many OEMs offer all kinds of cleaners to deal with this, but you can also turn to 3rd-party apps, like Google’s File Manager, SD Maid, and similar apps.

In addition, you probably want to uninstall apps you rarely use and free more storage space. There are probably a few apps on your device that are of no particular use; removing them would be a good idea. Remember that you can install them from the Store in a matter of minutes if the need arises.

3. Use your SD card as internal storage

Everyone knows that you can use an SD card as external storage for multimedia files. Of course, if your device, despite current industry trends, supports SD cards. You can always use your SD card to transfer music, videos, and photos to empty some space from the internal storage.

But what if you can make your phone read your SD card as internal storage? After Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it is possible to set up your SD card as internal storage.

While this will create more space for your apps, it has a few drawbacks. First, your SD card is likely to be slower than the standard internal storage. Second, once formatted, the SD card can’t be accessed from other devices. Moreover, as the system will read it as an internal rather than external memory, it shouldn’t be removed. Still, if you are down with that, grab yourself some fast SD and try it out.

To do so, follow the instructions:

  1. Insert the SD card.
  2. Tap Setup.
  3. Select Use as internal storage.
  4. The card will be formatted and all its data lost.
  5. Choose to Move now or Move later.

Remember that you can change SD back to an external storage or migrate files anytime. This can be done by accessing Settings > Storage and USB > Tap the name of the card > Settings.

4. Clear apps cache

Don’t be surprised if you see a 100 MB app taking 1GB of storage space after some time. The thing is, the app, its cache, and data, are all summarized in that amount. If you are, for example, using WhatsApp and sending photos to your friends, all the photos will be stored in the app’s data folder. Not to mention Facebook caches everything locally and takes a lot of storage space. So, cleaning the cache and data once in a while can free you a lot of space.

To do so, follow the instructions:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Apps & notifications.
  3. Expand All apps.
  4. On the list, locate all apps that are large and open them one by one.
  5. Tap Storage.
  6. Clear is full Android
  7. You can clear data from apps, as well. Just ensure that related files like received photos and sign-in credentials are backed up.

5. Reset your device to factory settings

Finally, if you are still getting the “Storage is full” error on your Android, despite making more than enough space, we suggest resetting your device to factory settings. Everything you need to know about factory reset can be found, here. Make sure to follow instructions closely, to avoid data is full Android

That’s it. Thank you for reading and make sure to check our Facebook and Twitter pages for more informative and educational content on Android and iOS.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in January 2017. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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Des Carroll
Des Carroll
September 28, 2022 11:32 am

My Note 20 Ultra has just gone full at 512GB. What is going on? My W10 tablet with 512GB SSD is much more data heavy but nowhere near full. When I check “My Files” the “Other” category is using about 420GB! How do I find out what this is? Most of my files, photos and videos are in the cloud. It seems as if my OneDrives are loaded on the phone. Is it possible that Windows Link To Phone is syncing all my OneDrive files to the mobile?

September 9, 2022 4:06 pm

this does not help when you still get the issue after a factory reset and not copying your backed up files.

September 26, 2022 9:43 pm
Reply to  kerry

Hi Kerry, I’m a random person but I used to work for Verizon for a while. That seems to be a problem with your phone. A factory data reset is the most extensive way of clearing your phone. If it doesn’t help then there is something (probably software) wrong with your phone. Take it to the store and see if you can be helped there.