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Phone storage is full for no reason on Android? 5 ways to solve it

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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” or “Insufficient storage available” errors.  Today, we’ll show you what to do if your phone informs you that the phone storage is full for no reason on Android.

  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 available” issue on Android

In order to make some space if your phone storage is full for no reason on Android, 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 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 usually integrated into built-in File Managers. On the other hand, you can also turn to 3rd-party apps, like Files by Google (Play Store), SD Maid, and similar apps.

In addition, you probably want to uninstall apps you rarely use and free up 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 if Phone storage is full for no reason on Android

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. That is if you choose to save media files by tweaking WhatsApp in-app settings. Not to mention Facebook caches everything locally and these app files take up a lot of storage space. So, cleaning the cache and data once in a while can free you a lot of internal storage 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 cache.Phone storage is full for no reason on 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 your phone storage is still full for no reason on Android, despite making more than enough space, we suggest resetting your device to factory settings that we already explained in a dedicated article. Make sure to follow instructions closely, to avoid data loss. Back up everything before performing factory data reset because this procedure wipes all files from the internal storage.

Phone storage is full for no reason on Android

That’s it. Thank you for reading and make sure to leave your comments in the comments section below.

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

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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