Even though it’s not as common as, say, 7 years ago, storage can and will fill after some time. Unless you consider alternatives, all those images, music files, and 4K videos will start to take a toll on the storage space until you see a prompt informing you that updates can’t be installed due to low storage. Luckily, there are options to save storage space on Android 11 and you can find them below.
Table of contents:
- Back up your data to cloud services
- Clear cached and junk files
- Remove unused apps
- Expand storage with an SD card
- Debloat your device
How to increase storage space on your Android
1. Back up your data to cloud services
Even though many reviewers and users vocalize their concerns with the storage capacity of certain devices, we beg to differ to a certain point. Understandably, if you need to keep large video recordings and thousands of images on the device, you’ll look for 128GB or even more.
But for a regular user, 64GB or even 32GB of internal storage are more than usable options. Especially if we consider that people rarely stick with one device for more than five years, often less.
And the answer lies in cloud services. Albeit, Google decided to monetize Google Photos recently and they’ll start counting towards the quota (free 15GB per account are still a thing), you’ll still find it hard to fill those 15GB in recent times. For 2 USD per month, you’ll get 100 GB which is, when it comes to videos and images, enormous.
But, let’s stop giving a free advertisement to Google and remind you that there are many other options, as well. Whatever service you use, you’ll be able to access your photos and videos anytime, download them, edit them, and re-upload them again. Or store them on your PC.
Likewise, Google Drive can be used to back up any other important file. So photos, videos, and other multimedia files can be backed up. Unless you have a local library of 10.000 songs, it shouldn’t matter if you use 32GB or 128GB of storage space. Not that much, at least.
Here are the most common files and how you can back them up:
- Photos and videos – Google Photos, Dropbox, OneDrive, Mega — all offer photo and video backup. Check free and paid plans, install any app of your choice, and start uploading.
- Music – Google despicably killed off Google Play Music which offered a music locker so that’s not an option anymore. However, you can use YouTube music which succeeded GPM. Although the app is not as functional as classic Google Play Music was, it still has a music locker.
All the rest can go to Drive or any other aforementioned cloud service. Or just back it up to your PC and make some space for new things.
2. Clear cached and junk files
The Facebook app and its brethren apps are usual suspects here. If you haven’t checked some of the social media apps on your device recently, they tend to pile up a metric tone of cached files.
The idea is to speed up the loading time so the home page and recent activity are stored locally. However, first of all, this is not as useful as they like us to think and, secondly, this will take a lot of your storage space.
An app that’s around 80MB will grow in size over time and reach, if unattended, hundreds of megabytes more. So, navigate to Settings > Apps and sort by Size. The largest ones should be purged of cached data as soon as possible.
Here’s how to do it with ease on Android 11:
- Open Settings.
- Choose Apps & notifications.
- Expand All apps.
- On the list, locate all apps that are large and open them one by one.
- Tap Storage.
- Clear cache.
You can also clear data as well but have in mind that this might include some media you downloaded with those apps and that you’ll need to log in (if required) again.
In addition, you can install Files by Google or any other prolific file manager from the Play Store and clear junk files, as well. In addition, these apps usually offer duplicates removal and keep track of large files you might want to delete.
3. Remove unused apps
This is a big one. Like some apps tend to pile up cache and take up space, we, end-users, tend to install so many apps that we actually don’t use. Especially games that are, usually, larger than your usual app.
So, get back to that list of installed apps or just enter the app drawer and look for apps that are of no particular use. Uninstall them to save more storage space on Android 11 (or any Android, for that matter).
Remember that you can always re-download the app when in need. This minimalistic approach will definitely save you some storage space.
4. Expand storage with an SD card
Storage expansion with an SD card is, like the headphone jack, slowly getting out of fashion these days. Many new devices come without an option to expand your storage with an external drive. Sadly, but another of those market trends that prioritize something else on account of good old capabilities we all love.
Which doesn’t mean that your device doesn’t have one. If it does, acquiring an SD card is a way to go. They are fairly affordable these days and you can get some ludicrous large storage options. Even if you can’t install apps on it, you can at least store all media files.
Another important perk that comes with keeping your important data on an SD card is safety. If something goes awry with your device and it requires a factory reset, you won’t lose files stored on the SD card.
5. Debloat your device
Finally, if there’s a way to debloat your device, and a safe one at that, make sure to do it. Besides a few OEMs, most manufacturers force-feed their users with a plethora of apps that they will never use. They are often quite hard to get rid of, as these pre-installed apps come as the system ones.
We have a detailed article on how to debloat Xiaomi devices, here, but there is much more information you can find on XDA forums. Just search for your device and follow instructions closely. Make sure to back up everything, too, and stay away from some fundamental system apps. Without all that bloatware, you’ll definitely save some storage space on Android 11.