Many people save cash by opting for the lower-storage model when they buy a new Android smartphone or tablet. Manufacturers tend to overcharge for extra storage, so it often seems like a good place to save money. But apps and games are getting bigger all the time, and we all like to take photos and shoot video. The unfortunate truth is that 16GB, or even 32GB, of storage can fill up alarmingly fast. What do you do when there’s no room left on your device? How do you free up additional space? Our guide has the answers.
Use a MicroSD card
One of the easiest ways to increase storage space on your Android device is to buy a MicroSD card. Many smartphone manufacturers have ditched the slot, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, a MicroSD card is definitely the easiest way to add storage space to your device. If you can use a MicroSD card, you can snag an extra 64GB for less than $30. It’s important to choose a fast card with decent read and write speeds, however. Don’t be tempted to pick a card solely on the price tag, and make sure that you get a Class 10 card.
You won’t be able to move every app onto your new card, but with older versions of Android — Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and earlier — you can probably move some. To do so, go to Settings > Apps and tap on each app listed under Downloaded. Then, tap Move to SD Card, if the choice is available. Keep in mind that some phones house the option to Transfer data to SD card under Settings > Storage.
If you’re running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later, then you can also choose to format your card as internal storage during the setup process by selecting Use as internal storage. This is a good idea if you intend to keep the card permanently in your Android device, however, this also means that it won’t work with your PC or other devices. If you want to remove it and use it to transfer files, then opt for the Use as portable storage option. If you do format it as internal storage, then Android will automatically copy some apps and other data onto it. The operating system will also save new apps and files onto it by default when it decides that’s the best option.
Additionally, devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and later feature built-in file management, which you can access via Settings > Storage > Explore. If you have a device running an older version of Android, then you’ll need a file manager app such as ES File Explorer. You may also find it easier to simply plug your device into your computer or laptop and drag and drop files from your phone to your computer and then onto your MicroSD card. This is a good opportunity to back them up, too.