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Here's What To Do If Your Phone's Storage Is Full

Step one: Don't panic.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

So you got a notice that your phone's storage is full?

First things first: Do not panic. / Via

You can free up a lot of space without having to delete all of your apps. It takes a bit of patience at first, but trust me, it'll be worth it.

It doesn't matter if you have an iPhone or Android device. Photos are almost always the no. 1 space hog. Here are four online photo sites that offer a LOT of free photo storage.

Google Photos (iOS, Android, and the web) is the perfect solution for people who take a lot of photos and videos with their phone.

Twitter: @googlephotos

You choose between two sizes: high quality for unlimited storage (from phones or cameras 16MP and less) or original (DSLR camera) for limited storage (uses your 15GB Google storage allotment). A typical iPhone 6s photo is about 12 megapixels. In the app's settings, you can hit FREE UP SPACE to remove original photos and videos from your device that are already backed up. The app also has freakishly good facial recognition. You can search by face, activity, location, and more.

Amazon Prime Photos is unlimited storage that comes free with Prime.

Facebook: Amazon

If you have Amazon Prime ($73 for a limited time, originally $99), then you have access to free unlimited photo storage, plus five extra GB for videos and other files. Without Prime, the service is $12 per year (still a steal). Turn on automatic photo back up from your phone or tablet to make space on your device.

Shoebox (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, web) is a beautiful app that offers free unlimited photo backup to its mobile and desktop apps.


The free resolution is 10.6 megapixels, which means that many iPhone 6 and up photos will be compressed. To upload the photo's original quality, the pro version costs $5/month.

Flickr (iOS, Android, web) is the best choice for DSLR photographers.

Flickr: flickrdesign

Flickr offers 1,000 GB of free storage, and the photo file limit is 200 MB, while videos can be up to 1 GB or three minutes long. Flickr's mobile apps have an auto-upload option, which makes it easy to just "set it and forget it," without worrying about what's been backed up. Flickr is great for photographers who like to manually tag their images and want the flexibility of uploading high-res pictures.

Deleted your photos and still no space? Continue.

First, go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage.

Tap the app

Swipe left on content to delete it.

Here, you'll be able to identify what's taking up the most space. For some apps (like Podcasts), you'll be able to delete content right from Settings.

Here are 11 more tips that can help you reclaim some storage.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

1. Delete and re-install apps with large "documents and data" requirements (shown in Manage Storage).

Nicole / BuzzFeed

2. Delete burst photos (Open the Photos app > Albums > Burst > tap Select > tap the best photo > Done > Keep Only 1 Favorite).

3. Delete Safari browsing history (Settings > Safari > Clear History and Browsing data, then scroll down to the bottom, tap Advanced).

4. For Chrome, open the Chrome app, tap the menu icon, tap History, then Clear browsing data.

5. Keep only recent texts (Settings > Messages > under Message History select 30 Days).

6. Turn off Photo Stream (Settings > Photos & Camera > disable My Photo Stream).

7. Keep only the HDR photo (go to Settings > Photos & Camera > scroll down, disable Keep Normal Photo).

Nicole / BuzzFeed

8. Turn off as many app notifications as possible.

9. For music apps like Spotify, disable Available Offline for as many playlists and albums as you can live without.

10. Delete podcasts, videos, and books.

11. Delete old voicemail (swipe left).

If your iCloud account is full, it's most likely because it's storing backups from old devices.

Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage. Then tap the outdated backup, then Delete Backup.

You can also delete information under Documents & Data in iCloud storage settings. Tap on the app, then swipe left on each item to delete.

🚨 As a last resort: Back up, then restore your iPhone to factory settings. 🚨

Nicole / BuzzFeed

If the majority of your storage space is marked Other or your phone is still getting the Storage Almost Full, then you'll need to reset your iPhone.

This will erase all the data on the device, so first you'll need to make a back up to your computer. Plug the iPhone into your computer and open iTunes. Under Backups, select This computer, then click Back Up Now.

Once the backup is complete, click Restore iPhone. The process will help get rid of any corrupted data or files that are taking up space in your iPhone.

The easiest way to get more space on your device is to install a microSD card and move data onto it.

YouTube user IT Jungles / Via

Many Android devices (including the LG G4, HTC's One A9, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 and older) have expandable memory. The installation for micro SD cards varies, but it's easy enough to look up on YouTube. IT Jungles has a great video on how to insert a micro SD card into a Galaxy S5.

After installing the card, go to Settings > Apps (or Application Manager for Samsung devices). Tap on an app, scroll down, and select Move to SD Card for apps that take up the most space.

Unfortunately, many newer Android devices don't have micro SD slots (like the Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6P/5X), in which case, read on...

First, identify what's taking up the most space by going to Settings > Storage.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

In Storage > Applications, you'll be able to select applications and clear their data and/or cache. You'll have to re–log in to these apps, but the cleared space is worth the hassle!

If it's not clear what exactly is hogging up your precious gigabytes, use an app like DiskUsage (free) or SD Maid (free) to clear cached data.

In Settings > Storage, you can also tap Cached data to clear all of it at once.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

Another option is to use an Android-compatible external drive, like SanDisk's Ultra Micro USB flash drive ($28 for 64 GB).

A thumb drive with a micro USB plug allows you to instantly store and back up photos, as soon as you take them. SanDisk's app also makes it easy to back up your content. The only thing is that the drive's compact size makes it easily susceptible to being lost!

Hope you're excited about all of your new storage space!! 🎉 / Via

If you run into any issues, leave a comment and I'll try to sort it out for ya.