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'Insufficient Storage Available' is one of Android's greatest annoyances. Here's how to fix it.

How to fix an all-too-common bug, or actual problem, with storage on Android phones

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Strategy #1: Clear out the cache on your apps

Head to Settings, then choose Apps. Flick over to the "Downloaded" section, if necessary. Look for a little Menu button, maybe in the upper-right corner or at the bottom, and choose "Sort by size." There you have it: a reverse-order list of which apps are taking up the most space.

apps_list.pngScreenshot by author
Here be space-hoggin' stuff.

Apps on your Android use up space in three ways: their core App, the Data the app generates, and cache, or temporary working files. You see this when you head into Settings on your device, head to Apps, and tap on any of them:

app_storage.pngScreenshot by author
What exactly is the Amazon app storing on your device?

Under Storage, you see the total amount of space used by the app on your device, then divisions of App (core program) and Data (the generated stuff). You only want to clear Data as a last resort. Clearing the Data on an app is basically starting from square one, as if you had just installed it, with nothing logged in or set up or saved.

Underneath that is Cache. Cache, you can totally wipe out. The app might load a little more slowly next time it opens, but it will still work, and your login and data will be intact. Some apps can build up a really big cache over time—Chrome, Google+, Google Search, and quite a few music apps, in particular. Sometimes you only need to clear out a cache or two to make room for that vital app you're trying to squeeze onto your phone.

cache cleaner.pngImage by author
The mighty clean sweep tool, Cache Cleaner.

There is a kind of clean-sweep method of wiping out the cache on all your apps at once. You'll have to clear enough space for it, of course, but if you can fit the 1.31 MB App Cache Cleaner on your Android, you'll free up much more space in return. It's an ad-supported product, with occasional pop-ups. But ignore whatever goofy game it wants you to install, look at the "Total" count in the upper-right corner, and then click the big green "Clean" button at the bottom. That's a bit more space, so try installing that app that wouldn't fly once more.

Strategy #2: Move apps to SD card

If your phone has a micro SD card plugged into it, and all is well with it, there are some apps you can move right onto that card. It won't happen by default, but you can push them over yourself.

Open Settings->Apps, and sort by size, if that's not already in place. Start tapping through your big apps and looking for a "Move to SD card" button. If it is there, but grayed out, you're out of luck. If it is raised up and ready to be pressed, you're in luck.

Note: Android's developer guidelines encourage makers of apps over 10 MB to support "Move to SD card," but as with all things open-ish, you know there are some big jerks out there. Sorry about the jerks.

The only reason not to save space with a move to your SD card is if you imagine you will want to access and use an app while your phone is plugged in for data access to a computer, a car, a camera reader, or whatever else. Not plugged in for charging, mind you, but plugged in and using the "USB Storage mode."

Don't want to hunt and peck through a huge list of apps to see who respects your space? There are many apps that can brute-force all your apps onto the SD space. AppMgr III is one of them.

Strategy #3: Clear up space every way you can

If cache-wiping and app-moving don't do it for you, you have at least one more stop before we enter into the realm of hardcore geek solutions: free up space the old-fashioned way, by removing things.

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