Depending on which Android device you own, you may either have plenty of space at your disposal or not that much. While some devices support flash memory cards that you can use to increase the storage others don't ship with this option.
My Motorola Moto G phone for instance does not and since I made the decision to purchase the 8 GB model, runs out of storage space regularly.
When I look at the space distribution, apps, media such as video and images, and music, use most of the storage with apps and media sharing using both more than a Gigabyte of storage space.
In fact, pictures and videos use more space on the device than apps. Last time I checked, they used about 1.4 Gigabyte of storage while apps used 1.21 Gigabyte and audio files 571 Megabyte.
Here is how you look that up on your device:
- Tap on the all apps button on the device.
- Locate Settings here and tap on it.
- Find Storage under Device and tap on it.
It takes a couple of seconds to calculate the used storage but in the end you will see a distribution table just like the one on the screenshot above.
What may be even more interesting is the option to tap on any type to display a list of files or programs that use that storage.
If you select pictures, videos for instance, you get the option to display them in the default gallery app or another app installed for that purpose.
Backing up and deleting media
You have two core options to free up space on your Android device. If you do not need to backup the media before you delete it, skip the backing up step.
Most users likely want to back up media though before it gets deleted.
- Back it up manually - Connect your Android device to a computer, open a file browser and copy all media files from it to the PC. The advantage of this method is that you do not need third party software and can store the data directly on your computer. The disadvantage is that it is not automated.
- Use a cloud provider like Dropbox - This is an automated option. You can configure services like Dropbox or Google Drive to back up pictures and videos automatically. The disadvantage is that your data gets stored in the cloud on remote servers.
Deleting the pictures and videos
Once you have backed up the media -- or not -- you can delete it on the Android device. If you have used Dropbox for instance you can safely delete the media without affecting the backup. The reason is simple: since the files are backed up and not synchronized, they remain on Dropbox even if you delete the source files on the Android device.
There does not appear to be an option though to automate the process further by deleting photos and videos as soon as they have been uploaded to a file hosting service on the Internet.