Insufficient Storage
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Insufficient Storage Available on Android Fix Without Root

You might have seen the error message: Insufficient Storage Available and went straight to Settings > Storage (if not, you might want to do that now) only to find that you have plenty of space. So why is your Android saying otherwise? There can be various reasons, but one possibility may be that Google Play (or app developers) is failing to delete existing files before it updates or installs applications. Or, you might have found that you are indeed running out of space, but you still need more apps and media on your device.

It’s a common problem that can result in a slow Android phone, and many of the suggested fixes recommend rooting your Android. But rooting carries risks, and may not be worth it to you. However, having to deal with the incessant error message isn’t really worth it either. But maybe you can have the best of both worlds.

Must Read: Need More Storage? See the Backup Cloud Options for Storage Compared

1. Reboot Device

Turn your device off and back on. Long-press the Power button.

2. Clear the Cache

Go to Settings > Application Manager and swipe right or left to the All tab. Select the individual apps you don’t mind clearing cached content within. Force stop the app, then clear its cache. While you are at it, clear the app’s data. This can result in lost settings and preferences, and it will clear your temporary files, but it could also clear remove what is causing your problem.

You might need to clear space every way you can, and it might be more efficient to perform a system-wide clearing of the cache. To clear the system cache, go to System Settings > Storage > Cache data and press OK.

Wipe Data

3. Download App Cache Cleaner

For an automated cache cleaning, install this free app.

Download App Cache Cleaner

App Cleaner

4. Uninstall Unnecessary Apps

If you are simply out of storage space, uninstalling apps could be your best option. You can click and drag apps to the Uninstall section that appears on your home screen, or you can go to Settings > Application Manager > All to select the Uninstall button for each app.

Uninstall App

Related: Keep Your Phone Light: Learn How To Uninstall Android Apps

5. Remove Photos and Videos from Device

Every time I go on an outing with my daughter, it seems like I snap 100 pictures. And then how can I delete them? But if you have pictures that aren’t very good, why not get rid of them? Videos take up even more space, and are yours all high-quality?

You don’t have to lose those pictures and videos, though! There are plenty of apps you can use to automatically back up all your pictures as you take them, so you never have to worry about losing that perfect shot.

6. Backup Media Files with Dropbox

Dropbox also has an option to upload pictures and videos from your Android to your PC (from the cloud) automatically. You can also manually accomplish this by opening the Dropbox app, opening the folder where you wish to store your media, clicking the plus sign at the bottom of your screen, then choosing Upload photos or videos.

Download Dropbox

7. Migrate Data to PC

You most likely already have apps on your phone that can easily transfer your data to your desktop computer. Google Drive contains Google Photos, which when synced with your Android, will allow you to download every photo you wish to transfer onto your desktop. You can also manually transfer files using the assistance of a USB cable, or seek help from any number of third-party apps.

Download Google Drive

Google DriveSearch

8. Clear Downloads Folder

The Downloads folder is often accessible right from your homescreen, and when you click on the horizontal lines in the upper-right corner, you can sort your downloads by size. Long-press each file for the trash can to appear. Multiple selections are possible by simply tapping additional files after you’ve long-press the first one. This method can also be accomplished with the help of a file manager.

Downloads Folder

9. Delete Junk Files

Install an app like ES File Explorer. You are going to use it to visit a location on your Android that tends to accumulate large temporary files. It’s called the DCIM folder, and here you might find camera and Facebook images. Using the file manager/explorer, navigate to your device’s internal storage, or SDCard 0.

Within the DCIM folder, open Thumbnails. Clear out any unwanted files that are taking up space. If this doesn’t work or is difficult for you, many junk-cleaning apps can accomplish the same thing. Whether you do it manually, or automatically, the end result is still ending the Insufficient Storage Available error for good.

Download ES File Explorer File Manager

ES Data

10. Move Apps to SD Card

If your Android permits, add a micro-SD card and move your media across. Once your SD card is in place, you should be able to go to Settings > Apps > App Info and tap the Move or Move to SD Card button. Some developers do not give you this option. However, if they do, this is a great way to fix the Insufficient Storage Available error on Android without rooting.

SD Card

11. Download 1Tap Cleaner

This app can help you clear cache, your call log, search history, and restore your settings back to default.

Download: 1Tap Cleaner (clear cache, history and call log)

13. Use CCleaner

When you look at several of these steps, they can really be condensed into one: downloading CCleaner. That’s because it will oversee clearing the cache, your Downloads folder, your browsing history, call logs, SMS, clipboard content, and more. Some would say that you don’t need an app to do all of those things because you can do them manually. This is correct, but you can also cut your lawn with scissors; however,  it might be more efficient to use a lawnmower.

Download CCleaner

14. Download Clean Master

In addition to clearing out storage space, Clean Master Lite also offers to help you with performance/lag issues and improve your battery life. Third-party apps like this one can help you solve the Insufficient Storage Available error on Android with minimal work and no rooting.

Download Clean Master Lite – For Low-End Android Phone

Clean Master2

15. Install Link2SD

Although your Android does need to be OS 2.0 plus in order to use this app, it also may face a few issues on later versions like Nougat. Despite this, it has helped plenty of users link files, internal, and external data over to their SD card, and can probably help you as well.

Download Link2SD

Link2 SD

16. Transfer Data to Another Android

It’s perfectly understandable if you don’t want to delete pictures and videos of people and things that are important to you. If you have a spare Android around with some storage space, why not transfer these items to your alternate device? If both devices are capable, you can transfer using Near Field Communication (NFC) or Bluetooth, or you can enlist the aid of an app like MobileTrans (by Wondershare).

Download MobileTrans Android to Android Transfer

17. Use a Hidden Menu to Delete Files

From your Dialer, call *#9900#. This doesn’t work on all Androids, but if this procedure takes you to a SysDump menu, you’re in luck. Choose the second option called Delete dumpstate/logcat. This clears out the files in /data/log.

Delete Menu

18. Manually Choose External Storage Location By Default

This is usually accomplished only when you have root, but if you are up for a challenge, you can try this method even without root. Keep in mind that your best bet is root. You will need a desktop or laptop with a Java development kit containing ADB (Android Debugging Bridge). A link a new version of Android SDK (Software Development Kit) is given below, and ADB is present in the platform-tools folder.

Open a command window on your PC or laptop (method varies by OS version, but one way is by looking in the Windows System dropdown accessible from the Start button). Within the window, type cmd. Right-click and grant yourself administrator rights. Type cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools. This command/path can vary depending on your computer/OS, i.e. cd C:\Users\Username\Downloads\platform-tools.

Enable USB debugging on your Android. If you haven’t already, go to About Device and tap the Build Number option about seven times. You will be afforded a new Developer Options menu, from which you can select Enable USB Debugging. Connect your Android to your computer via USB cable. Type this command into the window: adb shell pm getInstallLocation.

This tells you what your default storage location is currently set to. To set it to external storage, type in the following: adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2. To ensure that it worked, try the previous command and make sure it returns 2. 0 is the automatic storage area, and 1 is internal storage.

Install ADB

19. Factory Reset

Doing a factory reset sucks, but if you don’t want to root and your problem is those leftover files mentioned above, this is your best bet. If you aren’t familiar with a factory reset, the reason it sucks is because you lose all personalization and data. Your device is restored to the state it left the factory in. On many Androids the option to perform a factory reset is available through the Settings menu. Go to Backup & Reset > Factory data reset > Reset Phone > Erase Everything.

Factory Reset2

Conclusion

You should be able to free up some space by using these methods. If you have tried everything and find yourself still experiencing this issue, there might be something else wrong with your Android that needs special, in-person and one-on-one attention. Other times, the issue will resolve itself over time. Keep in mind that many games can have large storage requirements, as well as common communication apps like Facebook, Skype, Viber, etc. You might also try USB On-the-Go storage to make more room.

Do you have other tips you would like to share? Let us know what worked or didn’t work for you in the comments. Provide as much detail as possible.

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2 Comments

  1. Feel counterproductive to install all those apps mentioned when one can do most of the same with the system apps and from Androids settings

    1. Hi, Vickers. The article is not suggesting to install all of the apps. It’s simply providing a few suggestions that one can try to fix the insufficient storage problem. The ease of performing the same functions without the apps depends on which version of Android one is running. I hope that clears up some confusion.

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