Tech Tip: What to Do With a Full Phone

Tech Tip: What to Do With a Full Phone

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Q. My phone has run out of space and I cannot download new apps. For a new phone, what should I look for when asking about storage space? I already store all my photos in the cloud, but I still have no room left.

A. Even if you upload photos to a connected cloud service (and do not keep copies locally on the phone), other content like apps, games, videos, music, podcasts, e-books and other files can eat up gigabytes. The phone’s operating system also takes a bite out of the device’s advertised capacity, especially on those older 8- or 16-gigabyte models.

When shopping for a new phone, getting a model with more storage than you think you need gives you room to grow, so plan for at least double the capacity of your current device. Although the iPhone does not support removable internal storage cards, other smartphones do (like the LG V20, the Moto Z and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge models) and are worth considering if you want to add more gigabytes later.

Check the settings on your mobile device to see what files are using storage space and how much space you have left.

Credit
The New York Times

If you need to squeeze out a few more months with your current phone, deleting unnecessary apps and content gives you room to move. Check your phone’s Settings area for a list of apps and their sizes — the support sites for Google’s Android operating system, Apple’s iOS software and Microsoft’s Windows Phone system all have information on managing your storage.

Once you see which apps are hogging the most space, you can delete things you no longer need, like e-books you have finished, podcasts you have played and games you never play. Deleting old mail and text messages (especially those with photo attachments) and dumping stored “reading lists” from your phone’s browser or news app also replenish some storage capacity. (You should be able to download deleted apps and purchased content again if needed.)

If space is still really tight — and increasing internal storage is not an option on your current model — an external storage device can provide breathing room. Several companies offer drives with various storage capacities and prices. Clipping an external storage drive to your phone can make it more unwieldy for everyday use, but the additional room for content can make long trips more entertaining.

For example, Leef makes mobile memory drives for Android and iOS devices, as does SanDisk. Picture Keeper’s flash drives for mobile devices promise to back up photos, videos and contacts. If you are getting close to upgrading your phone, though, you may want to factor the price and the amount of extra storage space needed immediately against the length of time until you go phone shopping.

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