My Samsung phone is running out of storage space, but I don’t have a lot of apps or music. My brother said it was caches in my programs. Is there some way in Android to clear app and program caches?
Your brother is right that space creep on a smartphone or tablet is often related to data saved by programs without much notification or warning. You look at how big all your apps are and nothing jumps out, but somehow you’re running out of space. Usually the programmers are simply trying to improve your experience with the program; if it saves commonly used content, everything will just work faster.
With many programs that’s no big deal and happens without you even noticing. But sometimes there are apps that seem to be unable to purge older cached content and so that app cache grows bigger and bigger. Fortunately in the Android OS there’s a way you can check the cache size of any app and even empty the cache if it’s proving a problem with your space management.
Let’s just jump in and have a look, shall we?
Start in Settings, then search for “apps” and choose “Manage apps“. It’ll look like this:
As is typical with Android, your view will undoubtedly be slightly different, but notice here that each app shows space used, and it’s all over the place. Some are tiny – like Camera with its 172KB — that’s 0.17MB — and others are bigger, like Dropbox with its 109MB. Still, all of these are small because they don’t count the associated data. With Dropbox, for example, all of the files I’m sharing via Dropbox aren’t counted as part of the space consumed here.
Swipe down: one possible culprit is YouTube, so let’s see what that’s doing on this particular phone…
In this case, YouTube’s being a very good Android citizen and only taking up 81MB of space. But let’s look a little closer anyway. To do that, simply tap on the app in question and you’ll see more specific details about its requirements and usage:
You can see that it has zero demand on battery and has consumed zero data in this billing cycle (mostly because I haven’t used it recently) but there are still a variety of interesting options here, including Force stop if you fear it’s running in background and adversely affecting your phone experience.
You can also choose to Clear data, but tap on “Storage” instead to get more details about what’s going on:
Now you can see exactly how much storage it’s using and where. Looks like in this instance, it’s the app that’s consuming just about all of the storage, 80.87MB of 81.18MB. A bit lower down, however, you can see that the program does use a cache, though at 212KB it’s pretty tiny.
Still, if you check and your apps are using a lot of cache space, you can reclaim all of it easily enough without having to delete the app by simply tapping on the “Clear cache” button. Done. Note that you can also see your apps listed by overall storage space consumed by going to system settings > applications > sort by size.
Pro Tip: While you’re here, please check out our extensive Android smartphone help area too!