In our effort to capture life’s precious moments, we’re always snapping pictures on our phones. But what do you do when it’s the perfect picture moment and you get the blasted pop-up saying your storage is full?! It’s SO FRUSTRATING!  So let me help you!

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1. Declutter Your Phone

First of all, figure out what is taking up the most space on your phone. To do this on an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Usage.  For Androids this is usually found under “Settings” or in the “My Device” app. (Androids also allow you to export data to an external SD card to free up space.) Usage will show you your available storage, how much storage you’ve used, and a list of all the things on your phone taking up space, with the most space-hungry things at the top.

storage usage

2. Organize Photos and Video

For many of us, our photos and videos are the things taking up the most space on our phone. You shouldn’t have to delete memories to make room for games or operating systems. There are a couple things to do to keep your memories alive and well, and still free up space for the other stuff.

First, take less duplicates

Be more disciplined with your photo-taking. Sometimes you have to take LOTS to get the perfect picture of something. But right after you’ve got THE one, delete the others that didn’t make the cut! Many times I’ll end up with 12 pictures of essentially the same thing, but I only really needed to keep one. All the extras can really add up and take up precious space.

Second, sync your pics

Sync your photos, either automatically or manually. That way they’ll be safe and sound on your computer in case anything happens to your phone. This also allows you to delete pictures from your phone. Now you have more storage for more picture-taking! There are several options for syncing your photos:  iPhotoGoogle Photos (which will be replacing Google+ soon), and Dropbox are popular options, as well as backing up your photos to iCloud or iTunes.

3. Delete old text conversations

It may surprise you how many ancient messages are lurking in your phone taking up precious storage! Go through and delete them by just swiping left on the conversation. Text convos can take up tons of space, especially if you’ve been texting photo/video/audio/etc back and forth. If you want to delete multiple messages at once, go to settings and select messages. With iOS 8, you can choose to keep the last 30 days (or one year, or all) and the rest of the messages will be deleted. On Android, go to settings and choose SMS. Choose “delete old messages” to delete older texts.

4. Edit apps

Apps can take up a LOT of storage. To see just how much, go to settings > general > usage > manage storage, and to the right of each app you’ll see just how much storage each app uses. If one is taking up a surprisingly large amount, go to that app and see if there are downloads in it that you no longer need and can delete. (E.g. you may have some books downloaded in your iBooks app that you’re done reading! You can choose “Delete This Copy” and it will just be removed from that specific device.) Or just delete the entire app. We all have those that we’ve never used or don’t use anymore, or that our kids downloaded without us knowing. Clear them out.

5. Delete old email

Clear out all those old emails from your inbox. Then, clear out your “sent” folder to delete the saved emails that you’ve sent. Then, go to your “deleted” folder and make sure there aren’t any more emails lurking in there. Your email account can be saving all kinds of emails without you being aware of it. When you delete an email, almost all email programs will not truly delete that email but just move it to another folder called “trash” or “deleted.” Sometimes those get automatically deleted after 30 days, and sometimes they remain in the deleted folder indefinitely. You may be thinking you got rid of an email and all you did was move it from one place to another.

If you utilize these easy ways to conserve phone storage, hopefully you’ll have enough room on your phone for the things that matter most. And if you ever find your phone getting too full, just do a quick clean-up using some of these tips. Then you won’t miss the moments that really matter!