How to Reclaim Storage Space on Your Smartphone

Even if you have unlimited data on your smartphone, nobody has unlimited space. Gone are the days when all manufacturers would include an SD card slot to allow you to expand your phone’s storage (though a couple still do). Many of us use cloud services to back up our photos, but we rarely remove them from our phones unless we have to. Every time I check, I’m surprised at how cluttered my folders are with memes and screenshots I only needed for a moment. Let’s not even start with all of the PDF documents that need to be downloaded before viewing. Digital clutter is just so easy to ignore until you get a warning that your storage space is low. Or worse, that awesome video you just took can’t be saved.

General Considerations

No matter which brand of smartphone you have, there are a few general suggestions that can help free up space.

  • Do you need all of the apps you have on your phone? If not, go ahead and uninstall them. If you only need an app occasionally, you can uninstall it and download it again later.
  • Are some of the apps you use available as a website? If so, you can bookmark them or add shortcuts to your phone that takes up a lot less space than an app.
  • If you regularly create screenshots or download memes to post, image files are a great place to find content that is easy to delete.
  • If there are files you need, but you don’t need them on your phone, consider transferring them to a computer or hard drive. Cloud storage is wonderful, but some of the platforms will delete a file from the cloud when it is deleted from your device, so it can be tricky.
  • Are any of your images or videos duplicated? I often have to resize things before sending, so my phone is full of duplicate copies. I save a ton of space by culling the extras.
  • Remember, any image or video you post on social media is saved there and can be downloaded in the future.
  • High-resolution images take up a LOT of space, and you rarely need an image with that sort of resolution unless you are a professional/hobbyist photographer whose images will go to print. Optimize your images to keep them on your device at a smaller size. See your phone’s section below for instructions.
  • Are you saving music on your phone? If you don’t like the idea of paying for streaming services, YouTube Music will let you upload up to 100,000 tracks from your computer that you can stream as long as you have an internet connection. Only things you need to hear when offline would need to be saved to your phone storage.
  • Old text messages and voicemails take up space, too. Delete anything you don’t need to free up additional space.
  • Like a browser, your phone has a cache that collects information and takes up more and more space over time. How-to for iOS | How-to for Android
  • Don’t forget to clear your browser cache.
  • Both app stores have apps that claim to clean up your phone for you. In general, it is a good practice to avoid these apps. At best, that’s giving an app a lot of control over data you care about. At worst, you could lose your data and your phone could be bricked.

Cleaning Up iPhone Storage

To do a deep dive into your iPhone’s storage, open Settings>General>iPhone storage. The color-coded bar chart shows file categories and how much space each file type is using. Under the chart, your iPhone will offer suggestions for cleanup. Below the suggestions, you can find detailed information about how much space each type of file is taking. The app section will allow you to delete apps with a single tap.

In the section above, I mentioned that high-resolution photos can take up more space than needed. Navigate to Settings > Photos, where you can enable the “Optimize iPhone storage” option to get those files under control.

You can also reclaim space by clearing your browser cache. For Safari, go to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data. You can do this in other iPhone browsers, such as Chrome, too.

Cleaning Up Android Phone Storage

To do a deep dive into your Android’s storage, open Settings > Storage. If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, you may find it under Settings > Battery and device care>Storage. Your storage usage is broken down by categories. Click on a category for details. As you drill down, you will find you can long-press on individual files to delete or tap an app name to uninstall it. If your phone has a “free up space” button, you can tap it to view a list of files that may be likely candidates.

To optimize your photos, open the Google Photos app and go to the settings. Select “free up space” to back up your photos to your Google account and free up space on your phone.

Android allows you to not only clear your browser histories, but also the cache and data from every app on your phone. To do this, go to Settings > Storage > Apps and tap an app name. I chose Adobe Acrobat for this example.

Screen shot showing the storage screen for Adobe Acrobat  with options to clear the storage and cache

Choose “clear cache” to delete temporary files and history.

Clear storage will remove all information, including account login, and return the app to a like-new state.

It won’t make or break your storage size, but regular maintenance will save some space and make your apps run more smoothly.


With a little effort, you can reclaim enough space on your phone to avoid storage warnings and tough file-saving choices without resorting to shady apps in your device’s app store. Do you have any additional space-saving strategies? Let us know about them in the comments.

How to Restore Browser Tabs Closed Accidentally

Have you ever tried to close one browser tab, but accidentally closed them all? Or had your computer crash while you had lots of important tabs open? If so, you probably groaned internally when reading those words, remembering how long it took you to find those websites again. The great news is that every modern browser has a way to recover recently deleted tabs. What’s more, you can turn on a warning that will pop up if you click to close the browser and multiple tabs are open.

The folks at Tech-Talk have created a short video and article detailing how to restore recently deleted tabs, no matter which browser you’re using. The article also explains how to turn on a warning letting you know you’re about to do it, even if that functionality isn’t included in the browser by default.

Tech-Talk is an online resource the library subscribes to on behalf of its patrons. It is full of articles, videos, webinars, and other ways to learn about technology. Choose from longer, more detailed content or focus on their quick, targeted tips. Have you had a chance to check out Tech-Talk yet? If so, let us know what you think in the comments.

Windows Update Does It Again

Yesterday, Microsoft put out a warning that the latest update for Windows 11 is causing some apps that use the .NET 3.5 framework to crash. [citation] If you have installed KB5012643 and are experiencing crashing apps, Microsoft advises that you uninstall it to restore app performance.

Some users are also experiencing issues with Start, the taskbar, and USB connections in addition to app crashes. If you have problems with those functions but your apps are fine, uninstalling the update may also clear up those issues.

Manually Uninstalling the Update

To uninstall the update:

  • Click on the Start button and search Windows Update Settings.
  • Windows Update settings window, select View Update History.
  • Select Uninstall Update.
  • Find KB5012643 in the list.
  • Select the patch and click on Uninstall.


Because this update is optional and not all apps require .NET 3.5 to function, we’re hoping you were able to avoid this issue. If not, try uninstalling the update and let us know if it helped in the comments.

Stop Teams and Other Apps from Opening Automatically

You may have noticed after getting a new Windows computer or updating your operating system to the latest version that Microsoft Teams opens automatically every time someone on the computer logs in, even if none of the computer’s users use the software. If you’re not having this issue with Teams, you may be having it with another app you have installed. Personally, I find this really annoying. I prefer to open apps manually as needed.

Thankfully, this behavior is easily disabled. If you’d like to learn how to stop apps from loading when you log in, check out this article and video by Tech-Talk. Tech-Talk is a subscription resource brought to you by the library.

Tech Tricks to Improve Your Technological Experience


There is a wealth of information available on the internet. Luckily, there are lots of neat technological tips and tricks that can help with how you use technology and its components.

Vine is an app people use to post very short (eight seconds or less) video clips that will automatically replay once the clip has finished. The clips are referred to as Vines. GCF LearnFree has posted a neat list of Vines that can help with some common tech-related problems such as how to organize and label various wires, how to protect power cords, and how to clean a keyboard with a sticky note.

If you are a Chrome user and have been frustrated with the slowness of your browser, makeuseof has written an article that has some suggestions on how you can improve the speed of your Chrome browsing experience.

If you are a user of Creative Commons (content that is free to legally use and share), makeuseof has put together a helpful post that gives tips on how to find Creative Commons content.

Have you ever accidentally installed bundled software without meaning to? When installing free software, often times there will be a message box that appears before the installation asking if you want to install another program, reset your browser homepage, or change your search settings. Luckily, there is a program called Unchecky. This application searches for commonly bundled unwanted applications and removes them. It also prevents unwanted applications from being installed in the future by automatically unchecking the unwanted offers box when a user is installing a new application, as well as warning the user if they try to accept a potentially unwanted offer.

These are just a few of the many neat tricks to help you improve how you use technology and its components. Do you have any neat tricks you’ve discovered? Share them in the comments.