Every phone or tablet owner knows what it’s like to not have enough space on their device. They like to download lots of apps and games, listen to music offline, and watch movies while on the go. But most of the time they can’t unless a) they upgrade their phone or tablet to something with more room or b) they pop in a microSD card which sometimes can cost up to $100 depending on how much more space they want to have. However, most of the time these owners do have some space free to store a movie or a couple of apps or games because they don’t already have a lot on their device, but when they try to download that media, they get an error stating that they don’t have enough space even though they very well know they do. How would someone go about fixing that? When you know you have enough space free on your phone or tablet, you’re not gonna go out and buy some overly priced microSD card. That’s not even an option and, quite honestly, won’t work at all. Oh, and using one of those fancy cleaning apps from the Play Store isn’t gonna do the trick either since they can’t really dig deep enough to give you back all of that space.
So what’s the method to get that extra storage “back” on your device? Well, here it is:
(Disclaimer: I have been able to confirm that this method works on Android 5.0 Lollipop and above, however doesn’t work on Android 4.4 KitKat and below. The explanation for this is found right below this guide marked with a *.)
Get More Storage on Your Android Device (5.0 Lollipop and above)
Head over to your app drawer and find the Settings app.
Scroll down until you find the “Storage” menu option.
In the “Storage” menu, scroll down until you find the status of your “Cached data”.
You’ll most likely find that your cache is very full and takes up lots of room on your phone or tablet. This is the missing storage I mentioned earlier. In order to clear out this data and reclaim the space, tap on the “Cached data” option (pictured above).
Once you do that, this message will appear on your device: Just tap “OK” to clear out the data and get back your storage space.
You can expect to wait anywhere from 1-5 minutes for your cache to totally clear depending on how much was being taken up, however the process may be faster on some devices. Once it is finished, however, you should see the “Cached data” status change significantly: Don’t worry about those extra couple of megabytes as they are required to remain in order for Android to function properly.
That’s it! You now have reclaimed space on your Android device. As a side note, rebooting your device will also clear the cache, however this is a much faster way to do so rather having to wait so much time for your phone or tablet to start back up.
*Many of you may be wondering why your cache can get so full on newer devices, and this is because starting with Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google switched from the Dalvik runtime to the ART runtime. The difference between these two runtimes is the Dalvik runtime uses something called a JIT (Just-in-Time) code executer which means that Android would only execute certain functions of the OS when needed, making things like apps and games load slower but keep valuable storage space available to the user, while ART uses a AOT (Ahead-of-Time) code executer which executes many functions before the OS requires them to run, making Android run faster, more efficiently, and perform at it’s best. ART requires the cache of your device to store all of these prepared functions so they have somewhere to execute, which is why many users seem to gradually lose space on their devices without them knowing, while Dalvik basically plays it by ear if you will, meaning it runs whatever it has to run when the time comes. This also means that Dalvik doesn’t require your cache to run, which is why you most likely didn’t experience any problems like this if you came from Android 4.4 KitKat or below until you made the switch to Android 5.0 Lollipop or above.
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