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How to Free Up Space on Your Samsung Phone Without Deleting Apps

Do you constantly get annoying low storage notifications on your Samsung Galaxy device? Are you fed up with managing storage and don‘t want to delete apps or media? Don‘t worry – freeing up space on your phone doesn‘t require compromising the apps and features you love.

In this detailed guide, you‘ll learn over 15 powerful tips to reclaim storage on your Samsung phone or tablet, without having to delete apps or files. I‘ll provide plenty of actionable steps and optimization techniques any Samsung user can follow.

Let‘s get started liberating gigabytes of storage!

Why Your Samsung Storage is Always Full

Before we fix the low storage issue, it helps to understand why it happens in the first place. There are a few key reasons your Samsung device constantly runs out of room:

High resolution media files – Modern phones like the S22 Ultra take 12MP photos and 4K video by default. These hog over 5x more storage than lower resolutions.

Larger apps and games – Immersive gaming apps like Call of Duty and Genshin Impact take up over 3-4 GB each. App sizes are ballooning.

No SD card slot – Many Samsung models like the S21 don‘t support expandable SD card storage to augment the built-in capacity.

System software bloat – Samsung‘s One UI and carrier bloatware eat into usable storage over time. Android OS upgrades also increase system space requirements.

Forgotten downloaded files – It‘s easy to mindlessly save media in apps and then have it languish forgotten on your phone.

Cached app data – Apps temporarily store cached data that can build up and consume GB‘s of space.

Messages and chat media – All those funny TikTok videos your friends send add up! Chats are often storage black holes.

Now that you know why Samsung phones frequently run low on space, let‘s explore solutions!

Step 1 – See What‘s Occupying All Your Storage

The first step is to analyze what types of files are consuming space on your Samsung Galaxy device:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Select Device care or Battery and device care depending on your model.

  3. Choose Storage.

  4. Review the colorful bar graph showing:

    • Used storage space

    • Free available space

  5. Tap on any colored segment to see files and apps within each category.

storage usage graph

This visualization reveals what‘s hogging your storage, whether it‘s videos, apps, images, audio, or any other data type.

Alternatively, you can view storage usage within Samsung‘s My Files app. Go to Analyze storage to see a similar breakdown of used space by category.

Now that you‘ve identified the storage hogs, it‘s time to start clearing them out!

Step 2 – Remove Unneeded Downloaded Files

A common culprit gobbling up Samsung storage are downloads from streaming apps, social media, and internet browsers. Here‘s how to remove them:

  1. Open the My Files app on your phone.

  2. Browse to the Downloads folder.

  3. Sort files by size.

  4. Delete large individual downloaded files you no longer need.

  5. To mass select, tap the 3 dot menu and choose Select items to delete multiple items at once.

Alternatively, delete downloads directly within the app itself – for example, delete videos from within the Netflix or YouTube apps. Remove books from the Kindle app, etc.

Downloads are handy for offline access but often forgotten and left occupying space. Regularly prune this content category to recover GB‘s of storage.

File TypeAverage Size
Movie700MB – 5GB
Episode100 – 300MB
Song3 – 5MB
Book1 – 100MB
App5 – 500MB

Prioritize deleting your largest downloads first for maximum space savings.

Step 3 – Offload Infrequently Used Apps

One easy way to free up storage is removing apps. However, that means you lose their data and settings. Samsung offers a middle ground – offloading unused apps.

Here is how to offload apps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.

  2. Select the app you want to offload.

  3. Choose Mobile data and Wi-Fi from the dropdown menu.

  4. Toggle off Allow app while Data saver on.

Offloading removes the app from your device storage but retains its:

  • Settings
  • Logins
  • Preferences
  • Position on Home screen

So the app is still installed – just not taking up physical space. To use an offloaded app again, simply reinstall it from the Google Play Store.

Offloading is a temporary way to free space from apps you‘re not actively using. It‘s faster than fully uninstalling and reinstalling.

Step 4 – Remove Media from Messaging Apps

Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and plain SMS texting are hotbeds for eating up storage.

That‘s because of all the photos, videos, GIFs, and other media we share through chats. Here‘s how to prune those space hogs:

  1. Open the Messages app on your Samsung.

  2. Delete entire conversations containing media files you no longer need.

  3. You can also scroll up in individual conversations and delete specific photos/videos.

  4. In WhatsApp, tap Storage Usage > Select > Delete to remove files occupying excess space.

Regularly deleting chat media is key to maintaining messaging app storage at healthy levels. Never let those shared funny cat videos pile up!

Step 5 – Turn On Storage Manager

Samsung Galaxy devices have an integrated storage optimization tool called Storage Manager. When enabled, it will automatically:

  • Delete unnecessary files
  • Compress rarely used apps
  • Remove unused apps
  • Transfer data to SD card

This frees up storage in the background without you having to manually manage files and apps.

To enable Samsung‘s Storage Manager:

  1. Go to Settings > Device care > Storage

  2. Tap Storage settings > Auto-manage storage

  3. Choose how aggressively Storage Manager removes items:

    • Daily
    • Weekly
    • Monthly
    • Every 6 months

Set Storage Manager to run on a schedule of your choosing. You can also manually trigger it anytime.

Let Samsung‘s built-in tool regularly optimize storage instead of having to micro-manage it yourself.

Step 6 – Wipe Cached App Data

Over time, cached data from apps and system processes can consume significant storage space. Here‘s how to wipe this temporary clutter:

  1. Go to Settings > Device care > Storage

  2. Tap Clean now

  3. Select Cached data and tap Delete to clear all cached app data.

Cached app data will be rebuilt as you use each app, but wiping it forces a clean slate. You can also clear cache from individual apps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps

  2. Select your app, like Gmail or Facebook.

  3. Tap Storage > Clear Cache

Be aware this will sign you out of apps and remove temporary files – but no user data will be deleted. Periodically wiping cache is an easy storage boost.

Step 7 – Move Files to SD Card

If your Samsung Galaxy model has a microSD card slot, you can drastically expand storage by inserting an SD card.

Follow these tips to maximize external SD card storage:

  • Insert a high capacity SD card up to 1TB.

  • Under Device care > Storage > Advanced, set the SD card as default storage for images, videos, music, and downloads.

  • Use the Move data option within Device care to migrate apps, photos, media and other files to the SD card.

SD cards give you hundreds of extra gigabytes to use for media, downloads, backups, and more. Set it as your default save location for maximum external storage.

SD Card SizeStorage Gained
128GB120GB Usable
256GB245GB Usable
512GB485GB Usable
1TB930GB Usable

So expand your onboard storage for cheap with a microSD card!

Step 8 – Adjust Camera Settings

Your Samsung‘s camera app can rapidly consume storage, especially if you capture a lot of photos and videos.

Adjust these camera settings to take up less space:

  • Lower photo resolution from 12MP to around 6MP in Camera > Settings > Picture size.

  • Switch to HEIF photo format for 50% smaller file sizes than JPG.

  • Record videos at 1080p instead of max 4K resolution.

  • Turn off Auto HDR which stores an extra photo every time you take a shot.

  • Disable storing selfies from the front camera if you don‘t need them.

Tweaking the camera app settings based on your usage needs can save dozens of gigabytes over time.

Step 9 – Back Up Photos to the Cloud

Having years of photos and videos stored locally on your device hogs your storage. A better solution is to automatically back them up to the cloud:

  • Enable sync to Google Photos to store high quality media at no space cost.

  • Alternatively, use a storage locker like Dropbox, iCloud or OneDrive.

  • Once you confirm images sync to the cloud, delete local copies on your phone to free space.

The key is letting a cloud service store your media so you can delete device copies. Never let photos languish forgotten when the cloud has unlimited capacity.

Step 10 – Stream Music Instead of Downloading

On-device music and podcast files contribute significantly to used storage space. The solution is to stream your collection instead:

  • In Spotify, switch downloaded songs to Stream Only mode.

  • Pause syncing of playlists and downloads in multimedia apps like Apple Music or YouTube Music.

  • When finished listening, delete downloads to store nothing locally.

With offline listening disabled, your entire music library is available on-demand without occupying phone storage. Streaming is a great way to recover 10-20GB!

Step 11 – Prune System Storage and Junk Files

Android‘s system data contains accumulated junk over time – temporary files, residual clutter, and cached data. To clean it up:

  • Use the Device care > Clean now function to wipe system junk.

  • Install an app like SD Maid to deeply clean and optimize system storage.

  • Check the /cache and /data/local system partitions which collect clutter.

While not a massive factor, pruning system storage can recover a handy extra few gigabytes of space.

Step 12 – Uninstall Bloatware

Pre-loaded apps from Samsung and your carrier seem helpful during initial setup. But over time, this bloatware occupies more and more storage.

Here‘s how to remove bloatware:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps and sort apps by Size.

  2. Identify large pre-installed apps you never use. Common examples:

    • Video editors
    • Customization apps
    • Duplicate apps
    • News apps
    • Carrier apps
    • Non-essential Samsung apps
  3. Uninstall apps you know you‘ll never use in the future. Stick to removing true bloatware instead of Samsung essentials.

Without bloated apps consuming storage, you‘ll have plenty more room for apps you truly care about.

Step 13 – Reduce Home Screen Clutter

Having fewer home screen pages means less loaded widgets, app icons, andvisual clutter.

To de-clutter your home screen:

  • Long press on a home screen page and uncheck unused pages.

  • Consolidate widgets onto fewer pages.

  • Place nonessential apps in the App Drawer instead of on canvas pages.

While not a massive factor, reducing home screen clutter leads to a bit more available storage and RAM. A tidy home screen also helps you focus on apps you actually use instead of ones you don‘t.

Step 14 – Check Storage Before Major Updates

Whenever a major software update rolls out for your Samsung – like Android 13 – it‘s a smart idea to check your storage beforehand.

That‘s because major OS updates often contain new features and system apps that consume more onboard storage.

Before updating:

  • Follow the steps in this guide to free up gigabytes of space.

  • Consider uninstalling apps and media you no longer need.

  • Have at least 5-10GB of free storage for the update process.

Starting an update with minimal free space can cause issues. So be proactive and make room!

Step 15 – Enable Adaptive Storage

Adaptive Storage is an advanced Samsung feature that combines the internal storage and SD card into one large storage pool.

So instead of separating onboard storage from external storage, Adaptive Storage aggregates both together.

To enable it:

  1. Insert SD card into your Galaxy phone.

  2. Go to Settings > Device care > Storage

  3. Tap menu button > Settings > Adaptive memory.

  4. Choose SD card under "Supported storage devices" and tap Turn on.

This allows your phone to seamlessly use all storage space as if it‘s one drive. Apps and media can span across both the SD card and onboard memory.

If your Samsung supports it, Adaptive Storage is a powerful way to massively expand usable storage.

Final Tips for Maintaining Healthy Samsung Storage

To recap, refer to this checklist anytime your Samsung device storage feels constrained:

  • Offload unused apps instead of fully deleting them.

  • Regularly clear cached data and system junk files.

  • Archive old messaging conversations containing media.

  • Use cloud services to store photos/media and delete local copies.

  • Employ a large microSD card for expandable storage.

  • Disable auto-saving media files from chat and social apps.

  • Uninstall or disable bloatware apps you never use.

  • Only download music, videos, and files you currently need – stream when possible.

  • Check for app bloat after major OS updates like Android 13.

Implementing these Samsung storage tips will help you reclaim 10GB or more of space! You‘ll prevent annoying low storage errors without compromising the apps and features you enjoy.

Always be proactive about managing your Samsung device storage and you‘ll avoid frustrations down the road. Use this guide anytime you need to eke out more space on your phone or tablet.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.