How to fix Android's 'insufficient storage available' error message

If you see the message 'insufficient storage available' on your Android phone or tablet and you do have space available, follow these steps to clear Android's cache and you'll be downloading, updating and installing apps again in a matter of minutes. Here's how to fix the 'insufficient storage available' error message on Android.

By


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • More stories
Next Prev

Step 1 of 4:

If you're getting the error message 'insufficient storage available' you need to delete the app cache. This is automated by a free app, or can be manually achieved by deleting individual app caches. Here's how to fix Android's 'insufficient storage available' error message. See all Android tutorials.

The 'insufficient storage available' error often pops up if you have moved large amounts of media from the Android device's physical storage to a microSD card, and is caused by the cache not being properly erased.

You can clear your app cache in a matter of seconds or a few minutes, depending on just how bad the problem is on your device. If it allows you to install it, downloading a small (around 2MB) app can automatically clear the app cache on your behalf; if your phone won't allow the installation then you'll need to manually go through deleting the cache for each app. See step 4 for instructions on how to do this.

Next Step »

Next Prev slideshow image

If you're getting the error message 'insufficient storage available' you need to delete the app cache. This is automated by a free app, or can be manually achieved by deleting individual app caches. Here's how to fix Android's 'insufficient storage available' error message. See all Android tutorials.

The 'insufficient storage available' error often pops up if you have moved large amounts of media from the Android device's physical storage to a microSD card, and is caused by the cache not being properly erased.

You can clear your app cache in a matter of seconds or a few minutes, depending on just how bad the problem is on your device. If it allows you to install it, downloading a small (around 2MB) app can automatically clear the app cache on your behalf; if your phone won't allow the installation then you'll need to manually go through deleting the cache for each app. See step 4 for instructions on how to do this.

Step 2 of 4:

If you haven't already tried deleting anything on your phone and are receiving the 'insufficient storage available' error, this would be a good place to start. There are more than likely apps you have previously downloaded, never used and forgotten about - check the app tray rather than the home screens for these, since the app tray will list everything on your phone and, unless you're running Marshmallow (which lets you uninstall apps from the home screen), makes it easier to quickly uninstall them.

Photos, videos and your downloads folder are another good place to check. If you're using WhatsApp, also check its files in a File Manager app or by plugging it into your PC as it may well be storing every photo and video you send as well as those you receive.

Google Photos is a great option for backing up as many standard-resolution photos and video clips as you like, making them accessible from any device on to which you can log into your Google account and allowing you to delete them from your Android phone or tablet without losing them forever. The only catch is you'll need to download the Google Photos app to your device if you don't already have it, which may be an issue if you are seeing the "insufficient storage available" error. In the meantime, you could always plug your Android device into a PC or laptop and copy across any media you want to back up.

Now that you have freed up some space, your device will hopefully allow you to download the small app that automates the process of clearing the app cache. Try this by launching the Play store, searching for and, if you can, downloading the free app called App Cache Cleaner – 1Tap Clean.

Step 3 of 4:

The app cache cleaner is very easy to use; you simply opent the app and let it scan your device for your app's stored cache. You can then either clear the caches indivually by clicking on the rubbish bin icon next to each app, or delete all the app caches by selected the Clear button at the bottom of the screen.

Assuming you already had some space on your internal storage, despite the error messages, you should now be able to download or update the app you were having difficulty with.

If, however, you are having problems even installing the app cache cleaner app, go to the next step and we'll show you how to do its job without using an app.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Step 4 of 4:

How to manually clear Android's app cache

The third-party app we mention in this workshop isn't strictly necessary, since it's possible for you to perform the same action without it, but it does automate and therefore make easier and quicker the task of clearing your app cache. However, if your phone or tablet is being so fussy about insufficient storage that it won't even let you install this small app, here's how to manually clear the app cache.

First check whether your device has an option to clear the cache for all apps without manually clearing each. For example, I can quickly clear the app cache on my Samsung Galaxy S6 by opening the Settings menu and choosing Storage, then taping on Cached data and selecting Delete in the prompt 'Clear cached data. This will clear cached data for all apps'.

If you don't have such an option or, for whatever reason, don't want to clear the cache of all your apps, you can also do so on an app-by-app basis. Again in the Settings menu this time choose Apps or Applications, depending on what software your device is running.

Now you want to be able to see a list of all apps downloaded or running on your phone, which will probably be achieved by selecting a tab at the top of the screen. On my S6 I first need to choose Application Manager in order to see this screen.

Tap any app in this list to select it, then choose Clear Cache to clear the app's cache. Some notable offenders, in my experience, are Facebook, Google Maps and Chrome.

If there are any apps here that were preinstalled on your phone but you do not use you could always uninstall any updates from this same menu to free up some more space, although if you have automatic updates set up in Google Play your device will only download them again. If you are still lacking storage space, a better alternative would be to read our advice on how to add storage to Android and how to move apps and data to an SD card.

Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.

New Google phones UK release date | Pixel XL price, new features, specifications: Pixel X and…

1995-2015: How technology has changed the world in 20 years

iOS 10 troubleshooting tips: Simple fixes for the most common iOS 10 problems, from network…