Here’s how to free up space on your Android phone with files from Google

When your Android phone doesn’t have a lot of storage space, clearing out old junk and making room for new pictures, videos, and apps can be a constant struggle. Google’s Files app has a handy tool to make this process easier.

Files by Google comes pre-installed on some Android phones, but anyone can download it from the Play Store. A handy feature that sets it apart from other file managers is its cleaning recommendations. It identifies things that can be removed from your phone to free up some space.

To get started, download and install it Files from google on your Android smartphone or tablet.

The first time you use Files by Google, you will be asked to agree to Google’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. If you are happy with this, tap Next to continue.

Tap "Keep going" to agree to Google's terms and privacy policy.

To allow the Files app to access your files, tap Allow in the permissions pop-up window.

Tap “Allow” to give Google access to your files.

With that out of the way, you can free up some space. At the bottom, tap Clean.

Tap on

At the top of the page you can see how much space you are using. Below that, Google will automatically suggest files that you can delete to free up space. Common examples are screenshots, duplicate files, and photos that have already been backed up to Google Photos.

Google's files indicate the space used on an Android phone.

Each of the following categories has one of three possible buttons, and they perform slightly different actions:

  • “Confirm and release (X) MB”: Where (X) is the place. Tap it to open a pop-up and instantly clean it up without checking the files first.
  • “Select and release (X) MB”: Where (X) is the place. Tap here to go straight to the review screen where you can select the files you want to remove.
  • “Release of (X) MB”: Where (X) is the place. This promotion is specific to Google Photos. Google suggests removing all backed up photos from your device. Tap it to go to the Google Photos app, where you can free up space.

Choose which method you want to use to top up space.

For our example, let’s tap on “Select (X) MB and share” in the category that we want to clean up.

The option

We see a list of files that Google is suggesting to remove. In the Duplicate Files category, original files are identified by a bookmark icon in the lower left corner.

A duplicate of an original file in

We’ll select all of the files that we want to remove and then tap “Delete”.

Select the files you want to remove, then tap Delete.

If you select original files in the Duplicate Files category, you will be asked to confirm your selection; Tap “Next” to continue.

Tap on

You will be asked again to confirm your choice. Tap Delete to permanently remove the files.

Tap on

To quickly clean up a category, tap Confirm and Free Up (X) MB (where X is the space) to skip selecting each file individually.

Tap on

Tap Clean Up to remove the files without checking them.

Tap on

To review files before removing them, tap View Junk Files.

Tap View Junk Files.

Select all of the items you want to remove (or tap All Items at the top of the screen), then tap Clean when you’re done.

Tap on

A pop-up message will ask you to confirm your choice. Tap Delete to continue.

Tap on

That’s it! You can repeat these steps for any of the categories on the Clean Up tab. The app may also recommend freeing up space on a regular basis.

A confirmation from Files by Google that 1 file has been deleted.

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