I've had my Samsung Galaxy S for a while but I'm constantly being told that the internal memory is full. Can you suggest any way to free up some space? Is there a way of increasing its storage capacity or do I just need to delete stuff?
Also, when my contract ends I intend to buy an iPhone 4S. Will I have the same problems with Apple's internal memory? Or is storage just an issue with Android phones? I'm pretty clueless and would appreciate your help!
Gary Jackson, via email on 5 March, 2012
Thanks for your email. I think it's fair to say that after battery life, running out of storage space is the biggest nightmare facing owners of smartphones. First things first, it's not just an issue with Android phones, or specific to any one operating system or handset manufacturer.
As we spend more time - and increasing amounts of mobile data - downloading apps, games and files on the go, there's a growing need for smartphones with massive storage capacity. When you compare mobiles, internal memory is an important factor to consider.
Unfortunately, there’s no way of increasing your mobile's internal memory so it's good to be aware of ways you can maximise your storage space. A lot of smartphones have a slot for you to insert a microSD card. This way you could boost the capacity of your Samsung Galaxy S by up to 32GB.
With Apple's iPhone, however, it's quite a different story. There is no microSD slot, so you need to make sure you choose a handset with sufficient internal memory from the start. Having said that, Apple gives all iPhone owners a simple means of storing files and data online - it's called iCloud.
The following guide looks at what you can do when your Android phone's internal memory is full, ways of maximising space and how to choose a handset with enough storage from day one.
No, the internal memory on your mobile phone cannot usually be increased. So it's important to look for sufficient storage whenever you compare mobile phone deals or upgrade to a new handset. However, there is an easy way to create more room - add "external" memory in the form of a microSD card.
When your Android phone starts telling you it's full, there are several steps you can take to create more space for storing photos, music and downloads. Firstly, the majority of smartphones - including popular HTC and Samsung handsets - have a slot into which a microSD card can be inserted.
Depending on how much you want to pay, and what's compatible with your device, you may be able to add up to 16GB or 32GB in an instant by doing this. They're available from any electronics retailer and shouldn't cost much more than £15 or £20 at the most.
If you think you'll benefit from having the extra space, it's best to have a microSD card from the very start. This will save you having to move everything across from your phone's internal memory if you wait until it's full before getting one.
However, it's quite a straightforward process and you can move anything, from photos and music to games and apps you've downloaded from the Android Market. You'll just need to change the storage settings for each individual application one at a time, which can be time consuming.
Another way to free up internal memory is to uninstall apps or delete old files which you no longer need and could be taking up valuable space. If you shoot lots of video and photos with your phone, you could create space by transferring the files to a computer via USB cable.
1. Move stuff to your microSD card - Lots of phones now come one included, but if you have an empty slot it's a good idea to buy a microSD card from the start. However, you can add one at anytime and move your photos, videos, games and apps to free up internal memory.
2. Use your computer - Connect your smartphone to a laptop or PC and you can transfer photos, videos and other large files to your desktop device and clear some room on your mobile. You can also back-up important files this way by saving a “spare” copy on your computer.
3. Delete things you don't use - It may seem obvious but most of us have downloaded apps that we're no longer using. It's a good idea to comb through your smartphone every once in a while and remove anything you don't need.
4. Clear the cache - Check the settings for individual apps and you'll often find there is internal memory being used to store a cache of web pages you've visited. Occasionally clearing the cache for each app can be a good way of claiming back some memory.
5. Perform a factory reset - If your Android phone is telling you the internal memory is full when you know for a fact that it's not, there may be a fault which can sometimes be rectified by performing a “factory reset”. This will erase everything from your phone and return it to its original shop-bought state, so make sure everything is backed up beforehand. And always read the manufacturer's instructions first.
There's really no right answer to this question. In terms of comparing mobile phone deals, Apple and Android devices each have their own strengths and neither is really “better” than the other when it comes to how much internal memory you get.
The main difference is that most Android handsets - the likes of a Samsung Galaxy S II or HTC Desire S - have a slot for a microSD card, allowing you to add some external storage. But when you're buying an iPhone 4 or 4S there are three models with disk space of either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB.
However, with iCloud - included on every new iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch - Apple provides an easy way to store files wirelessly and access them wherever you go.
Since the release of iOS5 - the operating system used by the iPhone 4S - every new iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is ready for iCloud straight out of the box. It's essentially a place to store content using a wireless internet connection. But Apple says it's “much more than just a hard drive in the sky”.
Once you've set it up, iCloud will automatically and securely store your photos, music and data so that everything you've "synced" to it is always available from any compatible device you own. In addition, it keeps your email, contacts and calendars up-to-date across all your Apple gadgets.
When you sign-up for iCloud, you get 5GB of free storage, which is actually quite a lot considering your purchased music, apps and books as well as your Photo Stream don't count towards the memory you're using. If you ever find you need more space, you can buy a storage upgrade.
To avoid running out of internal memory, make sure you choose the right smartphone for your needs from the very beginning. A great place to compare mobile phone deals is the free price calculator at Mobilechoices.co.uk which highlights the best phones and plans for you.