How to free up storage on the Nexus 5 for better performance

nexus 5 screen
© NextPit

If you’ve been rocking a Nexus 5 since 2013, it may be due a tune-up in order to keep things running smoothly. If the last time you did a clean wipe was when you updated to Android 5.0 or Android 5.1, we’ll show you how to free up storage on the Nexus 5 for increased memory and better performance.

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You may think that clearing up some space won’t have much of an impact on your Nexus 5’s performance, but just like desktop computers, mobile devices need a little maintenance and TLC  to keep them running at their best. The more junk you have on your phone, the more sluggish it can be and the more likely you are to be wasting space and resources that could be used for more productive things.

nexus 5 app drawer
Freeing up storage space will help keep your Nexus 5 running smoothly. / © ANDROIDPIT

Downloads folder

One of the biggest culprits where wasted storage space is concerned is the Downloads folder. If you never clear it out, it will hoard all sorts of useless stuff. Regularly going through your Downloads folder, saving the things you need and deleting the things you don’t is a great way to free up some space on your Nexus 5.

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Take a look at your Downloads folder to see what junk you can delete. / © ANDROIDPIT

Unused apps

We all have a tendency to download more apps than we need. From the game you downloaded and only ever played on one train journey, to that collection of individual apps that you never seem to open anymore, there's probably a lot that you can delete in order to free up storage space.

If you haven’t used an app in the last month, the chances are it’s not really worth having on your phone, consuming system resources, storage space and, if it's syncing in the background, your data allowance.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android M settings storage apps
To free up space, head to Settings > Storage > Apps to see the largest apps installed. / © ANDROIDPIT

Go to Settings > Apps and simply delete the apps you don’t want. Alternatively, go to Settings > Storage > Apps to see which apps are using up the most space. This is the easiest way to free up the most space by deleting the fewest apps.

Remember, both free and paid apps can be downloaded again, so you’re never losing out on anything you’ve bought. But if you’re not using an app regularly, it’s not really necessary to keep it on your phone.

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You can selectively uninstall the largest apps or tho one you rarely use. / © ANDROIDPIT


If you’re anything like me, you tend to end up with millions of photos on your phone that you never quite get around to saving to your computer or the cloud. If you’re not a fan of cloud backup, you should try to make a regular photo dump to your storage place of choice to keep your pictures safe.

If you don’t mind the idea of the cloud, sign up to a service and back up your photos to the cloud so you can access them without needing to store them on your phone. Google's new Photos app is a great tool for just this purpose.

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Back up or upload your photos so you can get them off your phone. / © ANDROIDPIT

Videos and music

After hi-res games, videos and music albums are likely to be the largest files you have on your phone. If you’ve saved a video to watch on a flight and forgotten to delete it afterwards, you could be wasting anything from 700 MB to 1.5 GB of storage on your phone.

The same goes for a playlist you haven’t listened to in months. Keep an eye on your videos and music folders and make sure there’s nothing there you don’t really need anymore. Remember you might have media stored in various different folders on your device.

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Unnecessary video and music files are among the biggest space wasters. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • Best Android video players

Miscellaneous data

If you go to Settings > Storage and take a look at the bottom you’ll find a section called Misc (or in the Android M developer preview it will be Settings > Storage and USB > Other). Have a look in here and see what’s occupying random space on your internal memory. It may be something necessary, such as offline maps files, or it may be something entirely unnecessary that you can easily delete to free up some space.

You can also clear cached data from this menu, but while it will clear up some space, your apps will need to be launched from scratch next time you open them, so this additional space will come at the cost of a little performance.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android M explore internal storage
Back in Settings > Storage, take a look at what's in the Misc or Other section. / © ANDROIDPIT

These five tricks should score you quite a lot of additional space on your Nexus 5 and speed the device up a bit. All those unused or outdated apps, miscellaneous files and unnecessary media tend to slow things down, consume system resources and generally make your Nexus 5 more tired than it needs to be.

If you want a cool app to help you monitor your memory usage in future, try Disk Usage. It will show you a big block of memory chunks on your Nexus 5 so you can easily see which files are taking up the most space and act accordingly. 

How much extra space did these tricks bring to you? How often do you clear up space on your Nexus 5?

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  • golaok Aug 5, 2016 Link to comment

    It's right, when my android phone becomes slow, I will use android data cleaner app to clean it. By freeing up unwanted data from it, it will become faster.

  • Lisa Bobbitt Dec 2, 2015 Link to comment

    This is probably a dumb question, but how do I know if items may be deleted in the downloads folder? They may be in my download folder, but elsewhere as well, which makes me wonder if it it'll delete the file altogether if I delete in downloads?


  • Jonas Aug 25, 2015 Link to comment

    Background please :D

  • Viktor jovanović v. Aug 25, 2015 Link to comment

    I have also Nexus 5 runing 5.1.1 just go to settings, aplikacion and clear cashe for aplikacions; you can do it one by one...
    When you some don't ned, simply click on disable or delate it. good luck!

  • Jeffrey Siegel Aug 24, 2015 Link to comment

    I hate to ask a stupid question....but how do I delete items in my download folder? When I click on an item I want to delete, my only option is to open it. When I open it, the only options are Send file..., Open with ..., Print, and Report an Issue. My Nexus 5 is running 5.1.1 and I am not a tech whatever help you can give me, would be appreciated.

    • Little Stacy Aug 25, 2015 Link to comment

      Really? How can this happen? You may try AirMore. It's a professional and free mobile device management tool on web. You can search it on Google. May this method can help you~

  • Rohit Kumar (RK) Aug 24, 2015 Link to comment

    Thanks, It Really Helped Me , now its been speed up my phone.

  • Sunrise Sunset Watch Face Aug 24, 2015 Link to comment

    Freeing some storage for your smartphone is what you really in order to make the system run faster. For some, they don't know that one of the reasons why their phone are so slow is the low memory storage.

  • Xiath77 Dec 29, 2014 Link to comment

    I recommend Clean Master.

  • Gerard Dec 27, 2014 Link to comment

    You should try an app called Memory Map. This really shows you what takes up your space. Delete directories, files, app-data. Very simple and intuitive...and maybe a little dangerous :)

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