Free up space on an Android device

How to use the Free up space feature on an Android device, and how to troubleshoot it when it does not complete successfully.

Updated over a week ago

The Free up space feature lets you delete local media from your phone while ensuring before doing so that it has been backed up to Jottacloud.

Jottacloud for Android works with photos and videos stored locally on your Android device, and photos and videos stored on your Jottacloud account in the cloud. In fact the photos displayed in the Photos tab is a merged list of both local and cloud photos.

If a photo is not backed up, we display the local photo. If a photo is only stored in the cloud, we display the remote photo. If a photo is stored both locally on the device, and in the cloud, we always display the local version of the photo. This helps minimize network traffic.

We use caching and optimization techniques to ensure a great photo browsing experience regardless if the photo is stored locally or in the cloud.

How we ensure that the space can be safely freed

The Free up space feature was included to ensure that your photos are backed up before their local counterparts are deleted, sparing you from the risk of losing photos should you have had to delete them manually from your device storage. This is done in three steps:

  1. The task finds a local photo that has been assigned a remote Jottacloud counterpart

  2. From there, we use your device's network connection to check that the remote counterpart exists and to gather information from Jottacloud that uniquely identifies its copy of the photo

  3. We check that the local counterpart contains the same uniquely-identifying information as the remote photo counterpart

Only when these 3 steps succeed is the space freed from your device.

Freeing up space

There are three ways to free up space on your Android device:

  • By deleting a photo or video outside the Jottacloud app

  • By using the Free up space feature on a single photo or video

  • Using the Free up space feature from the main menu, which frees up the space of all backed-up media on the device

Using the Free up space feature on a single photo

To free up space for a specific photo or video, simply tap on the photo to open in fullscreen, and expand the top-right menu. If the photo is stored locally, and the photo has been backed up, the Free Up Space option will be visible.

To delete the local version of the photo, choose Free Up Space in the expanded menu. Then confirm the delete by pressing Free Up Space.

Using the Free up space feature on all photos stored on the device

To start the process of freeing up space for all local media on your device, open the main navigation menu and select "Free up space". From there, a dialog will open while the total number of files that can be safely deleted is calculated. Once the calculation finishes, you will be given the option to start the task. Once the task has started, it can be canceled, but the progress will not be undone.


There are a few cases in which the Free up space task cannot successfully complete. In all reported instances this has to do with app or device-level security restrictions.

Media stored on SD cards

Since Android Lollipop (5.0) write access to SD cards is no longer granted to Android apps, even in cases where the user has granted an app general storage read/write access. The app is however granted read access to SD cards by the same general read access grants that users are prompted to give the Jottacloud app after the first launch, and which the app uses to back up media. This means that your media can be backed up despite the app not having write access to your SD card after starting a Free up space task.

If this is the case, the only thing that we recommend for safely freeing up locally stored media is to stop using the SD card for storing media and instead use your device's internal storage. The reason we recommend doing this is so that you can free up device space safely -- with backup guarantees -- from within the Jottacloud app.

If, however, this is not an option for you and you still wish to free up space from your SD card, then you must do so by manually removing the photos from the SD card via other means (for example by connecting the device to a computer as a media device and deleting the media from a file explorer). Before doing this, we strongly recommend that you navigate to your timeline on the Jottacloud website and ensure that every file you intend to delete from your device is visible on the website.

Freeing up space without a reliable network connection

Because every file being freed is individually checked against Jottacloud, individual files may be unsuccessfully freed up if the connection is dropped during the check. If an individual file fails the check, the task moves to the next one without reattempting. If this is the case, ensure that your network connection is active -- and stable -- and try running the task again.

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