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Free Up Space on Your Mobile Device
Free Up Space on Your Mobile Device

How to use the Free up space feature on a mobile device, and troubleshoot issues when the process doesn't complete successfully

Updated over a week ago

What is the Free Up Space Feature?

The Free Up Space feature allows you to delete photos and videos locally from your phone and only store them in our cloud.

It works seamlessly with both locally stored-and cloud-stored photos and videos. In fact the photos displayed in the Photos tab are a merged list of both local and cloud photos.

Our Free Up Space feature must only be used after ensuring photos and videos have been backed up to our cloud.

To check if your photo or video has been backed up, look for a symbol in the top corner of the photo/video. If you do not see any symbols, it has been backed up.

How to Free up space

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

  1. By deleting a photo or video outside the cloud app

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

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

How It Works:

  • Identifying Content: Our Free Up Space feature identifies content stored both locally and in the cloud, displaying the local version to minimize network traffic.

  • Reliable Backups: Before deleting local copies, our mobile app ensures that they have been successfully backed up in the cloud.

  • Suggest Content to Free Up: If you want to free up space on all backed-up media, our mobile app presents a list of photos and videos you can delete locally.

How We Ensure Photo Backup Before Deletion

  1. The feature identifies local photos with corresponding cloud copies.

  2. It verifies the existence and unique identifiers of cloud copies via your device's network connection.

  3. Checks are made to ensure consistency between local and cloud copies.

Space is freed from your device only when these steps successfully validate the backup process.

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.

Free up space on all photos stored on the device

To free up space for all local media on your device, simply navigate to the main menu and select "Free up space". A dialog will appear, calculating the total number of files that can be safely deleted. Once the calculation is complete, you'll have the option to begin the task. Once started, the task can be canceled, but progress cannot be undone.

We prioritize displaying the most relevant photos to you: if a photo isn't backed up, you'll see the local copy; if it's only in the cloud, you'll see the remote version. If a photo is stored both locally and in the cloud, you'll see the local version, minimizing network traffic.

Rest assured, we employ caching and optimization techniques to ensure a seamless photo browsing experience, regardless of whether the photo is stored locally or in the cloud.

iOS​ Considerations

  • iCloud Impact: Deleting photos from your device also removes them from iCloud if iCloud Photo Library is enabled.

  • Recently Deleted Album: Deleted photos are moved to the "Recently Deleted" album, still occupying space on your device until permanently removed from there. To permanently delete recently freed up photos from your iOS device go to Photos, Albums and Recently deleted.

  • Live Photo and Photo Burst: In cloud for iOS 4.2.1 and above we free up Live Photos, but the The Free Up Space feature does not work on photos that was taken with the iOS feature Photo Burst.

Android Troubleshooting:

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.

  • SD Card Storage: Due to security restrictions, Free Up Space might not work for media stored on SD cards. Consider using your device's internal storage for a reliable backup process.

  • Network Connection: Ensure a stable network connection during the process to avoid any interruptions.

By following these steps, you can efficiently manage your device's storage while ensuring your precious memories are safely backed up in the cloud.

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 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 cloud 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 cloud 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 our Cloud, 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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