How to Keep Photos and Videos from Taking Up Space on Your Phone

Switch to Video out camera, tap the gear again and the available resolutions and frame rates will appear as an overlay over the camera viewfinder. The options here will vary depending on the make and model of your phone, but the smaller the resolution and the lower the frame rate per second, the smaller the resulting file sizes.

If you use the default camera app on Samsung phones, with the photo mode is enabled, tap the third icon from the top right of the screen (when in portrait mode) to see what options are available. Swipe Video Mode and tap the second icon from the top right to change the resolution and file size.

If you need to quickly free up some space on your local device, Google Photos offers a way to do it: within the app, tap your profile picture (top right), then select Free up disk space and confirm the action. The app will delete all photos and videos that are safely backed up in cloud storage while also telling you how much space you’ve just freed up.


Choose High Efficiency on iOS for the smallest file sizes.

Apple via David Nield

If you are using an iPhone, you can access the camera quality settings by opening the settings screen and tapping camera then formats. Choose high efficiency instead of Most compatible If you want to keep file sizes as small as possible, Apple’s preferred optimized HEIF/HEVC formats are used instead of the standard JPEG/H.264 formats, and the setting includes both videos and images.

Depending on the iPhone model you are using, you may see Apple ProRAW (for pictures) and Apple ProRes (for videos) Toggle switch below, along with resolution options. Note that these toggle switches only control whether or not these modes are available as buttons in the camera app. To actually enable or disable them, you’ll have to do it from the shutter screen when you’ve launched the camera.

Back on the camera options screen, you’ll see that there are more options for the resolution and frame rate your iPhone uses when recording videos: Tap Record a video to make changes. The list of formats varies by iPhone model, but the resolution and frame rate that take up the least space are listed first.

There is one more option worth mentioning when it comes to saving space on your iPhone. In Settings, tap photos and then Optimize iPhone storage: If your pictures and videos are backed up to iCloud and you don’t have much space left on your device, iOS stores lower-resolution copies of your files locally to save storage space (while full-resolution copies are still available in iCloud).

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