Amazon Fire tablets ship with 8GB to 16GB of internal storage. It’s not much. You’re basically restricted to the limits of your device unless you employ some additional storage. The latest Amazon Fire supports up to 256GB of expanded storage via the microSD slot.
This sounds like a lot, and it is. But unfortunately, Fire OS 5 (based on Android 5.x Lollipop) doesn’t fully support expanded storage. (The 2017 version of the Amazon Fire runs Fire OS 6, based on Android 7.1 Nougat, but Fire OS 6 doesn’t run on older Amazon tablets.)
The result is a tablet with a large total storage, that quickly displays a low storage message because the operating system cannot seamlessly access the microSD card. Or you might not have a microSD card at all and find that after a few days, the Amazon Fire has no space left.
So, how do you find the data that is filling up your Amazon Fire tablet?
Managing Storage on Your Amazon Fire Tablet
Have you seen the “Critically low storage” error on your Fire tablet? You’re going to need to take action to deal with this. But how? Fortunately, it’s pretty straightforward.
To manage your Amazon Fire tablet storage effectively, you’ll need to work through the following:
- Check storage
- Delete unwanted apps and games
- Delete the apps/game cache
- Move data to the cloud
- Manage data from your PC
- Use a space cleaning app
- Wipe your Amazon Fire tablet
- Use a microSD card
Let’s take a look at each of these in turn. Before proceeding, however, it is a good idea to get a microSD card for your Amazon Fire if you don’t already. These can be bought online from Amazon.
1. Check Your Amazon Fire Storage
Either using the Check Storage button on the error message, or by opening Settings > Storage, begin by checking your device’s storage. This may take a while if the tablet’s on-board storage is full.
In most scenarios, you’ll find that Apps and Games takes up a chunk of the built-in storage. It’s also common to find another couple of gigabytes swallowed up by the unhelpful, non-description of Miscellaneous. By tapping this, you’ll typically discover the Others label, which is far bigger than everything else in Miscellaneous. It also cannot be cleared.
We’ll address this category of used data later.
2. Delete or Move Unwanted Apps and Games
Next, it’s time to manage space eaten up by apps and games. By now you should know how much storage is taken up by this software. To delete a single game, you can simply long-tap the icon on the home screen, then select Uninstall.
However, to manage games in bulk, go to Settings > Storage then tap Apps and Games. By default, these will be sorted by name. If you have a microSD card, swipe to the SD Card Compatible view to check if the games are installed on the additional storage.
To remove a game, tap the entry, then use the Uninstall button. Take the time to note how much storage is being used by the game. This will give you an idea of how much space you can expect to be freed up.
Once you’ve done this, it’s worth taking the time to move any compatible apps and games to the microSD card. Do this in Settings > Storage, using the Move Apps to SD Card option. Note that if this is grayed out, you don’t have any apps that are compatible with being run from an SD card.
3. Check Your Game and App Caches
Next, take a look at the caches for the apps and games you want to keep. Often, games retain a certain amount of data on your tablet storage. This even happens with games installed to the microSD card (as noted above, extended storage isn’t fully supported in Fire OS 5).
Before you deal with this, know that you’re potentially going to lose some game updates and even save game files.
Open Settings > Storage > Apps and games, then wait for the list to be compiled. When ready, browse the games, one at a time, to see which ones are leaving big chunks of data on your tablet storage. It’s likely that several games are contributing to your low storage. Tap the Clear Data option to begin deletion, then OK to confirm.
After each data clearance, make a note of the new Data on Device value. This should drop, and you’ll slowly see your device storage increase.
4. Move Data to the Cloud
If you’re regularly creating content on your Amazon Fire (for instance, my children record a lot of videos, take photos, and use art sofware), then there’s a good chance that this is contributing to low native storage.
To stop this from being a problem, confirm data is being synced to the Amazon cloud, then delete it locally.
This can be particularly useful if you don’t have a microSD card. Almost everything you buy or consume on Amazon is also available in the cloud mirror of your account, so don’t be worried about losing apps or games. Similarly, game progress is often retained.
Because photos and videos are automatically synced to the Amazon cloud, you shouldn’t need to move any data around. However, head to your Amazon Drive account to see what is synced. Currently, Fire devices get 5GB of free storage; Amazon Prime subscribers also get 5GB, one of many bonuses for subscribing. If you have both, you get 10GB total storage!
5. Connect to Your PC for Closer Inspection
Another step is to connect the Amazon Fire tablet to your PC via USB, and browse the contents using your desktop file manager.
On the tablet, you’ll be notified that the device is connected. Ensure that the Media device (MTP) option is selected. In your file manager, open the Internal storage to see if you can track down what is eating up your storage.
This is a slow process that can take a lot of time. It might even be that you cannot find the culprit, but you will at least spot data that perhaps should be moved to your microSD card. Watch out for fakes, too, like the one above. Although the highlighted files in the image appear to total 19.1 GB, they’re actually an anomaly, and can prove to be a red herring.
6. Employ a Space Cleaning Tool
If connecting the table to your PC isn’t practical, then you’ll need another way to check the space in more detail.
For this to work, however, you’ll need to have made some space on your tablet. A space cleaning app will require downloading and installing, something that will prove difficult without first deleting one or two apps!
The best option, we think, is Piriform’s CCleaner, which can be downloaded from Amazon’s App Store. Begin by tapping the Analyse button — this will scan the tablet for unwanted data. Often, this data is downloaded APK installer files (downloaded from Amazon or Google Play) which remain on the device after the game or app is installed.
With the data analyzed, check the results. Look for something that represents several hundred (or more) MB, which will usually be Files & Folders. Tap to expand, and you’ll see APK Files. Check the box to select, then tap Clean. Removal of the selected data should be instant.
CCleaner also features an uninstall tool, available via Menu > App Manager. While we know it is possible to uninstall apps and games already, the CCleaner tool seems to be able to find apps and games that should have already been deleted. As such, it is worth running the uninstall tool to see what results you get.
Other tools are available. With SD Maid Booster, for example, you can use the Clean Junk option to discard unwanted data.
7. Reset the Amazon Fire
There is a nuclear option here. If none of the other fixes work here, you can use the factory reset option to clear your internal storage. You might prefer to eject your storage card beforehand, if you have one. Meanwhile, make sure your personal data is backed up to the Amazon Cloud Drive.
To reset the tablet, open Settings > Device Options, and tap Reset to Factory Defaults. Click Reset again to confirm the decision, and wait while the device restarts.
You’ll need to reconnect to your local network and sign into the device again once it restarts. Everything will seem faster.
At this stage, before using the tablet further, if you’re not already using a microSD card, insert one now. Take advantage of the expanded storage on offer. Meanwhile, pay attention to where apps and games are installed, and you should never have to go through any of this again!
8. Ensure Your microSD Card Is Being Used
We’ve already recommended that you purchase a microSD card for your Amazon Fire tablet. Installing it with the tablet switched off, the card should mount when the tablet is restarted. You’ll then be presented with the option of using the card to install apps and games, and download media to.
To confirm these options, open Settings > Storage and scroll down. Here you’ll find a switch for each option — ensure each of these is enabled. Meanwhile, should you need to wipe the card, use the Erase SD card option.
It’s also possible to remove the microSD card. Use the Safely Remove SD Card button to stop all tasks. You’ll then be able to eject the microSD card from your Amazon Fire tablet.
Free Up Space on Your Amazon Fire Tablet!
By now you should have found some extra space in the interior storage of your Amazon Fire tablet. Perhaps you had some games taking up too much space, or maybe hidden files were eating up the storage. With a microSD card installed, your tablet should have a good chunk of interior space free long-term.
Have you had space issues with your Amazon Fire tablet? How did you fix them? Tell us below.