The dreaded “out of storage” notification is the bane of many phone owners’ lives — and as time goes by, clearing your device seems to become more difficult. But the biggest chunk of phone storage is usually dedicated to apps. In fact, many of our favorite apps take up more storage than we think.
From social media apps to music streaming services, you’ll be surprised how much storage some of the most popular apps on the market actually take up. Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives that will save you some space, while also usually saving battery life, data, and RAM too.
Here are 10 popular apps that take up too much space on your phone, and their smaller-sized alternatives.
1. Chrome (70MB)
PC users are well aware that Chrome can be a memory hog on your Windows computer. But it turns out that the mobile version also comes with its own greedy tendencies. Chrome is usually smaller than many native browser apps (such as Samsung internet), while similar in size to the Firefox mobile browser. But this doesn’t mean it’s the best option for users looking to save space on their phones.
Chrome’s size technically varies by device and there are some external factors that affect how much space it takes up — including your cache. Due to caching and other data, you’ll often find that the browser you use the most on your phone will take up the most space.
But when it comes to pure app size, it is one of the biggest browser apps. But there is one browser app that outpaces most others in terms of storage footprint, data usage, and even RAM usage.
Alternative: Opera Mini (13-20MB)
There are technically two Opera Mini apps on the Google Play Store, and they don’t seem to differ much. Both are created by Opera, both have the same name (though one is in beta), and both have Android O support.
They are also both significantly smaller than the base Chrome browser app. However, compared to each other, the Opera Mini apps vary slightly in size. It appears that the slightly larger version is the older, full version of Opera Mini, while the other is a beta version of a newer, smaller app.
You should choose which version you want based on your own preferences for stability versus size.
2. Facebook (69MB)
Facebook is one of the most popular free Android apps around — so much so that it often comes pre-installed on devices. However, it is also one of the larger apps around.
The app itself is around 69MB (depending on your device), but it also has the problem of bloating over time. Very occasional use on a Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 saw the app’s data increase to 173MB, making it 242MB in total. So what app can you use instead to save space?
Alternative: Facebook Lite (5MB)
Many Facebook users won’t be comfortable with using an unsupported, third-party app to manage their account. Luckily though, Facebook offers an official Lite app.
The app’s primary focus is to save data, but it is also much smaller than the full version of the Facebook app at just over 5MB.
Despite its much smaller size, it still has many of the same features of the original Facebook app. However, it does lack some of the newer functionality and updates.
Download: Facebook Lite (Free)
3. Microsoft Word (92MB)
Microsoft Office’s various apps are used by many Android users. After all, they’re familiar, mostly free, and compatible with most files. But despite their popularity, they are also significantly larger than similar apps from different companies.
This is particularly true for apps like Microsoft Word, which is 92MB. Considering its functionality versus other alternatives, the extra storage space just doesn’t seem worth it. So what else can you use?
Alternative: Google Docs (25MB)
There are many free office suites on the Google Play Store, but if you would rather download individual document apps rather than an entire suite, Google’s various offerings are the way to go.
Each app can be downloaded individually with each taking up around 25MB of storage space. Sheets and Docs are two of the major apps of Google’s suite, but they have alternatives to most Microsoft apps. This includes a PDF viewer, a slideshow/presentations app, and a note-taking hub app similar to OneNote.
Download: Google Docs (Free)
4. PicsArt (73MB)
PicsArt is one of the most popular photo editing apps, but it’s also among one of the largest. It has a significant number of functions, but the social aspects of the app add to its higher storage requirement.
At around 73MB, it is larger than other photo editing apps like VSCO, Snapseed, and many apps that will get you Instagram praise. So are there smaller apps with very similar editing options? It turns out the answer is yes.
Alternative: Pixlr (32MB)
At just over 32MB, Pixlr is one of the smallest photo editing apps in terms of storage space. Despite this, it still qualifies as a the Google Play Editor’s Choice app and has many of the same functions of its larger-sized peers.
The app comes with collage functionality, balance adjustments (e.g., brightness, contrast, exposure), and many filters. It also has text and other overlay functionality.
Download: Pixlr (Free)
5. Facebook Messenger (113MB)
The fact that you have to download a separate app to use Facebook’s mobile messaging functionality properly is a bugbear for those with limited space on their phones.
Add to this the fact that Messenger takes up around 113MB of space despite its limited use, and it’s no wonder people look for alternatives. Luckily, there is an official option that is significantly smaller.
Alternative: Messenger Lite (17MB)
In comparison to its hefty peer, Messenger Lite is tiny. At only 17MB, it is a welcome alternative if you need to save storage on your phone. In fact, it’s so much smaller that it makes you wonder what is wrong with the original app that accounts for so much extra bloat.
Messenger Lite, like FB Lite, has many of the same features as the original app: audio calling, sending photos, and instant messaging.
What it lacks is video-calling and the extra extensions that come with the original Messenger, such as Giphy, Uber, and Kayak. So which app you choose depends on whether almost 100MB of extra bloat is worth those extra features.
Download: Messenger Lite (Free)
6. Skype (70MB)
Compared to some of the other apps on this list, Skype’s size doesn’t seem all that bad considering its various features. Nevertheless, it is not as streamlined as it could be.
There are many video-calling apps that users can choose over Skype, but this often requires creating a new account and adding new contacts. So what’s the solution if you want to save space but also keep the convenience of Skype?
Alternative: Skype Lite (50MB)
It’s still in beta, but Android users can already download the Skype Lite app if they would like a more streamlined version of the app. So far, it is primarily aimed at saving data and working in less than favorable network conditions. This is evidenced by the fact that it is only 20MB smaller than the full version.
However, every bit of extra space counts when your phone is overflowing with apps. It’s likely that Skype will also refine the lite app further to decrease its storage size in the future.
If the small difference in size is not enough to entice you, you could always opt to use video calling in one of your existing apps. For example, Whatsapp offers video calls with added encryption to boot.
7. Spotify (93MB)
Considering that Spotify is primarily a music-streaming app, you wouldn’t expect it to be all that large. But it turns out that the app was listed as the number one culprit in AVG’s ranking of the top Android storage-hogging apps run by users.
“Spotify is the number-one storage hog, as it needs a huge cache to stream music and, in the Premium version, can also store songs offline,” AVG’s latest Android performance report says.
In the same report, it was also identified as the second biggest performance-draining and sixth biggest battery-draining app run by users. SoundCloud was also named as a hog in the same report. So what could you use instead?
Alternative: Google Play Music (35MB)
While the debate over whether Spotify or Google Play Music is better rages on, there’s no denying which app takes up less storage space.
Google Play Music weighs in at only 35MB, making it significantly smaller than Spotify. Of course, it does also increase its cache and data storage when you download songs and stream music. However, between Spotify and itself, Google Play Music is considered the better option in terms of overall storage saving.
Download: Google Play Music (Free app with optional subscription)
8. Microsoft Outlook (71MB)
Microsoft Outlook is the go-to app for those using Microsoft’s email exchange servers, but it’s also among one of the biggest storage-eating apps according to AVG.
Just by itself, the app takes up over 71MB of storage. Then there’s the extra cache and saved data that comes when you use it to check your emails.
So what email client could you use instead that will still give you access to the Microsoft Exchange, but doesn’t take up as much storage on your phone? There are a few Outlook alternatives, but one app in particular saves a lot of storage.
Alternative: Aqua Mail (18MB)
Considering that Aqua Mail has Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and other mail client functionality, it’s incredibly surprising that it is less than a quarter of the size of Outlook.
The only downside is that has some features, such as using a Microsoft business email account, locked behind its premium app. However, the free version offers plenty of features that make it a worthy and storage-savvy alternative.
9. Microsoft Excel (84MB)
Microsoft Excel is another example of a popular app that takes up more space on your phone than necessary. This is proven by the sheer number of alternative apps with much smaller footprints.
In fact, Excel by itself is almost the size of some entire office suite apps. This is likely due to the more advanced features of Excel, such as algorithms.
Alternative: Google Sheets (25MB)
Google Sheets, much like Google Docs, has a significantly smaller footprint than its Microsoft counterpart, but with many of the same features. Charts, spreadsheets, and visualizations are all part of the app.
The fact that it is the default spreadsheet app for Google Drive is an added bonus.
Download: Google Sheets (Free)
10. Twitter (70MB)
Considering the entire social media platform is centered around brevity and being streamlined, it’s somewhat ironic that the Twitter app is quite bulky.
At just under 70MB, it is around the same size as the Facebook app, which belongs to a considerably more feature-rich social network. So what can you use instead?
Alternative: SlimSocial for Twitter (1.5MB)
Technically there is a Twitter Lite app under development, but it has limited rollout. This means that it’s not available in many markets.
That’s where SlimSocial for Twitter comes in. While it is a third-party app and therefore not an official Twitter product, it has wider availability across regions. The app was created by the same developer behind SlimSocial for Facebook, another popular option for social network users.
What really stands out though is the app’s size. At just under 1.5MB, it’s significantly smaller than the official Twitter app.
Due to its unofficial status, however, it can’t be guaranteed that the app is as safe as Twitter’s lite version.
Download: SlimSocial for Twitter (Free)
What Other Popular Apps Hog Phone Storage?
Unless you specifically take a look at your apps settings menu, the amount of storage your favorite apps take up often goes unnoticed. You would expect large companies to make their apps as streamlined as possible, but this list proves that this is not necessarily true.
This becomes a problem if you don’t have expandable storage and your photos, videos, and other files start battling your apps as you run out of phone storage. You can sure that these aren’t the only popular apps that have some bloat. In fact, AVG’s performance report proves this.
What other popular Android apps do you know that hog your phone’s storage? Have you tried any alternatives? Let us know in the comments below.