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Amazon Fire tablets ship with 8GB to 64GB of internal storage. At the lower end, you’re restricted to the limits of your device unless you employ some additional storage via the microSD slot.
To make the situation worse, the Android-based Fire OS 5 doesn’t fully support expanded storage. The result is a tablet with a large total storage that seems to quickly run out because the operating system cannot seamlessly access the microSD card.
So how do you find the data that is filling up your Amazon Fire tablet? We’ll show you.
Managing Storage on Your Amazon Fire Tablet
If you see the Critically Low Storage error on your brand-new Amazon Fire tablet, you must deal with it. Fortunately, doing so is straightforward.
To manage your Amazon Fire tablet storage effectively, you’ll need to work through the following steps:
- Check storage
- Delete unwanted apps and games
- Delete the apps/game cache
- Use the 1-Tap Archive
- 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 look at each of these in turn. Before proceeding, however, it’s a good idea to get a microSD card for your Amazon Fire if you don’t have one already. You can buy these from Amazon; just make sure to avoid common microSD card mistakes.
Sandisk offers an official “Made for Amazon” microSD card that’s a great value.
1. Check Your Amazon Fire Storage
Either tap the Check Storage button on the error message, or open Settings > Storage to check your device’s storage. This may take a while to load if the tablet’s onboard storage is full.
In most scenarios, you’ll find that Apps and Games takes up a good 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. You cannot clear this, unfortunately.
2. Delete or Move Unwanted Apps and Games
Next, you should manage the space eaten up by apps and games. By now, you’ll know how much space this software takes up. To delete a single game, long-tap its icon on the home screen, then select Uninstall.
However, to manage games in bulk, go to Settings > Storage and tap Apps and Games. By default, these show sorted by name. If you have a microSD card, switch to the SD Card Compatible view to check if the games are installed on the expanded storage.
To remove a game, tap it in the list, then Uninstall. Note how much storage the game uses to get an idea of how much space erasing it will free up.
Once you’ve done this, move any compatible apps and games to your 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 can be installed on the SD card.
3. Use the 1-Tap Archive
You might be reluctant to delete apps and games if you’ve paid for them. However, this really isn’t anything to worry about, as digital purchases save to the cloud. This means that you can download them to your tablet again after uninstalling, without cost.
Your Fire lets you easily archive these items to the cloud for re-downloading later. Open Settings > Storage and tap View Content.
This feature ignores recent apps. Instead, it groups the apps and games you haven’t used for a while, giving you the chance to Archive them for later use.
4. Delete Unwanted Game and App Caches
Next, look at the caches for the apps and games you want to keep. Often, games retain a certain amount of data on your tablet’s storage. This even happens with games installed to the microSD card.
Before proceeding, understand that doing so will potentially result in loss of game updates and even save files.
Open Settings > Storage > Apps and games and wait for the list to compile. When ready, browse the games, one at a time, to see which are taking 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, check the Data on Device value. This should drop, and you’ll see your device storage increase.
5. Move Data to the Amazon Cloud
If you regularly create content on your Amazon Fire, then there’s a good chance this is eating up your storage. This is where the Amazon cloud can help.
Almost everything you buy or consume on Amazon is also available in the cloud mirror of your account, so don’t worry about losing apps or games. It often retains game progress too.
Because photos and videos automatically sync to the Amazon cloud, you shouldn’t need to move any data around.
Check your Amazon Drive account to see what’s synced. Currently, Fire devices get 5GB of free storage. Amazon Prime subscribers also get 5GB, one of many bonuses for Prime members. If you have both, you get 10GB of total storage!
6. Connect to Your PC for Closer Inspection
Another step is to connect the Amazon Fire tablet to your PC via USB, and browse its contents using your desktop file manager.
On the tablet, you’ll see a notification when the device is connected. Ensure that you’ve selected the Media device (MTP) option here. In your file manager, open the Internal storage to track down what’s eating up your storage.
This is a slow process and you might not even locate the responsible app. However, you should at least spot data that’s best moved to your microSD card.
Also watch out for fakes, like the one above. Although the highlighted files in the image appear to total 19.1 GB, they’re anomalies, and can prove to be a red herring.
7. Clean Up With CCleaner
Can’t connect the tablet to your PC? Try a cleaner app.
You’ll need a bit of free space on your tablet to properly install the app. If you’re really short on space, find an app, game, or other bit of data you don’t need or can easily reinstall, and remove it.
The best cleanup app for Fire tablets is Piriform’s CCleaner, available from the Amazon App Store. After installing CCleaner, tap the Analyze button to scan for unwanted data. Often, this data is downloaded APK files that remain on the device after you’ve installed the game or app.
With the data analyzed, check the results. Look for something that represents several hundred (or more) MB, which will usually be Files & Folders. Tap this to expand, and you’ll see APK Files. Check the box to select it, then tap Clean. The app should remove this data instantly.
CCleaner also features an uninstall tool, available via Menu > App Manager. While we’ve gone over the native procedure to uninstall apps and games already, the CCleaner tool can sometimes find apps and games that you thought were already 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.
8. Reset the Amazon Fire
This is the nuclear option. If none of the other fixes work, you can use a factory reset to clear your internal storage. For safety, eject your microSD card beforehand, if you have one.
Make sure you’ve backed up your personal data to the Amazon Cloud Drive, because doing this will erase everything on your device. To reset the tablet, open Settings > Device Options, and tap Reset to Factory Defaults.
Hit Reset again to confirm the decision, and wait while the tablet restarts.
You’ll need to reconnect to your local network and sign into the device again once it restarts. Everything should seem faster since it’s a fresh start.
9. Confirm the SD Card Is in Use
Resetting your tablet is a good time to get a microSD card and take advantage of the expanded storage it offers. Pay attention to where apps and games install to, and you should never have to go through any of this again!
Installing the card with the tablet switched off, and the card should mount when you restart the device. You’ll then be presented with the option of using the card for installing apps and games, and downloading media.
To confirm these options, open Settings > Storage and scroll down. Ensure each switch in this screen 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 from this menu. Use the Safely Remove SD Card button to stop all tasks. You’ll then be able to safely eject the microSD card from your Amazon Fire tablet.
Freeing Up Space on Your Fire Tablet Is Simple
By now you should have created 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 some free space, which will help to speed it up.
Want to know more about your Amazon Fire tablet? Download our unofficial Amazon Fire Tablet manual!