No space on your Android phone? Google has the solution with Files Go
There are many clean-up apps that remove the junk from Android phones, but File Go is different because it is from Google, who also makes Android, so it should know a thing or two about cleaning up.
Do you really need to clean up the junk? If you have a lot of storage on your Android phone, it does not matter if some is wasted on caches, temporary files, downloads you have forgotten, installers that are no longer needed, and so on.
Cleaning is mainly needed to free up space on a phone that is running short. For example, with only 16GB of storage it is easy to run short of space for new photos, videos, and apps. Even 32GB phones are starting to look limited these days. I am a very light user and have used 20 out of 32GB.
Clear out the unnecessary clutter on the phone and it will not only free up space for other things, it can improve the performance too.
Phone storage usage
The home screen of Google Files Go shows the total amount of storage on the phone and the amount used. The bar shows how full the storage is.
Below this is a series of cards with suggestions. They have titles like Low resolution media and memes, unused apps, downloaded files, large files, duplicate files, temporary app files and so on. They show the amount of space that can be made free on each card.
You can choose to ignore these suggestions or explore them. A few sample icons are shown with each one and to what can be erased by a card, you tap the FREE UP xxxGB link. In each case there is a list of items and you can choose what you want to delete or keep.
On the Unused apps card, it lists apps that you have not run in the last four weeks. They can be selected if you really don’t need them and then uninstalled to free up the space.
Be careful what you delete
Some of the card suggestions are very useful, such as duplicate files, temporary files and caches. Others are useful, but only if you are careful. For example, it lists all downloaded files and they can be selected and deleted. However, my podcast player stores podcasts in the downloads folder, which Files Go offers to clean. If they were deleted, I would lose the podcasts.
You have to be careful what you choose to delete and not just select everything that is offered or you will have problems. This is especially true with the suggestion to remove large files. These tend to be videos you have taken and you might want to keep them on the phone.
This is not just a Files Go problem, in fact, this app is better than some more automated cleaners and it clearly lists the files that will be cleaned with options to select or deselect them for removal. It requires more work on your part, but I like to see what is being deleted.
Browse the files on the phone
In addition to the suggestion cards, there is a Files tab that lets you view the files stored on the device and remove them. Not just any old files, but downloads, received files, images, documents, videos and so on.
Select any of these sections and the files are listed. You can get brief details showing the location, size and date last modified, and if you choose to, they can be deleted to recover the space. Tabs across the top of the list organise files by type or folder. I found dozens of backups of various things that were no longer needed.
It is possible to transfer files from your phone to nearby friends without using the internet – phone to phone. It is an odd feature to include and it does not really fit in with the clean-up functions. Are you supposed to transfer files to another device then delete them to free up space?
There are many clean-up apps and some offer one-click cleaning. It always worries me that they might clean up too much and I dislike the lack of control. Files Go by Google does not offer any automated cleaning and it is purely manual. It suggests what to clean, but it is up to you to select items and delete them.
I prefer this to a fully automatic cleanup app. I like to be in control and I like to see what is being deleted.
App: Files Go by Google: Free up space
Size: 14GB installed
Android: 5.0 and up
Verdict: A useful app for freeing up space on your phone.