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Tech tips

Tech how-to: Quick trick to get more storage space on any device

Your hard drive is like your dream walk-in closet or three-car garage. You initially store only a few items, but before you know it, that space you once thought was more than enough is now packed full to the brim.

Every time you download an app, visit a website, extract files from a zipped folder or download images, your hard drive stores files. Eventually, you won’t have enough disk space or storage to perform simple tasks like copy and pasting information or saving extra data. Tap or click for 5 things you should never download.

Don’t panic just yet, because this quick trick to delete downloads can help you reclaim storage space on any device.

How to clean up downloads in Windows 10

If there’s too much clutter on your hard drive, you may notice your system is sluggish or unable to complete tasks. Once you remove extraneous files, you should see a difference in performance.

To delete unnecessary download files in Windows 10, open File Explorer and select the Downloads folder, either under Quick Access or This PC. Select any number of files you wish to remove and hit the Delete key on your keyboard, or right-click the files, scroll down the pop-up menu and click Delete.

Want to select several consecutive files for deletion? Hold down the Shift key and click on the first filename and the last consecutive filename you want. Release the Shift button, and all the files in between should be highlighted blue. Delete with your keyboard or the right-click methods.

Here is an alternative method. Open File Explorer and click on Windows C: and open the Users folder.

Select your username folder and open the Downloads folder. Choose the files you want to discard, right-click and delete when prompted, or hit the Delete key on your keyboard.

Time to do away with downloads in macOS

Recouping storage on your Mac is simple. One method for removing downloads in macOS is to click the Downloads folder in the dock, select the files you want to delete and manually drag them to the trash can in the lower right corner of the dock.

RELATED: Got a Mac? Say goodbye to this once hugely popular app

Another method is to launch the Finder app (square smiley face icon) in the dock and tap on Downloads under Favorites in the left pane. Select the files you wish to delete and drag them to the trash can, or right-click and choose Move to Trash. You can also use shortcut keys Command + Delete to send your files to the trash.

Regardless of OS, when you delete a file, it is sent to your computer’s trash or recycle bin and will continue to take up space on your hard drive. To remove these files for good in macOS, open your trash and click Empty or Empty Trash.

Windows 10 users will need to open the Recycle Bin and click on Recycle Bin Tools in the main menu and select Empty Recycle Bin. For both operating systems, you will receive a pop-up that asks if you want to delete items permanently. Click Yes or Empty Trash (depending on OS).

Warning: Files cannot be restored once they are deleted from the Trash or Recycle Bin.

How to remove downloads in Android

Cluttered storage can also cause issues with your mobile devices. If your smartphone is low on space, the device will alert you with a pop-up stating you must remove some files. You can delete downloads directly from the Chrome browser.

Open your Chrome browser and click on the three-dot menu in the upper right corner, tap on Downloads. Click on the three-dot menu next to the file you want to remove and tap Delete. Repeat the process for additional files you need to discard.

Dump downloads in iOS and save space

Deleting downloads in iOS is not as simple as it is with the other operating systems because downloaded files are located in separate folders depending on the file type. The following techniques will require you to open different apps.

How to delete Photos and Videos

It doesn’t take many photos or videos to suck up a large amount of storage; however, you can regain space with a few steps. Open the Photos app and tap Select in the upper right corner. Tap on each photo you need to delete. Once selected, tap on the trash can icon at the bottom of your screen and click Delete when prompted.

You can remove videos from the Photos app, as well. The only difference is you need to choose Videos from Media Types within the Albums option.

Cast off unwanted Music/Audio files

Music and audio files are also storage hogs. To remove them, open the Apple Music app and click the Library icon in the bottom left corner. Locate the file you want to delete from the relevant category: Playlists, Artists, Albums or Songs. Tap and press down on the file. When the pop-up menu appears, click Delete from Library.

Do away with assorted files in your Files app

You may find miscellaneous data buried in the Files app that can take up space on your iOS device. To delete them, launch the Files application and click Browse in the lower right corner. Open the folder with the files you want to remove, tap Select and click each file you want to delete, then tap the trash can icon.

Don’t forget other files!

Downloads aren’t the only files that can consume storage. Temporary files like cookies, which are remnants from visiting websites, and cache files, that are delivered to your system via programs, accumulate behind the scenes and will continue to grow in number until you clear them out.

Both the Windows and Mac operating systems have built-in disk cleanup utilities that can help you do away with various files, including temporary ones. For detailed instructions on Windows 10 Disk Cleanup, visit Windows support.

If you are working on a Mac you have a storage optimization tool as well, often referred to as the “Storage tool.”

Like your closet or garage, all you need to do to maintain space is a little cleaning every now and then. Easy, right?

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