Quick fix: Samsung SD card storage is full even after deleting files?

Samsung Phone Gallery configuration
Samsung phone Gallery recycle bin

If you find your Samusung phone storage keeps increasing and you can’t reduce it by deleting files there could be a simple solution.

You probably have one of your recycle bins turned on – even if it looks to be turned off.

Video files are the worst culprit since when you delete a bad take it does not free up the space the file was taking up.

The first you’ll know about this is when a video you’re filming stops mid recording and you wonder whether you forgot to press the record button at the end of the scene- until you make sure you press the record button and it happens again.

As a workaround you might switch your camera application to store files in internal storage – assuming you have enough free space there.

Or you can delete some old unneeded large video files from your SD card to get you going again – but the problem will just occur again.

Note: if you were using Internal storage as your camera storage location, rather than SD card, the workaround would be to switch storage to SD card.

The issue is that your Samsung phone has different recycle bins for different apps. You might think your recycle bin is switched off when you go into the “My Files” app.

If you delete a file from My Files you get a simple “Delete file?'” warning, press “Delete” and all is well.

If, however, you delete a file from the Gallery app you get a “Move one video to the Recycle bin?” warning.

If you press “Cancel” and go back to the My Files app nothing looks to be stored or even storable in the Recycle Bin, since when pressing it you just get a message asking whether you want to turn it on – and if you do, then nothing shows up there.

If you then turn off the Recycle bin from settings:

..and then go back to Gallery and delete a file you get the same “Move one video to the Recycle bin?” warning.

So what is going on?

This took me a long time to work out and after a lot of googling I was close to taking all the files off my SD card and reformatting it in the hope this would solve things (I’d previously transferred this SD card with all its data to a new phone).

Happily I discovered that there is a simple setting to resolve the issue.

There is in fact a separate recycle bin used by the Gallery app, which can be turned on and off by clicking the 3 dots top right of the initial “Albums” screen and then Settings.

And if you click the 3 dots and then “Recycle bin” you can see what’s in it, taking up all that space you found being consumed despite your attempts to free it up from the “My Files” app.

Gallery recycle bin

Just tap “Empty” top right and then to confirm tap “Empty Recycle Bin”

..and your space will be freed, giving you that wonderful feeling of not having to do any phone storage housekeeping for some time! If you like you can also turn the Gallery recycle bin off to avoid deleted files ever taking up storage space.

Now the opposite problem can also occur where the Gallery app recycle bin is turned off but the My Files recycle bin is turned on:

Again, just tap “Empty” top right and then to confirm tap “Empty Recycle Bin”

Emptying My Files recycle bin

..and your space will be freed. As before you can also turn the My Files recycle bin off to avoid deleted files ever taking up storage space.

If you had both recycle bins on you can turn either or both off if you want files to be gone forever when deleted rather than just moved to a bin and so still taking up phone storage.

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