Smart Cleaning on the LG G4 - what is it, and do you need it?

There are a lot of tools and utilities in the LG G4's settings pages. Some are simple, and the same you would see in any other Android phone or tablet, while others require a bit of thinking before you go and tap on buttons. Smart Cleaning is one of the latter.

The idea is a good one. You will likely have files on your storage that you don't want or need, and Smart Cleaning is a one-touch solution to get rid of a few of them. But there is also the potential to delete things you don't want deleted, like camera raw files and even applications you haven't used recently. Let's take a look at exactly what Smart Cleaning does when you tap the button.

You're given three categories of "stuff" that will be deleted when you press the clean button, which you'll find when you open any of the choices listed. That's how this works — tap one of the category icons, check and see what's selected, then press "clean" at the bottom to delete it all. Of course, deciding what to delete is pretty important.

Temporary files

The first category, Temporary files and raw files, includes application cache (things like image thumbnails or other easily-replaceable files downloaded by applications), data you've saved to the clipboard clip-tray, and the raw versions of any pictures you've taken using the jpeg + raw setting. It won't hurt anything to delete your application cache, though it will be rebuilt as you use the apps again. Deleting those files means you will have to download things again, so keep that in mind. Chances are you don't need anything stored in the clip tray (where things you've copied, like a block of text) so deleting these is a no-brainer. The raw files from your camera, though, may be something you want to keep. If you haven't already backed them up, either online or to another piece of physical media, you'll lose them forever if you delete them. Some auto-backup schemes for pictures may not include raw files, so double check to make sure before you go a-tappin'.


Next up is your Download folder. These are files that you've decided to save, like a picture from a text or online chat, or a .pdf user manual for your stereo. Anytime you've said, "Hey, I wanna save that!" the Downloads folder is likely where it got saved. When you open this section of the Smart Cleaning utility, have a look at the files themselves. If you want to keep them, uncheck the box next to them. If you don't need them any longer, leave them checked and they'll be whisked away!

Idle apps

The next category, Idle apps, is where things get the most dicey. These are the apps that you can uninstall, and haven't used in a certain period of time. You can adjust how long the apps sit idle before Smart Cleaning decides you don't need them in the Smart Cleaning settings. Any app that's checked when you press the "clean" button is gone, and chances are you'll need to factory reset your phone to get them back.

The idea of a Smart Cleaning app isn't bad. We all will eventually have a bunch of junk clogging up things like our temp files or downloads folder, and oen easy place to get rid of it all saves time. Just make sure you look and see exactly what you're deleting before you delete it.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • What!? This can't possibly be a copy of Samsung's Smart manager, which of course is copied/partnered with Clean Master. This is something you could easily get from the app store if you wanted, I suppose it's needed because of lollipop memory leaks.
  • This has nothing to do with memory leaks, Samsung or Clean Master. it's a disk space utility.
  • Jerry, gotta ask you something (out of context a bit) -
    What do you recommend to do for a complete clean up on any device, since master reset is not safe enough (usually before selling a used phone). So far, I would just go through all the folders and files and delete then - in "file manager pro". I assume there might be a faster and easier way. via AC App on VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • I think there are apps for this. Search for "secure wipe" in the play store. Maybe prefer those that require root.
    Maybe it's best to do a factory reset, install them (from APK) and use them to wipe what's left of the data.
  • Plus, the fact LG's Smart Cleaning was included in Kit Kat back when the G3 came out, I can't see how they could copy something Samsung and Clean Master did new this year.
  • Clean Master of an abomination to Android Posted via the Android Central App
  • I find that Clean Master makes overzealous claims but really, hardly affect daily use. Posted from the superb LG G4
  • Very true. Especially their wild and crazed claims about malware and slow phone or overheating phone. A bit to rhetorical and fear mongering. Posted via the Android Central App for Sailfish OS on my iPad 7
  • I got rid of Clean Master on every device I used as a daily driver before my LG G4. I vow to never install it on my G4 and any other future device we might own. I found that CM not only did nothing to boost the user-experience but in some cases, made it WORSE. "Boost your phone by 80%". Yeah, no.
  • .
  • It goes without saying..... Read before you do anything!! I erased some idle apps on my G3 once. Learned my carefully!! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I did the same - thought it was only going to eliminate cached and temporary stuff and wound up having to reinstall half my apps - won't even look at it again. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yep, deleting that download folder when I first got my G3 was a drag...oops.
  • @Jerry Hildenbrand, sometimes in life you just need to close your eyes and press all the buttons.......... (This is probably why I don't work on a nuclear submarine) Posted via the Android Central App
  • When something is not to your liking, just say memory leaks. Half the population will think you're smart. The other half not so much.
  • I like this comment :-D -Posted via the Android Central App on my G4-
  • Thank goodness it's not Ara doing this. Get rid of her or give her better articles cuz what she has is horrendous. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually, I find her articles intriguing, especially the polls. Speak for yourself... Posted from the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or Surface Pro 3
  • How to do the most basic functions intrigues you? Good for you. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There's always that ONE idiot in the comments section... Posted from the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or Surface Pro 3
  • There are new users to Android (and even smartphones in general) everyday who come here & need those articles. Guess what--eventually they won't need them anymore, but some other new person will. It's pretty sad you don't see this and choose to be a dick in the comment section instead. Make your parents proud, Cole. -Posted via the Android Central App on my G4-
  • Don't think as if all people are like you. People sometimes need those articles you claim horrendous Posted via the Android Central App
  • There is a lot of people that own a smartphone, and the only thing they want it to do is work. The basics do have to be covered. Because a lot of people are afraid to look stupid and ask the simple question, because of responses like yours they are afraid to ask questions. That way they can google LG G4 "insert simple question here" and not be looked down upon or called an idiot because they're not tech savvy. And also it probably brings in a lot of clicks to their website which is a plus for them , because there's a lot of non tech savvy people out there. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Go eat Kenny or something. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Any app that's checked when you press the "clean" button is gone, and chances are you'll need to factory reset your phone to get them back." Why is that? Can't you just go back to Google play and just re-download any of those apps? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not if it's a LG specific app that isn't in Play. Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 via Android Central App
  • Yes like he said, there are some problems with the apps from LG itself. Some G4's have LG's download store available, so you can go there and re-download them. These can be simple apps like the calculator. Unfortunately some G4's, like the Verizon version, don't have access to the LG download store, because Verizon either restricted it's access or removed it from the rom. In order to get those apps back the user would have to factory reset the phone.
  • So if Verizon removed it from the Rom, how would factory reset bring it back? A factory reset is basically removing everything from the phone, then putting back what's stored in Rom!
  • @Cole What a shitty this to spout out of nowhere... I actually dig a lot of her articles. Every time I see your name pop up in the comments, I cringe.
  • Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • So it's a good idea for LG, but when Samsung put smart manager (same thing) on the S6, it was considered useless bloat by AC lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • They don't do the same things. Posted via the Android Central App
  • AC is a whole lot of people, so I wouldn't group it as a collective whole. -Posted via the Android Central App on my G4-
  • See regarding this. From where I've read based on the article is does nothing in regards to RAM which is what Samsung one is including in doing especially with that one in its involvement with Clean Master. After all Android already takes care of RAM partition and all that good stuff by itself. Posted via the Android Central App for Sailfish OS on my iPad 7
  • Both are quire useless. There are countless apps that do those things. Even app managers apps.
  • Ive gone and done that. Accidentally deleted the 'calculator' app off my phone.
    Could have kicked myself. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like Ara :)
  • Me too!