what are they, what are they for and delete them on Android

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If you are an Android user, it is likely that you have come across a curious term: thumbnails. If you do not know what it is related to, if it can affect your device and if it is possible to delete this type of file to save space in memory, you should continue reading. In this guide we clarify everything about this topic.

What is a thumbnail and what is it for?

The term in English thumbnail make reference to a miniature copy of a photograph. It’s the image you see when you open your favorite photo app. Instead of uploading the full version, a small file is generated that is used in the gallery view. When you click on a thumbnail, the application loads the original file.

Thumbnails are part of a cache that serves to speed up the loading of many photos. This ensures that navigation through an extensive library is fluid and does not consume many resources on the device. The thumbnails are generated by various applications, such as the camera, the gallery, Google Photos and the like.

How to delete thumbnails from an Android device?

The folder where the thumbnails are housed can be housed in various directories. There can even be several thumbnail folders on the same device. Therefore, the most effective solution to clear this cache is to use CCleaner.

After installation, you must click on the button Start here.

Start CCleanerStart CCleaner

Grant some necessary permissions and wait for the app to scan the device memory. Tap on See results to see the results.

3 View analysis results3 View analysis results

Up to three different thumbnail folders have been located on our device. If this is the case in your case, mark the main entry to select them all.

Select the category of minutesSelect the category of minutes

End cleaning with the button Finish cleaning.

Start cleaningStart cleaning

Remember that when you open applications such as the gallery again, thumbnails will be generated. Therefore, you must repeat this process from time to time.

How to delete thumbnails manually?

It is also possible to delete the thumbnail cache manually, using a file explorer. The most recommended is Solid Explorer, as it allows you to view hidden files and folders.

To enable this feature, open the main menu, tap on Folder options and active Show hidden files.

Show hidden filesShow hidden files

Go to the DCIM or Pictures directories, which is where thumbnails are usually stored, and select the thumbnail folder. Then, tap on the trash can icon.

Select thumbnails folderSelect thumbnails folder

Confirm that you want to delete the folder with Move to trash. You can also permanently delete it by checking Delete permanently.

Delete the folder permanentlyDelete the folder permanently

After taking these steps, all the thumbnails will have been removed.

Prevent thumbnails from being recreated

Both of the above-mentioned methods delete thumbnails, freeing up memory space. However, they do not prevent them from being re-created. The latter can be achieved in two different ways. Open Solid Explorer again, go into the thumbnail folder and create a new file.

Create new fileCreate new file

Give it a name .nomedia.

Specify file nameSpecify file name

This will prevent gallery apps from scanning this folder. Likewise, it is possible to block the creation of thumbnails by deleting the containing folder and creating a file called .thumbnails.

Create new file after deleting thumbnail foldersCreate new file after deleting thumbnail folders

The result should be the following.

File replacing directoryFile replacing directory

Thus, instead of a folder, applications will find a file that they cannot use as a container for thumbnails.