insufficient memory - What can I do to manage my phone's internal storage?

19
2014-04
  • kchau

    If you're not used to seeing the 'low on internal storage' notification, what is it that you're doing to keep your phone's internal memory from filling up so quickly?

    The 'SD Card and Phone Storage' menu in the settings doesn't really tell me much other than how much is free. And, I don't really have that many applications installed. The top 5 storage hogging apps on my phone are Gmail (18.6 MB), Twitter (17.5 MB), Facebook (12.55 MB), Maps (9.63 MB), and Swype (6.06 MB).

    So, are there apps out there (besides your normal file manager ones, like Astro) that will help monitor internal phone storage? Is there something I should be doing to keep my phone storage use to a minimum?

  • Answers
  • Al E.

    I'm using an app called DiskUsage which helps visualize what's using both my internal storage as well as the SD card.

    screen shot from Google Play

  • Jeff Martin

    Most of the apps you have listed are big because they are storing data. The apps themselves are not that big. I would encourage people to check large apps (you can sort by size in the manage applications area of the settings). Chances are you can clear out the data and reduce the amount of size very easily. Most of the data for those apps especially is email and data that are old and don't really need to be on your phone.

  • dbin78

    To better control your Gmail storage in Android you can adjust the number of days that are synced. The control is in a place many people don't think to look; it is in the "Labels" section. In there you can adjust syncing to a certain amount of days; I use 2 days. Depending on your daily volume you may need to go to 1 day or could go up to 10.

    There is also granular control, you could keep your starred emails around for 4 days while everything else is at 2 days.

    It is all about Gmail's label setup. It is better to think that you don't really have an inbox, you have emails that are labeled "inbox".

    Hope this helps out! Once you make the change it will sync up and reduce your storage right away. I recommend turning off and on the phone after making the change (just like a computer, the Android phones like a reboot from time to time).

  • Rogier

    I am great fan of APP2SD. It comes directly with an advice which apps can be moved to your SD and if the cache can be removed!

  • Al E.

    A new app called Grid Size File Manager is out, and looks quite a bit like WinDirStat. It's $0.99 in the Market, but there is a demo version available.

    screen shot of Grid Size File Manager

    Grid Size file manager has all the functionality you expect from a file manager with a useful visual feature. The grid view graphically displays the contents of your storage drive proportional to the size of each folder and file. The grid view also supports image controls so that you can zoom and pan to view folders.

    Standard list view is also available for the folder tree, useful for typical file manager functionality and for interacting with files and folders that are empty and thus not displayed in the grid view.

    To begin, tap the "scan storage" button. After scan is complete, you are shown your folders via GridView. See below to access ListView. Tap on a colored box to open a folder, labeled via the lighter colored band at the top of each box. To open a file within a folder, simply tap that box and select "ok" when prompted to open that file.

    You can zoom in at any time with a standard pinch zoom. You can also pan around by holding your finger down and dragging across the screen. Press and hold on a folder or file to interact with it. Available commands include: open, copy, cut, paste, rename, delete and new folder. Tap the back button on your phone to go back to the previous level of folders.

  • fernio

    I'm using a combination of 2 apps, DiskUsage and Link2SD, and they've helped me keep storage use at bay both on Gingerbread and on ICS. The issues I had with the built-in storage management facility of Android were:

    1. It only shows the space used by the app installation (doesn't count "resource" downloads common in games)
    2. The size reported on the list of installed apps doesn't consider cache usage (so you have to guess and go looking in the details of suspected apps)

    DiskUsage is excellent at locating "resources" that may be taking up lots of space, and may be even be left behind when the app that downloaded them is uninstalled.

    But if you have lots of small to medium sized apps installed, or if you're using many apps that stay online, Link2SD allows you to quickly locate any misbehaving one. It shows you a list of all installed apps, and allows you to sort them by name, install date, install size ("apk+dex+lib" option), data size, cache size, or total (install+data+cache) size.

    Link2SD apps list

    If you have many apps showing a lot of cache usage, Link2SD can also clear all of them at once with the "Clear all app caches" option.

    Also, if you're using Gingerbread, be aware that apps moved to SD card keep a part of themselves, called "dex", on internal memory, and the size of this "dex" varies from one app to another. With Link2SD you can sort by "dex" size, and quickly find any apps that may be too big to keep installed on certain phones, even if they allow moving to SD (I'm looking at you, Google+ client). Or the other way around, you can sort by "apk" or "lib", and move to SD all apps that show near the top (and allow being moved).

  • Sparx

    You can also choose to replace the default GMail app with the K9 mail client - the main plus point being it can handle other POP3/IMAP4 accounts as well as keep the storage for your email accounts on the SD card - this option does make it a little slow for first access, but if space in your internal memory is at a premium, then this might save space.

    You can also try other smaller Twitter clients like Tweetdeck or Touiteur or even a web based mobile site like http://m.twitter.com OR http://m.tweete.net

    That would obviate the need for a client app.

    WRT Swype, if you prefer other ordinary keyboards, there are a plethora of them available in the market like Better Keyboard / Smart Keyboard etc. which are far smaller in size, but certainly don't have Swype's functionality.

  • spookypeanut

    Re: Twitter app. Unless something has changed in it (it's a couple of versions since I used it), it stores all its cache in "data", which you can clear out by going to "manage applications" in settings. If you do clear out all the data, you'll need to open the app and log back in again. Other apps, eg TweetDeck, have this stuff more easy to clear out in a "cache" section, but Twitter doesn't do it properly.

  • someone755

    Either clear your dalvik-cache, install a custom rom (like cyanogen) or force apps to your SD card with an app called 'LinkApp2SD' (I had to reformat my tab because of this one, but it should work if you're rooted and have a G-certified phone). Also, if you don't want to root your phone, you can try cleaning your app data and cache, or even uninstalling apps you don't use anymore. See my website's blog to find cool apps and games that can be moved.

  • Bassam

    I have used the previously mentioned Disk2Usage to take a look at what's eating up my data.

    What you can do depends on what your device is.

    If you have an external SD card in addition to your phone's internal storage, you can periodically move data over. For example, my camera takes pictures and stores them in the internal storage. Since my phone (an Epic 4G Touch) has an 8 megapixel camera, those pictures can get pretty big, so I'll occasionally move all of my pictures to the SD card when space runs low.

    I've also noticed that a lot of programs cache data in the internal memory. I've seen photo apps that cache thumbnails, and even Amazon's App Store caches the entire app APK for any apps you download from that store. This can take up a lot of space, and is generally safe to remove, since, if the app needs it, it can re-download it. I use the above Disk2Usage app to find the large cache directories, then use a file manager app (like Solid Explorer) to delete those cached files.

    Hope that helps.

  • Uri

    I've used the terminal emulator to look at my folders (could not find any app that can look into the internal storage partitions - /data etc'

    Note that you need superuser permissions for that (I'm rooted so I just enterd su)


  • Related Question

    Low on internal data storage - looks like the some apps use a lot!
  • kchau

    So, looking at the Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook apps for example, the apps themselves only take up 3-4 MB each, but then the app data is like 10+ MB for each. Is that stored data the synced copies of my email inbox, or my twitter feed, or FB feed? And, if so, is there a way for me to limit how much of my phone's internal storage each app gets allocated?


  • Related Answers
  • Bryan Denny

    There really isn't much control you can do over limiting storage. Most likely the data is from the apps using local SQLite databases to store information their apps use.

    You can pretty much only do these things:

    • Move the app to the SD card if you have Android 2.2
    • Clear the data cache every now and then (but it's going to grow again)
  • Saiboogu

    For limiting GMail storage, at least --

    Fire up the GMail client. Click Menu > Settings > Labels From there you can select how many days worth you want synced overall, and per label. Reducing the number could help cut down on the clutter.

  • Barfieldmv

    There are some games around that use over 80+ megabytes of space. Cleaning those up first should give you some breathing space.