Problems with storage on an older Android phone
September 4, 2014 12:09 PM   Subscribe

I have a Samsung I200. I like it well enough, but it doesn't have much on-board storage (4 gigs). I recently put a 16GB card into it to increase storage. However, I'm still running into problems with having enough space.

Even after moving all of my pictures over to the card, and clearing out unwanted programs, the phone is nearly full. Right now Miscellaneous Files is taking up the lion's share, with 2.3 gigs. However, when I look through the list of stored items, I'm not seeing what accounts for all of that space.

Is there a way to clear out unwanted gunk in the phone, like one might do with C-Cleaner on a PC? And if so, is there any way to make the phone default to using the card for its primary storage instead of constantly making me manage stuff on it?
posted by codacorolla to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can go through and drag each app to "App Info" and see what apps have a bunch of cached data, then clear cache/data. Please note that this might get rid of login/account info.

One example: Google Play Music's cached/saved songs don't show up under "Audio (music, ringtones...)," but rather "Apps." Don't ask me why.
posted by herrdoktor at 12:32 PM on September 4, 2014

I like ES File Explorer, which lets you see the contents of a directory and sort by size. So install it, and then pick sort by size, then look at the biggest files in the biggest directories. For me, it was a bunch of installation files from Humble Bundle--some of them were nearly a gig, and they were just hanging out, taking up space. I deleted those and suddenly had another four gigs of space.
posted by MeghanC at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure which version of Android your phone runs, but some versions allow you to move apps (and their data) to the SD card. There are also third-party apps that add this functionality if your phone doesn't natively support it. Under the settings menu, scroll to "Applications" then touch individual apps and see if there is a button that says "move to SD card" or similar. If that's not available you'll need a third-party app. You'll have greater flexibility if you're rooted, but I don't think that's always necessary.

Generally, though, you can also clear out space as herrdoktor suggests - clear the cache (and data) of individual apps. Again, Settings > Applications, then run down the list of all apps one by one. Clearing cache will free up some space without any impact to app functions. Clearing data will also remove login data, saved game data for games, etc. - basically returning the app to a freshly-installed state.

Also use a file explorer (on preview, seconding MeghanC) to clear out folders that accumulate downloaded files. There's probably a general Downloads folder on both your internal memory and your SD card. Other apps that download things for you to use will often use their own folders - so if you have apps that download other apps (like Humble Bundle) or apps that download new wallpapers, you may need to sniff out where they hide stuff. As a general rule, apps are terrible at cleaning up after themselves if they are downloading files outside their own reserved data/cache, so you need to periodically weed through and delete old crap.
posted by trivia genius at 1:47 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pocket can use a lot of space as well so check that in App Info if you use it. Mine is using 370 MB.
posted by cnc at 4:42 PM on September 4, 2014

I have this issue with my Android frequently. I've literally put as much as it will let me on the card and some things I just don't get the option to do that. I can't delete the e-mail without deleting ALL E-MAIL EVER....grrrr.

Things you can try:
(a) clearing the cache on your browser (worked for awhile, now it won't let me do that).
(b) NEVER EVER DOWNLOAD UPDATES FOR YOUR PHONE. Every time I accidentally do this, it tells me the memory is full and I can't use the phone for anything.
(c) Delete your texts--I figured out the hard way that apparently a lot of what it's complaining about are the texts.
(d) You'll have to start deleting apps, which gets really annoying but sometimes that's the only thing that stops the phone disabling from lack of memory.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:26 PM on September 4, 2014

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