February 18, 2011

Android Low on space

If you’re like me and love to try out new apps and games for the Android, I’m pretty sure you’d have gotten this message on your Android phone at one point or another. Honestly, this can really be irritating especially when you have friends with iPhone who mock you because of it. C’mon Android get your act together, even Froyo users are not spared from this issue.

The Issue

As I’ve mentioned previously, Android phones have internal and external storage. Just because you have a 32GB microSD doesn’t mean that you have that much space to install as many apps as you like. The internal storage is used up instead and with Froyo you can now have a choice of installing those apps and games to the microSD card instead. So what seems to be the issue you ask ? It’s the data and cache that these apps use. Yes, despite being able to move some of those bigger apps to the microSD card, Android still insists on storing the data and cache required to run the specific app. So how do you go around resolving this issue ?

The Solutions



If you’re a visual person and likes to know what takes up your space this is something you should download, DiskUsage from the Market. This nifty little app allows you a basic visualisation of your phone’s internal and microSD storage space. Really helps when you need to know what is taking up so much space on the SD card. Knowing which apps are taking up the most space in your phone allows you to decide what you want to do with it. Yes, it’s a FREE app ! 🙂

You can grab it from the Market using the scan-able QR code , or search for “DiskUsage.”

Android 2.2 (Froyo) : Move apps to SD card

If you have Android 2.2 (Froyo) installed or have updated to it, you’re in luck. You have the option to move some of those memory hogs to the SD card, freeing up precious internal storage.  Go to SettingsApplications Menu, and choose Manage Applications. Switch to the All tab, hitMenu button and Sort by size.

From here you’ll know what are your biggest apps and you can start moving them to your SD card. unfortunately not all apps can be moved to SD, you’ll have to just try and see which works. You can start moving apps to the SD BUT there is a downside to this. When you have your SD card mounted on for disk drive/mass storage access, that app will not not available. Plus if you ever get your SD card corrupted, say good bye to your app. A small price to pay for the space reclaimed if you ask me.

Sory by size

Sory by size

Move to SD card

Move to SD card

No move to SD card

No move to SD card

Clearing the Cache, and Data on some Apps

Clear data

Clear data

Despite not installing anything new on the Android, over time application’s data and cache will grow. The most temporary of this data is the app’s cache. It just stores temporary data that can safely be deleted especially if it’s taking a sizeable amount space. The app will just restart storing stuff into cache after you’ve cleared it so don’t worry about breaking anything. Check your browser cache often; it grows fast !

Data, on the other hand, is something you won’t want to wipe too often from apps you use all the time. Some apps take up loads of space, in my case it was Tweetdeck and Facebook client. In total both of them were taking up about 5-6MB and growing. Time for alternative apps to access Twitter and Facebook.

Delete unwanted/unused apps

Now that you know how easy it is to track those memory hogs and understand how much space it takes up on your phone, this allows you to be more aware of all that apps that you have installed and never used. Since I often install new apps and often forget about it, I frequently run out of space and doing spring cleaning on my device allows me to retrieve precious internal memory as well as remove apps that are memory hogs. This also allows me to look for alternative application that have smaller footprint and offer the same functionality. Bells and whistles are meant to be on the iPhone; I want something that works; FAST !

Messaging databases

If you’re a big texter, like me then you’ll definitely need to look at your messaging app as well. I mean like how often do you really go through your sms right ? Having a thread with a couple of thousand of messages will do nothing but take up precious space. If you still insist you have very important messages that you can’t delete from the phone no matter how much space it takes well you have the option of backing it up to your Gmail with the threaded view intact. You’ll probably have problems deleting such a long thread in the first place and the phone might become unresponsive. The solution for backing up those messages and deleting a long thread are covered here; SMS Backup and SMS Quick Delete.

Hope the following steps allows you to identify and remove those nasty memory hogs and allows you to use your phone without ever getting the Low on space notification/msg ever again !


  1. Nice guide. As for me, I ran into those issues too sometime ago. That’s when I heard about Data2SD script. A script that ‘fools’ your phone into thinking that the ext partition on your SD card is part of its internal storage. So I backed up my 8GB SD card, did some calculation and went ahead partitioning my SD card to ~6.4GB fat32 and 1GB ext3. Now I don’t have to worry the internal space of my phone anymore.

    The downsides to this approach though are that your phone needs to be rooted to do it, and the phone runs a bit slower since the phone have to access the SD card, which is considerably slower compared to its real internal storage, to access the applications and caches. Still, I’m happy with the result.

    Comment by Ffenixz — February 19, 2011 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for the comments. I’m also trying to install a custom rom with Data2SD as well. Tried running LeeDroid with data2anywhere but I found the performance to be too slow for my liking. Am only using a Class4 microSD though. Might try again after I get my hands on a class10. Which rom and sd card are you running on ?

    Comment by yoga — February 20, 2011 @ 10:29 am | Reply

  3. I’m using Starburt ROM 1.3.0 which is based on LeeDroid 2.2f. The ROM is specifically tailored for Data2SD script. As for the sd card, I’m using 8GB class 4 taken from my older Nokia 5800XM phone.

    Before this I tried Data2Whatever script coupled with GingerVillain 1.0 ROM but the result was just as you said “too slow for my liking”. The Starburst ROM with Data2SD is miles better in terms of performance compared to the former.

    Comment by Ffenixz — February 20, 2011 @ 10:59 am | Reply

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Yogaretnam, Yogaretnam. Yogaretnam said: Tired of getting low on space on your #Android ? Here's some tips to fix and avoid it http://bit.ly/dFdZzc #maxis10 […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Android Low on space « just.yoga -- Topsy.com — February 20, 2011 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  5. Have not had a chance to try Starburst yet. Had some free time last night and decided to try RCMixHD with D2EXT. So far it’s been good and am definitely liking the new features that comes with the Desire HD Sense UI

    Comment by yoga — February 21, 2011 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

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