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How to Free Space on the Internal Storage on Andriod

April 29, 2012

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Due to the software/hardware combination of not being able to install apps to the SD card and phones simply having inadequate amounts of internal storage, a weak point of Android has been that users often have run out of space for apps. One could think that the problem would be a thing of the past with Android 2.2’s apps2SD support, but many people running Froyo are still unable to install all the apps and games they want and need to prioritize. Since private user data never is stored on an external storage, apps installed to the SD card will nonetheless take up space on the internal memory. And some software, like widgets, live wallpapers and system apps may not function properly if they are installed on the SD card. But there are luckily ways to free up some precious MB of internal storage if you’re starting to get desperate.

Clear the Cache of Large Apps

By clearing the cache that some applications use, you can reclaim quite a few megabytes, at least temporarily.

  • Go to Settings > Applications > Manage applications on your Android.
  • Press the Menu button and select the Sort by size option. If you’re on Android 2.2, select the All tab first.
  • To check if an application has a cache, select it in the list and it will be stated on the resulting screen. To clear a cache, simply press the Clear cache button.
  • A couple of apps that may have a cache of several MB are Maps, Market, Internet and Gallery (called Photos on some devices).
  • From the Application info screen you may also clear an app’s data. This will not only clear the cache, but also all the data the app has generated. Basically, you’re “hardresetting” the app. For example, I reclaimed 2MB by erasing the data for Media Storage. It forced my Gallery app to locate all my pictures again, but the associated data for Media Storage was still much smaller in size than before I cleared it.
  • Do you use homescreen replacements such as LauncherPro or ADW Launcher and have no intention of going back to Sense or the vanilla launcher? Then you can likely free up a lot of space by clearing the data for HTC Sense or Home.
  • An app that automatically will list all apps that have a cache is Quick App Clean Cache ($0.76). If you have root access, there are also apps on the Market such as CacheCleaner, CacheMate and MoveCache that automate this.

Remove Apps You Never or Rarely Use

This goes without saying, but it’s naturally a good idea to go through your software arsenal from time to time and uninstall apps you seldom use.

Got Froyo? Make Android Install Apps to the SD Card by Default

A few weeks ago we did a tutorial on how to let Android install apps to the SD by default on Froyo. I initially thought that this tweak merely would make Android install apps to the SD right away, so you wouldn’t have to move them manually. But after a hard reset, I discovered that it actually enables some apps to be installed to the SD card which otherwise would be locked to the internal storage. With that in mind, it’s highly recommended that you give this tweak a try if you want to avoid the “phone storage is getting low” message. The only downside is that you occasionally have to manually move some apps from the SD to the internal storage, such as widgets.

Move Everything That Can Be Moved

If your device is running Froyo and you have told Android to install apps to the SD, make sure that all apps that can and should be moved to the memory card actually have been moved. Apps that probably shouldn’t be transferred to the SD are widgets, apps with bundled widgets, live wallpapers and apps that run in the background and integrate with the system. There are several apps that make the moving process easier, and the best ones so far are Apps 2 SD and SDMove.

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