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Showing posts from July, 2011

Using "pm setInstallLocation" to free up phone storage

If you are running Android 2.2 and above, there is a simple way to free up more phone storage without rooting the device.

First you need to download and install the Android SDK. Now this is not as scary as it sounds. It is actually a pretty standard installer, and it will come it handy later if you plan on doing more hacking on your Android device. The reason for installing the Android SDK is to use a command-line utility in the SDK called "adb".

Next you need to download and install the USB driver for your device. If you using an Android device from one of the major manufacturers, this page should help you locate the driver.

Now select "Settings" on your Android device, then "Applications", then "Development", then make sure "USB debugging" is checked. After you have done that, plug the device into the USB port on your computer and make sure all necessary drivers are properly installed.

Open a command prompt and "cd" to the …

How to check "Phone storage" usage?

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If you are getting the "Phone storage low" warning from your Android device, the easiest way to find out how much phone storage is left and what is taking up all that space is to use DiskUsage.

When you first run it, it will ask if you want to view "App Storage", or "Storage Card". Select "App Storage", and it will scan and display a simple but effective visualization of your phone storage.


The above is a visualization of my Nexus One phone. It shows that I have 196.2MB internal storage, of which 13.6MB is taken up by system data, 140MB is taken up by applications, and I have 42.7MB free. When the free space reaches 10+MB, you will start getting "Phone storage low" warnings.

A click on the second or third columns lets you zoom into further so that you can explore the storage utilization of the various applications:


This shows you the applications that are taking up the most storage. So they should be the first ones to target when tryin…

Why do I get "Phone storage low" warnings on my Android device?

On an Android device, there is internal storage and external storage.

Internal storage is non-volatile NAND memory built into the device itself. It is also referred to as "ROM" on some spec sheets. Think of it as the "C:" drive on the PC where the Windows OS is located, and all other applications are installed. As such, not all internal storage is freely available to the user. After accounting for the system files (i.e. Windows OS), only the remainder can be used by applications. This free space is known as "Application storage" or "Phone storage". For example, the Google Nexus One has 512MB internal storage, but only 190MB phone storage.

External storage is the microSD card that you plug into the device. This can be as large as 32GB on most devices.

The "Phone storage low" warning occurs because earlier Android devices typically come with very low internal memory (192MB~512MB). Every application (and the data it creates) goes into pho…