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Questions about your app storage - here is your Storage Truth! READ ME first! Now with RAM Truth!

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by EarlyMon, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    It's been going on for years - our forum and others continue to receive hundreds of requests every day from new and experienced Android users led into confusion over their device storage, with questions like these:

    • I have a 32 GB SD card, why can't I install all of the apps I want? It keeps telling me I'm out of space!
    • I have a 4 GB phone, I don't have that many apps, but it says I'm out of space again. WHY?
    • I have an 8 GB tablet and I can't make heads or tails out of what's up! I've looked at my settings and it says I have all sorts of storage! What the heck is up here?
    • And the follow-on questions - Is it broken? Did I get ripped off?

    Sound familiar?

    I bet it does, it's probably hit all of us at some point - and is still hitting people every day.

    The truth is that apps telling you about your storage fall into one of two categories:

    • Apps trying to be too friendly in helping you, designed really to tell you about your media storage
    • Apps that bury the real information inside screens and popups that try to tell you everything about your phone
    The problem is simple:

    • The first type of app is not telling you the right story
    • By the time you understand the second type, you already know the answers
    • The deck is stacked against you, it's a complicated mess
    For the last few years, I've been advising people to get under the hood and gave out step-by-step Linux commands.

    But that was not always effective:

    • Scary for a lot of people
    • Complicated
    • Difficult to read
    • Information overload

    So, I sat down and designed an app to tell you once and for all the truth about your storage, using the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth by doing a probe of the Linux under the hood in your Android device.

    In no time flat, I decided that it needed to be an absolutely simple, beautiful, and understandable way to get you the information you need.

    And I know better than to take on everything by myself when I'm surrounded by a community of experts.

    So, I called on my friend, @scary alien, and asked for his help - and he came through in a big way! (So big I insisted that he call it his, but he insisted that I take credit - or blame? - along with him, lol. :D)

    The results are shockingly simple and we call it Storage Truth.

    • EASY to understand!
    • Instructions about what is going on with your storage spelled out right at the top!
    • Focused to just give the facts that you care about for your app storage and how big your system is!
    • Evaluated by Google to support over 8000 possible devices, and not work on ZERO of them!
    • Requires no special permissions - at all!
    • Contains no ads, trackers, lookers, peepers, pop-ups, notifications or anything else you don't want!
    • Just the truth - the Storage Truth!


    Get it in the Play Store -


    Did I mention that it automatically copies the info to your clipboard?

    You can share it in the forums without a screen shot! Just use the quote tool on your mobile browser, choose the CODE tags, and copy the infomation in!
    Code (Text):
    1. Storage Truth
    3. Your actual operating system also uses other storage areas, not shown, for your radio hardware and other secure functions. All app information is stored under /data, and apps you add or update are installed to /data/app. Simulated internal and actual external SD cards are not shown.
    6. /system:
    8.      size:      2641M
    9.      used:      1481M
    10.      free:      1160M
    13. /data:
    15.      size:     25532M
    16.      used:     15050M
    17.      free:     10482M
    20. Device Info:
    22.    Android: 4.4.2
    23.    Device:  htc_m8whl
    24.    Model:   831C
    25.    Maker:   HTC


  2. Best Answer:
    Post #3 by EarlyMon, Mar 29, 2015 (3 points)

    1. Download the Forums for Android™ app!


  3. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    And it occurred to me - what about your simulated internal and actual external SD cards?

    Why didn't we include those?

    Because as I mentioned earlier, there are many apps for that and it's likely that your phone will tell you as well.

    But some apps are better than others.

    And I mentioned that most want to tell you about your media anyway.

    But what about something like Storage Truth for your other storage?

    If you want one with a graphical breakdown of those storage areas that Storage Truth does not show, with the absolute minimum in required permissions - just access to storage and the sd, that's it - then I found one I'm happy to recommend personally and @scary alien agrees.

    Check out "DiskUsage"


    When it launches, you get to choose which of the two storages to examine - if you have both - and an interesting choice for rooted access.

    If you choose rooted access, you need go no further and actually give root permission - but - you can see the long list of the hidden system areas including your radio firmware.

    I can tell at a glance that the tool is making the same sort of clever Linux probes that we did in Storage Truth.

    And that's why we didn't for this area.

    Storage Truth tells you what you need to know about the /system and the space available for your apps and system app updates.

    DiskUsage tells the rest of the story.

    There's no overlap between the two for normal users, so there's no waste in using the two together.

    Pro Tip - unpinch to zoom in and see as much detail on your other storage as you like.

    Hope this helps!

    PS - you don't need to rate DiskUsage before the first use - just tap your back button.
  4. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    I think that this more complete answer from another thread -


    - might be helpful in understanding the big picture so I'm reposting it in part here, with permission lol.


    Your PC has a hard disk and it has memory.

    The phone's RAM is the same exact thing as the memory on a PC.

    When a phone says ROM or storage, it's like the pc hard disk (just no moving parts, it's done with chips).

    The storage on the phone is divided into 4 or 5 general areas.

    Please think of these areas like special folders, just like on a pc. Unlike a pc, their maximum sizes are FIXED by the factory.
    Here are the storage areas -

    1. Reserved space you don't see and we don't show - for all of the actual telephone radio stuff to work. Before your Lenovo can be a smartphone, it has to be a phone.

    2. The Android system plus the pre-installed apps your phone had when it came out of the box. A little bit of Android is hidden in part 1, above, but most of it is in /system.

    3. Separate space for your apps and the private data that goes along with ALL apps, and all of that is in /data.

    4. Space for your pictures, movies, music and so forth. This goes by many names, depends on the phone.

    5. Optional - an SD card that you plug in. This gets used exactly like part 4, above. You can think of it like adding a second hard disk to a pc.

    The first part you don't care about.

    Storage Truth shows you parts 2 and 3.

    Most people here are used to the part 4 number mixing in with the part 3 number, but I think it doesn't on the Lenovo.

    To see parts 4 and 5, and get the rest of your phone story, @scary alien and I recommend another app, called DiskUsage.

    You'll find it linked, along with some good explanations about Storage Truth and DiskUsage, here -


    Now you know about storage and how it's like pc hard disks, and how to check it out 100%.

    Let's talk about RAM, or memory.

    There are no good tools to show what your phone has.

    Apps ask the operating system - how much memory is there?

    Depending on how you ask the operating system, or which part you ask, it gives different answers.

    Plus, it has a hidden, reserved part for the hardware function, just like for storage in part 1, above.

    So most people get confused or believe that they've been lied to about RAM.

    (This paragraph's numbers applied to a particular phone being asked about but the concept applies for all Android.) Dhgate has to give refunds if specs don't match, so I would trust that your actual RAM is 2 GB, available for use after the reserved hardware, probably about 1.7 or 1.8 GB, available after Android starts, probably around 1 GB, and probably left over, free memory after your apps start running, anywhere from 150 to 400 MB, depending on your personal app use.

    Android handles the RAM automatically so you don't have to worry about any of that usage.

    By the way - a lot of spec sites and websites will call storage as memory.

    That is silly.

    Do you call your pc hard disk, "the memory?"

    No. No you do not.

    You call the hard disk a hard disk, and many sites selling PCs call the hard disk, storage.

    Only RAM is memory.

    Anyway, please check the link, read the information there, use the tools together, maybe read this post more than once to help with confusion from my bad writing style and then ask any questions. :)

    PS to @scary alien - you know, we could build the first tool to tell the RAM truth lol.
    Engjoseph, varuuth, B4timeiam and 6 others like this.
  5. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary
    VIP Member

    As one of the topics heartily discussed in this informative thread and specifically starting in this post, real, clear, and useful information about your device's RAM is hard to come by.

    @EarlyMon and I have tried to address this need by creating a simple app, RAM Truth.

    It will display the following breakdown of your RAM's layout:

    RAM Size (on the title bar)

    Reserved: A reserved/hidden area that includes the below-kernel fixed allocations like DMA buffers, RAM for the baseband radios, CPU(s), GPU, etc. Due to the diverse nature of small-RAM devices, we can only claim better than 99% accuracy here and in the total.

    User: The visible (non-hidden) portion of physical RAM available for use by the system.

    Active: The amount of physical RAM currently in use by the system.

    Available: The amount of physical RAM left unused or used as cache memory.

    Hibernating: The amount of physical RAM used as cache memory and using no CPU or power resources. Other apps may be hibernating and written to storage rather than remaining in RAM.

    Idle: The amount of physical RAM left unused by the system.​

    We hope you find this app informative and useful.


    Play Store link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=sa.ramtruth

    Attached Files:

  6. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    Here's another piece of the puzzle from another great question asked about the actual app use by @choral_b1 -

    varuuth, Blu8, madankrishna and 3 others like this.

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