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What is using so much of my internal storage?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by bbbl67, Jun 22, 2022.

  1. bbbl67

    bbbl67 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I have a Samsung A8 with 32GB of internal storage and 32GB of SD. I recently connected it to my PC through USB, and ran a PC disk space analyser on it. Everything on the SD card looks normal and understandable, but the internal storage is weird.

    Okay, so the internal file system shows only the storage is only 24.1GB instead of 32GB, I guess that's typical for the games that storage manufacturers play with their sizing practices, I don't care about being shortchanged a little. But it shows that 22.8GB of the 24.1GB is used up. I then fired up the disk space analyser program, and it showed that I'm only using 231MB of space on the internal storage: 104.7 MB for Android, 94.5 for WhatsApp, and 19.0 for logs. The rest are just sub-megabyte numbers. So where is the rest of the system hiding? The remaining over 22GB of stuff?
     



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  2. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    the remaining 22 gigs is most likely your os. unfortunately, the android os operates in a partition that is part of your 32 gigs of storage. most manufacturers will never mention this to the consumers. as you are finding out 32 gigs on a phone now days is nothing, especially when the os operates a good chunk of that.

    the was an app that can actually tell you what you actually have in terms of storage space.....but for the life of me i can't remember what it is......never had to use it. hopefully someone here might be able to know what it is.
     
    Davdi, bbbl67, Dannydet and 1 other person like this.
  3. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    Could be DiskUsage? And I have used it.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.diskusage
    OP, definitely try this app, rather than your whatever it is PC disk space analyser.

    That tells you exactly what the actual available storage is, and what directories and files are using it. NO ads, NO unnecessary permissions.
     
    #3 mikedt, Jun 22, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
  4. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    yep i believe that's it......thanx
     
    mikedt likes this.
  5. bbbl67

    bbbl67 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Yeah, fortunately I still have the 32GB of SD (which itself is just 28GB in reality) to offload stuff. Too bad that the apps don't automatically start using the SD card by default. But newer phones are not even allowing expansion by SD card anymore.

    Do you know if any part of this partition is trimmable? Is there a lot of old versions of patches and stuff that might be clogging it up?
     
    #5 bbbl67, Jun 23, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
  6. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    nope you have no access to the system partition, unless you root the phone.
     
  7. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    I'm sure that was done, because if you remove the SD those apps that were using the SD will break. Plus removable SD storage is much slower and isn't designed for constant repeated read/write cycles, that running apps might do, i.e. it can cause SDs to wear out and fail prematurely.

    Some devices do, but Samsung isn't one of them. Also see above comments.

    The key thing here is partitions. And deleting stuff from the system partition, where the Android OS resides, will NOT free up space in the user partition, where your installed apps, docs, photos, music, videos, are stored.

    FYI trimming or resizing the system partition on an Android device is not a trivial task. Basically it involves creating a custom storage image and flashing it to the device, along with a suitable custom recovery and custom ROM for the device.

    Last phone I had that had only 32GB internal storage was almost 10 years ago now, and it was barely enough for my uses then. My current phone has 256GB internal storage.
     
    #7 mikedt, Jun 23, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
    bbbl67, puppykickr, ocnbrze and 2 others like this.
  8. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    24GB will be the /data partition, i.e. the user-accessible part of the storage. The actual system software will be in the remaining "8 GB" (in quotes because there are decimal and binary meanings of "G", and different apps are not always consistent in which they use). For example, my "256GB" Galaxy s21 has 225 GB (binary) in the visible part of the internal storage (which would be about 241 GB in decimal units), so the system partitions are using about 15 GB.

    No, I don't believe that your system itself is using the "missing" 22GB. But the complex way that Android storage partitions work may not be understood by your PC's disk space analyser: Android uses multiple "virtual volumes" addressing the same space. This allows user files (e.g. your WhatsApp backups) and private data (your apps' internal databases, which only the individual app should have access to) to share the same partition while still controlling access (e.g. the user cannot directly access the apps' databases - before you ask why, remember that the only way you can access them is using an app, and if another app can access them that allows malware to read or alter other apps' data). It's much more flexible than the original system of a distinct "/data" partition (private data) and "/sdcard" partition (public data) with fixed sizes, but it can cause confusion and inconsistent-looking numbers. So for example if your PC only sees the "/sdcard" virtual volume (aka /storage/emulated/0) it is only able to see some of what's in the internal storage. Even then, not all apps can see the size or contents of the /android directory that is within that volume. So I would not panic at all if your PC doesn't know what's going on.

    There are android apps that can give a fairly sensible picture of this. The DiskUsage app mentioned above is pretty good. If that still leaves things you don't understand please post a couple of screenshots and we'll see whether we can make sense of it.

    Even with root editing partitions is an advanced topic, and I'd approach it with extreme care. I've done it, but only on a device with incredibly little storage and where I was installing custom ROMs that had been trimmed down to fit in a shrunken /system partition. And it wasn't simple matter like repartitioning the hard drive of a computer, it involved editing the binary code of the bootloader (which was scary because if you mess that up the phone is bricked beyond recovery unless you have specialist equipment). So I'd caution against. In any event manufacturers can be generous with the space they allow for the system (gives them scope for larger updates) but not 22GB out of 32GB generous - the problem here will be apps (including updates to system apps) or data, one way or another (this may include data that should have been cleared up but the system has lost track of).

    Basic questions: how much space does your phone storage menu say you have left? Have you tried clearing app caches (browsers can cache hundreds of MB without telling you)? One particularly nasty feature of the System > Apps menu these days (or at least on my Galaxy) is that when you look at the list of apps it tells you the size of the app and its data but excludes the size of the cache. So if I look at that list I see "Firefox, 375 MB", but if I click on it and scroll down to "Storage" I see "868 MB used in internal storage" - the 493 MB difference is the app's cache, which they hide away from you. I can only assume that they are trying to stop people from thinking about (and clearing) caches, but it's not helpful.
     
    bbbl67, puppykickr, ocnbrze and 2 others like this.
  9. vladsmolka151

    vladsmolka151 Lurker

    I began to notice that a large amount of internal memory, I personally take a variety of messengers. So you have to clean their memory from time to time
     
  10. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    text messages do not take up a lot of room though.
     
  11. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    I think that is referring to multiple message apps, rather than text messages alone.
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
  12. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert

    Any system app will be using internal storage only it's on the /system/apps partition (or system/priv-app on modern Android). If you update those apps regularly that storage will be more and more used up which counts against your 'total' storage.

    Any data stored via a system app also eats into the internal storage total. Texts, MMSs, photos taken with the camera, downloads on YouTube, etc.

    When I was using my S20 FE, it didn't take long to eat over 3/4 of 256GBs doing nothing that I ain't doing today with my SII. Apps today are sadly bloated messes. Especially ones that sport colorful letters starting with 'G'

    Downloaded but not yet installed system OTA updates also count against it. If one is still downloaded or in the queue where you're not yet notified this will usually show a high number of GBs in 'other' category under storage. Apple is even worse with this. Apps there can use internal storage as 'swap space' as of iOS 14+.
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
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