This is probably the last place you’d expect to find a fix for a common problem in lower versions of Android. (I don’t have a device with Marshmallow yet so I don’t know if the problem persists there.)
Anyhow, here’s a warning: Follow my advice at your own risk. I won’t be responsible for any damage or side-effects that may occur on your gadget. It did solve mine, but I’m not sure about yours. Some users did say that deleting these files are not risky (as they are mostly crash or dump files), but cases vary. Also, your device has to be rooted for this to work. Non-rooted android users, don’t waste your time here.
Are we good? Okay, then here’s the how-to after the cut:
I’ve been using my phone (Cloudfone Thrill 530qx) for a year now, and I’m pretty happy with it because it has everything I need – huge juice, nice camera, big screen. For a person who changed phones in the past simply because of OS updates (those famous days for Symbian), I stuck with my phone through thick and thin despite the Kitkat, Lollipop, and now the Marshmallow update (my phone still uses Jellybean). So everything’s been going great, until….
Last year, I decided to download Neko Atsume, a cat-collecting game, via Google Play, but I encountered this problem (this is someone else’s image, but it has the same message):
I found it weird because I have an SD card inserted which is about 8GB in size (with 5GB still up for grabs), but then I thought Google Play automatically chooses to install apps in the internal storage. Now, the phone’s internal storage is divided into two as well: there’s the internal storage, which is exclusively for apps and systems files (I think), and sd card, not to be confused with the SD card that you install (let’s just call the latter SD2 from now on). My internal storage is around 1GB, and the sd card is around 1.8-2GB. Combined together, they make up the 4GB internal storage in my phone.
What I did to work my way around installing the app is to download the Neko Atsume installer (APK file) directly from the browser instead of using Google Play. Fortunately, my alternative installation method work and I was happily setting up a yard to collect cats.
Here’s the thing: most apps have updates, and of course, if those updates are crucial to the purpose of your app, you need to install them. Unfortunately, you can only install updates via Google Play, which means I would run into the same storage problem again. As a person who usually maintains the phone by cleaning the cache and don’t install memory-hungry apps (you know, those games which need obb files to work), this frustrates me. What in the world is eating my internal storage!?
What I did was to delete some apps just to install the update. Fast forward to 2016, and I still have the same problem, and the free space in my internal storage has gone down to 11mb. 11MB… When I didn’t install anything new in the first place!
I even thought of buying a new phone (forgive me for considering an iPhone) for a brief period of time because I’ve had enough. However, I let myself calm down before I rush into a decision that will cost me too much money over something so little to gain. Being the cheapskate I am – someone who has managed to troubleshoot her own tech problems in the past (but trust me, I’m nowhere near a pro or expert) – I decided to harness the power of free-flowing information and search for solutions online. I’m not surprised that a lot of people have posted in android-centric forums to find a solution. Alas, there is not one app (sorry, Links2SD fans) or solution that works for everyone.
However, I was able to stitch a set of fixes from their different responses, but it all boils down to one thing: DELETING THE HIDING
First, I downloaded Root Explorer and DiskUsage, since I’ll be needing the former to delete and the latter to find out which files are the biggest. Opening DiskUsage, my storage looked similar to this:
So… System Data, where art thou? If you’re like me who’s not an android expert and have been using Root Explorer for quite a while now, you’ll want to use DiskUsage to find out the biggest space offender because there are LOTS of folders in your internal storage. It’s like Pandora’s box meets Matryoshka out there.
By the way, don’t delete files just because they are BIG. That’s one error you want to avoid. Inspect the file (is it a file related to your app? is it a file that’s related to core android tools?) or search its name online (that’s what I did) to see how crucial it is to your system. Okay, back to our exploration..
Everything’s on the internal storage/data, so we just need to look for files in /data that take up the huge amount of space
1. Core Dump (Solution Source)
Upon checking data/core/, I found files named zcore-6494.zip and zcore-29805.zip. I inspected the contents of each folder only to find that zcore-29805 contains about 200mb worth of data! =________= Here comes the gambling part: I moved the latter to my SD2 (did not delete it in case I made a mistake), and well, my phone still behaved normally afterwards. Yay! 50mb recovered (because the zip file containing 200mb compressed everything and so that was the actual size). But a bigger enemy awaits..
2. Log Files (Solution Source)
The next location I checked was /data/log. While accessing this directory I think I may have solved my problem once and for all. Why?
WELL, JUST TAKE A LOOK AT THESE BASTARDS (actual screenshot taken from my phone):
I moved the log files (worth 600mb) from the internal storage to my SD card (just to back up, and I don’t mind anyway because I don’t store that much in that 8GB card). So from 11mb, I now have..
Victory is mine..! Thanks to all these good Samaritans (my sources) who shared their knowledge online. I hope that this solution works for other users, too. Just to be clear, I’m not claiming to be an expert on this problem, but I just wanted to share it because it worked for me. (Well, my phone is still behaving normally). Good luck!