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I have an issue with the Dalvik cache getting huge and occupying almost all of the space on my phone. I'm running Cyanogenmod 7.X. For the record, I have about 5-6 small applications on my phone (keyboard, voice choice, Gmail, etc.), but I'm showing about 187MB used and 9.7MB free on my internal storage in "Manage Applications".

I simple du -h -d 1 / reveals:

0   /sd-ext
0   /config
32.3M   /cache
0   /acct
3.5G    /mnt
120.8M  /system
0   /sys
112.0K  /sbin
0   /proc
178.3M  /data
0   /root
0   /dev
3.8G    /

Then, a du -h -d 1 /data reveals further:

550.5K  /data/tombstones
13.5K   /data/backup
10.5K   /data/dropbear
50.5K   /data/anr
4.0K    /data/secure
413.0K  /data/system
94.3M   /data/dalvik-cache
3.5K    /data/property
6.6M    /data/app
1.5M    /data/app-private
74.8M   /data/data
6.5K    /data/local
2.0K    /data/lost+found
46.5K   /data/misc
2.0K    /data/dontpanic
178.3M  /data

The "cache" is taking up 94.3MB of my internal phone storage?!? How does this make any sense? I did a cache wipe, but it was all regenerated on the next boot.

Another really weird but interesting thing is that if I do du -h -d 1 /data/data, I see that many of the apps I have moved to SD storage are still being stored on the phone!!!

34.5K   /data/data/
31.0K   /data/data/com.paladinstudios.jimmypataya
33.0K   /data/data/com.touchtype.swiftkey
36.5K   /data/data/com.viber.voip
476.0K  /data/data/
21.5K   /data/data/
50.5K   /data/data/
12.5K   /data/data/
920.0K  /data/data/com.meganoid.engine
2.5K    /data/data/fishnoodle.jumpgate_free
2.5K    /data/data/com.androidemu.nes
48.5K   /data/data/
49.5K   /data/data/com.rovio.angrybirdsseasons
641.0K  /data/data/com.googlecode.android_scripting
172.0K  /data/data/
143.5K  /data/data/
2.5K    /data/data/com.tumblr
26.5K   /data/data/
5.0K    /data/data/
7.5K    /data/data/com.realarcade.DOJ
15.5K   /data/data/android.androidVNC
2.5K    /data/data/com.prey
12.0K   /data/data/org.mult.daap
13.0K   /data/data/org.transdroid
103.5K  /data/data/
30.5K   /data/data/
15.4M   /data/data/com.popcap.pvz
7.5K    /data/data/com.adobe.reader
29.0K   /data/data/gematria.calculator
4.0K    /data/data/
161.5K  /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
36.5K   /data/data/
21.5K   /data/data/
516.5K  /data/data/com.sherbert.delicious
9.5K    /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
12.0K   /data/data/com.hg.gunsandgloryfree
4.0K    /data/data/
198.0K  /data/data/
11.0K   /data/data/
5.0K    /data/data/
73.5K   /data/data/
176.0K  /data/data/com.bfs.ninjump
4.0K    /data/data/
445.5K  /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
766.0K  /data/data/com.facebook.katana
9.5K    /data/data/
9.5K    /data/data/
7.0K    /data/data/pl.pawelbialecki.jedilightsaber
14.5K   /data/data/
127.0K  /data/data/
2.0M    /data/data/
2.5K    /data/data/com.androidemu.gbc
4.0K    /data/data/
1.2M    /data/data/com.rememberthemilk.MobileRTM
6.0K    /data/data/
8.0K    /data/data/
9.0K    /data/data/com.oktmwebsites.braslev
11.0K   /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
423.5K  /data/data/
7.5K    /data/data/com.tomanyz.lockWatch
15.0K   /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/android.tts
2.5K    /data/data/
8.0K    /data/data/com.jyaif.pewpew
9.0K    /data/data/net.cactii.flash2
15.0K   /data/data/com.tmobile.thememanager
6.0K    /data/data/com.tmobile.themechooser
199.0K  /data/data/
233.5K  /data/data/
16.0K   /data/data/com.bbb.btr
5.0K    /data/data/org.nstamato.bansheeremote
6.5K    /data/data/
2.5K    /data/data/com.adobe.flashplayer
38.5K   /data/data/
41.0K   /data/data/
744.5K  /data/data/de.hms.xconstructionfull
4.0K    /data/data/
2.5K    /data/data/com.lysolpionex.HomestarRunnerSoundboard
4.0K    /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
2.5K    /data/data/com.androidemu.snes
48.0K   /data/data/
204.5K  /data/data/
13.0K   /data/data/com.koushikdutta.rommanager
5.0K    /data/data/
6.5K    /data/data/com.voiceplusfree
7.0K    /data/data/com.nasc.widget.pixelartclock
4.0K    /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/com.svox.pico
8.5K    /data/data/com.sportstracklive.stopwatch
2.9M    /data/data/
14.5K   /data/data/
67.5K   /data/data/
5.5K    /data/data/com.replica.replicaisland
4.0K    /data/data/com.teamdouche.pacman
2.5K    /data/data/com.hg.gunsandglory
4.0K    /data/data/
42.0K   /data/data/com.squareup
7.0K    /data/data/
12.0K   /data/data/
322.0K  /data/data/
34.5K   /data/data/org.adw.launcher
4.0K    /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
6.5K    /data/data/
223.5K  /data/data/com.xyzmo.signature
33.5K   /data/data/com.a0soft.gphone.aCompass
18.0K   /data/data/
7.5K    /data/data/com.osao.themarbians
4.0K    /data/data/
320.0K  /data/data/org.onaips.vnc
2.7M    /data/data/
221.0K  /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/org.openintents.filemanager
4.0K    /data/data/
7.5K    /data/data/com.publicobject.shush
47.0K   /data/data/
4.0M    /data/data/com.googlecode.pythonforandroid
44.5K   /data/data/org.droidstack
11.0K   /data/data/
591.5K  /data/data/com.keramidas.TitaniumBackup
1.2M    /data/data/
110.0K  /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
40.5K   /data/data/
2.5K    /data/data/com.marvin.espeak
4.0M    /data/data/
130.5K  /data/data/com.zeptolab.ctr
4.0K    /data/data/
15.5K   /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
21.0K   /data/data/com.miui.player
525.5K  /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/com.tmobile.theme.Cyanbread
1.5M    /data/data/
32.0K   /data/data/com.jawbone.companion
2.5K    /data/data/com.melodis.midomiMusicIdentifier
2.5K    /data/data/
7.5K    /data/data/
13.0K   /data/data/com.halfbrick.fruitninja
4.0K    /data/data/
1.6M    /data/data/com.evernote
2.5K    /data/data/
7.5K    /data/data/
417.5K  /data/data/
10.0K   /data/data/
601.5K  /data/data/com.tencent.launcher
6.5K    /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/com.cyanogenmod.CMWallpapers
7.0K    /data/data/com.cyanogenmod.updatenotify
570.0K  /data/data/
2.0M    /data/data/com.subatomicstudios
9.0K    /data/data/com.cyanogenmod.stats
29.5K   /data/data/com.t4ils.tapandcrash
2.5K    /data/data/com.androidemu.gens
11.0K   /data/data/com.cyanogenmod.cmparts
7.9M    /data/data/
6.5K    /data/data/DoodleLander.DoodleLander
722.0K  /data/data/ca.jamdat.flight.scrabblefree
13.5K   /data/data/
31.0K   /data/data/com.androidemu.gba
243.5K  /data/data/com.popcap.peggle
4.0K    /data/data/
4.0K    /data/data/com.tmobile.theme.Androidian
4.0K    /data/data/jackpal.androidterm2
2.5K    /data/data/gabriel.metronome
6.0K    /data/data/
25.0K   /data/data/com.tuneme.tuneme
16.5K   /data/data/
12.1M   /data/data/
7.5K    /data/data/inediblesoftware.shotgun
61.5K   /data/data/com.silvertree.cordy
36.5K   /data/data/
45.5K   /data/data/
44.0K   /data/data/
2.5K    /data/data/
70.0K   /data/data/
1.4M    /data/data/
56.5K   /data/data/com.rovio.angrybirdsrio
267.5K  /data/data/com.rovio.angrybirds
13.0K   /data/data/
2.5K    /data/data/
421.5K  /data/data/
171.5K  /data/data/
543.5K  /data/data/
11.0K   /data/data/com.storybird.spacebusterlite
17.0K   /data/data/
8.5K    /data/data/com.dikkar.irecord
22.5K   /data/data/com.gotow.hexdefense
46.5K   /data/data/com.mybo.tetris
74.8M   /data/data

In short, I have no idea what's going on, but I've ensured that almost no applications are living on my internal storage and I'm still getting "Phone Memory Low" in the notification bar. What gives?

share|improve this question
See also… – Vadzim Feb 25 '14 at 17:51
up vote 14 down vote accepted

/data/dalvik-cache contains optimized bytecode of each installed app. /data/data contains settings and preferences of each installed app. Neither of these two locations are touched when you move the app to SD Card using Gingerbread's built-in methods. That's a limitation of Android's implementation of moving apps to SD. CyanogenMod 7 allows you to move more apps than the stock ROM, but on phones with limited storage you will still eventually run out of space on internal memory.

Since you are rooted and already running CM7, take a look at S2E. This app allows you to move both /data/data and data/dalvik-cache to your SD Card. The only prerequisite is that your SD Card must be re-partitioned to add a second Ext2/3/4 partition, after the main FAT32 one. There are many partition tools available (free and paid) that can do this for you. I personally use PartitionWizard's MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition (Windows, freeware). It is also recommended to use a stand-alone USB SD Card reader for repartitioning as opposed to built-in readers on most laptops, since those tend to not properly write partition tables to SD Cards.

P.S. Don't forget to back up the contents of the SD Card before attempting to re-partition it, since it will wipe all of your data from it.

share|improve this answer
Now if I can only find a way to free up enough space on my phone to install the app... – Naftuli Tzvi Kay Aug 31 '11 at 20:29
Uninstall Angry Birds! ;) – Chahk Aug 31 '11 at 20:45
Touché. Now, if only I would have backed up my SD card before I partitioned it. I hear the sound of a wasted day whizzing by... – Naftuli Tzvi Kay Aug 31 '11 at 21:28
All things considered, is this really an improvement? You might have freed up some RAM, but won't apps run slower since even the "optimized cache" is stored on the SD card? – brianbaligad Sep 1 '11 at 4:43
I think you should strongly consider using Link2SD from the Android Market. That should help you with a lot of this! – Eshwar Mar 6 '12 at 9:15

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