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How much free storage does Android KitKat need?

I've noticed that when storage (not RAM) gets down to somewhere between 200 and 300MB, Android starts to complain that it will not be able to function properly unless some storage space is freed up. This seems a bit surprising as 200MB is a huge amount of space.

What is the actual amount of storage required to be free, and why is it so large?

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    I'm not sure there's a "documented number" on this. It was originally 25 MB minFree, but other sources mention values in percent (see also our insufficient-memory tag-wiki). – Izzy Mar 2 '15 at 10:52
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Having worked for a major phone carrier in tech support for the last 3 years I have noticed that a lot of the common procedures for androids typically recommend to have at least 150 MB of storage available to run efficiently with your basic preinstalled apps.

But I have gathered that the more apps you download on your phone, the more notifications and updates are constantly being pushed to your phone in the background which will slow it down quite a bit the lower the available amount of space gets.

Typically disabling automatic push updates, notifications and turning the data off in the background will help to keep your battery life longer and your phone running smoothly as long as you remember to keep going in and manually updating your apps.

If you use multiple social media apps and streaming video apps take lots of photos and videos, text and call a lot as I personally do, while continuing to keep updates and notifications on, I would personally recommend having at least 500 MB to 1 GB free. And make sure to have photos and videos synced up to a cloud service like google photos or dropbox so you can free up space on your phone quickly.

Some people use SD cards which can help, but I have noticed SD cards can be easily corrupted and if not purchased in the right speed class or storage size can actually slow your phone down.

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    This doesn't really answer the question. He asked why that free space is required and you talked about what stuff people might have on their phones. – Fabian Röling Oct 24 '18 at 16:43
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I would say atleast a GB of free space. Many internet related apps like Facebook, instagram, twitter etc have lots of pictures and videos which are written on to the flash memory of the device and many of them keep running on the background even when you close the app. Not to mention android itself writes to the flash memory sometimes if needed. So when there are no free spaces left you will most likely face slow downs. And it is recommended to to keep 10% free space on any flash based memory to help extend its life.

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I am not sure, there's a definite value or range for minimum storage required on Android; but as a rule, I tend to have at least 1GB of storage free on my device, which should be good enough for the phone to keep running smooth without any issues.

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    I hope it's not 1GB! Many people have 8GB devices on which only about 3-4GB are remaining after the OS and essential apps. If 1GB needs to stay available just for Android to function, that would only leave 2-3GB for all their apps, data, music, video, photos, etc! – RockPaperLizard Mar 2 '15 at 17:27
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    i doubt it is, but from my experience 1GB is the minimum i allow my phone to go to – dutchy Mar 2 '15 at 17:33
  • Thanks. I believe it is more than the actual minimum, but definitely is a safe minimum! – RockPaperLizard Mar 2 '15 at 17:35
  • If you'd read my comment (which I posted more than 5 hours before your answer) and followed the link, you'd know it's neither 1G or any other "fixed number" – but a percentage defined by the ROM builder (defaulting to 5% of available storage if the ROM builder didn't adjust it). So ~1G is correct if you've got 16GB storage (more accurately, about 700M considering at least 3 of the 16G are reserved for the /system partition). – Izzy Oct 25 '18 at 12:11
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Minimum storage is decided by android on your device. Example i have Xperia ZL 16GB model I get 12 GB to use. And i get system storage low notification when i have less than 500MB free. In older devices android would use pre determined part of storage for user app and data and remaining for user files (i.e. Videos music stuff). That predetermined storage would be labelled as data partition and that was system storage. Now in new devices we dont have different partition for app n user files And minimum space is used for cache and different files generated by system and apps.

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From my experience from multiple phones and tablets .currently android requires nearly 6-700 MB free in internal to work properly .Thats the absolute minimum when it starts to lag and act funny .

  • So all devices you use to backing this statement came with about 16G storage, right? That's the "5% rule" then. – Izzy Oct 25 '18 at 12:13
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For smooth functionality an android device need 150 to 200 MB free space in its internal memory so that its aap function can run smoothly .

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    Sources? Where is this number defined? – Izzy Oct 25 '18 at 12:12

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