I am using Galaxy Note 1 and have 2GB of data directory in which i install and use thirdparty apps. But the data directory was almost always full, so I rooted my device to find out what was taking the space. i.e 500 MB is taken by apps and have 200 MB free but cant account for the Rest.

I have deleted stock apps from system/apps directory using no bloat but it dosent free space on data directory.

I know how to use adb shell but doing ls -l at every directory dosent sounds v good. How can i find out whats taking my space. And can we delete files in dalvik cache?

  • 1
    There is an app named Diskusage that I covered in this answer. It will help you to see App Data or any folder with apps/content sorted with file size. Alternatively, Titanium Backup or Storage Partitions can also help. Otherwise, answer by Jaskaranbir is already useful for understanding.
    – Firelord
    May 31, 2015 at 11:50
  • OMG Diskusage did it! I found out that my /data/log dir was 1 GB in size. Dont know why though but I have deleted all the TXT files there. Could you write a breif answer so I could accept it!
    – Pinser
    Jun 1, 2015 at 10:04

3 Answers 3


It seems that Diskusage did the job for the questioner here. Diskusage can help you to analyze the usage of your storage in hierarchical format with intuitive and live diagram.

(Click any image to see its larger variant.)

  • Default screen would ask for the storage/directory you want to analyze:

    Default Screen

    You can select any directory under [Root required] for analysis if your device is rooted. For a normal user, the default analysis should be for App Storage, Storage Card and /storage/sdcardX. (Note that some options may differ for Android 4.4+ or 5.+.)

  • A live diagram for App Storage would look like:

    Diagram for App Storage

  • Live diagram zoom in (select an entry and tap Show to open the Android Settings for the app) :

    Live Diagram zoom

  • /system usage in my device:


  • Select an entry and tap Show to open it in default File manager into the the directory:

    Directory in File Manager

Diskusage app would do the trick, otherwise ES File Explorer, Titanium Backup and Storage Partitions can also show the diagram among other things, but they are not as easy and intuitive IMO as Diskusage is.

About Diskusage

DiskUsage provides a way to find files and directories on storage card which consume a lot of space. Displays diagram with directories/subdirectories proportional to their size.


If by "data" directory you mean internal storage, then it doesnt have anything to do much really with system apps. System apps use space from /system partition which you cannot use for storing normal data anyway. And whatever used/free space in this partition has nothing to do with your space in data partition (or space you can use, in other words).

Infact, /data/media/0 is whats used for storing personal files or as internal memory.

Now how to find out whats taking space. First, run the command adb shell df inside adb. This will list you the total space allotted to every partition. Out of this, you can use the space allotted to storage/emulated/0 or /data (names may change according to android version). Check there the amount of space allocated to data directory. Unless you repartition, you cannot gain any more space than this for storing personal files and downloading apps.

And can we delete files in dalvik cache?

Dont do it. Its useless. Dalvic cache has to be present for sure. Even if you delete it, it will be recreated with almost same size. So deleting this wont gain you much storage.

This leaves you with only two things that can use data, your apps and their cache, and your own data inside internal memory.

What can you try to free up space?

  • Most mainstream method, delete useless apps.

  • Try clearing cache (although it will be recreated, but sometimes there is cache of things that no longer exist or are needed, for instance deleted photos or play store cache or even themer apps cache).

  • Do not use any cleaner apps. They are hoax.

  • Remove useless files.

  • You can also try moving apps to external storage using apps like link2sd. But this may not work for Every app.

Hope this helps.

  • I know the df command what can i do to recursively get size of directories in my data partition? Because I have nearly 10 of the apps installed and they cant possibly be taking all 2GB.
    – Pinser
    Jun 1, 2015 at 7:12
  • All apps store data in /sdcard/Android/Data or /sdcard/Android/obb (for games) and /data/data (general app data). Either you can flsah a busybox zip and use "du" command in adb shell (there's no du in /system/xbin by default, but you can use busybox's du) or use the "ls -s /directoryName" command inside adb shell or twrp's built in terminal emulator on these directories to get a rough idea of memory usage by app. Ofcourse there could be better ways that exist, but this is what I know of. Jun 1, 2015 at 8:24

Check insufficient-memory tag info, you may find some useful guides on how to free up your memory.

The most radical way, but also the most efficient (it fixes your storage in the long-term) is changing the partition table, by reducing the "internal SD card", and increasing /data partition. If you're wiling to take a risk, here's how to do it.

  • Good Idea, I think I should try to reduce usage of data dir first.
    – Pinser
    Jun 1, 2015 at 7:12

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