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I have a Samsung Galaxy S4. I am getting the "Storage space running out" error message in my notifications bar, and some applications have quit working or updating. None of the usual solutions I've read about elsewhere on the site have helped me.

(Click image to enlarge)

IMG:

The most common solution to this problem is to access a hidden menu by dialing *#9900#. When I try this, however, the menu does not appear:

IMG:

Another common solution is to root the phone and delete /data/logs. Looking at what's taking up so much space on my phone, it does seem likely to me that the problem is my phone has lots of accumulated log files that aren't being deleted. I would rather not root my phone, however. I am happy with the functionality my phone has, even with bloatware and tied to my provider, and I don't want to take the time to root my phone for this one problem if I don't have to. =P

Finally, a third option I've read is to delete apps that are taking up a lot of space. I've attached a few screenshots below showing how my phone is using up space, though, and I believe that they show that my real problem is that there's something my OS is doing wrong, perhaps creating a lot of log files and not deleting them to save space. (Besides that, I've already tried deleting some apps I don't use often. The overwhelming majority of my apps don't take up much space at all, and the biggest space-wasters are also the apps I use the most and the reasons I have a smartphone.)

Is there another way for me to get back more storage space without rooting my phone?


If necessary, I'm willing to plug my phone into my computer and use developer tools to resolve this issue.


Here are a couple images showing that the biggest gain I could get for storage would be to delete some system files (which is why I'm guessing that the problem is accumulated log files). I have over 6GB that my phone categorizes as "Miscellaneous files:"

IMG:

And of the files my Android includes in that category, over 6GB are generic "System memory" (again, I'm guessing logs) that, unfortunately, I can't interact with or delete from this menu:

IMG:

  • I tagged my question Galaxy S4 because I wonder if the problem might be specific to my phone. In particular, I know that the *#9900# trick only works on some phones, and I wonder if there's a different trick along the same lines for Galaxy S4s in particular. – Kevin Aug 18 '15 at 0:06
  • Also, is there a good way to resize my screenshots using Markdown? They're pretty big right now... – Kevin Aug 18 '15 at 0:06
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    Resizing done. You may use m at the end of the imgur link to make it into a mobile image like https://i.stack.imgur.com/wJYhW.png -> https://i.stack.imgur.com/wJYhWm.png. Alternatively, you may use this [<img src="" width="210" height="350" alt="IMG: " title="">][] (e.g. [<img src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/wJYhW.png" width="210" height="350" alt="IMG: " title="">][1]) to display the resized ones much better. – Firelord Aug 18 '15 at 2:12
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    It is Verizon carrier phone. Almost all of those network carrier phones have 6gigs of miscellaneous files which is unaccounted for – Manubhargav Aug 22 '15 at 12:45
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    @AlLelopath That would make an excellent new question! You're more likely to get help by asking a new question as well. – Kevin Feb 16 '17 at 18:24
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+50

Approach 1:

Many users have had the problem of "6GB of miscellaneous files". The problem might be because of /sdcard0/DCIM/.thumbnails.

You can go ahead and delete the folder. This may free up your memory. To delete .thumbnails folder, you need a file manager that can see hidden files. After deleting the folder, also delete LOST.DIR and reboot. Clearing apps' cache is recommended.

Approach 2:

This might be a Verizon carrier bloatware. Verizon customer support seems to confirm it (see reply #5 in this link). This problem is not just confined to Galaxy S4, but to other phones too (Note 2, Note 3 Galaxy S3 S4 S5).

Deleting /data/media entirely seems to have worked for some (needs root access).

Alternatively, installing a custom recovery (eg: CWM) and choosing to delete all backups in the Internal SD seems to have solved the problem for many users.

  • Thanks for the advice! I only have a LOST.DIR on my SD card, though, which I have plenty of space on, and I don't see any .thumbnails files on my phone. Do you have any advice on reclaiming space on my internal storage? – Kevin Aug 18 '15 at 12:50
  • @Kevin What file manager are you using? Because some file manager don't show the .thumbnails folder. Try Xplore with the "hidden files options" checked. If you find it, delete it. That will reclaim most of your space on internal storage around 3-5 GB – Manubhargav Aug 18 '15 at 14:17
  • I'm using Astro. Even with the hidden files option selected, I don't see a .thumbnails file. – Kevin Aug 18 '15 at 14:49
  • factory reset the device. That might solve the problem. Also do you use Google play music? – Manubhargav Aug 18 '15 at 15:00
  • I would rather not have to factory reset if I don't have to - that's my last resort. I don't have Google Play Music. (I primarily use Spotify, which saves its cache to the SD card instead of internal storage.) – Kevin Aug 19 '15 at 18:48
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To get some free space, follow this:

1.Press your device's Menu button → select Settings (or System Settings)

2.Tap Application Manager (or Apps)

3.Tap the app icon

4.Tap Clear Data\Cache

Clear DATA\Cache

5.Next thing is to disable\delete the application that you will not use.

6.Delete .thumbnails & also unwanted files by making it show Hidden Files

.thumbnails

7.Delete the Social Media Apps Folder Ex:/sdcard/whatsapp. But Before that, Select & Move your Videos, Images, Files, Audios from Social Media Apps Folder.

Note: Clearing the app's data will remove any custom options, stored data and settings.

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Every phone has similar disclaimers- this is specifically for your phone: "16 GB ROM (Portion of memory occupied by existing content)"

6GB does seem a bit high, but your screen capture of storage looks about right. You may just need to be more diligent keeping this system memory clear. Look into what exactly is taking up so much space in "Pictures, videos" and "Audio" and move some of it to the external SD card. Also maybe clear out any apps that you aren't regularly using. Honestly, the specs on my S3 are similar to yours and I don't have this problem, so I'm just suggesting that any obvious differences are probably the culprit.

You shouldn't need to do anything more than exploring your files, which you can do with the onboard MyFiles app or download OI File Manager.

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I fixed mine it was that story album on the phone it burys all your photos into a file deep into your phone, delete apps that you can reload later then go to the app store and install all in one toolbox open it and run the file manager select device storage analyzer go to android then to data and so on to find where they are stored its best to plug into your laptop for this save them to your laptop or delete them from your phone then force stop that app is sucks it gets to full and jams your phone up, use google photos or something like that

  • Please at least add proper punctuation... – Andy Yan Sep 17 '16 at 0:21

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