I have a Samsung S7 with 32 GB of storage. For a couple of years now, storage space kept getting filled up for no apparent reason, until none was left. How can I find out what is using up the storage?

What have I tried so far?

  • I installed Google Files, which gives a breakdown of used storage. It says, 7.4 GB apps, 1 GB images, very little for the rest, except: 21.2 GB for "System". That's over 65% of all available storage. What is included in this 21 GB and how can I free it up?
  • I tried uninstalling apps, but whatever space I free up will eventually disappear, preventing me from re-installing the same apps again.
  • I tried uninstall Samsung Secure Folder. It freed up minimal space.
  • I used the Samsung Files app to look at all visible files on the internal storage, and move whatever I could identify (such as images) to the SD card. Whatever space I could re-gain this way would eventually get filled up again.
  • Tried wiping the cache partition.
  • I regularly use abd to execute pm trim-caches. This usually lets me get to about 1.0-1.5 GB of free space on the phone, which allows it to work properly for a few days. Eventually, that space gets filled up and I'm down to 0.5 GB of free space again, compromising the functionality of several apps. The amount I can get back with trim-caches has been steadily decreasing over time.

Any tips about (1) how to identify what uses up space (2) how to free up space are very welcome. I am very much hoping to be able to avoid a factory reset.

  • The size of Android apps is constantly increasing over the years, most likely this is eating up large parts of your storage. First I would try to disable apps you never use. This allows to deinstall updates for this app and also the cache of this app is not recreated.
    – Robert
    Nov 10, 2021 at 11:21
  • @Robert If it is apps that use up space (note: I already uninstalled several), is it expected that Google Files would indicate 7 GB used by "apps" but 21 GB used by "system"? What does "system" indicate?
    – Szabolcs
    Nov 10, 2021 at 11:27
  • The "system partition" of a S7 should be around 4 GB, but when I check the values of my S7 in settings -> Storage -> 3dots menu -> Storagesettings it shows "Systemstorage" 7.5GB. Not sure what is included in this.
    – Robert
    Nov 10, 2021 at 12:09
  • 1
    @Robert "system" is not /system partition. It includes almost everything on /data other than apps directories and /data/media. Explained in How disk space is used on Android device?. Nov 10, 2021 at 12:27


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