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I was downloading Facebook from the Play Store awhile ago when the phone suddenly hanged up so I forcefully shut it down by removing the battery. Now when I re-boot Facebook is no longer in the queue and I need to download it again. Now my question is, where did the Play Store temporarily store it while it was being downloaded? I fear that there's now a rogue incomplete Facebook apk file somewhere that's using up wasted space.

  • chances are, it is stored in a corrupt format that the phone cannot read. Plug your phone to the PC and do a scan and repair to clear out broken files, that should take care of it. – forums Feb 22 '13 at 5:24
  • @forums PCs do not generally have tools to clear incomplete downloads from partitions on Android devices. /data isn't even accessible without ADB. – Matthew Read Feb 22 '13 at 19:30
  • ok, I just assumed android automatically scans partitions on reboot and clear out broken files in partitions so its only the sdcard that need scanning. Big files (50mb-up) cannot be stored in phone memory, so when it is interrupted, only scan and repair may be able to reclaim the memory. – forums Feb 23 '13 at 3:49
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The Playstore app usually uses /data/local to temporarily store .apk files while downloading, then installs them from there, and finally removes the temporary download-file (which then went to /data/app). The /data/local directory should be readable by all processes (so no root needed to list its contents), as it is used as a kind of "temporary directory" for a lot of things (you might think of it as a "misnamed" /tmp directory).

This directory should be "cleaned up" on reboot1, so your issue might rather be a broken .apk in /data/app. A new install should solve this anyway. I further recommend using AppMonster Pro -- yes, the Pro version: on each install/update it grabs the .apk file of the installed/updated app and stores away a copy. So in cases like this, you could simply grab a previous version and install it over.

Just for completeness: There seem to be more such "temporary directories" on Android devices. Investigating a dump from a stock 2.2 Motorola Milestone 2, I e.g. also found /data/download. Different devices might use other directories additionally. But that should not affect your Playstore question.


1 I can only base this on one of my devices (Motorola Milestone 2, stock Android 2.2), where I extracted a Nandroid backup stored on my PC. There the init.rc file (which is called during the boot process) a.o. contains the following:

mkdir /data/local 0771 mot_tcmd shell
mkdir /data/local/tmp 0771 mot_tcmd shell
mkdir /data/local/12m 0771 mot_tcmd shell
mkdir /data/local/12m/batch 0771 mot_tcmd shell

Easy to see: the /data/local directory is created during the boot, which suggests it being empty at this point. Same is valid btw. for /data/download

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  • In your opinion it's cleared out? Do you mean in your experience? :P – Matthew Read Feb 22 '13 at 19:30
  • I never felt the need to thoroughly check. Whenever I looked, it was empty. But as I never experienced trouble with an aborted install, I cannot say for sure. Not being at my computer when I wrote this, I had no chance to verify what I thought might be behind -- so thanks for the reminder, I'll update my answer... – Izzy Feb 22 '13 at 20:27
  • On my Xperia Ray (ST18i) running ICS, I do not have access to the /data directory. Could the settings be different on Xperia phones or it's an ICS thing? – Alex Essilfie Apr 4 '13 at 18:23
  • You don't have full access to the /data directory and its contents unless your device is rooted. Without root, you can access parts of it if you know where they are; you should e.g. be able to directly access the /data/local folder, but might not be able to "browse" the /data folder contents. So with clicky-clicky graphical interfaces, you might have a hard way getting there unless you can input the full path manually :) – Izzy Apr 4 '13 at 18:30

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