It's been bugging me for a while but getting quite bad lately. I get warnings that my internal storage is full, I have about 13mb left of what I believe is 512mb worth of rom. I have checked with the app "diskusage" and my apps take about 122mb, with about 20 more mb being used by "data" (unsure what this is). When I check the apps list, my biggest app is some 12mb, and even within the first screen of apps this drops to just over 6mb. So I don't have extremely big apps, and I don't have all that much of them either. I try to put most on my sdcard, so no problem there either.

How do I figure out what's hogging all this space, and how do I fix it ?

On a related note, what is the Android equivalent of "formatting" your phone? I believe factory settings doesn't remove all data (sdcard etc) or does it?

EDIT: I have done a hard reset on my phone, and the free space available is somewhat similar to what I saw before. So, is it normal to only have about 150mb available for apps when the internal rom should be 512mb ?

  • The Android equivalent of "formatting" is a hard reset, this will end with your phone with a clean ROM, with no programs installed, is a complete wipeout of the internal storage of the phone.
    – Doliveras
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 15:31
  • I tried "diskusage" and it should give you the exact distribution of your internal ROM. So you have 122mb for "Applications", 20mb for "System data", then how much "Free space" is reported by "diskusage" ?
    – jmbouffard
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 15:47
  • Doliveras, when you say hard reset, do you mean "reset to factory settings" ? Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 9:09
  • @HannesFostie That does sound like what he means. Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 19:18
  • can someone help me, i have the same issues with my desire, but i dont know how to root it? and if rooting will unlock the sim card, i mean i have it sim locked to the company and i would like to unlock it if anyone has any idea, or know how please help thanx
    – user6036
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 7:45

11 Answers 11


One problem I've noticed is the (at least in Android Froyo), the stock Web browser caches to the phone storage. The browser cache can quickly take up 20+ MB and therefore use up free internal storage.

I've moved to using an alternate browser (Dolphin) and set it to cache to the SD card. This has removed my "low internal storage" limits; my free internal storage space now stays much more consistent except when installing new applications.


Your OS may be taking up the remaining space. My OS is several hundred MB. There's not really anything you can do about that, although some custom ROMs might be smaller. Move apps to SD, delete data, uninstall apps, etc.

Edit: To integrate system app updates into your ROM, use Titanium Backup. For example, my GMail app shows (updated) in Titanium's list:

App list
App list (click image to enlarge)

Long-press on it to bring up this menu and select Integrate update into ROM:

Long-press menu
Long-press menu (click image to enlarge)

  • I would find it strange that the OS uses several hundred MB. For instance Android 2.1 on my Motorola Milestone uses 32.5 MB of my 198 MB ROM. The remaining is usable for applications.
    – jmbouffard
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 18:19
  • 1
    Wow. My current ROM is ~200 MB before it's even uncompressed. Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 19:01
  • Also note that some space is reserved by the OS even if it isn't "used". This allows for updates and such. Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 19:09
  • that would mean some 350mb is being used by my OS... seems a lot Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 9:06
  • This right here helped me free up an additional 30 or so mb of space. Working with about 55mb free atm, better than ever. Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 9:52

I also had similar problem with HTC Desire. My solution was to use SD card as second partition for application's dex, lib and apk files. Now I have 1GB free space for applications to install.

For this you need root. If you don't have rooted follow this simple process in this guide.

After that you have to partition your SD card. You can use clockwork mod recovery for that. Now you can use link2sd program to move your apps(dex, lib,apk) to SD card. You can follow this guide for details if you chose this path to follow.

  • This seems like the best solution
    – NicoJuicy
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 12:56

I had a similar issue and found that it was mainly due to the contacts taking up 40mb when I enabled the Facebook and Twitter sync.

I would use the DiskUsage app http://www.appbrain.com/app/diskusage/com.google.android.diskusage to find out what was taking the most space on the internal memory.

  • 1
    The Asker says right in his question that he's already used Disk Usage.
    – ale
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 13:27
  • market.android.com/… Commented May 19, 2011 at 14:44

I also have a Desire, with similar issues as you do, despite having moved all possible applications to the SD card (and I haven't even installed all that much in the first place).

I believe the cause of the problem are the updates to some of the preinstalled applications on the device (Flash Player, Google applications (Maps, GMail, Search, Market, Voice Search, YouTube), Facebook). Unlike normal applications, you are not able to remove those completely, but rather only to uninstall the updates you have applied and return them to the "pristine" condition since your last OTA update.

Those updates must have taken some space on the ROM, as they are nowhere to be found on the SD card and function even without the SD card being mounted. Effectively meaning that you have two versions of those applications stored in the ROM.

Unfortunately, I have no solution at this time for the problem.

  • This sounds like a reasonable explanation... now, does anyone have any ideas how to figure this out? Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 9:08
  • If you are rooted, you can use the app Titaniun Backup to merge system app updates into the ROM and reduce the space used. Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 19:16
  • @Matthew Read could you tell me how to do so? I can't seem to find the functionality in the app Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 8:12
  • @HannesFostie I've updated my own answer below. Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 15:59

On ny Hero after I'd updated, I kept running out of space, none of the obvious things were working. Then I realised that when I had connected my phone to my Flickr account I'd selected an option which meant that I'd downloaded 100s of Meg of data from the Flickr site when keeping my account updated.

The moral being check whether your social networking is eating your storage.

  • this is not the case, or anything similar Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 11:36

I'm experiencing a similar problem (low internal memory) and have yet to find a good 'fix'. Already done the obvious things - move as many apps to SD card, remove unused apps etc.

Though, one day my htc desire told me I only had 0.98mb free space! So as a temporary fix this is what I did:

  • Delete old/non-important sms threads. As a guess, got rid of ~100 messages, this gave me ~10mb extra space
  • Currently using "Dolphin Browser" so deleted the data/cache from the stock browser, another ~10mb space
  • Similar to above, deleted data/cache of any unused apps (some apps can't be deleted without root, but you can at least minimise their footprint)

So now I have ~20mb free space which should be enough for now (hopefully!). What I plan on doing...

  • Root the phone and uninstall the pre-installed (but never used) applications
  • Follow some of the suggestions listed here :)

I struggled with this issue for a long time and it's one of the biggest reasons I have rooted my phone and have an EXT partition on my SD card mounted as internal storage. This enables me to move the entire application to SD (more than the Froyo+ Apps2SD feature) and also the Dalvik cache, which is a huge difference maker.

I run the latest CyanogenMod custom ROM and the 'DarkTremor' apps2sd script.


HTC made a poor choice when deciding to only leave 150MB for /data which is used for all market apps (besides apps2sd).

There is a possibility to re-partition that, but that is rather intrusive and requires full modding and a ROM that fits into the shrunk /system partition.

http://alpharev.nl/ has different repartitioned hboot images that range up to 300MB for /data. Cyanogenmod up to 7.2 fits into CM7 r2 hboot and offers 287MB for apps instead of 150. See the on-site instructions on how to install those.

But beware: This is not for the faint hearted.


Two quick ways to help resolve your problem:

  1. Requires Android 2.2+: Move all apps to the SD card that will let you do so. This will trim down how much space these apps use in your internal memory and moves some of it to the SD card. However, remember that these apps will not instantly show up on start up or if you mount the SD card for any reason. Use an app like SDMove to figure out which apps you can move that you haven't already moved. SDWatch will alert you in the future if an app you installed can be moved to the SD Card.

  2. Delete applications that you are no longer using. If you haven't used it in weeks, remove it. Every couple of weeks, take a glance at all of your applications and see which ones you aren't using and remove them. You can filter applications by their size in the settings to quickly remove the bigger sized apps first. Also remove anything under Settings > Applications > Running services that you aren't using, such as extra keyboards or other notification services.

  • This would be the perfect solution if his device was actually full of applications. But the question seems to expose a problem where the ROM is full even if only a small part is actually used by the system and applications.
    – jmbouffard
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 16:59
  • as jmbouffard says, the amount or size of apps shouldnt be the issue here. 120mb hardly seems like a lot. And I move as much of them as possible onto my SDcard, so no problem there either Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 9:07
  • @HannesFostie What exactly does DiskUsage say? On my Motorola Droid, mine says: Data 262 MB == Apps 190.3 MB + System data 34.7 MB + Free space 36.8 MB. Is your system data particularly large?
    – Bryan Denny
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 13:56
  • I mentioned that in the OP. I have since removed some apps, I currently do not get the warning, DiskUsage says the following: 147mb data, of which 96apps, 20.4 system data, 31mb free space. As far as I know, a Desire has 512mb internal ROM, so where did the rest go ? Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 14:28
  • 1
    @HannesFostie The rest is probably being used for the /system and /cache partitions. I don't know how you can check the size of those (without root, at least). This post talks about re-sizing them: forum.cyanogenmod.com/topic/8031-repartition-system-and-data Otherwise, I believe you are stuck with what you have. You'll just have to remove some apps :/
    – Bryan Denny
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 14:42

I have a Desire too and after reading this post I’ve been doing some tests on the device and as you noted, of the internal 512MB of ROM only 150MB are available for the user to install applications.

I’ve changed the stock ROM of the Desire for the CyanogenMod custom ROM a few days ago, and even now I have a top of 150MB to install applications.

I would say that the internal ROM is divided in two partitions, system and apps, which is the cause of we having access only to 150MB of the full 512MB of ROM.

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