just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

February 5, 2013

Free up lots of Android memory #PhoneGeek

Whatever your smartphone preference, the truth is that the major smartphone operating systems are all pretty darn good across the board.  I've been toting various modestly-equipped Android devices for the past two years and have been generally pleased except for storage management:  on every device the primary (internal) storage would eventually unexpectedly fill without explanation.  I read manuals, combed forums, migrated apps, moved photos, cleared app data and cache folders all to little avail.  Finally I identified the culprit behind the disappearing storage and discovered it had nothing to do with my devices or with the Android operating system...

And the Culprit Was...
Amazon.  Oh, Amazon, how I love and sometimes loathe thee.

The "Amazon App Store" app has a bad habit of retaining APK installation files of apps you download.  How many?  Well... all of them.  Even if you uninstall an app, the APK remains.  Even if you download but do not install an app by clicking "Cancel" when prompted to start the installation.  You get the idea.  Perhaps this does not happen to everyone across all devices but it did happen on the three completely different Android devices I checked.  It also happened to most people responding to this thread in the XDA Developers forums.

At the time I discovered that the App Store was to blame over 880MB of my device's internal storage was devoted to unused APK files.  These needless files not only wasted internal storage but also were being included as part of my backup images and doubled the storage I needed for backups.

If you uninstall an Amazon-sourced app and then immediately use the Amazon App Store to select and install it again the App Store will re-download the app even if the version has not changed.  If the App Store *always* downloads an app as the first step of installtion then why are all those APK files kept around?  Why does Amazon allow their app to eat storage seemingly without any attempt to manage that storage by removing outdated APKs (or not saving them in the first place)?  Could the App Store at least give me a hint that APKs are being retained and maybe report how much space this uses?  Sheesh.

Clear Your Amazon App Store APK Cache
Free up some of your Android device's internal memory by using a file manager to browse to the App Store APK cache folder and remove all those unnecessary APK copies.  The folder to clean out is:


How I Found the Culprit (get the app for free)
I had tried Android's built-in app management features and also checked into a number of different utility apps in my bid to manage storage.  This included popular apps/features like the "APP2SD" app and the SD card usage feature in the "ASTRO File Manager" app.  I also tried various lesser-known freebie utility apps that gave interesting views of RAM and CPU utilization but little to help solve my internal storage problem.

Eventually I ran across an app by LeveloKment titled "Storage Analyser" (currently at version 0.9.9).  This app did exactly what I needed by way of recursively tallying up folder storage use and making it easy to drill down to find exactly what was eating all my space.  From there it took less than a minute to use the trusty (and free) "ASTRO File Manager" app to navigate to the folder and remove the offending files.

No comments:

Post a Comment