Tracking down Android storage space hogs

When you (try to) download an app from Google’s Play Store and nothing seems to happen, there is probably a notification on the lock screen indicating that there is insufficient space to perform the operation. This can also be a problem when trying to update apps. On my phone, even quite small updates, say 20 MB, can fail if there is less than 500 MB of free space available! But, then the trick is to find what is hogging all the available storage.

This happened to me recently and it turned out to be surprisingly difficult to locate the source of the problem. My Asus File Manager app (See: Yet Another Android File Manager) told me that I only had 300+ MB of free space but had no information as to where huge files or folders were located on the phone to cause the space shortage.

Fortunately, my phone is rooted so I was able to use the DiskUsage utility to scan the “Storage card” (read internal memory). This identified that the K-9 E-mail client was using 970 MB, with 960 MB of this as “data”. DiskUsage doesn’t drill down any further into the file system so I was left to test a number of root file managers to find one that would locate the specific files or folders that were the space hogs.

The solution was to use X-plore and run its Disk Map option on the Root directory. Once the scanning process was complete the resulting map quickly identified the problem as being the folder /data/data/com.fsk.k9/app_webview/BrowserMetrics which was using 920 MB. In turn, this folder was found to contain more than two hundred files, each of 4 MB.

Since these “browser metrics” files likely had no particularly useful purpose (for me), I tagged all of the files in the folder and deleted them. This restored the amount of free space on the phone to about 1.5 GB and all was once again well with the world!

Once I knew what the problem was, I was able to do a more specific search on Google and found that a bug has been entered in GitHub to flag the issue to K-9’s developers. I added a note to confirm the issue based on my recent experience so we’ll see if this generates any action or if I have to maintain a watching brief on the BrowserMetrics’ folder.

References:

DiskUsage
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.diskusage

K-9 Mail
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fsck.k9

X-Plore File Manager
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lonelycatgames.Xplore

Webview’s BrowserMetrics should be regularly cleaned by K-9 #5061
https://github.com/k9mail/k-9/issues/5061

This entry was posted in Android, Applications, E-mail and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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