Why you run out of internal storage for apps on Android mobile

Follow this scenario: a manufacturer advertises a phone as having internal storage of 8GB. On opening the phone settings, you discover only about 1.5GB is available for storage for apps and about 5GB or less for storage of your files. You have an internal storage of 8GB. But only 1GB of that is available for installation of apps. Install a few apps and you quickly exhaust that allocation, and your phone begins to display internal memory errors.

In his recent review of the Innjoo i1s, Mr Mo stated:

I did run into a problem that is common to budget devices the allocation of internal space to applications is very small – a mere 0.89GB. So, very soon I ran out of storage space for applications. While I was able to move some apps to SD card, I finally hit that point where there are no more apps to move to SDcard and the phone keeps returning an insufficient space error when I try installing some large apps.

storage for apps

What this translates to is that, of the 8GB internal storage stated in the specs, only 0.89GB is left for storage for apps. Not even up to 1GB . Some can attribute this to being one of the disadvantages of buying low end-smartphones, but then I’ll call this deliberate torture. Take a look at TECNO Phantom A and A+. For almost a period of 1 year, they were flagship phones from TECNO and sold at about N38,000. They shipped with 4GB internal storage. Out of this 4GB, 0.89GB is also reserved for apps while about 2GB is reserved for internal storage. When you install a few number of apps, you get the out of memory error.

I’ve had a few friends bring their TECNO Phantoms (with this same issue) for me troubleshoot. Moving apps to SD card doesn’t solve the problem. The only manageable way is to root, install Lucky Patcher, remove all odex files and odex all the system apps. This solution is temporary, because when you try to install more apps the problem persists. This is quite a frustrating experience both for the acclaimed geeks and noobs. The fact that one has to enter gung ho mode to be able to manage the situation is really terrible. The same issue is prevalent in the bigger Phantom A3 and Phantom Pad Mini. It seems the issue has been corrected in the new TECNO R7 and Phantom Z.

Samsung Does It Better

Most Samsung phones on the other hand are made differently. The internal storage is merged and shared among apps installation section and files/media section. What does this mean ? If you have a Samsung 16GB you might end up with 10GB (The 6GB is consumed by stock apps and Touchwiz skin). This 10GB left is used both by your apps and media. If you transfer up to 5GB of media apps to your phone, you have free 5GB for apps installation and media. If you install apps up to 2GB, you have 8GB left. If the storage is about to get filled, you have the option to delete some media or other files to free space. This is good convenience,and exactly how a phone’s storage should be.

I don’t know of any other manufacturer that implements it this way, if there are others, please tell me. This whole situation got me asking so many questions. Why do some manufacturers partition internal storage? Isn’t it easier to leave it open and shared? Or is it the price we pay for buying Chinese Androids?

Guys in case you have another solution to this TECNO storage for apps problem, feel free to share.

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21 comments

  1. The partitioning is still present in Tecno R7, except that much more space is allocated for apps. It comes with 16GB out of which about 4GB is allocated for user apps.

  2. Where is ebee kay when you need him? Pls come fast and help us fix this problem. I heard using folder mount app can solve this problem, perhaps you could try it.

  3. Just Yesterday, A Friend Was Expressing His Frustration Concerning This Same Issue.

    He Is An App Junkie (Show Me Your Friend, Eh?), Uses The Original Tecno Phantom A, Has Tried His Hands On Link2sd And The Other Tricks And Keeps Hitting A Memory Exhausted / Insufficient Brick Wall.

    I Have Told Him To Either Temper Good Appetite For Apps, Or Get A Phone Not Add Afflicted With This Virus.

    Seriously, What’s The Technical / Financial Reason For This Tecno (And Other Low End) Phone Madness? Software Is Software Whether Third Party Or System_Furnished, So I Don’t Get It.

    The Tecno Phantom A Iii I Use Has 16gig Internal Memory, But Less Than 1gig Is Available For App Installation !.

    Even With Installation Of Apps On Sdcard (For Those That Allow That), My Internal Memory Is Perpetually On The Brink Of Filling Up, Being An App Connoisseur.

    You Have To Perpetually Watch What You Install And Often Have To Remove One For The Other…

    It’s Truly Annoying..

  4. this is my major grouse with Chinese OEMs, this partitioning issue put me off their phones. don’t understand the rationale behind it. luckily their Korean cousins don’t do this

  5. d part abt samsung isn’t totally true, it has app partition too jes dat tis bigger, on average mid to high end range of sammies have 2gb for apps (I know cos I use a sammy). no solution to d prob except avoiding it totally and sticking wiv manufacturers dat give at least 2gb for app installation

    1. haven’t run into this problem on any Samsung device, I’ve used the GS II & III and a Note II. always have more than 2 GB app + app data. even my sis has over 2 GB worth of app data on her Core.

    2. I agree, on Samsung Galaxy S2 its partitioned, also on some older, and low-end models. But most of their mid and high range phones are not partitioned

  6. Just like someone already said, the problem seems to have been mitigated greatly on the Tecno R7 and I believe that should be the case with Tecno Phantom Z too. On the Tecno R7, there’s almost 4GB of internal storage and even though I may be classed among the app junkies, I still have over 2GB free for the app partition on my Tecno R7 which is quite huge.

    Another interesting thing is that most apps that allow being moved to SDcard automatically installs to the SDcard by default and that includes some keyboard apps even. I had to manually move a good number of these apps into the internal internal storage (as it is labeled) from the partition meant for user data and media files. I just hope they will continue with this trends for a near permanent solution to this problem. Though someone is already doubting me, I’m almost certain that I won’t have internal storage issues on this device since I’m not much into games.

  7. There Is A Law, Parkinson’s Law —“Work Expands So As To Fill The Time Available For Its Completion”

    The Same Thing Happens With Disposable Income. And Available Memory Space On Devices.

    4 Gig For App Storage Could Look Huge Initially To Someone Who Was Using Under 1gig For Long, But It’s A Matter Of Time. With Old Things Having Passed Away, New Things Shall Also Become Old.

    Like Financial Resources, It’s Not How Much Storage Space Available That Is Important, It Is How It Is Used Or Managed That Counts.

    If One Has About 16 Gig Of App_Installable Internal Storage, What’s Likely To Happen Is That You Will Start Filling It Up With Jumbo Sized Apps Like Games And Encyclopedia.. And You Would Be Back To Square Zero.. In No Time.

    Like The Issue Of Ram, There Is No Magical Figure That Is Apposite For Internal Space.
    What Is Clear, Though, Is That, The More The Storage Space (Ram / Internal Memory), The Better, Generally.

    Having More (Money) Simply Gives You More Choices (In Life)

  8. is there no way to add some little space to the one already built,because i always run out of space if i install just two applecation

  9. This happens with almost every low end phone. I have moto G xt1032 it has only 8gb of internal storage(5.4gbavailable) with no memory card slot. I usually Run out of memory, but this phone has one advantage that is this phone does not limit storage for apps. So basically I have 5gb to install any app.

  10. I dont think its resolve in phantom Z or Zmini, because i have it. after getting the phone in may 2015 when my samsung of nearly 3yrs start misbehaving though just running slow and hard to respond to touch, from september i start noticing the issue of intrrnal memory low, the painful thing is you cant access the total 32gb that the manufacturer claim to add to the phone. that is scam to me. 7gb is for app that i dont know where its located, 17gb is the accessible memory the remaining one is no where to be fund. I wont buy the phone anymore.

  11. ***The best solution***
    Don’t use link2sd. It is not working well.
    Root your device. Download app2sd from play store.

    There are instructions by searching Google in detail.
    But briefly, you need to use the partition tool in app2sd to create a partition with about to 2 GB. Unlike link2sd, you dont need a pc and just use the tool in app2sd.
    Before partitioning make a backup of youryour sd archive.
    Then you can choose apps you want to move (link) to SD. So the installed apps move with lib. And data to this partition.
    I am using this method without any performance loose since 2 years.
    I use a China 4gb phone.
    Now I have 2 GB more storage on SD for apps.

  12. I forgot,
    To root your device use kingroot. This app can root any phone and China phones too.
    It took one year by me to decide rooting. I feared to break my phone.
    But do not fear. Rooting with kingroot takes just 10 seconds and is safe. Just tap on rooting an finish. No pc needed. No phone restart even.
    Good luck.

  13. Hi, I am kind of new at this but I definitely love apps. please how do i tell how much of a phone’s internal storage is available for apps? thank you.

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