Clear Storage Space on Your Phone Without Rooting

Update (27 May 2015): Since this article was originally written, it’s become much easier to free up space on your Android device. These days it’s possible to take advantage of services such as Google Drive or Dropbox to relieve the strain on your SD card. If you want a more advanced cloud storage solution, check out Hightail, which allows you to access and share important files on your Android devices or anywhere else.

“Low on space: Phone storage space is getting low.” Uh-oh. This issue is easy to fix if you’ve rooted your phone, but what if you haven’t? Let’s take a look at the possibilities…

What’s the Big Deal?

Does it really matter if you run out of internal phone storage? After all, you’ve got an SD card that can fit gigabytes of data and applications.

Actually, yes; being low on internal storage causes problems. If you’ve got less than 25MB free, you won’t be able to install over-the-air updates to your system (including new versions of Android). Less than about 15MB, and you can’t sync emails, Facebook statuses, calendar appointments, and so on. Also, some applications can only be installed to the internal storage: Flash Player 10.1 and the AIR for Android runtime are two big examples of this, each weighing in at a hefty 10MB.

Rooting your phone allows you to move these applications — as well as various system files — to the SD card, freeing up plenty of space. In this article, we’ll look at what you can do if you don’t want to root it.

Check How Much Space You Have Free

To see how much internal storage space you have free on your handset, open Settings | SD & phone storage, and look under Internal phone storage | Available space:

Available Space

Available Space

As you can see, I only have 14.69MB free, so I can’t update the OS or to sync anything.

Fix the Bloated Contacts Storage Bug

Be careful: Some people have found that this doesn’t work, and may even wipe all their contacts. Go to and export them all from there, first, so you have a second backup.

On some handsets (including my HTC Desire), the contacts list will inflate wildly over time, taking up dozens of megabytes more than it needs to. This is clearly a bug; fortunately, it’s easy to fix.

First, check whether it’s an issue on your phone: open Settings | Applications | Manage Applications, then press the All tab and find Contacts Storage.

Contacts Storage Space

Contacts Storage Space

You can see here that mine takes up 7.43MB. This is a healthy size — previously, it was taking up over 40MB, and growing every day.

If you think yours is larger than it should be, you need to export all your contacts to an SD card, erase them from your phone, and re-import them. It’s a simple process, and you should only need to do it once. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Open the People application and press Menu | Import/Export.

People: Import/Export

People: Import/Export

In the popup that appears, press Export to SD card; you’ll get another popup.

People: Popups

People: Popups

You should have a SIM account, a Phone account, and another account for each Google account you’ve connected to your phone. Select the top account and it’ll give you a dialog, asking if you really want to export it to your SD card. Take note of the name of the file and the account it corresponds to, then press OK. You’ll see a progress bar, and then the export will be complete.

Repeat this for each of the accounts on your phone

Next, go back to Settings | Applications | Manage Applications and find Contacts Storage in the All tab again. Press it to open the Application info, then press Clear data. Confirm any dialogs that appear.

(Nervous? You might want to copy all those exported contacts files from your SD card to your computer, just in case!)

Once the data is clear (and the Data field is showing 0.00B), you should have no contacts. (If the Data field does not show 0.00B, or if you do still have contacts in your list, open the People application and press Menu | Delete.)

Now to restore the data you backed up earlier. Open the People application, press Menu | Import/Export, and select Import from SD Card. It will ask which account to add them to; this is where you need the notes you took earlier.

I recommend importing each Google account’s contacts back to the account they originally came from, but importing the SIM and Phone contacts to your main Google account. This way, those contacts will stay synchronised with your Google account, rather than being stuck on your SIM card or handset.

Do this for each of the backup files.

You may have to wait while Android deals with all this data. My handset uses HTC Sync to keep my Facebook and Twitter friends in my contacts list, and it took quite some time to get everything up to date. Leave it overnight before worrying whether you’ve lost some information.

Once everything’s in order, check the size of Contacts Storage again. With luck, it’ll be at a reasonable level!

Move Applications to the SD Card (Android 2.2)

Android 2.2 (Froyo) lets you transfer applications from the internal phone storage to the SD card, and run them from there. Not all applications, but a growing majority of them.

To move an application, open Settings | Applications | Manage Applications. Find the application you want to move, tap it, and press Move to SD Card.

Move to SD Card

Move to SD Card

The problem is that although you can sort the list of applications by size, you can’t filter it to only show the ones that are currently in the phone storage. Nor can you filter it to only show the applications that can be moved. These restrictions make moving the applications very frustrating.

Enter App 2 SD.

Use App 2 SD

App 2 SD, from A0Soft Inc., shows this:

App 2 SD: List

App 2 SD: List

It’s a list of all applications installed on the phone storage that can be moved to the SD card. Tap any icon, and it’ll take you to the Application info screen for that application, where you can move it to the SD card. Alternatively, hit Menu | Move all apps and it’ll offer you each application’s info screen in turn, making it easy to transfer them.

App 2 SD: Move All

App 2 SD: Move All


App 2 SD

Use App 2 SD to move as much as you can, though be aware that applications on the SD card cannot be used (and home screen widgets will not be displayed) when your handset is plugged into a computer and acting as an external drive.

App 2 SD will also monitor all applications that you install and update, and notify you if they can be moved, so you don’t need to remember to check.

Applications can only be moved if the developer allows them to be. This makes it very frustrating when an application could be moved, but the developer hasn’t ticked that option yet…

Force Applications to Allow Moving

(This is quite advanced, so skip it unless you really need the space.)

It’s possible to force applications to allow moving even if the developer has enabled that ability. I posted the instructions for doing so in our earlier round-up, 100+ Absolutely Essential Android Apps and Tips; click here to go directly to them, or search the page for “Force Applications to Permit Being Moved to the SD Card, Without Rooting”.

Be careful — the developer might have disabled moving for a good reason. Note that this does not work for all applications, unfortunately.

How’s your space now? Still need help? Okay, we’re going to need to see more detail…

Break It Down With DiskUsage

Let’s take a closer look at what exactly is using up all that space. Download DiskUsage (yes, it can be moved to the SD card!) and open it. Select App Storage and you’ll see a breakdown of the space:

DiskUsage: Initial View

DiskUsage: Initial View

Notice anything odd? The Free space value does not match what we saw in the Settings or in App 2 SD. This is because, by default, DiskUsage shows the sum of the free memory on both the data partition and the cache partition of the phone storage. Since we can’t use the cache partition for anything, we might as well hide it. Press Menu | Filter and untick Show Cache in order to do so.

DiskUsage: Ignoring Application Cache

DiskUsage: Ignoring Application Cache

Much better. Now, pinch and drag to zoom and pan around the space. It’s easy to see what fraction of the phone storage each application takes up.

Wait, what’s that?

What are you doing here?

What are you doing here?

Evernote? Didn’t I move that to the SD card?



Even it you move an application to the SD card, it leaves some files in the phone storage. As you can see here, there’s data, and something called “Dalvik cache.”

Many applications have a cache for storing downloaded data so that it doesn’t need to be downloaded again. This can be erased via the application’s info screen (or en masse using App 2 SD), though no application I’ve ever used takes up enough space with its cache to be worth the bother. This is different to the application cache partition that we just told DiskUsage to ignore.

Then there’s the Dalvik cache. Without going into much detail: this can be deleted using certain applications, but there’s no point — it will be rebuilt (to the same size) the next time you restart your handset. It’s one of the system files that can only be moved from the phone storage if you have rooted.

This means that I can’t reduce the 4.54MB that Evernote is taking up unless I erase my user data or uninstall the application.

So What Can We Do?

This is a very important point: applications that have been moved to the SD card may still take up some space in the phone storage.

So, unfortunately, although fixing Contacts Storage bloat and moving applications to the SD card helps, the only real solution is to uninstall applications that take up space. DiskUsage is very useful for this, though; you can filter the data to show only the Dalvik cache sizes, so that you know which applications ‘ sizes cannot be reduced.

Any other tips on clearing out space? I’d love to read them, and I’m sure other readers would too :)

  • Van

    Nice article/tute, cheers. Sadly, none of it is useful to me in the current problem I’m facing.

    For one, I don’t have a single app I’m willing to delete, and frankly I don’t even have that many anyway. My contacts storage is also only taking up 4mb right now, so that’s no hassle either.

    Annoyingly, I’ve been trying to run Aldiko lately, but the moment I install it, I get a low memory warning – despite the fact that my rooted and Cyanogenmod-running Desire is installing the app directly to my SD card.

    But, as you pointed out, it’s obviously a problem with apps putting certain files on the internal storage, and there not being enough of it available right now (I’ve got roughly about 14mb spare at the moment.)

    Sigh. It’s looking more and more as though I’ll have to switch to another handset in the future – something with a sensible amount of on-board storage. The Desire’s 150mb is a slap in the face, really. I’m surprised I tolerated it in the first place.

    • Michael James Williams

      I have to agree. It is the one problem I have with my phone (also a Desire) and it’s a big one. I was kinda hoping I’d come across some magic bullet while researching the article, but no such luck.

      If you’ve rooted, can’t you move a lot of otherwise un-moveable files (Flash Player, Dalvik caches, etc) on to the SD card? I have not done this myself, but hear that solves most Desire owners’ problems.

    • Dann

      I feel you @Van… I myself ended up getting an HTC Legend and after struggling with a laggy and “low memory” warning for over 2 months, I decided to root the phone, hoping that it would go faster and that I’d have more space.
      In the first few weeks/months that was true… and frankly speaking, it has become speedier, however, I had the problem described above with the contacts storage…

      Though I love the phone, I too will have to find some phone that has more internal space… and honestly thinking about getting the new HTC Rhyme

      • kitten

        I used S2E (find it on market) on my rooted desire to move the dalvik cache to the sd. That freed up 71mb in addition to the extra 65mb that installing cm7 gave me. Give it a try; you may find your desire has a lot of miles left in it yet…

    • Jessica

      Well i go to Manage Applications then i go to every app ive downloaded and click on clear data. it works for me but it only works for so long then when you download another APP it comes out again! I have no idea what else to do either.

  • Jeff Booher

    Nice addition to the storm!

  • Radie

    Congratulations are in order…

    This is the 3rd post on Android.AppStorm…

    That surpasses the amount of posts on Windows.AppStorm

    • Michael James Williams

      Haha thanks :)

  • Desu

    Interesting article 😀

    Now I’m using sony x8 with Eclair version of Android. Does anyone know how to move app to sd card in Eclair (without root) ? Or is there an app like that in Eclair? I found that App2SD need Froyo as a requirement.

    Thank you all

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  • Luke

    this is awesome. Vodafone and shagloads of forums were unable to help, but this was great. x

  • Daniel Wilkie

    Thanks so much for this. I had the Contacts storage bug on my Desire (33MB) without realising it. Now I can install apps again! Many thanks

    • Michael James Williams

      Great news!

  • Sally Milton

    Awesome!! I knew that my contacts storage was causing the low disk space issues but didn’t know how to reduce the size of. I followed the step by step instructions here and reduced it from 11.4 to 2.4MB. Problem solved – for now!

    Thank you :)

    • Michael James Williams

      Glad to hear it 😀

  • Bryn

    My contacts storage was taking up 130 mb so I deleted and reimported as instructed it freed up a almost 100mb from the phone so I am super happy….no more phon storage getting low messages….yay!

  • Saurabh Sensharma

    Tried the contact bug fix. Worked well. My contact storage had reached 50MB tried the method above and now its 20MB. Thats quite a lot of savings !! … Thanks

  • hamza

    my system data is of 46.7 mb i dont knw y it is so large plz tell me wht should i do

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  • mypitts2

    Michael: I knew about some of these tips, but the advice on contacts storage was a god-send. Thanks. I went from 48mb to 9mb.

  • mrtnhntr

    Many thanks for this how-to. My contact storage went from 16mb to 4mb and my internal memory had been so low, I couldn’t even look at my texts!

    I’m so glad I found this.

    Thanks again!

  • IM

    After “adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2″ and moving the apps to SD, the widget of the app (if any) will not be available anymore.
    Do you know how to come around this?

  • Ben

    Great article – I had been using DiskUsage to find where all my space was going but was confused as to why apps on the SD card were still using so much internal space – so thanks for making it all so clear. My Wildfire S is a fantastic handset, but 150MB for storage is proving to be somewhat tight!

  • Hughster

    Many thanks for this guide. It was most helpful.

    Wiping contact data as outlined in step 1 helped a lot, but not completely. Before, it was occupying 13 MB, and after wiping and re-syncing it only dropped to 8.2 MB. I suppose it’s all the contact pictures (from Facebook) that take up the space and I like having them, so there’s no avoiding the large size.

    In my case at least, the step of backing up to SD and restoring Google contacts was not necessary and in fact caused all my contacts to be duplicated on the phone (but linked together automatically so they did not appear to be duplicated in the master names list) after the phone had re-synced from Google. So, as long as your contacts are all under your Google account, simply clearing contact storage data is sufficient on its own without any loss of data as the sync will restore everything. Google will NOT delete all your contacts (as I almost superstitiously feared).

    One thing to beware of is that your “recent call list” will be cleared; if you have any unsaved numbers there you wish to save to your contact list, save them before clearing data.

    The one great tip here that has really helped was to use the superb DiskUsage app to find out which apps I thought were safely stowed away on SD were secretly taking up phone memory. I saved plenty of space by eliminating data-based apps (such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and eBay) whose functionality could be more or less replicated via their own web-based interfaces.

    Thanks again!

  • Celene

    Hi, I had cleared up the contacts storage and re-import back my contacts to people. Now my contacts storage is only 8.00kb?! But everytime I try to delete or edit my contacts, it will be a message showing ‘People has stopped unexpectedly. Please tell HTC about this problem’…may I know how can I solve this?!

    • Ely

      I had similar problem after exporting and importing back the contacts, but shutting down the phone resolved it :)

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  • DavidOA “The Rave”

    Just increased my space from an abysmal “6mb” to “51mb”

    How you ask? On the manage application,menu, you’ll need to “clear data” for individual apps…

    The one warning i will give is be sure you are comfortable with the data you might be deleting… e.g my Skyfire internet browser is typically 800kb but it had accumulated 34mb of data, this probably includes cookies, passwords, sites visited….but once you hit the “clear data” button …..poof, bobs ur aunt!

    I have done the same with google maps and one or two games….it virtually reverts the software back to day 1….hence you need to be comfortable with the poential data it could be deleting…..

    I hope this helps………… all say Dave the Rave!!

  • Ankit Kumar

    After exporting the contacts to SD card, I have cleared the app of contacts storage and after that when i an going to delete the contacts then its showing an error. What I have to do for this.??
    Please rply.

    • Ely

      Just shut down the phone.

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  • Doula_P

    thank you very much!!! my phone was saying low storage of a week and now it doesn’t anymore!!

  • adam smith

    thanks this really did help spesh with the contacts. thanks a gaine

  • z

    I did the import, but it won’t show up. How long does it take before they show up??

  • michael dean

    Thanks !!!!! I have the htc desire with 2.2 (froyo) moved a couple of games to sd . through . manage apps worked great … Thanks again

  • Jeff

    Okay, but I have 553 MB available on the phone memory and 1.63 GB free on my SD card. Any ideas as to why I can’t get rid of the stupid warning? If I have half a GB available, I’m skeptical that deleting a handful of 5-10 MB applications is really going to make a difference in performance.

  • Bob Davies

    Thanks!!! The contacts-bloat bug seemed to be causing me the problem on my wildfire-s, your tips fixed it lickety-split :) Bob

  • Adam

    I found that deleting emails doesn’t actually delete them it just moves them to the trash folder. Keep an eye on this folder as it can get very large and take up a huge amount of space.

  • freia

    how do you delete or empty your email trash? new to this, help!

    • Bob L

      From your Inbox, click the menu button (the far left hard key at the bottom of the phone) Click on folders. You should see a folder named “trash” with all the e-mails that you deleted from the Inbox. When I started getting space issues, I found that this folder had 300 e-mails that were sucking up my phone memory.

      There are times I want to retrieve e-mail I accidentally deleted from my Inbox…unfortunately, I can’t seem to figure how how to move them back to the Inbox. :-(

  • chsdawg

    My problem lies more in the apps that are factory installed that I NEVER, EVER use and I can’t uninstall them or move them to the SD card. Really, MySpace? I don’t understand why I can’t get rid of these apps so I can install more useful ones. And I have almost no apps installed anyway. Fail, Ally.

    • Praveen

      On my phone I select the uninstall for the factory apps, it gives a warning that it will be restored to factory default, going ahead reduces the space taken by the apps. Maps was occupying some 10MB and is now down to 2. So that helps!

      • Michael James Williams

        Nice – thanks!

  • Fishpicker

    Thanks but on my Desire when i go to Export contacts it only exports the first contact event though the progress bar says they are all getting copied. I’ve checked this and the file size is tiny (e.g. 88kb) and only one contact imports into OUtlook.

    Any ideas as there is not export all feature. Have i missed something?



    Nice work, Einstein.

    I followed your instructions for cleaning up my contacts. Before, I had ~60 contacts on my phone–all that I wanted; now, I have over 1500 !!

    Now I have to spend a couple hours cleaning all this crap up !

    Bravo !

    • Michael James Williams

      Yikes. What happened – did it import all your Facebook and Twitter contacts? (And does it at least take up less space?)

  • Ely

    WOW! I had more than 85MB Contact Storage on my Desire, now exporting and importing back the contacts brought the Contact Storage down to 9,7MB.
    Thanks a lot!!!

  • Holly

    My contacts were taking up 30MB, so I followed the advice. However, now I have no contacts at all, because whenever I try to import them ‘People’ force closes. FML :(

    • Holly

      Ok, I take that back, two restarts later and it’s fine :’) thanks for the tip!

  • DB

    Came across your post a few months ago upon my 4th or 5th time w/ this issue on HTC Incredible (owned since the day of its release). I had previously performed all the usually suggested steps, then tried yours as well. Like Jeff mentioned above, my available memory is in the 500+ MB range. Regardless, this error returns after a few months, weeks, days or hours. Recently with the 2.3.4 upgrade, it returns after each “clear data” dance if I do one Internet browse or other app activity. I’ve been to VZW, spoken with numerous managers, looked through multiple browsers, and tried to even root (no luck on rooting w/ 2.3.4).

    So, I’m tired of the temp fixes and am ready to start an Internet revolution until whomever is responsible will fix this!

  • angrybear

    Thanks for the DiskUsage tip! All the things written before I’ve already done when finding this article. My only observation is even if I have most of my Apps on my SD card, they still take almost the same amount of space on my internal memory (DiskUsage showed me this), so now I don’t know if moving Apps to SD card have any point at all.

    • Michael James Williams

      Glad it was useful, angrybear! Yes, I found the same thing with DiskUsage, it’s very frustrating. That’s what finally pushed me to root my phone; I can now move all the files (including Dalvik cache) to my SD card.

      • Louis

        Michael, thanks for the advice. This problem is driving me nuts and I’m ready to give up and root my phone. Do you have a particular how-to article that you recommend for rooting?

        • Michael James Williams

          Good choice :) I wrote a general article here, but we have a few more specific ones. What phone do you have?

  • Lisa

    Ok I imported my contacts to my SD card and now that I wanted to import them back into my phone, it says not enough phone storage so now i dont have any contacts. help!

    • Michael James Williams

      Uh-oh. How much phone storage do you actually have? Also, are your contacts available at

  • Jenn

    I followed the Contacts Storage tip on my Incredible last night and now I am completely hosed. I couldn’t get the newest update to install due to not enough space, so I was trying everything. I followed the instructions to the letter about backing up my contacts to the vCard file and even backed it all up to my PC as well before clearing the data cache. But I lost every contact that was saved into my phone over the last six-eight months and have no way to get them back now. The vCard file did NOT back up all of my contacts and neither did Google. This is a huge problem and now I basically have an updated paperweight because most of my contacts are gone! If anyone knows of a way to get them back, I would love to know. I recently copied the contents of my phone (both phone storage and SD Card) to the computer several times and still have the information in Windows. Is there a way to locate where the contacts are stored in one of those folders and copy them back to the phone? I haven’t had any luck finding where Android stores this information. Thank you to anyone who can help… THIS IS A MESS!!!!

  • Crystal

    I ran into the first issue you talked about – not synching and having a large contact storage file. I did the exporting, but now it keeps force closing contacts before I can do any importing. I’m not sure what to do now.

  • bob

    i have mytouch 4g that i got with sd card alreddy installed but it wont let me format it wont let me delete anything on it can anyone help me

  • Travis

    I have moved EVERY app to my SD that can, and I keep deleting the FB account to free up a few mb’s – but I perpetually run into this problem of storage issues because my EMAIL is constantly getting bloated (50+mb).

    It doesn’t seem like the relative size of data should be a thing we have to deal with. Can’t android phone makers put a $4 4gb chip in their phone instead of a puny 256mb or 512mb?

    It just seems STUPID that Android phone makers aren’t adding even 512mb of storage on their phones. I paid $200 for my LG Optimus less than 6 months ago and it only has 250mb. I was coming from an ancient iPhone 3g (not even a 3gs) that had 8,000mb (8gb). The new Motorola Triumph still only has 512gb of storage. If I pay $300 for a phone, can’t you at least put in a FEW gb or more? Seriously!!!!!!

    • Judy

      I have the same problem with email. I deleted my email acct. and still showing that the app is taking up an amazing 238MB of memory. I saw one solution–something about gaining access to a temporary root (I don’t know what that meant and it was very complicated). I can’t do anything–this is taking over my phone. Does anyone have a fix? I’m so frustrated. I really miss my Blackberry.

  • Steve

    Great article and great tips, esp App 2 SD which I have just used and cleared shedloads of memory… cheers!

  • anonymous

    One of the biggest problem i found with my samsung galaxy ace is when the applications which come installed autoupdate, this mean the original application space is still taken but now the new updates also take the new space, by removing all updates from apps originally installed in the phone i was able to recover lots of space.

    For me this post was useful to explain where my space is still going after moving a lot of apps to the sd card.

    Another tip, there is a tool out there called appbrain, which allows you to filter what apps out on the market can be installed to sd card.

    Due to the lack of internal space on android phones this makes all software packages that only install into internal memory useless for the majority of us, then again if such developers cant work out this simple problem then their software is probably badly designed in the first place.

    My last phone was a nokia n900 with 32GB of internal space and now this crapy samsung galaxy ace has a miserable 180mb of internal space, shame nokia does not make android phones think they could out sell every other manufacturer out there.

  • Phil

    Very helpful, thanks.

  • James

    Thank you! I have increased storage capacity from 14mb to 68mb just by moving the contacts. So easy, yet not found solution elsewhere. Thank you soooooo much!

  • Les Taylor

    Daily Telegraph’s Rick reccommended your page, a well explained read for an ignorant oldie like me who is trying out his first mobile. By thew way, what is “root” in this phone

  • Rusty

    useless phone, mine won’t last a day with all extras off. i travel over 12hours some days and find phone flat after 6/7 hours. i can’t live like this so use old Nokia that lasts for weeks, i would never have an HTC again. i seen no way to remove Facebook which i dont want.
    my service say turn off Blue tooth, wireless etc, but why have if you can’t use?

  • Cory

    I downloaded the disk usage and it says that my system data is more than half of the phone’s internal space and it’s been growing each week what should I do?

    • norm

      same here.
      diskUsage shows:
      1918 Mib of Data
      1706 Mib of System Data
      153.3 Mib of Applications
      58.1 Mib of Free space (Show Cache unticked)

      How do I lower the Data and System Data capacities?

      Please help…

  • Pritesh

    Sir, I have gone through your article and its really useful. I need a help from you about restoring the contacts data which I have not saved anywhere and deleted (cleared mistakely). Is it possible to restore contact data which I saved in phone memory?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Michael James Williams

      Hey Pritesh! Take a look at – if you’re lucky, they might have automatically been backed up to there.

  • paras

    Really helpfull
    Thanks a lot man:-P

  • noah

    Dear Sir,
    Very impressive article, thanks.
    Yet, it still didn’t improve my situation:
    I downloaded the disk usage and it shows the following details:
    1918 Mib of Data
    1706 Mib of System Data
    153.3 Mib of Applications
    58.1 Mib of Free space (Show Cache unticked)

    How do I lower the Data and System Data capacities?

    Please help…

  • bong

    I was unable to import my contacts back after i free up my memory while clearing data of my phone book, while i backed it up successfully =(

  • Sarah

    Having cleared out my exported and imported my contacts to free up space my htc wildfire s now doesn’t tell me who a text is from, although if you open the message go to menu and click open contact it does know! It just doesn’t want me to know. How can I go back to the glory days of being told who a text was from?

  • Clyde The Glide

    Great tip on the contacts. Nice site in general. I have an issue that i’ve found others complaining about on random blogs but the only fix i’ve found is rooting.

    The stock mail app on the HTC evo 4G accumulates data in a file that I can’t find to delete. Right now it’s up to 79mb. In the “manage applications” screen “Clear data” is grayed out and can’t be used. The app can’t be uninstalled either…without rooting. Suggestions?

    Would rather not root phone

  • nancy

    My fairly new LG Thrill Android has also been giving me error messages that my phone memory is low. I didn’t have very many pictures in it but I took them all off. I had 69 phone contacts so I follow the instructions to move them to the sim card – but now when I hit “phone” and then menu – nothing happens – it shows my main menu for my phone with all the icons. What am i doing wrong? I’m not really too computer savvy. AND now I can’t see any of my contacts? I know it’s me – but what did I do?

  • Simon

    Thank you very much! your “how-to” was more helpful than contacting HTC itself! broaght my contacts storage down from 60mb to 6.5mb!!!!! very pleased!!!

  • Meejozzz

    This is WONDERFUL! I’ve slowly been deleting more and more apps as the space gradually started to run out, I did the contact transfer to my SD card and imported them back again and it reduced from 76.45mb to just over 6mb. AMAZING! Thank you so much.

  • Shannon

    Thanks So much! This was the best help I have found! It is not a total fix to my problem but it did free up 13 MB so I am very Grateful! Thanks SOOOOO much! And it unsynced my contacts from FB which I had accidentally did and couldn’t figure out how to remove that! So fixed 2 problems! Thanks!

    • Michael James Williams

      Awesome. Glad it helped :)

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  • Clare

    Everything was going brilliantly and your instructions were really clear until I got to exporting the contacts back when the instructions seem to stop – I got to People, Menu, Import/Export, the chose Import from SD card. It says ‘create contact under account’ and I chose my one and only google account. I then got ‘Select vCard file’ and I have tried all the options ‘Import multiple vCard files’ and ‘Import multiple vCard files’ and ‘Import all vCard files’, but each time it says ‘Sorry! The application People (process has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again. Sometimes it brings up the 3 files I saved (phone, SIM and Google), but it still then goes to the same error message when I click on them. Please help me as I have lost all my contacts!

  • Andy

    Nice article and it will help free some space but on phones with really small internal storage ( why manufactures do this is a mystery) I would suggest that you root your phone its really easy and mostly safe these days i did my Samsung gio with a simple file i put in my memory and booted the phone from the file I downloaded easy 1 2 3, and then install something like titanium backup they you can move anything you want to your sd card to free up space and it will allow you to delete bloatware ( pre installed aps form the carrier) that takes up space
    have fun

    • Michael James Williams

      Agreed. I did the same with my HTC Desire and it’s a million times better.

  • lilith666

    i keep getting the memory full notice everytime i try doing something as simple as looking for a phn number in my own contacts list in my phn. and its way under the 7MB the poster suggested it should be at. i dont have many installed apps, and my phn says i have 14.69MB. my apps i install r small and dont take that much memory. i tried calling lg tech support and after being on hold for about 20 minutes the line went dead as if someone hung up and didnt want to take my call. what should i do? i have even gotten as far as deleting all txts and even the txt message memory is full and i cant receive txts, notifications for fb, nothing like that. plz help.

  • Wayne Schneberger

    hi all,

    diskusage app is showing 887 mb of system data…can that be right? if not how do I clean this up?

    Thanks in Advance,

    • brandom

      Mine is similar ~900mb. Looking at a few other forums there is likely a run away error logging file or something with a memory leak. I can’t find a way of fixing it without rooting my phone, which I don’t want to do.

      If you find something to fix it without rooting it’d be great to hear.

  • AtiQue

    This work on Samsung Galaxy Ace too right? I want to delete/move some of my apps but scared to do so as im worried it might delete those apps i need.

    • Michael James Williams

      It should do. What apps are you worried about? I expect you can download replacements.

  • Flik

    I tried your instructions to reduce the amount of space the contacts take up and it was going well until I had to import them back from the SD card. When I select the vcard file it processes and had a taskbar with the percentage done, which slowly goes up, then it gets to 100% but People is still only the people that have been saved to my original Google account, not the ones that have been imported from my SD card… help! All my contacts are hiding in a secret place on my SD card and I can’t get to them :(

  • Flik

    Panic over, sorted!

    • Michael James Williams

      Goodgood. How’d you fix it?

  • 3DogMum

    I’m screwed! I followed the directions for exporting the contacts to my SD card (LG Optimus phone), cleared the contacts, and have tried to import the contacts back. My contacts says “No contacts with phone numbers.”

    • Michael James Williams


  • Chinmay

    Nice post
    Forcing application to move to sd card worked for me

  • Bond

    It was awesome.. i got much help from this.. can you tell me how to move viber to memory card??

  • Ward

    Thanks a lot! The contact-trick worked like a charm on my Desire Z/G2.

    It might help to add that before the importing of the vcf-files you should turn off your screen time out. Switching to other apps or unlocking will interrupt the import.

  • mike martin

    want to learn how to manage my sd card with my computer

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  • Fiona


    The transferred of contact from phone memory to memory card did helps the low space problem. However, as all my contacts are categorized and after clear from the phone memory and import from memory card, all contacts are without category and mess up my work.
    I deleted the phone storage and tried to sync from my notebook outlook which contacts are categorized….but it wouldnt sync….pls pls help…..!!!!

  • Rob

    BadA$$, sir. This has been bugging me forever. I actually cleared the contacts once WITHOUT backup. That was exciting- and it came back BIGGER than it was before I had cleared it., Hopefully, I will not have a repeat of that bug.

    Thanks for putting together the fine step-by-step

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  • bm

    sdmaid, works like a charm, though my internal is 8gb, so i have never had a problem with internal, only external

  • gb

    hi, i was able to recover memory but i can’t add anymore contacts to my phone. Is there a way i can fix that problem?

  • Harald

    Thanks! Works like a charm on mine.

  • Rohan

    The tutorial was great. I have an issue though. I have tried restoring my contacts before using this method and it worked. However, I’m doing it again and my phone shows that it’s importing the contacts, but no contacts appear on my list. Could you please tell what the case might be?

    Thank you.

    HTC Wildfire S.

  • Sarah

    Used the method to clear contact storage, but sadly lost all but 34 contacts and of those only 4 had telephone numbers in – even lost my own contact card…. :'(

  • jim

    This totally screwed my damn phone up!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No contacts at all now, this blows!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Michael James Williams

      Damn, I’m really sorry, Jim. What exactly happened? Maybe there’s a way to get them back. Have you checked

  • Callum

    Good article, but unfortunately my contacts storage wasn’t massively bloated (only 11mb) and so sorting it didn’t make a huge difference. As I look through Diskusage however I’m seeing that MessageCS is taking up 14mb, any ideas what it is and if I’m safe to clear its data?

    • Michael James Williams

      Hey Callum, is this link any help?

  • Kristina

    THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU! I have been having this issue with my phone, an LG Doubleplay since about two months after I got it in December. I have deleted text messages, photos, call log, moved all my apps that I could to the SD card. This usually helped, but I did not know that it was not really the problem. I checked my contact storage and it was using 87MB, after doing what you said, I am now down to 3.73 MB. AGAIN THANK YOU!

  • Brandy

    I have fixed my contacts, used the App 2 SD, moved all that I could to my SD card. When I run the DiskUsage app, it still says I have 1118 MiB for data. I’ve tried everything to lower that with no luck. I have 6.59GB of storage left on my SD card and only 38.27MB of internal phone storage left and getting alerts every few days that my phone is low on space. Any suggestions???

  • Jenn

    Hi, thanks for the tutorial! I followed your instructions but when checking the space afterwards it still looks the same. Not sure what I did wrong. Dialer Storage is taking up the most space at 42.85MB, is that a different issue? Thanks for any help you can offer!

  • Mark Lyndon

    Thanks for the very detailed instructions. Sadly, there were only two small apps that I could still move, and I didn’t have much in my Contacts Storage, so didn’t bother with that.

    This is someone’s tip from another forum that worked for me though:

    Settings > Applications > Manage applications > Maps > Uninstall updates.

    Same for Street View. (I didn’t need this)

    • Mary

      I removed all the updates from apps I don’t use. This was especially useful for the facebook app which was a staggering 22 MB and when updates were installed became a mere 1.8 MB. I found using the browser is just as fast (Dolphin) as the app anyhow. Definitely good advice re maps too and anything else you don’t use.

    • Jim

      I had the same issue. No movable apps. the Maps upgrade was my biggest offender and have now removed it. Tried to remove Google Play update but it comes right back if you try to use Google Store which is now Google Play. I also have iHeart Radio which is using a lot of space on the phone and I can’t move to the SD card, so I guess it will go next if I can’t find a way around the Google Play issue. Not liking Google right now…

      Don’t know what rooting is but sounds like my next step.

      Thanks for the lead on App2SD and DiskStorage. I love these!

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  • Noka Ocansey


  • AjitRM

    Thanks for all the details.
    uninstalling updates of Maps cleared 11 MB of space.
    Uninstall Street View that cleared another 5MB of space.

  • Elvira Pelayo

    I did it and the low storage thing came off. So I looked at my contacts and everyone was doubled. So I deleted the doubled ones, and now it says low storage. Wtf? Help please!

  • Susan

    Thank you! Just cleaned up and my contacts and freed about 20mb of space.

  • JR Galia

    very informative. i just moved some apps to sd

  • saul

    i got my contacts storage down on my samsung gio from 20mb to 9mb. weird, but as soon as i moved to sd, the contacts started reloading them — even before i imported back.

  • deyload

    For my case, clearing data from facebook soved the problem

  • heather

    I have a Samsung Transfix from Cricket. It seems like what takes up most of the storage space is apps you can’t unistall from the phone. I almost ALWAYS have that low storage space message popping up. My contact storage is pretty low, and there’s nothing else I can get rid of but it’s saying I’ve only got around 10mb left :c

  • JD

    Hi when i export the contacts to sd card i clear the data after and it shows as 0 but when i go back to it its showing as 288kb!! any ideas please.

  • Parthiv


    i followed the steps provided in the Article. I am not able to recover the contacts back from the .vcf file. The system reads all contacts from the .vcf file but under the people application, it is not getting populated. :(

  • Denise

    Wow. Thanks so much, the contacts thing worked! Took it from 39MB to 1.39MB. I was about ready to bin my phone, not an attractive thought when I still have a year left on my contract. Again, thanks :)

  • LoisD

    I did the Contact Storage clean up you suggest with great success. Thank you so much.

  • Pravalika

    hi all. kindly help me on this issue. i had followed the above mentioned procedure for my Samsung Galaxy I5510. but still it shows in the same way as phone memory storage is low.

  • Tiffany

    This is so helpful!! thanks! I have a horribly crappy phone (samsung Intercept) and I can only download one app apparently. There a tons installed that I don’t use and can’t move so I am going to try to force apps without being rooted suggestion when I get home from work.

    I did do the contact thing and now I can’t see any of my contacts is my contacts list. I dont have the people app you speak of. But I just got a text and it had the contacts name on the im confused.

    I’ve thought about rooting but I dont really nkow a lot about it. So that’s my next step to reaserch if these dont work. Thanks again!

  • Anne Marie

    Have been facng a real pain with Calendar app on my Desire refusing to synch with Google calendar on my laptop. Just zapped the huge amount of space in Contacts using the treat above and whammo! They’re talking. I don’t know who you are tutorial person but in my eyes you are a god. x

  • zmulls

    Great article. I’ve been wrestling with these problems and I had already discovered many of the above tricks. Just yesterday I did the SetInstall location trick and got any new apps to go directly to the SD card. And I don’t seem to have the Contacts Storage problem.

    Today I figured I’d download updates to all my apps, since I had better storage, and I hit the problem listed above where factory-installed apps, like Maps, got insanely big. I would have thought that “updates” would overlay the original app with some small changes — I wouldn’t have thought that it would bloat Maps to over 12mb! I thought Maps was working fine with no updates — what on earth was in that 12mb that I needed? Uninstalling updates to factory apps clears a lot of space.

    Do we know why that is? Why would “updates” to Maps (or some other Factory App) bloat the application so much?

  • Catherine

    I’ve a HTC Wildfire, no S!

    I was getting the memory low message even when I had almost deleted everything off my phone and closed all applications & cleared all caches. I was about to restore to factory settings

    However I had a massive contacts bloat 1,18MB, now it’s 208KB! Although I seem to have a calendar bloat too? it’s 60KB, is there anything I can do to fix that too? I’m not sure how to fix it?


  • James Collett

    The method to compact the contacts did not work for me. My contacts live in my Outlook contacts on my PC. I occasionally re-sync.

    I tried this “export to SD-card” method, thinking it could help manage the footprint of the contacts as storwed on the phone. When I imported from the SD-card, I ended up with a handful of contacts, instead of a few hundred.

    Maybe this method works only in a Google-centric universe. I use Google for as little as possible. And as little as possible is what I now have in my HTC contacts, until I get back to my PC and re-sync.

  • Amanjit Singh


    I am having Samsung galaxy ace plus. I have moved all applications to the extent possible.
    Total USB storage space is 1.84 GB & available space 508 MB & system storage is 538 MB . Is available space enough ? I am having prob while sending text msgs … it starts hanging ..What to do..Pl suggest something.. Thanks in advance

  • amar

    none of the above helped me… taking in mind that my contacts storage is only 824kb pretty little ….i dont know what to do especially there is a little amout of apps i deleted most of them …really this problem in andriod systems is catastrophic!!! but thank you i loved the way of ur explanation…any other help you can give us ??

  • Carolyn Lederer

    I have brand new LG L75C phone. I have very little space on the phone storage. Have transferred a few apps to SD Card, but others cannot transfer. My contact list is not that big, so I don’t think I really need to try and transfer it. I only have 2 downloaded apps now, but would really like to download some more, but am VERY AFRAID they will not be able to go to SD Card…so I will be blocked from getting messages etc.

    Anyone know anything about the LG L75C (Optimus Zip) phone on how to be able to transfer apps to the SD card without rooting phone?

    REALLY need some help as it is ridiculus to pay for a smart phone and cannot download anything but 2 apps.

  • HTC ChaCha user

    Exporting contacts to the SD card, clearing contact storage on my phone and importing them again helped reduce the space taken up from 70+MB down to about 8MB.

    BUT a few days later the contact storage memory started to bloat up again, taking up all the available memory. This might be linked to signing into facebook, but I clearly checked “do not sync contacts” and deleted my facebook from sync accounts. Now I am going to commence the same sequence to reduce contact storage. This is frustrating if the bug is not fixed and continues to grow uncontrollably.

  • Aditya Vaishy

    My phone storage is getting low . What to do, without formatting the phone?

  • sareena.

    Hi . I have a samsung replenish . I have 145mb of internal storage space used out of 160mb and I’ve cleared all the data on my apps I’ve cleared the cache I’ve done as much as I could but my internal storage still says its low what else can I do ?

  • Evelyn Jackson

    I would like to know how to clearstorage space install new games

  • Saurabh Bhardwaj

    Hello Michael, Its a nice article but sadly not of much use for me.
    In my Galaxy S2 having 2.3.6 version, Internal memory storage is getting reduced day by day. It came down to a critically low 170 MB with showing that annoying low on memory message. I deleted all the unnecessary apps, cleared cache and also cleared data. I have already moved all the possible apps to external card and trimmed the contact storage space to its minimum.
    After this cleanliness drive, Inter device memory space grew up to 250 MB. I observe now that this space is getting reduced day by day and it stands at 194 MB with low memory message.
    I keep on cleaning the cache and sometimes app data also but of not much use again. This problem doesn’t let me to install any app whatever be the size until I make the storage space more than 200 MB.
    Kindly bail me out.

  • willie

    Hi I have a metro score can you help me with my low space it’s 2.3.4 version

  • yow

    heyy how do i go to the people application? really lost and pissed

  • yow

    btw, i’m using galaxy y

  • mala

    my mobile is thl i know its not the best :p but i have this problem for a long time i dont know what else to do ive tried everything but still doesnt fix .. what else can i do ?? i have 8 gb sd card i checked the option about storage every app in sd but still got the prob …

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