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Not enough internal memory error. Phone has stopped syncing automatically. Can’t install any new apps. Does this sound like your phone?

What do you do to maintain your sanity when you realise that your choice of phones was very poor indeed? Well, besides wishing for an excuse to get a new phone, there are a few tricks you can use.

The Problem Is A SEVERE Lack Of Internal Storage

I’ve read numerous articles on how to free up space on your Android phone, and each of them made me laugh in a hollow, bitter kind of way. If you look at how much free space these authors have left on their phone, it’s more than mine started with in the first place – before the OS was installed! And after my service provider thoughtfully added a bit of annoying bloatware, what’s left is what most regular Android users would call an emergency in the space department. This is the problem all HTC Desire users face, for instance, and no doubt the owners of a few other phones too.

Why is this? Well, the HTC Desire, comes with a total of 512MB internal memory, most of which is used by the Android OS. What’s left is a usable portion of about 147MB for your contacts, all apps that can’t go on the SD card, and the parts of apps that get left on the internal memory (even though you’ve moved it to the SD card). It’s a nightmare. Supposedly the phone needs 100MB clear to run well, but I’ve never ever had that much thanks to bloatware and standard-issue Google apps. What’s certain is that after you’re down to 16MB the phone will stop syncing and you’ll be unable to install anything else.

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Rooting Your Phone & Getting Rid Of Bloatware Isn’t Enough

Yes, you could root your phone and freeze the bloatware with Titanium How To Freeze Or Uninstall Apps That Came With Your Phone [Android] How To Freeze Or Uninstall Apps That Came With Your Phone [Android] One of the biggest problems Android has is that vendors are obsessed with the concept of somehow “adding value” to their devices. Instead of just shipping Android as it was meant to be used, Samsung,... Read More , but sadly that will not actually free up the space and deleting the apps is NOT recommended What You Need to Know About Removing Android Bloatware What You Need to Know About Removing Android Bloatware Lots of phones come with annoying pre-installed software, but you can remove it. Here's how. Read More . The safest way to remove the bloatware completely is to get a custom ROM How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device Android is super customizable, but to fully take advantage of that, you need to flash a custom ROM. Here's how to do that. Read More . You can also use a bunch of great apps to free up storage space wherever possible How to Free Storage Space on Your Android Device How to Free Storage Space on Your Android Device If you've run out of storage space on your Android phone or tablet, we can help you free it up. Read More (provided you can fit those apps on the phone).

What’s clear is that none of the fixes recommended by regular Android users come close to solving the day-to-day issues faced by the users of phones with limited internal memory.

Do Not Sync Contacts With Facebook Or Other Apps

Syncing contacts with the Facebook app means that your contacts storage will take up a LOT more space. In fact, don’t use the Facebook app at all. It’s huge.

Do, however, sync your contacts to Google. This means that if you ever need to free up 5-10MB quickly you can just delete that data and re-sync it later. This can be really handy, trust me!

Use The Smallest Version Of All Apps & Install On SD Where Possible

I personally seek out the smallest functional app for any task I want to be able to perform. For instance, replace Facebook with TinFoil or some other space-saving Facebook alternative Faster, Leaner, Better - Alternatives To The Android Facebook App Faster, Leaner, Better - Alternatives To The Android Facebook App Oh, the joys of having social media available to us at any time of day thanks to the advent of the smartphone. Facebook has always been (at least on the surface) about connecting with your... Read More . Thankfully, almost every app has an alternative in the Google Play store. Search around and you will find plenty. Also, using an app like App Monster or App2SD will let you know quickly if an app you’ve installed is able to be moved to the SD card.

Revert Back To Original Releases Of Stock Apps

Have you noticed that the Google apps themselves are the main culprit when it comes to hogging your precious internal memory? They just get bigger and bigger with every update, can’t be moved to SD and can’t be deleted. This is a real pain if you don’t even want to use them. Thankfully, it is possible to revert to the original version by “Deleting” the app. It won’t actually delete it, but it will uninstall the update and take you back to the version you started with, which is undoubtably smaller. You’ll need to un-check automatic updating for these apps in the Google Play store or it will just fetch them again for you.

I actually go so far as to uninstall Google Play and the Google Play Services app too (this saves you a good 20MB in space). This means that when I do need to install an app, I open the Android Marketplace app, it automatically updates to Google Play, then I have to quickly stop the automatic updating of all the Google apps and hope that the app I want successfully installs itself before the Google Play Services app gets installed. Then I quickly delete the Google Play app etc. all over again.

Keep Uninstalled Apps On Your SD

It’s one thing to install your apps on the SD card, but since they often leave a footprint on the internal storage, it isn’t always possible to leave them installed. If you use an app like App Monster or Titanium, you can back up the apps you install to SD, delete them when you need space and re-install them when you need to use them.

What follows is a merry-go-round of installing apps, using them for a while, then deleting them so that you can use other things. But just knowing they are on the SD card, ready and waiting, means that you can install them without needing Internet access, without having to recall the name of the app and without having to re-install the Google Play app.


If you’ve rooted your phone and you understand a bit about what you’re doing, you could try using Link2SD to create symbolic links to your SD card. Essentially, you’re tricking your phone into thinking things are still installed internally when they’re actually on the SD card. This means you can even get widgets to work on apps that are installed on your SD card.

Just Get A New Phone

The fact of the matter is that apps keep getting bigger, the footprint on the internal memory keeps getting bigger and that no-one hears our cries because most of the new phones have plenty of internal storage. If you are suffering from these problems, you will also never see Ice Cream Sandwich on your phone (because it won’t fit), nor any other upgrade to the Android OS. Eventually, you’re just going to have to hope your dog eats your phone and gives you a good excuse to upgrade. But until then, I hope this guide helps you. Also, you may want to check out how to fix up some other annoying Android issues 7 Of Google Android's Little Annoyances & How To Fix Them 7 Of Google Android's Little Annoyances & How To Fix Them Read More .

I’ve named and shamed the HTC Desire for having a severe lack of internal storage. Which phone is causing your nightmare? How much internal storage do you have?

Image Credit: HTC Desire by John.Karakatsanis, on Flickr

  1. TheQuickFox
    April 14, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Still struggling withy my Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray, (512MB RAM, 512 MB Flash, 64 GB SD)

    But my biggest issue is not the internal flash, but the RAM which is getting full. I'm still running many older apk's for this reason. Especially Firefox 30+ wants to use loads of RAM. When I open a larger website, it first kicks out all other apps and then eventually crashes.

    Internal flash memory is a serious issue as well, but by rooting my phone and removing many stock apk's I manage to survive.

    Too bad that even Google Play Services wants to take between 40 and 75 MB nowadays. It simply does not fit.

  2. Brendon Green
    February 1, 2016 at 7:17 am

    My LG Optimus One (P500) was a great phone when I bought it in 2010, and still holds its own now. It may have just 512MB memory and 450MB total storage (64MB cache, 190MB system, 199MB data) but; thanks to an active developer community, it can run Froyo 2.2, Kitkat 4.4.4, and everything in between. Installing a decent-speced SD card (it supports up to 32GB Class 10) and Link2SD makes all the storage issues disappear.

  3. Ashutosh Mahajan
    November 1, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Nice information! First time seen worth information on net regarding mobile internal memory problem.

  4. Anees Ahmed Bohio
    September 30, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Well the q mobile have given me the just 100mb I don't know for purpose they have given this such a low space,god I want to rid of this cell phone

  5. BinThar AnBac
    July 1, 2015 at 3:24 am

    My Samsung ACE GT-S5830 came with a pathetic 158 Mb and shortly after a fresh install of Stock Lite v8 Rom (GingerBread stripped down) and trying (and uninstalling) tiny apps from Google Play Store my memory was down to ~20Mb. I noticed the Google Play Services app had become VERY fat (over 66Mb from 1.5Mb) so within Settings> Applications> Manage Applications> All , I found the Google Play Services app, selected, and uninstalled the updates. After applying same to Google Services Framework, over 80Mb of memory was clawed back!

  6. vanessa
    April 25, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    This shit don't work ????????????

  7. Azhar
    March 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    A local manufacturer, QMobile's Noir A110.It has 169 Mb of local storage.Great huh!

  8. Anonymous
    December 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Very useful to learn you can roll back to smaller factory versions of pre installed apps to save memory. Useful if you just need a phone which syncs with email and basic browsing.

  9. Josh Roberts
    December 20, 2014 at 4:33 am

    get a Motorola Moto G 1st or 2nd gen. They have 8 or 16gb which shoulld be more than enough. I had an LG Optimus L3 ii, which i rooted and ended up bricking! Then i got a Skinny ZTE v795 which has no developer support whatsoever and only 512mb internal memory! (then again it was only $30) but there are a few programs to root it so i have been juggling system apps between internal storage and sdcard!

  10. Marco
    January 22, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I am using a Samsung Galaxy GTS-5670 with huge 178mb of internal memory. I am using CM7 on it because the stock-rom annoyed me anyways. I moved EVERYTHING to sd-card that doesn't need to start at boot. And just 7mb of space left. I think the only solution is to code your own android distribution with a better memory management...

  11. Terry
    January 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Alcatel one touch t'pop 150mb ¬.¬ i def need a new phone but cant afford one at the moment

  12. Souvick Chatterjee
    January 2, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    "Just Get A New Phone" is the best part...ha ha ...thnxx a lottt..and your advises are smart... i will definitely try.:)

  13. hudson
    December 12, 2013 at 7:30 am

    huawei acsend y100

    176mb hope link2SD works cause i rooted it witch did improve but i got a 8gb sd card going to waste

  14. PerpetualJordan
    October 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    My LG Optimus E400 is a awful phone. It only has very little space and when there is no space, the processor is super sluggish. Even without the processor, it is sluggish

    • Angela A
      October 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      Oh, that's unfortunate. Sorry to hear it!

  15. Konstantinos
    September 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I can't install good games that I bought on the humble bundle on my sony XPERIA PLAY....

    Just by the name of this phone this is criminal! Will android fix that internal memory thing? I don't see why I can't use my 16 gb SD.

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      It's a nightmare, isn't it? One day, maybe the Android OS will let you do that. But it will probably be some huge version of the OS that you can't install anyway. *sigh*

  16. Dave
    September 23, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I am using a Kyocera Milano on the Kroger iwireless pre-paid plan. I have all of the frustrations listed above, and must go through the cleansing and un-loading process nearly every day to keed 15 Mb available to synch. I have moved everything I can to the SD card, I especially hate the hard-wired bloatware from Google (books, Yout Tube) that send me stuff daily. I do not accept any offered updates, but still can barely keep this thing running. What I can't figure out is how to buy a new phone that doe3sn't repeat the problem. Most of the phones I see come with the same 256Mb of core memory. It seems more dependent on the amount of hard-wired bloatware that comes with a phone. Anywhere I can see some meaningful specs on a new phone to prevent this from happening again?

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Oh, I found most new phones have more like 16-32G of internal memory. Seriously, most phones on the market don't have these problems anymore. :)

  17. Anonymous
    September 22, 2013 at 2:32 am

    LG Optimus V. It's so horrible. I'll delete everything I possibly can and still get messages saying that a text message was rejected due to lack of memory. One thing that helped a lot was doing what the author did and reverting to older versions of apps on the phone but a huge help was not using the included browser and instead using Opera Mini. Major change in the behavior of my phone. I'm looking forward to getting a phone with more internal memory someday but for now, I'm grandfathered in at $25 at Virgin Mobile so I will probably wait for my phone to accidentally fall in a toilet or get run over by a car. ;)

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Agreed - Opera Mini is awesome. Although, I couldn't get rid of the original browser unless I got a new ROM.

  18. Enox
    September 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I have a Huawei 8652 with Consumer Cellular as carrier. It comes pre-loaded with tons of bloatware none of which can be removed or relocated in SD card. I'm down to 17 MB and cannot upgrade Swype or load any new apps that cannot be stored on SD card. My phone is getting slower and slower. I understand that internal memory degrades over time. There is a limit on how many times it can be written over. It would be nice if it were possible to surgically implant a few GBs of memory. I can see how the phone industry markets phones. If you opt for a cheaper phone one is stuck with a lack of internal memory. You have to spend another few hundred dollars to get enough memory. Yet memory is rather cheap!

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      I know. All they had to do was add enough in the first place and all would be good. *sigh*

  19. Yosua Wisnu
    September 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I have Peter Parker's Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro, which have 256 MB but only 212 MB can be used internal memory, and run exceptionally good on custom rom ArcMini.
    you can install APP2SD or LINK2SD and move other third party apps to your SD card, the access speed will heavily depends on your SD card class.
    So if you feel the stock rom is heavy and laggy, visit to, find the right custom rom for your phone, and learn how to root and flash.

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Yeah, rooting and getting a new ROM. That solves some of the problem. :)

  20. Ryashini K
    August 29, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    This. I had this problem with my Galaxy Ace and I did root it and delete the unwanted apps from it.Of course, I knew what I was doing and this isn't recommended for those who have no idea. I also set up Link2SD to move apps I did want to keep.

  21. Ben
    August 29, 2013 at 6:43 am

    yes my HTC desire sucks. no facebook, no map, and so on.....Use only twitter just to get the news. but then i have to clear the cache everyday, and also from internet. The only thing that keeps me hanging is my crack Sygic map on it - but that too sometimes lag. Waiting for note 3 - thats my answer.

  22. Raja G
    August 29, 2013 at 3:34 am

    Ok but installing Custom ROM can take off from Gaurentee that will offer by Designer . So Its not a better Idea for going to custom ROM.

    • Rick
      August 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      If it's an old phone that is already out of warranty, that is no longer a concern. Might as well use it to give rooting a try if you've always been curious - especially if you have a second phone. Of course, I realize that many people don't have a second phone. I was always too hesitant to try it when the LG Optimus V was my only phone. Funny thing is, if I had gone ahead and rooted it, I would have been very tempted to NOT spend the money on a new phone. It made it that much better, after some additional work of course.

  23. Bam
    August 29, 2013 at 2:17 am

    The wife and I are still using HTC Desires. Mine is running a custom ROM and has been repartitioned with a 300MB data partition. With apps2sd it leaves me about 60MB free and is workable.

    The wifes is still running the HTC ROM, and even with apps2sd its forever running out of space and not receiving emails etc.

    I've since used Titanium Backup's "app data to sd" to move the data for the 2 biggest space hogs on the phone, Facebook and Dolphin Browser, and its now sitting at around 55MB free which does the job..

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Yeah, you might want to convince your wife to get a new ROM. She'll be much happier for it. :)

  24. Matt
    August 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    My girlfriend's ChaCha is the worst it seems, recently she's had less than 1MB free! It's gotten to the point where she wants me to root it for her and flash Int2Ext...

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Yikes. That's pretty awful.

  25. Indronil
    August 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    The real problem with china phones and those that are hard to root

  26. J. Simon van der Walt
    August 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Gotta say, this was my exact experience with my HTC Desire! Really glad that the contract I had has finally expired, now got a nice s/h Samsung Google Nexus, can install stuff all day long…

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Yup, The HTC Desire was a great little phone in theory. All except for that complete lack of space issue.

  27. Susan
    August 28, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    LG Optimus Chat -- I have to work hard to keep 19MB free. I think the phone has a total of about 150. Everything that can be moved to the SD card has been moved. It's a real dance, just as you described.

    That's an interesting idea about the dog. Hmmm.

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Starting to feel sorry for the dogs... :)

  28. sandeep
    August 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Mine is HTC Explorer. internal memory is just 150 MB. once you update your apps properly, you are out of memory. I was fed up because I couldnt even install games. I always thought there are no ROMs for HTC explorer in XDA developers.. But I found out that it is named HTC PICO...
    Now I have rooted it carefully and use CUSTOM ROMS and LINK2SD app to create more space :)
    I play Dead Trigger on it :P..

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Awesome. Nice to hear a happy ending. :)

  29. Vs V
    August 28, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Samsung Galaxy Y
    190 MB

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Oooh, that's small. Ow!

  30. Claudine
    August 28, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    It's funny... I changed my HTC Desire for that same reason. I'm glad I made the change too! Too bad the HTD Desire doesn't have enough internal memory, it was a cute phone.

  31. Rick
    August 28, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    My old Optimus V has a whopping 179 MB of user available internal storage space. Space was always an issue, and continues to be to a lesser degree. Currently, 28 1/2 MB are free. As soon as I got a new phone with more space, I rooted this one, flashed a custom ROM with Gingerbread instead of Froyo, deleted bloatware and tweaked some other things. It actually made it pretty awesome and I still use it every day as an "entertainment" device for streaming music all day without draining the battery on my main phone, as well as for reading ebooks for extended periods of time, as a webcam, and for watching occasional youtube videos so that I don't have to unpair my bluetooth earbuds to use my main phone. Other uses pop up on occasion too, and even though the new phone is much nicer, I still like this one (my first Droid) a lot.

    • Rick
      August 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Google maps is another culprit. I would always clear cache and data after using it. I also regularly clear cache, history, and html5 data from the Dolphin Mini browser.

    • Angela A
      October 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      They make really good remote controls for XBMC. :)

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