I bought the 8GB Nexus 7 right after it came out. Great device and I don't regret getting it over the 16GB. It does everything that I need it to do and at the time the 16GB was out of stock. That being said, on a device as great as the Nexus 7 is for gaming and media, I'm finding space to be a larger problem than I thought it would be.
Now I understand why Google doesn't want to include an external SD card and I agree with them on this one. I also don't believe that hacking up some extra storage space using an OTG cable and StickMount is a sound option. Worst case it doesn't work right, best case you have an ugly dongle hanging off your Nexus 7. So I decided to put together a few of the things I'm doing to keep my disk usage down on the Nexus 7. Some are pretty basic, others are not. Some require root, others don't. These tips aren't obviously limited to the 8GB Nexus 7 and will work for any Android device.
As of writing this I have 3.5 GB free of the 6GB on the SD card. That includes 5 games, TiBu backups, nandroid.
Offload your unused TiBu (Titanium Backup) backups to a computer via Dropbox [ROOT]
TiBu Backups take up space but they are really a necessity especially if you play with custom ROMs at all. If you have a few games that you have made some progress in but don't play that often you can use TiBu to get them backuped, sync them up with Dropbox and then move the backup to a safe more permanent location on a PC to be restored later if needed. Here's what you do.
[BOX=Offload the backup & uninstall the app]
Run a full backup with TiBu. TiBu > Schedules > Backup all user apps > Run. If you don't have a "Backup all user apps" job, create one.
When it's done. TiBu > Schedules > Sync to Dropbox > Run.Dropbox needs to be installed and the first time you run it you'll be prompted to login.
When it's done go to a computer that has Dropbox on it. You should find a folder called "TitaniumBackup" with all your backups in it. If you have multiple devices that you want to do this with you'll want to change the backup location for Dropbox in TiBu's settings so each device has a different backup location.
Find the 3 backup files for the apps or apps you are trying to offload. This can be a bit tricky but usually it'll be something like com...gz (two of them) and .properties. If you have trouble finding the vendor name sometimes looking at the app in the market helps. Copy the 3 files to another location outside of your Dropbox folder.
Go into TiBu. Backup/Restore > click the app you want to delete > DELETE
Uninstall the app from the device.
[BOX=Restoring the backup later]
Copy the 3 backuped files to TitaniumBackup folder on the sdcard of the Nexus 7 from your computer either via Dropbox or USB cable. For this one I usually just use a USB cable.
Disconnect the USB cable when it's done copying and open up TiBu.
Backup/Restore > Menu > Refresh App List
Find the app you are restoring and click on it.
All the backups will be listed for the app. In this case you'll see two if the app is sitll installed on the device. Find the one with the date from the original backup and click restore. Do both "App+Data" to make sure you are restoring the right data with the right version of the app.
Once it's restored make sure it runs before going to the market to check for any new updates to the app.
or similar app [NO ROOT*]
This app gives you a nice graphical break down of exactly what is using up all your space. It reads like this. On the left is the whole SD card in blue. Moving to the right is breaks down the usage by size and color. Green you can't do much about but blue and orange you can, potentially. You can pinch to zoom in but the larger (vertically) the block is the more space it's taking up. Don't just start deleting stuff. Some of it is important and actually helps reduce the space taken up on your device. More on that in a minute. This tool is just used to help you get a handle on what is taking up space so you can determine if any can be reclaimed.
*DiskUsage doesn't require root to scan the sdcard but if you are rooted you can have it scan the other areas of the device. A word of caution there, donít delete it if you donít know what it is.
Clear your App Cache [NO ROOT]
In Android, and most other operating systems, cache is used to make things faster. The general idea is that you store things where they are more readily accessible so the next time you need them they load quicker. Well for apps that you rarely use or even that you use often but are say image heavy that cache could be taking up space that you don't need. A good example of this are apps like 500px that cache the images locally so they load faster next time. Under "Apps" in DiskUsage you can see the largest offenders. Then go into you device's settings > Apps > find the app > Clear Cache.
Only sync what you need [NO ROOT]
Android is great at syncing up with Google's cloud services. But sometimes you don't really care about syncing some stuff ahead of time and would prefer to just get it when you need it. Settings > Accounts > Google > and uncheck the stuff you don't need. For me I don't have Google Photos, Google Drive, Google Play Music or Instant Upload checked. You can still access these services, it just means Google will get them on demand instead of ahead of time. Obviously an Internet connection is required to do that.
Compress your nandroids with TWRP [ROOT]
If you are a TWRP fan, I'm not, when you do a nandroid backup you have the option to compress it. TeamWin says that you can cut the nandroid size by 50% doing that at the expense of the backup time. Basically it takes longer but it's smaller. Compressed, TWRP nandroids seem to be smaller than ClockworkMod nandroids.
The ClockworkMod /blob folder and why it is good [ROOT]
So in DiskUsage, you've probably seen by now a huge folder under clockworkmod called 'blob'. Clockworkmod recovery in version 6.0 I believe started making use of the blob folder. It's essentially a differential backup location designed to save space when you have multiple backups. It works like this. If you have two backups with say 5 apps in one but 10 in another. Lets say the 5 apps in backup 1 are also in backup 2's 10 apps. ClockworkMod puts the 10 apps in the blobs folder so they are shared between the backups. That way you aren't wasting space backing up files that are in other backups already, provided they are identical. I'm talking apps (of the same version), not app data.
Clockwork is also smart enough to keep the blobs folder clean, if you uninstall an app and it no longer exists in any backup then when the next backup occurs it'll be removed from the /blobs folder. You should never delete the blobs folder because it'll trash all your backups. That being said, if you have removed all your nandroids for some reason and want to clear up some space then it's safe to delete. On my Nexus 7 I don't keep multiple backups just to save the space.
Hope that helps some people. Post your tips in the comments.
Last edited by digitalslacker; 10-08-2012 at 08:34 PM.
Re: [GUIDE] Managing Storage Space on the 8GB Nexus 7
I put a question about the Cache in the forum yesterday and was directed to this guide. I now have.......4.63GB free, now I know how to free up space I won't ever need more storage. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.
Re: [GUIDE] Managing Storage Space on the 8GB Nexus 7
If you delete your Google Play Music cache it will delete your "keep on device" music. So if you are using the "Automatically cache" for streaming music and think you want to clear your cache, you are gonna have a bad time. It is probably a good tip to turn off Automatically Cache and so only what music choose is stored as the app's cache.