1. Jeff Hanson's Avatar
    My Nexus 5 has been annoying me lately with "storage space running out" errors. Now.. before you reply with the obvious, I know what is taking up space and how to find and free as much as I want.

    What I want to know is, why does it basically shut everything down with so much space still available? It stops syncing (so no gmail), turns off SMS, and won't even let you download the tiniest app or update from Google Play.

    Is this just some hard coded threshold in android? ~10-15% free seems extremely high to set that to. I've also frequently run my Nexus 7 down to just a few MB and it's never behaved this way. If it wasn't a Nexus device, I'd suspect the internal memory was full, while the SD card had space. But of course a Nexus 5 doesn't have any external storage, just a virtual partition, and from what I've read it treats all of the storage the same. ie. there are no smaller partitions that can get full despite there overall being lots of space available.

    adb shell df
    Filesystem               Size     Used     Free   Blksize
    /dev                   927.5M   128.0K   927.4M   4096
    /sys/fs/cgroup         927.5M    12.0K   927.5M   4096
    /mnt/asec              927.5M     0.0K   927.5M   4096
    /mnt/obb               927.5M     0.0K   927.5M   4096
    /system               1009.3M   686.4M   322.9M   4096
    /data                   12.6G    12.4G   195.0M   4096
    /cache                 689.8M    12.7M   677.2M   4096
    /persist                15.8M     4.2M    11.6M   4096
    /firmware               64.0M    41.0M    22.9M   16384
    /mnt/shell/emulated     12.6G    12.4G   195.0M   4096
    ^ forums support for code blocks seems borked, so you'll just have to pretend the columns line up
    05-17-2014 10:25 PM
  2. Rukbat's Avatar
    According to the screen shot, you don't have 300-500MB free, you have 196MB free, that's not 10-15% free, that's a little over 6% free. (Available and free are the same thing.) Considering the size of apps today, I doubt that you can update anything. (You need space to download the entire app to do an update in most cases.)

    Syncing may depend on what you're syncing. There may be an arbitrary limit, because emails can be 25MB and MMS files can be almost as large - and there's no way to know how large the file is until after it's downloaded.

    Also the OS itself needs a certain minimum amount of free storage to store its own data. Every running app must maintain its current state at all times (since the memory manager can kill an app at any time with no warning - this is Android, not Windows, where the program can force Windows to ask for permission to close the program, and the program can refuse permission.) No free system storage space can mean killing an app without having its state saved, which can mean that you have to turn the phone off to regain control. Since the people who wrote Android are smarter than that, they don't allow you to do things that can crash the system.
    05-19-2014 01:34 AM
  3. Jeff Hanson's Avatar
    300-500 was just an estimate for where the exact cutoff is. The screenshot was from after the warning came on.

    Syncing doesn't fail, it just gets turned off blocking anything no matter the size. No text only email, no SMS, no installing even the most basic several MB app from the play store.

    And to answer my own question, it is a built in arbitrary limit. Android reserves 500MB of storage but continues to include that 500MB in the available count, even though it's not actually available.

    Buyers of devices with very low internal storage beware.

    I suspect it worked differently in 4.2
    05-26-2014 05:08 AM
  4. Nigel Dodd's Avatar
    I have a similar problem. With the upgrade to version 5 there is no space for updating even though I have approx 500MB free space. What is more puzzling is that pictures and videos are consuming 3 GB and this is largely because these images have been uploaded from my PC to picasaweb and therefore Google plus. I would have hoped the phone would moderate its own uploading of these images so as to leave sufficient space for normal use of the phone. But it does not seem able to do this and I do not know how to do the job manually without also deleting the images from picasaweb which serves as my backup device.
    11-26-2014 09:42 AM

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