Question Flash memory depleted?

LakesidePark

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Hi
My brother has a VERY old samsung phone. Not even sure what model it is - but I think that does not matter for my question. Please see the attached screen shot from CXFile Explorer. I ran 'analyze' on the app and the results say the on board flash (16G) is 95% full and there is 795 MB free. But we deleted just about everything we could find on the phone and you can see the file types 'images' 'videos' 'archive' 'other' etc only have small amounts of storage used. So my guess is the flash is worn out and 90% of it is unusable??? I read that flash memory can wear out and t his is an old phone (10 years?). I tried running some other memory apps but did not learn anything more than I saw in this screenshot. Just looking for a simple answer here. I would normally do a factory reset the phone but my brother is not interested in getting the phone to the current state again (this should be obvious to you all since he is using a 10 year old phone with 16G!). Any thoughts on what to do next would be greatly appreciated. Please spare me the 'buy a new phone' comments - I tried that already and he will not do it. I offered to even buy him a new phone and he still said no....
 

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SpookDroid

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Not necessarily... the OS takes up A LOT of space, and OS files cannot be deleted/modified (at least not without rooting the device). Especially if the phone has an updated OS than what it shipped with, the size of that OS 'chunk' can be, well, sizeable (modern versions usually run around 10-15GB alone). And that's without apps and downloads/media files.
 

B. Diddy

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Welcome to Android Central! The main question I have is how many apps has he installed? That screenshot shows that Usage Access has not been permitted yet, so CX File Explorer didn't report how much space is being taken up by apps. When you say you deleted everything you could, does that include uninstalling all 3rd party apps?

As SpookDroid mentioned, the OS -- as well as any preinstalled bloatware -- can take up a good amount of space. Older Samsung phones were notorious for a LOT of bloat. Some phones with 16 GB of internal storage ended up having as little as 5 GB available to the user, primarily due to the massive amount of bloatware. That amount of free storage can get used up quickly when installing apps and then using them (since app data can build up pretty significantly, especially on a browser like Chrome).

Also, another possibility to consider: are you certain this is a genuine Samsung? Samsung knockoffs were and continue to be commonly available online. In the old days, the ridiculously named "Goophone" would make almost exact replicas, while these days, it's the generic "Welcome" phones (so named because their bootscreens invariably just say "Welcome" instead of "Samsung"). One of the hallmarks of these knockoffs is that they absolutely lie about their specs. In other words, they might advertise 64 GB of storage, and the system might even report that much, but in reality, it has much less.
 
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smvim

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Your brother's expectations he can force this phone to do things it's just not capable of doing is unrealistic and will only make him waste more time and effort. Really, for your own peace of mind don't allow yourself to get caught up in this too much further.
At the very least, take this phone to some one who is more familiar with Android devices. Knowing just what phone model and which version of Android OS its running is a big part of the overall problem.

Otherwise, look through the Settings menu for anything indicating 'About this phone'. Be flexible on the exact wording as it varies quite a bit from phone to phone. That should reveal the phone's model I.D.
The posted screen shot from CX File Explorer isn't comprehensive enough, I'd suggest you try installing this Storage Truth app and use it view the entire internal storage media, not just what a file manager app reveals.
(the app will work on Android 2.1 and above, so it presumably it will work on this mystery phone. And it's relatively small in file size so it does not take up very much storage space.)
If that phone does indeed have 16 GB of internal storage, there's obviously more retained data that needs to be taken into assessment.
 

LakesidePark

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Thank you all for reading my post and sending replies. I'm sorry for my delay in responding to your questions but I will try to address everyone's questions and suggestions for now. For any post asking for more information I will try to get that and post what information I can get. I am away for the next 3 days so it will take me until next week to get results. Let me try to respond to each post:
#2, #3 - I believe I looked at installed apps and it showed about 2.4G of installed apps. We uninstalled anything we we thought he did not use to get to 2.4G. I will get a screen shot of "about phone" to get info on model and Android version and post that. My Pixel 7 (Android 14) shows the amount of memory used by 'System' on the settings>storage page - so I will see if his phone reports that. I will also enable the 'Usage Access' on CXFile to get more app details. I did that on my Pixel and it shows the amount app storage that I may get an answer from another tool
#4 - I hope 'about phone' will help with some information. This is not a time problem for me to help. This is interesting to me so I want to determine the problem. I have reasonable experience with Android (I have rooted 3 different phones, installed LineageOS on 2 of them, can use ADB and Fastboot so debugging this problem seems possible to me. I just tried loading 'Truth' app on my Pixel 7 and Android 10 tablet and it is not compatible with either version of those so I hope it will run on his old phone. If I can get that to run I will report results here (again next week).
#5 I hope to answer it with results from 2,3,4 posts.
#6 MORE on the screenshot just opens up a folder view of the Images, Videos etc items. So no more information there. Enabling 'usage access' will help with more information

I had installed SD maid to see if that would help but it did not. I hope that smvim suggestion of "Truth" will provide the information I need.

Again - many thanks to all of you who are helping. I really appreciate it.
 
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LakesidePark

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New data from today. Phone is samsung sm-j337a with Android 9. So first - I was wrong - not a 10 year old phone (I tend to exaggerate) only 6 year old but very cheap phone. Unfortunately settings>storage does not show system storage amount (screenshot attached, it also does not scroll down to show system storage use). It does show only 1.2G apps so that is new data. Brother was not willing to install "Truth" app to do more analysis. My Lenovo Android 10 tablet says system is 16GB storage. Maybe that is the issue with his Android 9 phone (more guessing). I do believe you all answered my first question - it is probably not depleted memory issue so thanks to you all for that.

I read some posts about Samsung 'Secure Folder' being part of system storage but more guessing on my part here. Bottom line is he does not want to mess with the phone even though there may be a solution to increasing memory.

Factory reset would be good start but he won't let me do that right now. Anyway - at a dead end here unless someone says to try deleting/uninstall/disable Secure Folder (if it is even on his phone).

Thanks again
 

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B. Diddy

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If he uses social media or messaging apps, go to Settings>Apps and check how much app data they're using. Some of these kinds of apps have been known to build up a huge amount of data on the phone (that doesn't always show up in the storage menu, for some reason).
 

smvim

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Basic hardware stats for that model:

If you were to convince your brother to do a complete reset of that phone, you need to flash it with the appropriate firmware. Flashing is Android terminology using a restore image to rewrite a Windows PC. The firmware, a.k.a. ROM, contains the operating system, required drivers and such, system-level apps, etc so when flashing the ROM that's replacing the installed Android OS with a clean copy. Go here and pick the ROM that exactly matches that sm-j337a to download:
ROMs are very model specific, don't mix-and-match or get one that's 'close enough'. Each ROM is unique and corresponds with the also unique hardware configuration of every phone model.
When you pick the proper ROM, its download page has a link pointing you to directions on how to do the flashing process.
Also, note that a Factory Reset only does one thing, it wipes a phone's user data partition clean. That's all it does, it does not do anything to the installed Android operating system. So yeah, it's a bit of a misnomer. The internal storage is divided into several partitions. Most are dedicated to the operating system, one is set aside as the general, user data partition. The OS partitions are restricted with system-level permissions, the user data partition is not.
So a Factory Reset just deletes any saved user data, but the operating system remains as is. When you flash the firmware however, that deletes the installed Android OS and installs a clean Android OS. It's a much more thorough process that actually does what a Factory Reset merely implies it does.

But the bottom line is your brother doesn't want you to even do a Factory Reset, nor do an actual reset. This phone clearly needs to be serviced but he does not want any of that. Given his stance on this, you're trying to do what exactly?
 
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SyCoREAPER

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@smvim

I agree with your original assessment. The work and effort to MAYBE get this thing working to any acceptable extent is like 35% chance.

OPs brother should just feta new phone be it prepaid or used.

And with the brothers lack of desire to do what needs to be done, I'd get myself as the OP out of the middle.
 

LakesidePark

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Thanks again for more replies and instructions. When I started this I thought he was interested in doing some things to make the phone better but when I asked him to start helping with the debug process, he told me he did not want to do anything more with the phone so now I know this was a fools errand. Sorry for asking for help then not using all the help offered.
 

SyCoREAPER

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Thanks again for more replies and instructions. When I started this I thought he was interested in doing some things to make the phone better but when I asked him to start helping with the debug process, he told me he did not want to do anything more with the phone so now I know this was a fools errand. Sorry for asking for help then not using all the help offered.
No need to apologize. Your brother should apologize to you. You not taking the advice here wasn't at your discretion but the parameters set by him.

If anything you've walked away with insight for now and in the future and helped others in the future that may face this situation.
 

mustang7757

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Thanks again for more replies and instructions. When I started this I thought he was interested in doing some things to make the phone better but when I asked him to start helping with the debug process, he told me he did not want to do anything more with the phone so now I know this was a fools errand. Sorry for asking for help then not using all the help offered.
Glad you found us regardless, we have a great community here always willing to help. Hope to see you around.
 

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