If your Android phone has 1 or even 2 GB of internal memory, you could face update issues and a generally slow device if you install a few apps.
Typically to update apps, Android requires at least 300 MB of free internal storage memory (also called Device Memory). Any less that this amount usually results in an ‘insufficient storage” message.
So what can you do ?
- Ensure that all the apps installed on your device are really needed. We tend to download apps, try them once but don’t remember to remove them.
- If you run Kitkat (4.4) or below, you can try moving apps to the SD card. This works for a lot of apps however core apps cannot be moved.
To check the version of Android on your phone, go to Settings and tap on About Phone and look for the Android version.
- Clear Cache: Some applications use a lot of memory to store information in the cache. While this helps the app perform better, a lot of times, the information in the cache will not be used again. (for example if you visit a news site, the app will cache the stories you read even though you may never read them again). You can see how much cache an app is using by going to Settings then tap on Apps and then tap on the App of interest, you will see a Cache section that shows the amount of memory this app is using for Cache, you can clear the cache by tapping the button.
- If moving apps and clearing cache is still not solving the memory issue, you can start disabling some of the apps that come bundled with Android (or the manufacturer) but you never use. This will not only save you a lot of memory but also makes your device faster as it is running fewer apps.
Google installs a fair bit of additional apps that you may never use. For example:
- Drive – This is Google Cloud storage, however if you use another cloud storage then you can disable this.
- Gmail – Again, if you use another email client, you don’t need Gmail to also be running.
- Google+ – Not many use this social media app but Android still bundles it and it takes a lot of memory.
- Hangouts – Googles chat app. If you don’t use it you can disable it.
- Talkback – Same and Hangouts
- Facebook – Yes many use the facebook app but if you don’t or prefer not to use it on the phone (like me 🙂 ) you can disable this.
- Any app that is manufacturer based as each one installs a heap of apps that are rarely or never used.
Note that I used disable not remove because these apps cannot be uninstalled. Still disabling them will give you plenty of free memory. For each of the above apps, go to Settings then Apps swipe to the All tab and find the app in question. Tap on the app and you will see a button named “Uninstall updates”, tap this button first and confirm then tap the “Disable” button. You will notice how much memory you have claimed back.
If for any reason you want this app again, swipe to the Disabled tab and you will see all the disabled apps. You can then enable and update (via the Play Store)
The menu examples and steps are from Android 4.3 (Jellybean) so they may differ slightly on other versions. Feel free to ask if you have any issues.