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"Insufficient storage available" error: how to fix it

androidpit sd cards 3
© nextpit

You have all the space in the world on your SD card, and yet your Android refuses to download applications because your smartphone's memory is full. We explain why you're getting the "insufficient storage available" error, and how to remedy it.

The reason for the error

The error message "insufficient storage available" may come as a surprise when you have so much extra space on your smartphone or Android tablet, but sometimes it still happens for a reason. When you download an application, some data has to be installed on the phone's internal memory. If this storage is full, you will not be able to download the application of your choice, even if your MicroSD card is empty!

Insufficient RAM Memory

Some lower end smartphones or those smartphones of a certain age have just 1 GB of RAM, or even less. That is the reason why if you use a heavy application, or many different applications at once, the phone will run slowly.

A good tip is to keep an eye on the amount of RAM your applications consume, and then close ones that do not need to be open constantly. To see this information, go to the settings. The procedure is very simple since the update to Marshmallow.

androidpit nougat info app
It's easy to see how much memory an app uses. / © AndroidPolice

Another thing that works to free up your RAM by closing all processes that you have in the background. From the Home screen, simply click the square button to see all of your open applications which use RAM. You then simply have to close those that you do not need.

AndroidPIT google play not working 2
Clearing an app's cache can sometimes help. / © NextPit

Insufficient storage space

Many smartphones don't have very much space left free for apps because the system takes up so much space that only a few bytes remain free. It is important to remember that even if the phone says it comes with 16, 32 or 64 GB, the reality is always less.

How can I solve this problem? Simply sort out your internal storage. If you absolutely want to keep everything, choose to move what you can (music, movies, photos, documents ...) onto your SD card. To make more room in your internal memory, think about using cloud storage solutions (Google Drive, Dropbox and others). For music, think about music streaming services like Spotify.

AndroidPIT best cloud storage apps 3
Try a cloud storage app, like Box. / © NextPit

However, keep in mind that not all devices can easily move your data to an SD card: the way to have total freedom is to root. You can also remove bloatware.

Sometimes, due to partitions in the internal memory, sometimes it appears there is space available, but it is reserved for the files and applications that the system needs to function. It is best not to mess around with this space because it can cause serious problems later on.

The last solution remains to reset your device to the factory settings: you will gain space and speed, but you will lose all your important files so you must make backups first.

What methods worked for you? Do you have any other ways which work that aren't listed here? Tell us in the comments.

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Pierre Vitré

Pierre Vitré
Head of Content

Pierre has a strong passion for new technologies and mobile since its first StarTac. Android user since 2011, Pierre became totally hooked. He never leaves his smartphone and smartwatch and still believes in the success of Google Glass. That's why he joined to be the head of content.

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  • 27
    Sorin Jan 5, 2018 Link to comment

    I recommend to moving applications to microSD (only those that can move) and cloud storage for photos and documents.

  • Gaurav Magoon 1
    Gaurav Magoon Aug 20, 2017 Link to comment

    I agree with you. Android OS is very strange. They should make it simple yet they make it complicated so user wastes so much money doing something simple. Inspite of allowing users to choose where to install (Internal or External), it keeps complaining about insufficient storage. Google has failed me miserably due to their poorly designed OS. Your not alone sir!

    But there is a way to fix this in Google Play Store app if Google adds in the feature to select destination to phone memory or sd card during installation of app. That is the only solution I can think of.

  • Rusty 3
    Rusty Jan 30, 2017 Link to comment

    Really, this is the way to fix it? Come on guys, this really does not make sense. Cleaning is no option anymore, everyone knows how to move apps or uninstall them, android OS usage increases during updates, nothing you can do about that, only way is to expand by using your SD card as extended memory for your internal memory. Shame on developers of android who still do not implement this as default, especially on this older version, where internal memory is extremely low (2gb). You can easily extend your internal memory via a SD card, that's the only solution and I was hoping androidpit deepdived into an easy approach and supplied an easy solution....

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