Reducing the amount of Data Cached by our Applications

My smart-phone is a Samsung Galaxy S6, with 64GB of mass-storage – internal. It runs on Android. This morning I got a notification about a subject which I had known about for some time: My phone was running low on Storage. So I investigated for the first time, a subject which had been lingering. On a phone with 64GB of storage, this problem should not really occur.

What I found was that in my case, the cache used by the installed applications far exceeded the true amount of working storage I was consuming. My Cached Application Data was consuming 38GB by itself! And so I needed to perform a quick operation, to reduce this consumption.

In such a case, it does not serve any useful purpose, to Clear the Cache Partition. The reason for this is the old-school fact, that the Cache Partition is a separately-mounted partition, which may in certain cases contain corrupted bytes of data, but the consumption of which will never compete with the amount of storage in any other partition. I did clear my cache partition, but doing so had no effect on the amount of data being indicated, as Cached by the Applications, and on my main partition.

In such a case, the only thing really to do, is to clear the cache of specific applications, and/or uninstall apps we are not using, until the amount required has been freed. I had less than 1GB of working storage left at this point.

Fortunately, there is a helpful way in which the O/S can display its information. When we go into Settings -> Applications -> Application Manager , It will at first want to list our apps alphabetically. In the upper-right corner of this screen, I have a ‘More’ button. When I tap on that, one of the two menu-entries listed states “Sort By Size”. And tapping on that menu-entry will do exactly that – It will list the apps with the biggest storage-consumers near the top of the list! :) This is an extremely helpful way to sort out storage issues quickly, because normally, I would have faced the problem of finding which apps are the culprits, before Clearing their individual Cache, or before just uninstalling them.

But with the biggest consumers near the top of the list, it also becomes probable that the real culprit for such issues will be faster to find.

In this case there were several apps, consuming much more than 10MB of cache, but there was one which I would not have predicted: “Google Play Store” was consuming 10GB of Cache, all by itself! I can only see this as being due to some malfunction, and so I cleared the Cache of Google Play Store, as well as those of several other apps, which were being listed as ‘biggest’. So now my Cached Data is down to 27GB, which is still more than what is being listed as Used Space, but my Available Space is back up to 12GB.

I do not specifically recommend that we download and install Memory Cleaners to perform such a task, because

  1. They bring stability issues. What is built-in to the O/S is less likely to do so, and
  2. They often come with strings attached. A cache-cleaner app will constantly offer to delete things for you, which you feel you need. It will form an invasion of your privacy, and it will offer you services which you need to make in-app purchases for. For my purposes, Memory-Cleaner Programs constitute Malware!

But for the time being, my phone is ready to go again.



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