One of the great Android mobile puzzles occurs when you want to install an app and the system complains that there is not enough space even though the memory card is almost empty.

Although it may not seem logical, there is a logical explanation why your Android phone is hesitant to update or download new apps or take photos even though it has plenty of free space on the MicroSD. We’ll see why this happens and what you can do about it.

Why mobile says I have no space

To understand why this happens, we must first understand the concept of data partitions. A partition is nothing more than a virtual division of a physical disk. The storage of an Android mobile is divided into several partitions.

The number and type of partitions may vary from mobile to mobile (for example, Huawei started using the EROFS read-only file system in the latest versions of EMUI), but most mobiles grant on three partitions: system, data and cache. You can check your mobile partitions with apps like DiskInfo.

The main partitions of three Android mobiles

There are actually many additional partitions, but these are the main ones. In the system partition is the operating system and pre-installed apps, in the cache is the app cache, and in the data partition is the rest, including everything stored in the phone’s internal memory.

This is the reason why mobiles have much less storage available to users than the total (in previous screenshots 107/128GB, 23.6/32GB and 5.1/8GB respectively) . This is also the reason why the mobile keeps giving you space problems even though the memory card is almost empty.

The main problem is that Android saves app data and caches it in internal memory

The space on the memory card is separate, but there is a problem: app data is saved in the internal memory, including app downloads from Google Play and their subsequent installation. Therefore, Google Play may tell you that you have no free space even if the memory card has gigabytes and free gigabytes.

The only things that are saved directly to the memory card – and this depends on the camera app settings – are photos and videos. The problem is that these photos and videos generate thumbnails and cache in the internal memory, so in the long run, even if the photos are saved in the memory card, they also affect the internal memory. .

Internal memory is used for almost everything and when it is full the problems start

That is, no matter how much space you have on the memory card, Android continues to use internal memory almost exclusively for all of its needs, from downloads to backing up app data and cache. The photos you take on the memory card are also noted on the internal memory as cache or data in the Google Photos app.

What can you do if you have no space

EMUI lets you choose the default storage location, although that’s not normal

If you have a memory card full of space but the internal memory is full then your mobile will keep giving you errors every time you try to do anything. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can implement:

Free up space on mobile. This is the most effective way to bring your mobile back to life, and it ranges from uninstalling apps to deleting files or deleting photos or videos that you no longer care about. Of course, those photos and videos that are in the internal memory.

Use adoptable storage, if available. Adoptable Storage is an Android feature that allows you to format a memory card as internal memory. It is a simple process, although unfortunately it is not available on all mobile brands. It is important to use a high speed memory card and remember that it will lose portability. Come on, you won’t be able to play its content on another device.

Choose microSD card as standard storage. This is not a standard Android feature, but some manufacturers, such as Huawei and to a lesser extent Samsung, allow the default storage location to be chosen between internal memory or microSD.

Move apps to SD card. Moving apps to the SD card was very popular a few years ago and some customization layers bring the option right from the settings. It’s not a panacea, but in specific cases it can help save a few megabytes of internal memory.

Switch to light applications. If none of the above worked, you can try using lightweight apps and scaled-down versions of apps you use like Facebook, Messenger, or Twitter.