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Punit, is Microsoft MVP and, has over 8+ years of professional experience working on designing Enterprise Applications on Microsoft Technology Stack especially for Financial Sector. He is an open-source contributor of CodeInject, Workflow Extractor and dI.Hook on CodePlex, has 6 applications in MarketPlace, and a freeware application 'myTracker' on Softpedia. He writes on various topics on his website & has spoken in various forums in UK and Singapore and is blogs on his website and social blog site Punit is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 20 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

8 Simple Steps to Fix 'Insufficient Storage Available' on Android

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If you are using a phone or a tablet running on Android OS and are a geek wanting to try out various applications in Market, then you are bound to see an error message pop up on your device “Insufficient Storage Available” and the application installation fails.  Or, suddenly your GMail would stop sync’ing mails.

This is one of the very common problems with Android OS as all applications, by default, get installed on your phone memory that isn’t too large.  [As a matter of fact, Windows Phones do not have any such issue].  So whichever Android phone/tablet you take up, you will end up with the same problem – and yes, with one quick solution.

With a broadband speed of 20MBPS or more, my bet would be a fix that would take you not more than 15 minutes, around 200 MB of your disk space on your laptop/desktop on which you have Administrator privilege. So here’s it!

Step 1:
  Download and Install Java Development Kit from Oracle’s website.  I downloaded JDK 7u2 for Windows x64 (approximately 87 MB)

Step 2: Download and Install Android SDK from Google’s website.  I preferred the recommended Windows Installer

Step 3: Run Command Prompt with Administrator Privileges on Windows 7 or Windows 8 OS.  [Start Menu –> type in cmd –> Right click the Command Prompt –> Run as Administrator.  The UAC will prompt you with a dialog which you should click as ‘Yes’]

Step 4:  If you have installed the latest version of Android SDK (SDK Manager Revision 16 or later), then type in following commands on cmd

cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools

You may want to verify & replace the folder on which you have installed the SDK.  If you are using an older version of Android SDK, you may want to give a try at following path C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\tools

Step 5: On your Android phone/tablet, go to Settings –> Applications –> Development and enable USB Debugging.  Once done, connect the phone/tablet to your laptop/desktop via USB cable.


Step 6:
Execute following commands (highlighted in blue only) in sequence

adb shell pm getInstallLocation

You would get an output as: 0[auto]

In Android, Install Location has 3 values

0[auto] – Let the system decide the best location
1[internal] – Install the application on internal device storage.  This means any internal storage provided with your device
2[external] – Install the application on external media.  This means any SD, microSD cards attached to your device.

Step 7:
So let’s change the default location to 2[external]

adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2

This will change the default installation location to SD card of all the applications that you install henceforth.  What about those that are already installed on device storage?  I am sure you were unable to move all of them to SD card earlier.   You can give it a try now!  Alternatively, you can download an application Apps2SD and manually move them to SD card.

To check if the settings changed or not, you can execute Step 6 again and check the results

Step 8: Disable USB debugging on your phone/tablet. Close the Command Prompt and enjoy!

Step 9:  Drop in a comment, if this helped you.  If there was something else you would like to say, drop in a comment.


Published at DZone with permission of Punit Ganshani, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Schlacter Adam replied on Sat, 2012/04/14 - 12:40am

Did not work. Samsung Dart from T-Mobile. SD card free space = 7.21GB, Internal memory free space = 65MB. Cannot install many apps… trying to install Angry Birds Space shows “Downloading” for 5 minutes… then it fails with insufficient storage again. Those responsible for the Android OS really need to get their act together… it shouldn’t be this difficult to install a silly game.

Derek Johnstone replied on Fri, 2012/05/11 - 2:24pm

I tried this.

It took ages to download all the stuff, we only get 2M connections here in the UK, even though we pay for 8M

Connected my Android 2.2.2 Viewpad7

Got a gurrgle

Typed the command line

got error: device not found.

So I assume that the USB driver has not linked to my Android.

There is a program AVD Manager.exe   but I couldn't work out how to create a device, and it would not find it.

I tried rebooting everything, but no go.

Back to the final tip that did work

use app App2SD to move apps to SD card, freed up enough memory for me to use.

Derek Johnstone replied on Fri, 2012/05/11 - 2:29pm

Hi Sorry that when I created the account I had to used information somewhat ficticious

It would not let me put my company as NONE, occupation RETIRED

Instead I became IBM 's CEO

Also it did not like my phone number, so I used a restaraunt in Dallas

Well I recon the CEO of IBM might go there

Phil Lee replied on Thu, 2012/06/28 - 5:42pm

Have HTC Desire & have done as instructed, then turned off de-bugging etc, and can still not move some apps (facebook, Maps etc) - quite annoying as they are the largest (Still have 3 GB space on the card).

I have validated that storage is set at '2' (external) - have I missed anything? or what else can I do to get the required space freed up?




Rich Johns replied on Thu, 2012/08/23 - 12:48am

Found the adb.exe in C:\Users\Rich\android-sdks\platform-tools

 The syntax on my system is:

 C:\Users\Rich\android-sdks\platform-tools>adb shell pm get-install-location

C:\Users\Rich\android-sdks\platform-tools>adb shell pm set-install-location 2

C:\Users\Rich\android-sdks\platform-tools>adb shell pm get-install-location

That worked and I could now install apps from the Play Store on my 4.0.3 Evo 3d




Heywood Jablowme replied on Thu, 2012/08/30 - 5:58pm

Great article Punit!  I followed the steps exactly as shown and it works great.  I've been fighting the insufficient storage errors for months now.  I was able to update apps after following this process.  I was also able to move many more apps to the SD card.

 If anyone is wondering, you DO NOT need root access to perform this modification.

 Thanks Punit! 

Ambareen Ahmed replied on Wed, 2013/05/01 - 12:04pm

Hey Punit,

Just wanted to drop a THANK YOU note as this worked very well for me.

Was almost thinking of doing away with the cell thanks to the low space issue! This fixed it and I love my cell again :)

Oh and thanks RichJohn as I had to follow the command syntax from your post.

Great work!

Charles Kenyon replied on Fri, 2013/05/17 - 1:14pm

 I got as far as Step 2 - the Android SDK. I downloaded it and what I have is  SDK Manager.exe. I have nothing installed in my Program Files folder. I have obviously installed the wrong thing. What I downloaded was "adt-bundle-windows-x86_64-20130514" for my 64-bit Windows Vista system.

I have over a gig of available storage on my Galaxy SIII together with over 10 gig on the SD card. I note this because my problem may not be the one addressed by your blog.

UPDATE: I copied the SDK to the specified folder. Note that there probably are no related registry entries.

UPDATE 2 The current SDK has the commands with dashes rather than all one word. That is, instead of getInsallLocation and setInsallLocation it wants get-install-location and set-install-location.

I changed mine back to storage location 1 and it is now working fine.

I suspect the problem was that my SD card does not have a separate FAT32 partition.

UPDATE 3 I spoke too soon. I was able to implement the commands but am still getting the message. I will try changing it to SD card. The app Link2SD has superuser privileges.

UPDATE 4, Link2SD may have change it back to external. I again set it to 1 and the updates seem to be going in fine.

Thank you.

Mohammad Hassan replied on Sun, 2014/03/16 - 11:57pm

Hi Punit Ganshani,

I followed your steps and had luck all through.

i..e I could change my Samsung Galaxy Express (gt-i8730T) mobile's default download location to 2- External. I verified it and was all good. However, still even though I have 1.8 GB free space on my internal, SD card and 3.2 GB on external SD card I had no luck to update the already installed apps and download new apps. Could you please help telling me how I can fix this issue..

Many thanks in advance.

Kind Regards,


Sam Su replied on Tue, 2014/08/26 - 9:23am

If you get a ulefone android phone ,then i advise you to know this article,this post would be helpful to fix your android device,strong commend to bookmark it.

John Lee replied on Mon, 2014/09/15 - 8:55am

 I consider that a great strategy. Thanks for sharing the tools (  ) needed here.

Ev Oke replied on Thu, 2014/11/20 - 4:47pm

 Thanks so much for your easy steps. It worked on my HTC phone called Tecno, running Android 4.2.

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