Android Storage Manager Sucks. Use This Instead!


The Android Storage Manager app that came with your TV or TV box is better than nothing. But that’s not saying much.

Before Android 6 (Marshmallow), you had to use a third-party app to manage your internal storage. When Google finally included one as part of the operating system, it was great…until we started realizing how much it couldn’t do.

Android Storage Manager: There's got to be a better way
Android Storage Manager: There’s got to be a better way

Ever since I started using Android devices, I’ve been looking for a program similar to WinDirStat on my Windows PC.

WinDirStat is an awesome storage analyzer that gives you a visual image of how your internal storage is being used on your PC. Different types of files have different colors so you can tell in seconds what types of files are taking up space.

The trouble is, I couldn’t find anything similar on Android until recently.

If you’re like me, your Android TV or TV box fills up its internal storage space really quickly. We’re constantly downloading music and video files, and they eat up your storage.

I was researching an article on how to free up space on Android TV’s, and realized that there just had to be a tool like WinDirStat for Android as well.

It turns out, there is.

Meet the Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage app.

Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage

Storage Analyzer is one of the most popular Android apps on the Google Play Store with over one million downloads since 2013 and an average rating of 4.52 out of 5!

The beauty of this app is that it’s so simple to use.

As soon as you launch Storage Analyzer, you’ll see two high-level views of your device’s storage.

The left half of the window shows how much total space is available on your Android TV, how much is free and how much is being used.

Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage
Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage

The right half of the screen is where things start getting interesting. It shows how much space is being used according to file types.

That’s nice, but you can get something similar in the default Storage Manager. There are other ways you can dig in to your Android device’s storage to see what’s taking up so much space.

There are four tabs along the main menu of the app: File Categories, Device Storage, Drive Usage and Quick Search.

You start out on the Device Storage tab, which has the two pie-chart graphs that show a couple of different ways to look at the storage overall.

We’ll get into each tab in a bit more detail as I work through an example to figure out what’s taking up space on my Android TV box.

Storage Analyzer vs Android Storage Manager

All this isn’t meant to say that the default Storage Manager isn’t useful. It’s an easy way to uninstall specific apps or to clear the cache of every app at the same time.

Those are pretty useful features.

Storage Analyzer just takes it to another level.

Both apps will show you the total amount of storage taken up by certain file types. For example, in both of the pictures above, you can see that video files take up 4.1 GB of space on my Android TV’s internal storage.

Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage will actually tell you where to find those video files.

Quickly Find What Types Of Files Are Taking Up Space

The moment that you open Storage Analyzer, you should have a pretty good idea where to look.

For example, I can see a couple of interesting things right off the bat. I’ve got 9.0 GB of videos, 1.8 GB of music as well as some smaller amounts of image files and even a few zip files.

The next challenge is finding them.

That’s where Android Storage Manager lets you down. It can tell you that the files are there, but not where the files are.

If you click on the File Categories tab in Storage Analyzer, you’ll see the pie-chart on the right, showing you the overall storage. However, you’ll get a breakdown of what the files are on the left hand side.

The best part is that you can click on each line and drill down even further. Video files can be broken up into MKV and MPEG-4 files, for example.

Once you click on a file extension, the app pops over to the Quick Search tab to look at each file individually. From here you can open the file or delete it, right from this screen.

Find Large Folders Easily

But what if it’s not a single file that’s taking up space on your Android TV box, but a whole folder full of small files?

Cough….Kodi….cough.

You can easily find the offending folders in the Drive Usage tab.

You start out by getting a similar view to the other screens. The categories on the left are sorted with the largest folders at the top.

If you have large files, like I do, the top folders will be skewed because of them.

However, if you start going down the list, you can find some really interesting folders that have just as big an impact on your free space.

For example, Kodi stores thumbnails of every move and music file in your library. If you have a big enough library, that folder can take up a lot of space on your internal storage.

There’s no way inside Kodi to delete those thumbnails without wiping everything else as well. But it’s pretty easy to do from inside Storage Analyzer.

Similar to all of the other tabs, you can click on a folder and start drilling down.

Once you drill down, the graph on the right changes to help guide you in the right direction.

Eventually you’ll get to a point where it’s easy to tell when an app is taking up more space than it should.

Here, my Kodi folder is taking up almost 1 GB of space, while every other folder is less than 20 MB.

I can keep drilling down to find the Thumbnails folder. If I wanted, I could keep going and delete individual files, but in this case, I’d rather just delete the folder itself.

Be careful when deleting any system files! If you delete the wrong file or folder, the app may stop working properly.

You can delete files or even entire folders from any screen in Storage Analyzer by long-pressing on the item you want to delete.

This will change the graph on the right side of the screen to show how much space that file or folder takes up.

Two additional buttons appear letting you Delete the item or Select All items in the folder you’re in to delete them at once.

If you click Delete, you’ll be asked to confirm before the deletion is permanent.

Find Large Files on Your Device

The final tab let’s you search for individual files, no matter where they’re stored on your Android device.

By default, the Quick Search tab shows all of your files individually, sorted with the largest files at the top.

Personally, I don’t use this tab very often.

That’s not to say that it’s not useful. However, the largest files on my Android TV box are media files. I keep them in specific folders for Movies or Music.

The search feature is nice. But if I’m looking for a specific file, I would much rather use an actual file manager. I recently wrote a massive article where I compared every file manager available on Android TV. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Conclusion

The stock Android Storage Manager has it’s uses. If you want to uninstall an app or get a really quick look at how much storage you have, then it’s perfect.

But anything more than that and it really starts to show it’s limitations.

I love Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage. It gives my a visual look at what’s taking up space on my Android device. More importantly, it tells me exactly where to find those large files or folders.

That saves me a lot of time and frustration digging through my system.

Better yet, it helps me quickly free up space so I can install more apps or movies!

If you want to see what I consider to be essential apps that need to be on every Android TV and TV box, then you should definitely head on over to this article. I created a list of apps that you nobody is talking about…but the should be.

Tim Wells

Tim Wells got his first computer at the age of ten and hasn't stopped tinkering ever since. After discovering Android TV boxes in 2013, he created a popular Android PC Review website and guided it to over 8 million pageviews before selling it in 2018. After a brief hiatus from the industry he's back at the helm of AndroidTVNews.com to bring Android TV boxes to the forefront of the streaming world. When he's not writing, he spends as much time as he can with his beautiful wife and his bulldog.

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