DEFY XT: How to increase space for apps and avoid the "low memory" warning


#1

The DEFY XT has a very small amount of space for user-downloaded apps and data (e.g. Email, call history, texts). Because of the phone’s default settings you may find it running out of space very soon with only a small number of downloaded apps installed. Here’s how to get control of your phone’s internal memory.

  • Check the phone’s internal memory
  • Update your phone
  • Stop updates for apps you don’t care about
  • Remove app updates already installed
  • Move apps to the SD card
  • Move as many apps as possible to the SD card
  • Special note for Facebook users

Check the phone’s internal memory

The phone may report two different numbers for available phone memory. So here’s how to assess whether your phone is in trouble:

  • From the Settings app, if you tap Storage Use, the number under Available space should not be less than 35 MB.
  • From the Settings app, if you tap Applications, and then tap Storage use, the number at the bottom right should not be less than 50 MB.

Update your phone

Check whether your phone is up to date by starting the Settings app and tap About phone. Build number should report as 1_65K_1027. If it’s not, tap Phone updates, then tap System updates and apply the update. That update improves the phone’s internal memory situation by removing some bundled apps.

Stop updates for apps you don’t care about

The phone has app auto-updating enabled and there are a lot of bundled (permanently installed) apps that are instantly out of date on a new phone. Updates for bundled apps can use a lot of internal memory. So do either of the following to stop auto-updating.

Disable all auto-updating

  1. Start the Play store app.
  2. Tap the Menu button, then tap Settings
  3. Tap Auto-Update apps and tap the bullet for “Do not auto-update apps”.
    Defy XT Google Play app will not be updated.png

Disable auto-updating for specific apps

  1. Start the Play store app.
  2. Swipe from the left side of the screen to see the menu, then tap My apps.
  3. For each of the bundled apps you don’t use or don’t want updated, do the following:
  4. Tap the app name.
  5. Tap the Menu button.
  6. Tap Auto-update.
  7. The screen will briefly flash a message that the app will not be updated automatically (example on the right). Tap the Back button.

The bundled apps that you may be interested in stopping auto-updates for include: Gmail, Google Search, Google Play Books, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, Google+, Maps, Voice Search, and YouTube.

After this is done, you will get a notification when an app has an update available. If you dismiss the notification, the phone won’t bother you again about that app until the next time it has an update.

Remove app updates already installed

Your phone may already have updated apps you don’t care about, so remove those updates as follows:

  1. Start the Settings app.
  2. Tap Applications.
  3. Tap Manage Applications.
  4. Tap the Downloaded tab.
  5. For each bundled app you don’t want to be updated, tap the app name, then tap Uninstall updates.

Notes:

  • It is not possible to completely remove the bundled apps unless the phone is rooted (if "rooted’ is a foreign term to you, just ignore these notes).
  • Removing the original version of a bundled app on a rooted phone does not increase the space available for downloaded apps.

Move apps to the SD card

Some apps can be moved to the SD card. To take advantage of that, do the following:

  1. Start the Settings app.
  2. Tap Applications
  3. Tap Manage Applications
  4. Tap the On SD card tab.
  5. An app without a green checkmark in the box can be moved to the SD card. To do that, tap the app, and then tap “Move to SD card”.

Notes:

  • Bundled apps and the updates for bundled apps can’t be moved to the SD card.
  • Apps on the SD card can’t be used when the phone is plugged in to a computer with a USB cable and USB storage is enabled so the computer can read or write to the phone’s SD card.
  • Periodically, or after installing a new app, repeat this process to see whether new apps can be moved to the SD card.
  • When an app currently on the SD card is updated, the update will install to the SD card

If you’re still running low on phone memory after this step, the next section may help.

Move as many apps as possible to the SD card

Some apps are coded to prevent being moved to the SD card. This may have been done to insure the app remains available when the phone is connected to USB and “USB storage” is enabled so that the computer can access the phone’s SD card. Or it might be because the app includes a widget - widgets won’t work (at all) when their app is on the SD card. For some apps this restriction can be lifted. Here’s how:

Prerequisites

  • Windows computer with a USB port (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10)
  • Motorola’s drivers installed on the computer. If the drivers aren’t installed, you are usually prompted to run a setup program for those drivers when you connect the phone to a computer via USB. If you’re not sure about this, or you have Windows 8, see the following: DEFY XT: Install the Motorola Drivers in Windows

Procedure

  1. At your phone, from the Settings app, tap Applications, then Development, and check the box to enable USB debugging.
  2. Connect the phone to the computer with the USB cable.
  3. At the computer, click this to download the program.
  4. Run the downloaded set_external_install_location_2.1.exe program (hereafter simply the program), as follows:
    Google Chrome
    Click the file name at the lower left corner of the browser window.
    Internet Explorer
    Click the Run button in the Run-Save-Cancel dialog.
    Mozilla Firefox
    Click Save File, then click the file name in the box that opens just below the download button.

If the downloaded file doesn’t appear as described above, view the recent downloads in your browser and click the program to run it.

  1. Because the program isn’t commercially produced and has not been downloaded frequently, it will not be automatically trusted by the security systems on your computer. When asked to confirm, choose to Run the program. If you don’t see that, look for something else to click such as Actions. For the Windows SmartScreen dialog, you must click More Info, and then click Run anyway:
    Windows 8 Smartscreen 1.png
  2. You may receive warnings about a generic threat or an unknown program from your antivirus. Do what your antivirus requires to run the program…

Feel free to upload the program to virustotal.com and see what other antivirus programs think about it.

  1. An End User License Agreement is displayed. It’s very short so please read it, and then click Accept if you agree, or Decline if you don’t.
  2. For those with the 32-bit version of Windows Vista, 7, or 8: You will be asked to approve running a program that can make changes to your computer. The program only makes changes to the phone. This access is needed to verify the phone’s connection to the computer.
  3. A brief introduction to the program will be shown. Click Continue.
  4. When the program completes it will look like the following.
    set_external_install_location_2.0_Defy.png
  5. If the Program Compatibility Assistant window appears (Windows Vista and 7), click The program installed correctly. It appeared because Windows thought the program was an installation routine, but after it finished, nothing new was installed.
  6. On the phone, from Settings, tap Applications, then Development, and un-check the box for USB debugging.

Notes:

  • Return to the Move Apps To The SD Card section above and see if more apps are now listed on the tab as movable to SD.
  • Some apps that should not be moved to the SD card may now be movable. Don’t move launchers, apps with widgets you use, or apps that must run at startup.
  • The above procedure only needs to be done one time, unless you factory reset the phone.
  • Firefox and Chrome users may delete set_external_install_location_2.0.exe from their Downloads area.
  • The program set_external_install_location_2.0.exe is not provided nor supported by Republic Wireless. If you have a question or problem, post it as a comment here or in the community forums.
  • Re-distribution of set_external_install_location_2.0.exe or its copyrighted components is prohibited. If you wish to give it to others, please provide the web address from step 3 above. (This stipulation is mainly to prevent obsolete versions from being distributed; no pennies are earned from your clicks to download it.)

Special note for Facebook users

If you can’t move Facebook to the SD card even after completing **Move As Many Apps As Possible To The SD Card **it’s because Facebook updated itself prior to your updating the phone to build 1_65K_1027. You’ll need to do the following to remove Facebook from the phone’s internal memory:

  1. Go to Settings / Applications / Manage Applications / Downloaded tab.
  2. Find the Facebook app, tap it, and tap Uninstall update.
  3. Reboot the phone (Power off, turn it back on).
  4. Go to the Play store and download the Facebook app.
  5. Now you should be able to move Facebook to the SD card.

#2

UNinstalled Facebook updates and now cannot get the Defy to activate, keeps informing me to try again and now going on one hour of try again. The good news I cannot see the low memory warning, bad news maybe I will be unable to get the phone activated.


#3

Removing Facebook updates shouldn’t cause the phone to become de-activated, but if the phone is trying to activate you need to be in a area with native (non-roaming) Sprint coverage. Are you?

You might also try removing the battery and wait a few seconds, then re-assemble and see how it does.

Worst case (you’re in a native Sprint area and after battery out/in it still won’t activate), open a ticket with Republic - click “Ask us” here: Republic Help


#4

Thanks for this little program. I am always running up against low memory. Do you think I can safely move Google Play Services, Google Voice, and Update Agent to the SD card?


#5

I don’t use GV so I’m not aware of the issues that might exist for it. I don’t know what “Update agent” is I have Google Play Services on SD on my phone, but it may be used by other apps you download and might not be a good candidate for moving depending on your habits. You should not move an app to SD if:

  • An app has a widget and you have placed that widget on a home screen.
  • You routinely plug the phone into a computer with USB to transfer files, and not having access to those apps during that time is a problem.
  • The app is a launcher.
  • The app starts when the phone boots up and won’t ever start by itself otherwise.

#6

Is there a way to identify an app that “must run at startup” ?


#7

Tap the app under Manage Applications, scroll down and look at Permissions and tap Show all. You’re looking for:

  • System tools
    automatically start a boot

Some apps will still start after moving to SD even when that permission is listed. For example, I have Avast Mobile Security on SD card and it still starts automatically after boot - though maybe a little later than it might have otherwise. But I had to manually start Screen Adjuster when it was on SD.


#8

I’ve done all of the above and am getting the “low on space” warning. It appears that the threshold for getting this warning is when there is less than 50 MB remaining. I have 36 MB available. Is there any way to adjust the threshold for this warning to something less than the default 50 MB?


#9

You can’t change the warning threshold. When you get those warnings, the phone will soon (if not already) shut down things that might further deplete internal memory, such as syncing mail and other items with Google. If the internal memory gets too low, the phone can become unstable and would then require a factory reset.

Now, if you’ve done all of the steps in the blog successfully, and have less than 50MB free, these are the top contenders that would explain that situation:

  1. You’re keeping all of the bundled Google apps updated.
  2. You have one or two apps on the phone that are using a huge amount of internal memory.
  3. Your overall choice of apps use a lot of phone memory in spite of the availability of SD space.
  4. You have many many apps on the phone.
  5. You didn’t actually complete all of the steps mentioned in the blog post.

If the reasons are any of 1-4 above, and you absolutely cannot live without the updates or the most offending of your chosen apps, your only remaining choice is to root the phone and use Link2SD. I do not recommend rooting the phone, because it’s easy to make a rooted phone unbootable, and a rooted phone that won’t boot is a worthless hunk of glass and plastic - there’s no recovery from such problems that we mere mortals can accomplish.


#10

thanks for the program. was wary to mess with typing in codes with adb or whatever but automated = $$$


#11

Thanks for all the help! I did find one app that I had forgotten to move, Ebay. And I did remove all the updates on bundled programs I don’t use. It only increased the phone storage by 1mb. I now have 98mb free. We’ll see if that helps.


#12

Thank you Carlh. It worked perfectly and smoothly.

There is one question I have.

After completing the transfer and freeing memory I rebooted the phone.

It immediately started updating every app I had, which I had left turned off.

Simple to fix, but it continued to update even after several Low Memory warnings.

My only concern is that someone may get low memory warnings until the phone locks up.

It would help if the program turned off auto updating, leaving the user to decide to turn it on again.

Thanks again.


#13

At this point it doesn’t appear that Google makes it possible for an app or program to disable auto-updating. If you disable all updating as outlined above, it will stick (I’ve run with it disabled for many months and several versions of the Play store, and it’s not spontaneously reversed the setting). However, occasionally when you manually update an app the Play store will ask “Enable app auto-updating?”. It only takes one misplaced tap and you’re back to updating all apps again.


#14

Went through all the steps you outlined other than the last step that requires a Windows computer. So far this has gotten me from 35MB to 101MB (I had already moved most of the apps to the SD previously), so thanks for that anyway! Any chance of there being a Mac version of that last fix? Thank you!


#15

The nuts and bolts of a Mac version are described here: Re: Reduced-geek version of “How to move as many apps as possible to the SD card” but if something goes wrong with that, I couldn’t help troubleshoot since I’ve never used a Mac. Like I noted there, it’s probably easier to borrow a friend’s Windows computer for 5 minutes.


#16

Oh wow, thanks! That whole “this is a one-time thing” bit makes all the difference in the world! (Yes, I understand the bit about factory reset) Thanks for your help.


#17

Happiness at last!!! I have very few apps on my Defy, but there are two that are a must for me. One in particular is huge and will grow even larger over time. After following the above procedure I was able to move them to my SD card. One thing to note for Windows 8 users (which I’m not a fan of I personally love my Linux computer but for some reason getting information for Linux users is sparse. Which I don’t understand since Android is based on Linux…go figure?) the Motorola ADB driver needs to be installed on the computer. This driver can be obtained for free at the Motorola website. My previous attempts failed because of not having the driver. Some websites say you “shouldn’t need” this driver. Do yourself a favour and get the driver, you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation. For those that need the website to obtain the driver: https://motorola-global-portal.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/88481


#18

Or, just install the drivers as mentioned under the Prerequisites using DEFY XT: Install the Motorola Drivers in Windows


#19

Hi: I tried the disable specific apps only steps above and after opening the playstore app, tapping the menu button, i get only 2 options Settings and Help. Settings does not have anything about My Apps and Help takes us to googleland website. I have set my settings to “update apps in wifi mode”. My main usage is yahoo mail and vonage and i cannot move them to the the sd card, even though i deleted the widget. Any ideas? Thank you for what you do to make us smart enough to use the smart phones.


#20

Thanks for the note. Google updated the Play store app again and changed things around. Now to get the menu, you swipe from the left side of the screen. The instructions above now reflect this new status quo.

Regarding Vonage and Yahoo, some apps are created so they can’t be moved to SD no matter what. There’s not much that can be done about that, unfortunately (short of rooting the phone, which makes most of this blog post unnecessary, but poses some risk to the phone’s future well-being).