My 8GB Moto G3 Mistake

I thought I would be a nice husband and upgrade my wife’s old RW Moto G1 to a Moto G3 8GB as a Christmas gift. She really hated the camera on that G1 and I had to agree that the pictures weren’t that great. So, it’s now a week after Christmas and the phone’s memory is almost used up – there was only 4GB available when we first turned it on, Christmas morning, and that is now down to 0.9GB, even though we have the camera set to store all pics to the SD card and have moved any apps that can be move over to the SD card.

So I did some research on the RW site and saw that if that phone had the Marshmallow OS, everything could be moved onto the SD card, which would have solved the problem. However, RW has abandoned all development on the “old” plan phones in favor of focusing on the new ones. So that Moto G3 never really received an OS upgrade.

I’m feeling like it was a mistake to get the 8GB phone, because there’s no way to get out of this situation unless I root the phone. Someone please help me out here. Thanks.

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I have a Motorola G 1st gen. with 8gb. I have become very careful with my storage. One thing you can do is go to the Google play store/my apps/settings and turn off autoupdate. Apps like to constantly update and each time they do it takes up more storage. I seldom update my apps, except of course the RW app, and in over two years with this phone, my apps work just fine. I usually have a steady 2.5 gb free space left.

Hi @laurencec

One way manufacturer’s reduce a phone’s costs is to build the phone with less RAM. This allows them to build a lower priced phone.

Here is a link to a blog that describes ways to deal with a phone that’s running low on RAM. The blog was written to address this problem with the Moto E but the advice is applicable to your situation as well, I think.

Moto E: Make the most of your phone’s available storage

If your wife’s old G1 was an 8GB, then the new phone should actually be better since you can offload pictures and videos to the SD card. I use a Moto G1/8GB and keep about 1.7 GB free. As mikem said, you can turn autoupdate off. I never update apps that I never use–and there are a lot of them built-in that I can’t remove. That saves a good amount of space. I also keep my pictures and videos on the cloud and PC, not on the phone. Lastly, and most important to me, I prefer to use a link to a mobile website rather than an APP wherever possible. Sure, there are apps that can do things that the mobile site can’t, but in most cases my Chrome or Firefox browser can provide an app-like experience without the overhead of an app. And shortcuts to those sites appear on my home screen looking just like an app. Here are some of the mobile sites that I use INSTEAD of the memory gobbling apps: Facebook, Discovercard, MTA (NY subway), NJT (NJ transit), ABC7, ABC News, BBC, CNN, Washington Post, etc. I have zero shopping apps. I still use apps for airlines, investment brokers and banks, but for most things the mobile browser works great.

Thanks, Johnny5 – I had previously seen the Moto E post, but I didn’t think that it applied to the Moto G3, as there is a warning near the beginning that states:

Due to changes made by Google, this does not work with Android 5.x.

So, I didn’t try that procedure because I was afraid I would brick the phone.

Thanks, davidw.ctd2jy. Except for the storage, she loves the phone – it is way faster than the old one and the pictures are great, just like she wanted. I think the difference between the G1 and G3 is that the G1’s OS and pre-installed apps was much lower, so there was more internal memory to work with. However, I will check it to see.

Also, I will take a look at her apps and see which ones we can convert to the “mobile” web browser versions. I know she has FB on there, and I heard it is a memory hog, so that’s definitely one that I’ll convert for her. I think if we can keep the free space around 1GB, then it will be fine.

Thanks, mikem.i4nhm1. I read on an android forum that the apps that have the auto-updates disabled will not function at all. Is that correct? Or does that just apply to the pre-installed apps from Motorola? I’m trying to figure out which ones I can safely turn off. Do you have the RW app updating automatically or do you have to do that manually?


It is of my opinion with many others here in the community that any phone nowadays 8GB it practically useless. Operating systems are 4GB then add some factory installed apps and the customer loses in purchasing that low of GB phone. The money’s spent and now the buyers have to fight just using their phones daily isn’t fair.

This is my individual opinion! I wish RW would not sell any 8GB phones anymore. I am probably wrong but, I am betting the Manufacturers push the 8GB phones onto RW as a package to get the 16GB or higher phones to sell. Hence the option, “Take these and we will sell you those” type of deal or maybe even a consignment deal.

*** ~~ßocephous™ ***

I just checked her old Moto G1 and it was the 16GB phone. That is why we didn’t yet run into any storage issues with that phone. That said, I see she was on the verge of using all of that up because there is no SD card on that phone.

So, in hindsight, I guess I should have tried to find a used 16GB Moto G3. We wanted to stay on the 2.0 plan and that was one of the drivers for going after a G3 vs a G4. Also, at the time I bought it, I didn’t realize that RW was not going to provide an upgrade to Marshmallow.

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I would say that I have been slowly upgrading and adding memory with each upgrade. I now have a 32GB Moto X2 and it routinely fills up. When I had my Defy XT I had Huge memory problems and a couple things helped maybe these can help you out (even though the phone is much bigger):

  1. Backup photos to Google Photos and use SD card to store them in the meantime

  2. Don’t update apps you aren’t using - in this we are talking 35-100 MB of lost space if you aren’t using Google Play Videos just don’t update it, it wastes space, on this note turn auto-update off in settings.

  3. check your storage page - settings > storage may take a while to load but will give you the amount of space taken by anything. personally mine has 14.63GB of App data and when I go into apps I see that Amazon Music is using 4.11GB since I have so much music downloaded (If I had an SD card I would try to move this music data to the SD card right away) anything below a MB is really not worth trying to work with.

  4. Check app usage (Facebook caches data now, a lot of data) Facebook, Twitter, and Google plus all use space to save posts to upload later and save posts so you have something to see offline (I would recommend turning this off in settings or using the Facebook Mobile page which is much lighter and still fairly well designed).

  5. Always clear… I always look for apps that are not being used on a regular basis to get rid of to clear space. With anything below 16GB it will be hard but game apps take the most space and sit unused the longest so I would start there.

I hope some of these ideas help I don’t know how I did it with 500MB of memory on my Defy XT but using these methods helped a lot during the 6 months or so using it.

Well, I only have about 14 apps on my phone: NOAA weather, Pocket, HERE (navigation), ESPN, EPIX, PBS, to name a few. They all function fine without updating. Now there are thousands and thousands of apps out there, so there could be some that won’t function without updating.

I had an issue a while back with my older RW phone where the RW app was increasing in size and was upwards of a few GB of data (not sure what it was collecting to accumulate that much but…). The permissions wouldn’t let me clear the data or manage the space, but I read somewhere or was told by someone to uninstall the app and reinstall from the play store. This solved my issue and I never had the RW app increase in size (that much) again.

@laurencec Jan 2, 2017 11:51 AM
I read on an android forum that the apps that have the auto-updates disabled will not function at all. Is that correct? Or does that just apply to the pre-installed apps from Motorola? I’m trying to figure out which ones I can safely turn off. Do you have the RW app updating automatically or do you have to do that manually?

Lots of good advice here on freeing up memory. Hopefully it’ll work for you and yours.

What you read was incorrect for the majority of apps regardless how initially installed. Unless there’s another app that lets you choose, when you turn off auto-updates there’s no choice to switch on/off individual apps updating that I’m aware off. My Auto-update is off and may occasionally check for new RW update information, Republic Help Updates. General I don’t update my RW app or any other unless there’s an issue with one of my phones. As others mentioned many apps occupy more space when updated. They also some times stop being add free, change UI and cause other issues. You can also use the app setting to disable and clear the memory of some app that can not be removed.

You said on Christmas morning it was fine but full later. This could be related to updates associated with the google bloatware. If your wife doesn’t use Google Newsstand, Google Magazine, Google Play Music, Google etc…, then from the Home screen go to Apps > Settings > Application Manager > and scroll through those lists to find apps that you know FOR SURE she wont use and touch them once to bring up the menu to Disable them. My older phone came with NFL app, AMEX app, zomebie hunter something app; and everytime updates came out for those, they took up space, even though I didn’t use them and they could not be deleted.

What most likely happened is that those apps updated and incurred larger file sizes. If you disable them, they shouldn’t auto-updated. Keep in mind some of the Google apps should not be disabled (play store, google+, and some others I don’t remember) because of their heavy integration into the OS. You will get lots of errors all the time if you disable the heavily integrated ones.

On Christmas morning when I gave it to her, it had about 4GB of open space on the internal storage. Then I did the Motorola Migrate to get the data from her old Moto G1 (16GB) over to this phone. We put the pictures onto the SD card. So at that point she had about .5GB remaining. I’ve since removed Facebook and have her using the mobile browser version, and also cleaned up a few other things to get around 1GB of free space.


This still applies to all the Moto Phones, hope it helps conserve space in internal memory.
Moto E: Make the most of your phone’s available storage

Yep, with my Moto E 2nd gen phone (8 GB), storage space is a constant struggle and I regret making what I thought was an economic choice (because “I’ll just pop in an SD card and move apps, storage, etc. to it”).

  1. Buy a phone with more internal memory. You can never have too much. Until there is better support for SD cards, at least. And if you do use an SD card, make sure you get a fast one.

  2. Do not install apps unless you absolutely have to

  3. Use mobile web versions of Facebook (–you can still get notifications–and for Messaging), Twitter, etc. Visit the mobile site for the service you want to use, then click the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser and choose “Add to Home screen.”

  4. Click “Settings - Storage - Cache” to clear app cache. There’s also a way to boot into Recovery mode and wipe the app cache partition, but I’m not covering that here.

  5. Use Google Photos to store photos on the SD card (and let Google Photos remove photos that have already been backed up)

  6. Make sure your “Downloads” isn’t holding old files - delete 'em

  7. Set a short window for syncing to avoid holding too much email (especially with attachments) on your phone (Gmail - three horizontal bars in the upper left corner - Settings - select the appropriate account - Days of mail to sync: pick something shorter, like 7 - OK)

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I feel your pain. This is hands down the worst cell phone experience I have ever had. This phone makes no sense to me. It is the equivalent of having a computer with windows 10 and only a 32g hard drive… aka it is destined to fill up and have problems. Not a question of if but when.

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