Fp4 android says low storage space when lots of the storage is free

Hi, I have a Fairphone 4 running android 13.
I have the problem that android seems to think that I do not have storage space left when it isn’t the case.
When I check the storage in my phone settings, I have 97 GB used over the 256 GB of total storage space.
I also have a SD disk of 32 GB and this seems to be full.

But I have a notification from Android: “storage space running out”. I’m assuming it meant the SD card is full, but that’s not clear.
I tried to take photos and a similar message is displayed and I cannot take any pictures with the camera app.
In the meantime I’ve been able to take screenshots.
I check the camera app settings and it seems that selecting another storage space than the internal space is not even an option so I don’t think I should have a problem?
I also tried to move some files from the SD card to the internal storage without apparent success.

So I guess I’m lost and wondering if anyone has faced similar troubles?

Hello, has your card been formatted as an internal card or a portable one?

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Have you configured your camera app to save to the SD card?

I do not remember what option I picked when I first inserted the SD card, it was something like two years ago. Is there a way to check?

I do not think so (but I do not remember what I did when I first started with my FP). When I went into Applications>Camera, I could see that there is no option to switch storage options, so I am assuming that using the SD card for the camera is not even possible? (Which, aside from everything else, is weird too)

Storage option is defined in the app settings, not Settings > Apps.

  • Open the Camera app
  • Tap the cogged wheel top left to open the app’s settings
  • See under “Storage”.

I am pasting the information found in another thread

Please also have a look here - ✏ A little guide to... using SD cards

That’s everything I learnt from the forum, as I dont use the SD card on my FP5 now

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Thank you for the information. I just looked in the app settings, the storage is set to “internal storage” (and I cannot change this).

So this would be in my eyes a clear indicator that the SD card is formatted as internal extension and very likely causing the issues

That presumably means that your SD card is configured as expansion of internal storage, and not as “Portable” or “External” storage that we usually recommend. Expansion of internal storage is the default option (or certainly used to be).

Meaghan has already pointed out a wiki on SD cards that you need to read.

In the long run I would recommend moving everything that’s on the SD card currently, back into the phone’s main internal storage. You’ll then be able to re-configure the SD card as Portable and move files on to it manually. Usually the big ones like video, audio and large image collections.

Thank you for the links, I think I understand my problem a bit more. I also found this FP2 thread with the same problem: SD card full, lots of space on phone but can't use - #2 by Patrick1

It is not super-obvious that my SD-card is treated as internal storage because it is separate from the phone internal storage where I go to settings>storage or when I look at my files in the Files application. However, in both the storage settings or in the Files, I couldn’t find the small icon to eject the card, so my conclusion is that it is indeed formatted as internal storage and not external one.

As far as I understand from the threads I need to make a copy of everything that is on the card and reformat everything to get it to be external storage.

The only thing that I am a bit worried about is that the card does not seem to work properly anyway. Even after I moved photos from the card to the internal phone memory, the card still appears full in the settings. Another weird thing is that in the storage manager, when I am looking at the card storage, it says that 25 GB of space is taken by Apps, but when I click on this to see which apps are stored there, I get to a place with the message “No apps”.

In any case I will copy the files I can and reformat the SD-card. Thanks again for your help! I will report on how it went when I’m done.

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Actually I have doubts on what to do. I do not know if I should open another topic with this specific question but:

  • I think my problem comes from the fact that my SD card is seen as internal storage
  • In order to reverse this I need to format the SD card
  • Before formatting I should save the data that is on the SD card to the phone storage

My problem is that there is apparently systems files on that card. There is a android folder that is not empty. And when I tried moving these files, it fails - I guess this makes sense because I’m guessing moving these files can cause problems in the system anyway.
So my guess is that if I format the card now I might damage the operating system?

I think if I understand this thread (SD card full, lots of space on phone but can't use - #7 by BeMiGro) I will need to do a factory reset and then reformat the card?
But this is not described in the little guide to using SD card (✏ A little guide to... using SD cards) - there it just says to format the card.

I’m wondering if anyone has an opinion on what is the best course of action (I just want to avoid breaking my phone!)

A factory reset would not be required unless things get very muddled.

Although the following topic is about a FP2 the method remains valid in principle. I have not tested it: one of the problems when one wants to help people with internal storage on SD, is that ideally one needs to devote a phone + card to pure experimentation (I haven’t, yet).

Read through to the end of the topic.

I would add, that once you’ve removed the SD card it could be re-formatted for use as Portable storage. I would do the formatting on a PC. You might want to use the formatting tool provided by the SD Association.