Storage full, but actually empty! Phone buggy

Hi everyone
It’s a while I haven’t been able to use my Fairphone 3+ because something reallty strange happened to it. The storage manager indicates that I am out of storage, I’ve cancelled most apps, all photos and media, cookies,cache etc. However, it still says the same and it seems to point to photo storage as the main cause for using up all the space. However, it is completely empty! I don’t use a SD card and I also checked the “deleted files” folder of my e/os account which is empty also. I checked with the e OS community forum, but it seems such an issue is not experienced by ayone else, which makes me think It has to do with the fairphone.
Since storage indicates 100% the phone has become very buggy. I can’t make calls, apps crash. Signal stopped working completely and the phone is completely unreliable.
Help! Does anyone know what could be done about this?

Hi and welcome to the forum.

You may have come across a problem associated with formatting an SD card as [Internal] Check your SD and you may like to read ~ and henceforth format as [Portable]

Apologies for not being more attentive ~ Incanus has noted my lack of attention :blush:

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I don’t think so :wink::


Thank you @amoun and @Incanus
As noted no SD card, at least I never purchased or inserted one myself.

All of this is quite frustrating I have to admit. I am thinking that I will have to revert back to Googling the phone to get Fairphone support. Does anybody have any info around what I could do in this sense, i.e. googling or factory resetting which to do first and where I can find instrucions?

Gratefully receive any suggestions you might have. I somewhat regret that I did not purchase the Fairphone through the e OS Foundation as this would have made it so much easier with tech support on both the phone and the OS - I am assuming. But unfortunately degoogling wasn’t something on my radar when I did. Now I reallly don’t want to go back.

First you can try a safe restart, this just disables custom apps and you may loose soem settings when re-enabling them.

A factory reset will just bring you back to a ‘clean’ phone, so back up your contacts etc.

By the way how much usable memory do you have. You will need about 10GB to keep the apps working.
Settings > Storage

Factory reset

Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options > Erase all data (factory reset)


@amoun thank you!

So that is the problem. Storage currently indicates 62.88GB used (98%). This is after I cleared cache in the image gallery, before then it showed 64GB of 64 used, i.e. 100%

I am aware that this is why the apps don’t work. However, I don’t have any images or any other media on the phone nor in the e/os deleted files section. Nothing.
Hence this is so strange. I don’t understand why it is showing full storage when there is nothing in those media folders!

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@amoun I just did the safe mode restart. The storage problem persists.
I noticed that Gallery shows 49.15KB size and Images 49GB!
However, they are both empty!

When I click on “Images” it says “No photos found”. So how can it be 49GB in size?
This is where the problem lies, but I am not clear what is causing it.

Should I do a factory reset?

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Is there a trash can to empty out?
Depending on the Apps used and their setup, deleting pictures may move them to a trash can, which unlists them, but they are still there until the trash can gets emptied out.

If you have a backup of everything important to you, a factory reset should help.


Thanks! I don’t know if there is a trash can on the phone. E/OS community support forum suggested I check the e/os cloud to see if there are deleted files there. I checked, but there aren’t any. So not sure where all that weight might be found.
In any case, I had maybe about 20 photos on the phone and a short video or two, hardly anything that could amount to 49GB!

I will look around some more to see if there is a trash can somewhere and if not might just go for the factory reset.



If you connect the phone to a computer via adb you may find where the used memory is.

If you are not familiar with ADB here is my recent effort in connecting my Raspberry Pi to my FP3

Now I’ve mentioned it I’m sure someone may provide better ‘instructions;’

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Might there be some data in DCIM/.thumbnails folder?
It has sometimes happened to me that there was one file of lots of GB there. It can just be deleted.
I’m using a FP2 with /e/OS and not FP3. But maybe it’s similar on an FP3.
If you use the default Files app then you have to show hidden files to show this folder (.thumbnails). To show it tap on the three dots at the top right and select “show hidden files”.


thank you @amoun and @Volker !
meanwhile i went for. factory reset and it solved the issue.
i made a note of your suggestions in case it happens again!


I might relate to this.

When I download music via TIDAL or other apps, and later on would delete the downloaded content, in the settings it is still listed as downloaded. So the app is 7gig plus big, but everything is deleted.

The play store also shows different information.

TIDAL:4,6 gig
Spotify: 1,6 gig

But in the settings both apps are around 400 mb. But still the measured free space is way off.

Settings FP3: 49,95 gig
Play store estimation: 39gig.

I don’t do a lot of photos but the phone gets fuller and fuller. So I wonder.

You can delete the cache of Spotify in the App settings (scroll down almost to the end). That should free some GB. Maybe Tidal has a similar function.
Seems there is always kept fragments of each download even if download was removed in the App,

I just did this for Spotify and I think the delete cache function in the App will delete the data that would be deleted using “delete storage” through the phone settings-Apps-Spotify-storage, but does not touch the password or current downloads.

Should Tidal not have its own clean cache option, you could clean by going through the settings, but then you will have to log in and newly download.

Oh absolutely, and if i delete the cach which helps a bit, both the storage in settings is freed and in the one in play store, but there is still a 10 gig difference. In addition, no huge files are added or loads of small ones, but still the free storage gets smaller and smaller. As if some files are not deleted correctly or “shadows” of them remain and build up.

Hard to explain, need to check in the evening via PC how much storage is actually taken on the phone.

I don’t know what’s exactly happening but I can guess. As earlier mentioned it could be the downloaded songs of Tidal/ Spotify or whatever, but it’s so much of GB I think it’s not that. Maybe it’s a virus that has covered itself like this, it could be that your storage itself is physically damaged or it could be a OS crash. If I was in this case I would do a viruscheck(if possible because of storage) and if that don’t work a hardreset for sure. If a hardreset wouldn’t work I would switch from OS to par example Fairphone open. Os

Do you frequently use WhatsApp and send and receive pictures and other media? They lurk on the phone and take up space even when you think you have deleted everything. Go hunting around your file manager to find the WhatsApp storage and cull the media files - they stay accessible online from the WhatsApp system. My wife had exactly this problem with her Samsung.

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Do you mean a factory reset? Milchmann, make sure you have a backup.

Unfortunately not available I think for FP3. It’s essentially Lineage or /e/.

Are you deleting through the apps or “behind their backs” through a file manager? If the latter, beware as there may be associated data that you don’t see, but that needs to be deleted at the same time. This may lead to a messy situation.

At any rate you may get short of space. Are you using, or have you considered using a SD card formatted as portable / external memory?

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