The default Android Storage Manager app on your TV or TV box is better than nothing.
But that’s not saying much.
Before Android 6 (Marshmallow), you were forced 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 realized how much it couldn’t do.
Since using Android devices, I’ve been looking for a program similar to WinDirStat on my Windows PC.
WinDirStat is a fantastic storage analyzer that gives you a visual image of how your internal storage is being used on your PC. Different file types have different colors, so you can tell what’s taking up space in seconds.
The trouble is, I couldn’t find anything similar on Android.
If you’re like me, your Android TV or TV box quickly fills up its internal storage space. All of those downloaded music and video files eat up your available storage.
I was researching an article on how to delete downloads on Android TVs to free up space and realized there just had to be a tool like WinDirStat for Android.
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.
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 to dig into your Android device’s storage to see what’s taking up so much space.
There are four tabs along the app’s main menu: 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 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
Don’t get me wrong. The default Storage Manager has its uses.
It’s an easy way to uninstall specific apps or clear the cache of every app at the same time.
Those are helpful features.
Storage Analyzer takes it to another level.
Both apps will show you the total amount of storage taken up by certain file types. For example, both pictures above show that video files take up 4.1 GB of space on my Android TV’s internal storage.
Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage will tell you where to find those video files.
Quickly Find What Types Of Files Are Taking Up Space
When you open Storage Analyzer, you see some interesting things right away.
For example, I have 9.0 GB of videos, 1.8 GB of music, 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.
Click on the File Categories tab in Storage Analyzer.
You’ll see the pie chart on the right, showing you the overall storage and a breakdown of the files on the left-hand side.
The best part is that you can click on each line and drill down further. For example, video files can be broken up into MKV and MPEG-4 files.
Once you click on a file extension, the app opens 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 taking up space on your Android TV box but a whole folder full of small files?
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, as 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 much of 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 out everything else. But it’s easy to do from inside Storage Analyzer.
Like all 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 takes up more space than it should.
My Kodi folder is taking up almost 1 GB of space here, 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 delete the folder itself.
Be careful when deleting any system files! The app may stop working correctly if you delete the wrong file or folder.
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.
You’ll be asked to confirm before the deletion is permanent if you click Delete.
Find Large Files on Your Device
The final tab lets you search for individual files, no matter where they’re stored on your Android device.
By default, the Quick Search tab shows all your files individually, sorted with the largest files at the top.
Personally, I don’t use this tab very often, but that’s not to say that it’s not helpful.
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 rather use an actual file manager. I recently wrote a massive article comparing every file manager available on Android TV. I definitely recommend checking it out.
The stock Android Storage Manager has its 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 starts to show its limitations.
I love Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage. It gives me 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 to install more apps or movies!
If you want to see what I consider essential apps for every Android TV and TV box, then head over to this article. I created a list of apps that nobody is talking about…but should be.
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