Solved! Android One, internal storage full but can't access to clear it

May 28, 2019
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I have an Android One phone. I put a bunch of music on the phone, filled up the internal storage.
I then put in a micro SD card, and selected to add this as internal storage (not removable or whatever the other option was).
The phone copied the music to the new card, and failed to delete from the original SD card.
Then the phone created an alias in the file system, pointing the music directory at the new card.

The original (internal hardwired) card is still full, but I can't delete the music folder because I can't access it.

I tried a few of the top rated file manager apps, they only allow access to named folders ("music" is one, but it's aliased to the new storage card), and no direct access to the original internal storage.

I'm a developer, so I am prepared to use ADB or whatever, I just need to know how to gain access to the real underlying internal SD card file system.

The phone isn't rooted, and the root app I tried didn't succeed. Possibly this is not helped because the phone is fully up to date security wise.
 
Depending on which version of Android the phone has (and what other changes the manufacturer and the carrier/service provider made to it) you should be able to go into the following and change it back. Some of the wording may be different on your device, but it should be in this location.

  1. Go into "Settings" and then "Storage".
  2. Now locate "SD card" in the list.
  3. When you tap that it should allow you to change the card from "Internal" back to "External" storage.
Again, there may be an extra step or two in there. I am not looking at your device, however it should be there.

Once done then the phone should reboot. Just make sure there is nothing on the card at all, as anything on it will not be when it is done as the card should wind up formatted during the process.
 
Sounds like the phone didn't actually make the SD card "Internal" storage (or not correctly) and instead of moving the files to the card, it just created copies, which often won't let you access or delete the originals. It is a flaw with some phones I have run into before.

The only fixes I have found are to either move the files back to the phone, if it will let you, and then return the SD card to "External" storage. Once done, then leave the card as "External" storage (doesn't need to be changed for just files) and move the files over to the card. It should then not leave a copy on the phone. If you make the card "Internal" storage again, it will likely do this again. Or, if the files won't move back, then you may need to "Hard Reset" the phone. Which I would suggest be only a last resort.

Try to remember that when you make a card "Internal" storage is what caused the issue. It is not needed for files (images, music, etc.) only for apps that won't work from the card itself. The card is also encoded when it is changed over, so it isn't accessible from other things.

NOTE: Before doing any of this, I would suggest you make a copy of the music (if you haven't already) to another device, computer, etc. This way to don't risk losing it all.
 
May 28, 2019
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The phone itself can access the internal disk, because it shows me that it's 99% used, and keeps bringing up messages telling me it's full. In the storage breakdown it shows me that xx gig are used in music.

I've already deleted the music files from the additional SD card. I have copies of that stuff, it's not an issue.

I can't see any way to tell the phone to stop using the new card and revert back to the hardwired-internal card. It won't move anything to the hardwired-internal storage cos it is full. Pulling the external card out doesn't help any. I'd rip it out and format it, if that would solve things, but the phone would still be pointing to the now non-existing external storage for a bunch of apps.

Searching for this type of thing is a nightmare because the names / keywords I'd search for are overloaded and used to mean multiple things.

I really just want to know the right mount instructions or suchlike to get direct access to the hardwired internal storage.


I have a million things in Microsoft Authenticator, which has no way to back it up on android. This is preventing me from resetting the phone.
 
Depending on which version of Android the phone has (and what other changes the manufacturer and the carrier/service provider made to it) you should be able to go into the following and change it back. Some of the wording may be different on your device, but it should be in this location.

  1. Go into "Settings" and then "Storage".
  2. Now locate "SD card" in the list.
  3. When you tap that it should allow you to change the card from "Internal" back to "External" storage.
Again, there may be an extra step or two in there. I am not looking at your device, however it should be there.

Once done then the phone should reboot. Just make sure there is nothing on the card at all, as anything on it will not be when it is done as the card should wind up formatted during the process.
 
May 28, 2019
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Ah, I found the option on the (...) menu at the top, to "change to portable".
That formatted the card and remounted it as external. As soon as that was done, the hardwired internal storage was back as accessible.
I can delete the files, and then copy them on to the external sd card with no problems now.
Thank you kindly for the help
 
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