KitKat Update: Freeing up Storage on Galaxy Note 2 for Noobs

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This is an exasperated post for those thinking of upgrading your Galaxy Note 2 to KitKat with the official Samsung update. As some of you may have been forced to notice, Samsung GN2 on Jelly Bean is a mouthful. There are many bloatware apps from Samsung to get you to buy books, movies, apps while coercing you to use their  ChatON app. I had two choices, that is to kill off the system with a Cyanogen Mod technique while risking some app incompatibility or use the official Samsung KitKat with all their customized nonsense thrown in. I decided on the latter since reselling an old device would be made easier if it had stock a standard operating system.

First, let’s examine the GN2 with KitKat. It was supposed to be spiffy but a warning came up on my device telling me that I have roughly 1.9 GB of internal storage all a sudden after completing the installation process….so I said…WTF??

 

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I have  16GB internal storage of which the new KitKat occupies 5.54GB! Yes, I know. Koreans are not known to be fat but this is seriously super sized. Compare it with Apple’s own iOS7, I think system use is kept at a minimum at 3.1 GB of storage which is a good thing considering the antiquated features it has, iOS 7 keeps humming.

Now Bloatware from Samsung is not new. Samsung has a host of services like Samsung Hub, Samsung Appstore, Samsung Print Services, in-app Services, ChatOn and a host of other stuff which you don’t use like Music and Movies. What I hate about it is that the Samsung Appstore doesn’t quite function as well as it should. Some of the apps point right back to the Google Playstore and though Samsung Appstore does have some gems, like the Moleskine App for GN series that is full featured app not found on the Playstore. However I don’t use that much often. The inbuilt stylus type apps was more than enough for me.

Spring Cleaning is a Chore

Spring cleaning. Think of it as a memory game and you’ll have some fun while doing it. The first thing you should know is that you CANNOT touch the system memory. This stuff is reserved for running KitKat.

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STEP ONE:

Go to your Settings>MORE>Storage and start cleaning out those files! Remove Apps you don’t use!

STEP TWO:

Proceed to USED SPACE. Click and Clean up the Applications list. Take a long hard look at the Apps you don’t need, don’t use or have downloaded but forgotten about.

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STEP THREE:

Go next to INTERNET DOWNLOADS and select OTHER DOWNLOADS. Here are all the APK files you have downloaded but not removed after installing. You can also find files like forgotten PDFs on those “How To” moments, as well as songs and porn images you have downloaded that you have no idea that you were responsible for. Snuff out those you don’t want.

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STEP FOUR:

Go back to Storage settings and now purge Cached Data. Those data which are not needed will be cleaned out while essential data will be kept to a minimum.

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 STEP FIVE:

Under Storage you will find Miscellaneous Files, here you will find a lot of folders for apps you have deleted. Remove the ones not in use.

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 STEP SIX

Lastly, go to Settings>More> Application Manager and Uninstall all updates for Samsung type apps like Samsung Apps, Chat On, Chrome, Game Hub and Samsung Link. Once you are done uninstalling, make sure your turn it OFF as the same time! I recommend kicking out all the Samsung related apps as long as you don’t use them. However if you have bought into the Samsung eco-system, well. I can’t help you. 

As much as I like Google’s Chrome as the browser of choice, it is still very buggy. It can’t handle WebGL very well and that was what I needed so I took it out and made it dormant. What’s more, when you have browsers such as Firefox and Opera, it makes very little sense to use Google’s chrome.

Total Space Saved?

I manage to claw back about 1.1 GB of space from so from my cleaning alone, I now have 3.14 GB of free space. It still is very small compared to what I have but the problem of resolving the storage issue has come a long way.

RAM versus Internal Storage versus External Storage

One of the consistent problems with Google is that since its transition to Jelly Bean, apps must reside in Internal Storage with a RAM footprint for it to remain active for alerts and notifications. External storage is only used for storing images, music and video. So for this, you have to take note of the following:-

  • Camera settings should be set to “save to” external storage

  • Video settings on any third-party app should be set to “save to” external storage

  • Move eBook files that may reside on your Internal Storage to External Storage using a File Manager

  • Clean your download folder on your internal storage using a File Manager regularly if you happen to love downloading files such as PDFs, music or images.

Internal Storage is used to store all the important files needed to run apps. As many Android apps are getting bigger (namely games and freemium content) much of these new files have to reside within Internal Storage to work. This leaves your External Storage completely free for you to load up on your music, movies and ebook files. When you run out of Internal Storage, you can’t install any more apps. In Android, Google has enabled a low memory task killer for RAM usage but that doesn’t mean you should not close your apps once you stop using them.

Apple iOS doesn’t have this problem as all storage is taken as one big chuck of real estate. It does however have a RAM problem as apps competing for that miserly RAM space don’t have enough of it to run smoothly— like a real estate boom where too many people move into a building and not having enough space to move around.

Android has its own kinks. That said, I don’t have a problem with it as I know what I can do with the given space and where to store the miscellaneous media files without hogging on the limited internal storage. This is why I would suggest that if you are getting your next device, ensure that your Internal Storage is at least 32GB if you love downloading new apps to test.

Finally, external storage has also been sealed up to make third apps more accountable for its files. This means that any app without the proper permissions cannot download files to be stored on the SD or microSD card. This could be a hassle for some who use cloud storage to download file to their own devices but there should be a work around to this soon. Apps must have  external storage access permissions before doing so and at the same time, creating their own folders within external storage. To bypass this block, at least for now, is to root your device and use the SDfix app found on the Playstore to restore previous privileges.

 

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Anti-Malware: Why Scam Apps are not Covered

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For fear mongers, this is probably the first and last place to be when it comes to detecting malware on your Android device. AV-testgo.org is an independent antivirus testing lab that does one thing, review and text Android anti-malware apps for effectiveness. Nice place, but does it work for Scam ware? Sorry, I am afraid not.

Scamware Doesn’t quite Count as Malware

One of the problems with a listed apps directory is that Scamware doesn’t quite get detected in the first place.

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We all remember the scam camera apps from iOS. These blokes passed off the same app with different names and promised you the sky. People who paid for it found it to be sub par in quality and your only way to get your money back was within 15 min of downloading the app. So if you were one of those who downloaded the app, and didn’t check on it fast enough, you would have lost your money.

Google Android has the same problem, it can’t weed out the Scam Apps fast enough. But there is room to maneuver if you made a direct request to Google Playstore.

There is a developer policy which has to be understood by all. And this is very simple.

Section 3.4 of the Android Developer Distribution agreement authorizes Google to provide returns of apps that cannot be previewed for up to 48 hours after purchase:

3.4 Special Refund Requirements. The Payment Processor’s standard terms and conditions regarding refunds will apply except the following terms apply to your distribution of Products on the Market.

Products that can be previewed by the buyer (such as ringtones and wallpapers): No refund is required or allowed.

Products that cannot be previewed by the buyer (such as applications): You authorize Google to give the buyer a full refund of the Product price if the buyer requests the refund within 48 hours after purchase.

Why Aren’t they Stopping the Scams?

This is the most difficult part. They can’t. Malware is easier to deal with, they infect your handset with a virus or get it to send expensive SMS to a foreign country. This sort of double-dealing is all in the code. Scam apps don’t rely on code or APIs to cheat you. They win your confidence over like a trickster.

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Apple iOS has a built in set of APIs which you cannot change. You are not allowed to develop an app using your own API routines but even this is no promise of safety as Scam apps basically pretend to be something they are not. There is nothing in the code that yells “CHEATER” in the app. Android is more lax, there isn’t such restrictions so any badly made app can be labeled a scam app if it doesn’t work on your device. What’s more, Google was late to the party when it came to parsing code for malware whereas Apple has locked down the APIs as far back as five years ago.

Difference between Scamware and Malware

Malware comes in a few guises, some steal passwords while others will run background apps in secret to mine Bitcoin without you ever knowing it. Finding them isn’t easy unless you have a Malware or virus scanner. Scam ware is even harder to detect. You can only bring such apps to the attention of Google or Apple and ask for action. From a legal standpoint, when an App does not work as advertised on your device, it cannot be automatically assumed to be scamware.

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The problem is further compounded by the absolutely giant market place on the App and Play store. Badly designed app isn’t a crime and if that app suddenly tells you that it can grant you wishes at any Vegas slot, well who are you to disagree? You are already assuming that Apple has protected your interest so it must be true that this app will work.

Google has made it clear that the Playstore is an anything goes place, and they have taken some steps to stop the malware apps but not the Scam ware.

Scams are omnipresent all over the world, there is even an App that tells you about the other worldly scams but not the apps that scam you.

No Solution

The only solution is to have an app depositary that blacklist the very people who sell such apps online. Don’t count on Apple or Google to do this for you. It’s not their beef.

Scam apps are made by snake oil salesmen, they want you dollar and the only way to get it back is to ask for a refund after the first 15 minutes of downloading the app from the Apple Appstore. Apple will not entertain any refunds thereafter unless the purchase was made by a kid. If you were an adult, I think you will have to convince them that you had a child even when you don’t have one to get your money back.

There is still hope for Google if you found out that you have been scammed. Just tell them the app don’t work and doesn’t launch, and you will have your money back as long as it is reported within 48 hours of purchase.

Beware of the in-App purchases

There are loads of in-app purchases that can be classified as scam ware. They don’t offer you anything that works beyond the freebie you just downloaded. I know it sucks but that’s how the way it is. There is no 15 min grace for testing the in-app purchase. So once you hit the buy button, you’re shanghai-ed into another world.

Reading reviews on the app doesn’t always help to validate what it does. These reviews can be manufactured and all you have to do to get a gig going with them is to rate an app advertised on  numerous freelancer sites around the world that are looking for mobile app reviewers. These freelancers get paid to list such reviews and upon doing so, misleads the whole world into a scam trap.

I have Kingsoft’s mobile security install and running all the time on Android. I would recommend you to do the same if you happen to like downloading lots of apps to play with. It is by no means the most secure net, though it is highly rated, since there is no way to protect yourself from scams in the first place.

Your best bet is to read reviews on trusted mobile app review sites to get an idea if this does what it claims to do before buying them online.