Android Central

So you just bought this great game from the Android Market, and notice it says you have to download another 600 jiggawatts of files to run it.  Don't be alarmed or surprised, if you haven't seen this yet, you will.  But what is all that stuff, where does it go, and how do you get rid of it?  I'm glad you asked!

What it is -- most times it's media files needed by the application itself.  In our example (Dungeon Defenders First Wave), in addition to the 8MB app you download from the Android Market, you have to download another 645MB of things like movies, sounds, and in-game textures.  Doing it this way solves two problems -- it keeps 658MB apps out of the Market, and keeps 658MB apps out of your app storage.

SD card

If all that data isn't installed with the app, where does it go then?  It goes to your SD card or internal storage.  It's up to the application developers exactly where on your SD card it goes, but a quick peek from your computer will easily find it.  In our example, all that DLC (downloaded content) goes into a folder named DunDef.  It sits there, just waiting for the time when the app needs any of it, not taking up valuable space for your installed apps. 

This brings up two very important points -- you can't play the game without the SD card inserted and mounted, and when you uninstall the app there's a lot of stuff left behind.  Both are easy to take care of.  Don't try to play Dungeon Defenders without the right SD card in place or while you have the SD card mounted to your computer, and remember to delete the folder if you uninstall the game and have no intentions of ever reinstalling it.  Deleting it is easy -- use a file manager or hook your phone up to your computer, find the right folder, and delete it.  Just make sure you pick the right folder! 


Reader comments

Managing downloaded application content


Almost reminds me of when you uninstall programs in Windows; sometimes folders and files get left behind. It would be nice if there was a way to make sure when an app was uninstalled that everything was removed without having to search through your SD card.

Really good stuff. What I'd also like to know is what (if anything) happens to application downloads that don't install--specifically from the Amazon App Store. Lots of times (well, most), I'll "purchase" the free app of the day but choose not to install it (after it downloads). Over time, I've wondered where this data goes and if it's still there, or just temporarily stored and then deleted when I cancel the install. This would be great to know!

@moelsen: All those Amazon downloaded .apk's are stored in sdcard/android/data/cache/ ... at least they are on my Asus TF101.

The issue I found with the way Android does this is that forcing someone to download that large of a file in order to just play the game basically negates any ability to refund the game if you paid for it and don't end up liking it. Generally, games that do this -- Dungeon Defenders -- have download files that are so large that even on really fast home internet you would never be able to download, install, and then play the game in under 15 minutes. I really prefer downloading apps in one large chunk.

Yeah, I hate that.

For that reason alone, I avoid ANY GAME published thru or with Hyperbees OR anything that has OpenFeint support. That 800meg download for OpenFeint is an instant turn off.

If the developer does it correctly, the downloaded app data goes to /sdcard/Android/data/[packagename]. Then when you uninstall the application, Android will purge this folder along with anything in /data/app/[packagename] and /data/data/[packagename].

The only stuff that should go directly on the sd card root is permanent backup files that should persist between application installs or factory resets/data wipes. Another best practice being used by few developers.