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Summary:

I love watching high-definition movies on my Galaxy Nexus because the phone actually has a true high-definition display. There’s a problem though: after watching the rentals, the massive media files aren’t disappearing from my phone. Here’s the quick fix which requires a file manager application.

google-videos-storage

A key advantage to owning an Android phone with a 720p display is that you can watch content in true high-definition. The 1280 x 720 screen on my Galaxy Nexus is what I call “an HDTV in my pocket.” I’ve been renting high-def videos from the Android Market, simply because they’re stunning to look at. But there’s a huge problem: After watching the rentals, the massive media files aren’t disappearing from my phone.

The Problem

I noticed this after my CES travels earlier this month. During that trip, I downloaded some HD content to the Galaxy Nexus so I could view it on the plane. That part of the process worked just fine, and I enjoyed both Pulp Fiction and Limitless. The Google Videos app supports streaming, but I chose offline use because I didn’t want to use in-flight Wi-Fi. So I “pinned” the two rentals for offline use and had them downloaded to my phone before the trip.

About a week after watching the movies — each of which had a 24-hour viewing window once started — I noticed that my Galaxy Nexus only had about 3 GB of available storage. The phone comes with 16 GB of internal storage; about 13 of which is usable. By using the Apps function in the Android’s Settings and then sorting the apps by size, I found the culprit: the Google Videos app was using up more than 7 GB of storage.

A terrible user experience

That’s interesting by itself, because I wouldn’t have thought movies files would be part of the app’s storage limit. Instead, I expected the movies to be part of the media storage section. Once I realized the movies were considered to be part of the application, I went into Videos to unpin them or delete them. Nothing worked. Unless I’m missing it, I see no way to remove these expired video files from within the app. Others have said the same since August of last year, but I just now noticed the issue.

This situation is terrible if my findings are accurate. In my case, the Galaxy Nexus has no external memory support, so I can’t simply throw a microSD card in the phone until the videos decide to disappear. It’s situations like this that make it a challenge for me to use Android and suggest others use it to. Maybe the phone would automatically delete the files when I hit my storage limit or after a longer time period, but I couldn’t wait for that.

The fix!

It’s possible the app works fine on some devices but not on others. If you’re seeing the same issue I am, there is a relatively simple manual method to deleting the files. You’ll need a file manager application on your Android device: I use the free version of AndroZip found in the Market.

Using the file manager app, navigate to: Android/data/com.google.android.videos/files/Movies

If you have any leftover movie rentals, they’ll be here in a folder and you can simply delete them. I did just that, reclaimed my 7 GB of storage and now my Galaxy Nexus has a good 10 GB of free space for apps, media and other things. Maybe even for some more high-definition movie rentals. Amazon? Are you ready to bring your video player to my Galaxy Nexus?

  1. Russ in San Diego Friday, January 27, 2012

    You couldn’t have cleared this problem up via “manage space”?

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    1. Russ, I tried that, but all it did was take me into the offline settings in the app and unpinning the videos did nothing. :(

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  2. Please forwars Android related storage and retieval issues to me.

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