Google Videos eating up GBs? Here’s how to fix it

A key advantage to owning an Android(s goog) 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/

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(s amzn)? Are you ready to bring your video player to my Galaxy Nexus?