Android Gallery Thumbnails Folder Size – Solved!

OK, OK, I know. This isn’t really much about “beginners” or even tech, but I had a problem that has been just disastrously annoying to me and so when I found the solution, I had to share it.

If you have an Android Smartphone, and take a lot of photos, then you may be very well aware of the obnoxious “Thumbnails” folder that takes up all your freaking space on your phone. My problems with this folder are two-fold.

  1. It takes up all the freaking space on my phone!
  2. It makes your SD card worthless for photos because no matter how big your SD card is or how much it holds, the Thumbnails folder is on your phone and cannot be routed to your SD card (certainly not without rooting it, if it’s even possible) so you are still limited by the space available on your “USB storage” partition. Mine is just slightly over a gig so it’s pretty frustrating.

The easiest solution – deleting it – only works until you have to use your camera or gallery again, and it causes your camera to take forever to load as well. It also seems to leave corrupt files, or file fragments, or index records – whatever exactly the phone sees them as.

So… How to get around it?!

Wait, let me take a step back. If you aren’t familiar with the folder, it might be because you have a newer version of Android. I’ve read that it’s only in…Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) or earlier? Maybe prior to that. By Kit Kat, it’s apparently resolved by Android.

Also, you may not know where it’s at because it’s hidden. To locate:

  1. Tap “Applications” from the home screen.
  2. Tap “Files”.
  3. Tap “DCIM”.
  4. Tap your “Menu” button.
  5. Tap “Settings” from the list of options.
  6. Tap the checkbox for “Show Hidden Files”.

You should now see a folder called “.thumbnails”. That’s your evil culprit!!

The easiest fix requires just about disabling your gallery.

  1. Make sure all your photos are saved to a folder on your SD card, not on your phone.
  2. Go back to “Files” and tap “Android”.
  3. Tap “Data”.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and you should see a little file called “.nomedia”. That file will prevent your gallery from reading the folder.
  5. Long-tap the “.nomedia” file and choose “Copy”.
  6. Go back to the the folder you have set up as the default location for photos.
  7. Tap the “Settings” button and choose “Paste”.
  8. After that, go back to the actual “Settings” menu (tap the “Menu” button from the home screen and then choose “Settings”).
  9. Tap “Storage”.
  10. Choose “Format USB Storage” (**note: I always take my SD card out before doing this, but I honestly can’t tell you if it’s necessary or not. I’m paranoid so I do it anyway.)

Voila! You have now cleared out your gallery, you should have regained the space from the “Thumbnails”, and you can take all the photos your actual SD card can hold.

Repeat the process with any other folders you don’t want the gallery to read photos from, though I would recommend leaving at least one or two folders that you don’t have many photos in, so that the gallery has something.

I’m not pretending to be an expert in these here smartphone things 😉 so I try to stay within my limits!

Good luck!

This entry was posted in Beginner, General Techie, Intermediate, Troubleshooting and Help and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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