Memory use on a Kindle Fire

Memory use on a Kindle Fire

I often see people posting questions about running out of memory on a Kindle Fire

While that’s certainly possible, people typically seemed surprised…they don’t think they have that much on the device.

I thought I’d take a look at mine, and get some comparative values.

First, though, it’s important to understand that there are functionally three memory areas on a Kindle Fire.

The Fire has an 8GB hard drive.

1.47GB of that is being used by the device itself. The user doesn’t have access to that. Some of the things that people want added in future updates would presumably take up some of that memory.

1.17GB is the Application Storage. When you get apps from the Amazon Appstore, that’s where they go. Those vary wildly in size, but Amazon figures you can get about 80 apps on there.

The remaining 5.36GB is the “Internal Storage”. That’s where everything else you put on the device goes…magazines, music, videos, personal documents, and so on.

To be clear, if you used up the 5.36 of Internal Storage but had no apps, you still couldn’t use the Application Storage for your music.

I used the free ES File Explorer app (which I highly recommend) to gather some of this data.

Audiobook from Audible = 161MB (almost 3% of your available memory)

I used Water for Elephants as an example. Tom Clancy’s Dead or Alive was 289MB.

E-books from Amazon were all over the place, but that’s probably because that includes samples and such. Books with pictures obviously take up more. I’d say that about a megabyte is about right for many books…that’s about what Amazon figures. There are associated files, but they aren’t as big

Saved magazines: I think this is one of the things that people don’t realize is a significant memory hog. One back issue of National Geographic that I had my Fire “keep” was 34.43MB. That’s right…one magazine that was the size of maybe 35 books. It would be easy to keep a few magazines and really eat up the space.

My Old Time Radio MP3 files range around 6 or 7MBs.

My work PowerPoints? Not bad, half a meg or so…that can vary, of course.

A comic book I downloaded in CBR format? Around 20MBs.

MP3 songs? Two to five MBs.

A downloaded movie from Amazon? Men in Black was 470MB.

The big culprit that I’ve found (which wouldn’t occur to people) is when you manually download a Kindle Software Update. That can easily be over 180MB.

Here are some app usages:

  • Alarm Clock = 10.02MB
  • Amazon Kindle = 115MB
  • Angry Birds = 19.73MB
  • Book Collections = 0.98MB
  • Dabble = 27.19MB
  • Drawing Pad = 29.52MB
  • EZ Ruler = 7.12MB
  • Fandango = 5.93MB
  • Netflix = 29.12MB
  • OfficeSuite = 16.48MB

Those are just a few, not carefully chosen.

So, my basic recommendation for any mobile device remains the same: clean up after yourself. :) If you download something, try to remember you did that, and delete (again, ES File Explorer is a big help with this) when you are done.

Keep what you can in the Cloud. I do find I keep more on Kindle Fire than I did on my 3G RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles). It’s just tougher to get something on the road…so, yes, I have a picture of one of the dogs on there. It’s a really cool picture, though!

You talked me into it…I’ll post it here, even though it’s not really Kindle related. ;)

Years ago, we took the dog to the groomer (the dog is a terrier mutt). This dog’s fur never stops growing…like a cocker spaniel. If you don’t groom it, you’ll end up with a tribble.

My kid said, “Can you give the dog a mohawk?”

A young groomer in the back said, “Yo, I can do that!”

Those are approximate quotations, by the way.

So, here it is:

For the rest of that summer, my Significant Other kept imitating Shrek and calling the dog, “Don-kay!”

Where was I? ;)

Oh, yes…figure out about what you need on your device before you can get back to wi-fi. I keep more than that on my Kindle, but I don’t keep 1,000 times that. Yes, Amazon figures you can keep 6,000 books on your Kindle Fire (if you don’t use the Internal Memory for anything else).

Even at a book a day, that’s about 16 and a half years.

This is all just my advice. I know a lot of people keep a thousand or more books on an RSK. However, I also see them report difficulties with searching and the Kindle locking up.

When Amazon says you can have 1,500 books on your Kindle, it doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy having all those books. ;)

I used to teach Microsoft Access. I remember asking a group of students if anyone of them know how many simultaneous users you could have in an Access database. A few of them knew…256. I then pointedly asked them how many happy simultaneous users you could have…I think the highest number I got was four.

If you can put 1500 books on there (and that’s an approximate number), you can’t put 1501. Doesn’t it make sense that as you get closer to the failure point, performance might degrade?

I have people picture this for memory.

You are shopping. You buy a package and carry it. You buy another package..and another…and another.

Eventually, you’ll have more than you can carry, and you’ll drop them (crash, in computer parlance, if it’s the RAM…Random Access Memory…that’s another story).

Before you drop them, though, you’ll slow down, and you’ll be less able to do other tasks (like see where you are going).

I guess the bottom line is definitely get rid of things from your device you don’t need…and try and be mindful about what you do need. That’s if you want optimal performance. If you just want braggin’ rights, be my guest and pile on. ;)

Oh, one more thing…you can get additional portable memory you can use with the Fire:

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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9 Responses to “Memory use on a Kindle Fire”

  1. Phyllis Singler Says:

    Thanks for this very informative info Bufo!!!! I never knew about he three areas of memory..love your dog’s haircut!!!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phyllis!

      Great, thanks for letting me know!

      I should point out, that’s not his haircut any more. However, I will proudly say that picture was with no hair product. :) His hair just stood up like that.

  2. Zebras Says:

    Bufo that dog is so cute with the Mohawk! I was catching up with everything in the Pulse app, and sometimes in some of the things the pics don’t match up with the story, so I thought that is what happened with your blog. This is the first time I’ve tried to type at length on this dang thing, my Fire, and I would say it is taking me 45 minutes to type something that would have taken a minute. If I try to put a comma after your name to be more grammatically correct, it will autocorrect you to Buford everytime, so I gave up.

    Speaking of limited storage, I remember working on the original PC model, and one floppy disc would hold one report.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      “I thank you, my dog thanks you…” ;)

      I’ve gotten better at typing on the Fire, but it’s still pretty limiting.

      We had the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor, I think). That came before the might Commodore 64. :)

  3. Jj Hitt Says:

    >> 1.17GB is the Application Storage.

    Is this area EVER at zero? I don’t want to wipe my fire clean of apps to find out, but I strongly suspect that the OS and/or built in apps take up a huge chunk of this space.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jj!

      I wouldn’t think it’s ever at zero because, as you suggest, of the provided apps. I would guess the Audible app in in there, for example.

      However, I think the OS (Operating System) is probably in that other 1.47GB I mentioned.

  4. Alicia Ryan Says:

    As someone who is currently dealing with thisproblem your post is very ill informed and not helpful. It will make people think that they are the issue and not the product. When I called Amazon about this issue (not ten minutes ago) they acknowledged that this problem does exist and were helpful and instructed me on how to remedy it. There is a corrupted file that has made it on to loads of kindles. This issue is being resolved by Amazon. The lady I spoke to even said if the Factory Reset doesn’t fix the problem they will resolve it in a different manner (I suppose by replacing my Kindle). Fyi I am extremely tech savvy and also downloaded the ES explorer which said I was using less than 5GB of space. Whereas my kindle is saying I am using 11.6GB even after deleting EVERYTHING this number did not change. For people who would like a real solution to this REAL problem, do a Factory Reset, if this doesn’t work please call Amazon.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Alicia!

      I’m glad you’ve taken the time to try to help some other people with a problem you are having. I think it’s great when people do that.

      If you are currently dealing with the problem, my guess is that it isn’t on a first generation Kindle Fire? You might not have noticed that the post to which you responded is about two years old. :) It’s possible that my information was correct at the time, and doesn’t apply now…that’s one of the issues with having a long-running blog. Information does become obsolete over time, but people may still run across it.

      I’ll check with Amazon about the corrupted file: I’m one of the Kindle Forum Pros, and they’ll often give me information I can share.

      I’m always reluctant to suggest a factory reset, because it does tend to inconvenience people…sometimes, though it is the best solution. Amazon recommends that you don’t do it until you check with them.

      I often recommend that people contact Kindle Support. It’s best not to simply call them, but to start from

      http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

      and use the

      Contact Us

      button. The advantage of that is that they will already know who you are, and which models you have. You can call them from there, have them call you (that’s what I recommend…the phone will usually ring within seconds, and I’ve typically been talking to someone within a minute), chat, or e-mail.

      Amazon is great at replacing devices when necessary! That may be the answer in your case, and if so, I’m sure you’ll be happy with their solution.

      I’ll post if I find out anything more about this. My guess it’s a relatively new problem: the later Kindle Fires don’t divide memory in the same way.

      Thanks again for taking the time and making the effort to comment! Real problems can exist whether they are hardware, software, or “wetware” (that’s us human beings) based: it’s always good to give people a variety of possible solutions.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        I did get a response from an Amazon contact:

        “Hi, I’ve checked on our end to see if there were any known issues, and there are none to our knowledge.” That had to do with a corrupted file. The rep recommended you contact Kindle Support, as you have already done. It could be that the rep you talked to knew about something that the central group didn’t know about yet…that happens sometimes.

        At any rate, thanks again for the current information…it will help if someone else unearths this “ancient” post. :)

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