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Jul 03, 2013


Natalie Beumer

Awesome! THANKYOU SO MUCH! This was easy and it worked. 1200 MB free! I feel like I just won the lottery. I'm sharing this link with everyone.... just as soon as I catch my breath from dancing around my living room.... YES!


Hello.. well your technique has at least removed the thumbdata file but it doesnt have effect on my memory..
previously, my phone was having a free space of approx 900 MB. now even after removing 2 thumbdata files of apporx 450 MB its still shows 1.0 GB free space in my phone..
it should be around 1.8 GB ..
can u help me..

thank u..

Ralph Grabowski

I think the thumbnail file starts growing again.


My phone is Sony xperia sp. The thumbnail file keeps on growing again. What to do?


My phone eon't ler me create a file with the same name. :(


Thanks for the support . It helped me to get extra 2.5 GB space internal memory. Great article dude... :) Pandu


Whoa! I cleared 1.8 GB of space!! There were two thumnail files.

Thanks for sharing!


It don't last.

The file gets bigger after a while (a few days)


Thanks but I'm using nexus5& 7 the file come back after you view your gallery again .there's got to be a way cause I was 5to 8 GB with this .you find another way please let me not thanks


Can u believe how much data I had 9 gb. Yes ur right why android is doing this. Pls. Remove this bug.


I have Sony Xperia L. Above procedure of deleting thumnail file & creating dummy file with same name works only for 2-3 days, the mobile agains creates thubmnail file of 2gb. Is there any permanent solution to this?


Guys I renamed parent '.thumbnail' folder to '.thmbnailqq' & this itself solved this problem :-) try it out.

Jake Epping

That was the best instruction for a slightly technical programmer-y process I've ever seen in the history of the internet!

Thank you, kind genius.

Followed your steps to a T and, if that thumbnail creation business stops, you just got me back 3.2gb on my annoying Nexus 4--Don't get me wrong, I love the phone, but the no external memory business has been such a pain over the last year that I'm probably ditching Google devices.

I would love recommendations on possible replacement phones, as I am due for a new one and, as I said, am not interested in phones that limit you to XXgb+Cloud. I shudder to think how much time I've spent managing storage capacity issues on the Nexus 4. Never again!


When I even take a screen shot the same dummy file I made just grew back in size and toke up back all my memory again pls help!!!!!


Also, move any downloaded files over to your SD card. I had this problem because I kept downloading music and movies. Also deleted the thumbnail files but it didn't really show that I made space just yet maybe because I haven't disconnected it yet.


For deleting the thumbnails you need to follow the following steps no need to download any app for it.

1) create a new folder on your desktop, inside that folder create a text document and rename it as .file

2) make as many text document files with extension as .file as there are .thumbnail files under your DCIM folder => .thumbnail files and rename the text document files with exactly the same name as .thumbnail files (or you can make some text document files and rename them again and again with the new .thumbnail files).

3) delete all the original .thumbnail files and replace it with the new text document files that you made with the extension .file

4) reboot your phone and you are done.


Finally! Something that worked. I have trawled the internet for a workaround with this thumbnail problem and I was getting to the point of sending my phone back I was so frustrated with this. I am not a techie in any way shape or form and your instructions were easy to follow and it has actually worked. So relieved. Can't thank you enough :)


I'm using Thumb Space, from the Google Play store.. it does the job with one click.


to clean up your camera roll, use this app:


I always delete thumbnails even before, but to my surprise, a new folder named .dthumb (file extensions) exist. What file extension is this and can i delete them without affecting my android phone?


I've just deleted my two .thumbdata files and replaced them with dummy .txt files with the same name. I was expecting a reduction of 2.67GB yet I've only managed to get a reduction less than 100MB.

What did I not do right?


THANK YOU SO SO MUCH, This has been Melting my brain for weeks. ALL my Book Covers where thumbnailed!!!!


One addition: It won't work to put a FILE with the same name as the .thumbdata file!
The system/some apps might remove the ReadOnly attribute and start to recreate the thumbdata files...
The solution that SAID to work (didnt try myself) is to create a FOLDER with the same name instead.


Thanks for sharing.


Even after doing this if u check ur device storage in the settings menu the amount of free space will be the same as it was before. To remove that file u have to restore or mobile to factory settings.


It's a sparse file. Depending on the file system, it may or may not actually free significant storage space. FAT32 doesn't support sparse files, and EXT does.


Doesn't work for me.
Refuses to save a file starting with a period. "must enter a filename" error.

David Singer

I saw this on another website and it worked perfectly for me and all the folks I work with...

1.First, delete .thumbnails folder from DCIM folder
2.Then in DCIM folder create file with name '.thumbnails'

You are done.

Notes: Create a file, not a folder. If you don't have file manager, then download ES file manager from Play Store for free.

Cis W

Thanks for this, I spent ages trawling through forums without finding any help. I tried both methods listed on here. I deleted the thumbnail files and created a dummy empty file. However, this fills up again when you next view your gallery. But, so far, by replacing the folder .thumbnails with a file named .thumbnails the gained space is still there after viewing my gallery.
I did this by plugging my phone into my laptop and using wordpad to create the .thumbnails file (it didn't mind creating a file beginning with the . )
next I used file explorer to access and delete then replace the .thumbnails folder with the .thumbnails file.
after safely removing the phone from the laptop, I first took a photo to start the gallery search (it wasn't there when I first looked) It goes a bit weird flashing on and off your photos for a while, then its perfectly ok
so. thanks again.


Hi. The thumdata occupies some 3 GB on my phone. I have a Sony Xperia Z. I have tried deleting the files many times. It's no big deal. But the problem is that no space is freed up. Can anyone help me with this?

Ralph Grabowski

On some Android systems, the 1GB cache is removed only temporarily.

Steve T

I fixed this on my Huawei by disabling the Gallery and Camera App and getting a third party one - Open Camera and Quickpic. The stock gallery app is the one creating that 3gb thumbnail file.


Just deleted the .thumbnails folder and got 1.6gb back. I didn't replace the folder or file and tried it out with a pic and it was still gone when I checked. Will try replacing it with a file or folder if it turns up again.
Thanks for the tip!


I did this, replace the file with a dumb text file but the system overrides it, gaining 1gb again. Any comment? Cheers.

Ralph Grabowski

The solution is to clear the cache from Settings; for some reason, simply
erasing the file does not work.

Go to Settings, then tap Storage. Tap Cached Data
and then tap OK.


I can't find the "Cache Data" button to clear it... :(
(I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 mini)


I have a HTC one S and I found in the .thumbnails folde, besides .thumbdata3--1967290299 and another folder, many many small pictures around 20kb each. What to do with them?


It's not real disk space. Erasing thumbnails won't give you anymore usable disk space.


Didn't work for me. :(

I did mine with a desktop, because I don't have the gear to do it all on my phone. I tried, but as noted, Android (4.4.2 on a Verizon LG Optimus Exceed 2) won't let me add the period/dot at the front. I opened Notepad, Save As... .thumbdata3[###...] and used All Files format to leave it formatless; 0B file size. I saved it to my SD card, then put that back in my phone and moved to and overwrote in Internal Storage > DCIM > .thumbnails. After only a few minutes, when I took a photo, Android had overwritten them (I have 2 .thumbdata3... files).

Any ideas what went wrong, how to correct? I don't have a Gb tied up with them, but I want my 100+Mb. Thanks.

PS: Maybe link to a copy of one that's worked and folks can just DL and Move if they have the same file name (mine are .thumbdata3--1967290299 and .thumbdata3-1763508120 with "1967..." storing nearly all of it. Note the second file has only one hyphen.)


@Daniel Uh, yeah, it's real disk space and deleting all my 'thumbs' allowed me to install an app that wouldn't before.


@FilipC My personal experience is that you can delete them all, and temporarily gain all that space. Android will recreate ones for images still on your device when you view them, the rest will stay deleted.

Harry Hewko jr

By creating the Dumbing file, does this mean you have to move your pictures in their manually since the Android phone won't see it...?
1) I have another issue maybe you can help me with ? I have a Galaxy Note 4 and when I use a card reader to check pictures from my Trail Camera's and want to save them in folders I made just for them,, why does it always happen that in a couple hrs I have all the pictures I saved in separate folders for separate Trail Camera's end up in my Gallery ?
2) And when I delete them in my Gallery and go look in my folders, they were Deleted also ? I thought these phones were like computers, but for some reason it's not staying in the folder I intended them to be in ?
Can you help me , Please ?

Ralph Grabowski

The Gallery app might have a setting for you to specify which folders it should see.

If not, I highly recommend QuickPic app, which lets you specify folders to view, as well as utilities such as renaming pictures, moving them to other folders, and so on.

TIP: I take a picture of the WiFi box's SSID and password, and then rename the picture to remind me whose WiFi it is. Then I move the picture into a folder I named 'WiFi."


One better way is not to remove the .thumbnails, but move it to your SD card which normally contains huge free space. This can be done by creating a symbolink folder pointer from your device space to your sd card.

This can be done via terminal for experts, but a fast and easy way is to download Folder Mount, but you must have root access. I guess this can be done without root if you can do it manually via a terminal, try searching create symbolink on linux/android you must find couples of methods.

Anyway, with Folder Mount, go in "List of Pairs" and create a new pair (+) icon. Set a name, like DCIM thumbs, locate source folder. Let it decide the destination folder, but if you have already moved medias of DCIM to your SD Card, then add a sufix with the folder name, like DCIM_thumbs. That's it, it will prompt you to move files. Your big .thumbnails will be moved. Then activate the Pair by sliding the on/off later.

If you want to pairs more than 3 folders, you will need to buy the app. It's limited to 3.

Another interesting soft you can use if Link2SD, you can move mostly all apps to your SD card. Be careful, do not move critical apps or widgets. It can cause other softwares to malfunction. But you can literally get lot of space, you bypass the safe moveabe apps with it.


Thanks for this post.I need more details for Keeping the 1GB Free?

Paula Gomes

Recently, a second dcim/thumbdata4 file appeared on my Android. Can I delete one of them? And if so, which one should I delete?

Ralph Grabowski

I am sad to report that this tip works only temporarily. Android sets it up the thumbnail folder again with the next time photos are taken or images added to the phone.

The solution, quite frankly, is to buy a new, mid-range phone with huge memory. For instance, I got a three-year-old ASUS Zenfone Zoom with 128GB built-in for $300 from Staples.ca for my dad.

Gladwin Marshall Maphuti

Firstly, go to your computer. Open MS Word, create blank page.
Save the as "thumbdata3--1967290299.doc" [ default file extension is (.doc or .docx) ]
Go to folder, retrieve "thumbdata3--1967290299.doc" and rename to ".thumbdata3--1967290299" (before thumbdata3 there is a DOT)
Save it ( .thumbdata3--1967290299)
Go to the file properties and tick ReadOnly. Apply and Save
Send it to your cellphone.
Delete ".thumbdata3--1967290299" in your cellphone folder (File Manager, DCIM, .thumb folder)
Restart your cellphone
Go to your File Manager, move that ".thumbdata3--1967290299" you created from Computer (as ReadOnly), copy or move it to DCIM-.thumb folder.

Alex Bodnaru

hello friend
thank you for the detailed post.
i did it, but however changing two 3.7 gb file for 1 byte files should be significant, no storage counter changed.
secondly, unfortunately the camera overwrote the 1 byte file i created.
probably, the solution should involve deleting some pictures from the device,
but care should be taken to remove only the device copy.

my phone is an android 6 kyocera duraforce pro e6820.

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