Tips & tricks: Optimizing your N97 internal phone memory
Although not everyone likes their Nokia N97, I keep leaving my iPhone 3GS and going back to it because it does what I need better than what the iPhone 3GS does. As a power user, one of the major faults in the N97 that drives me nuts is the low amount/lack of proper management of the included phone memory. With caching and other local memory storage mismanagement by the OS I have ended up at times with less than 1 MB of available phone memory and pop-up errors appearing. This article will take a look at what I did to try to fine tune my N97 to run better, until another firmware update is rolled out since I think there are a couple of things that can be done with software fixes.
By default, the N97 homescreen widgets (approx. 4.5 MB) are loaded on the phone memory as well as a couple of other applications (approx. 1.25 MB). There are a few applications I loaded onto the phone memory (Python, WordMobi, Mail For Exchange, and Handy Taskman) while I have tried to place the rest onto the 32 GB flash drive. This left me with approximately 45 MB of available phone memory. I then had Nokia Email loaded and running that took up more phone memory since the software doesn’t let you store email or attachments on the mass memory. Then if you are a heavy web browser you will find that the cache builds up quickly and I regularly had 10+ MB that could be cleared up by regular browser caching. I experienced low memory warnings when running Qik and since I like to use Qik on the N97 I knew I had to figure out a way to allocate more phone memory for critical usage.
I found a couple sites with some information available to help you with your N97, including:
After reading these sites I made the decision to avoid reloading the Nokia Email application on the N97 even though I enjoy using it and to instead try out Profimail. The default Nokia Messaging client is way too lame for me to ever think of using it as my email client even though you can set to have attachments and email stored on your mass memory. I also decided to remove any homescreen widgets I did not plan on using, such as Amazon and Bloomberg so I could save some more phone memory.
Even though it probably wasn’t really necessary I decided to reformat my 32 GB E: (Mass memory) drive and start fresh there as well. To reformat your Mass memory you simply go to the integrated File Manager and then open up the E drive. Select Options>Format mass memory to clean it up. I did copy important files to my MacBook Pro first so I could copy them back on with ease.
I use Exchange to sync all of my Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Email so I didn’t worry about backing up any of this data, which is an awesome aspect of Exchange. I then entered *#7370# to hard reset the N97 back to factory settings.
After this reset I had 46.7 MB available on my C drive (phone memory) and 29.8 GB available on my E drive (flash memory drive). I then deleted the Amazon and Bloomberg widgets and Psiloc World Traveler, which then showed I had 52.5 MB left on my C: drive. I couldn’t delete Qik, so I reinstalled it to the E drive and found there was no change in my available phone memory. My next step was to upgrade Nokia Maps to version 3.0. No choice was given on where to install Nokia Maps (I wonder how this selection toggle is controlled?) so I assume it ended up using the phone memory. This was confirmed when I saw my available C: drive memory drop down to 44.5 MB.
Mail For Exchange was then downloaded and installed (why did Nokia put an empty MFE folder on the N97?). Just like Nokia Maps there was no option to install onto the mass memory drive so after this installation I was down to 43 MB of available memory on the phone. Then I synced up to my server with 1 month of Calendar history and 1 week of email history, along with something like 250 contacts. My phone memory was then sitting at 40.6 MB.
The next step was to go through and reinstall my approximate 20 applications I like to use on the N97, including S60 Bible, Mobbler, Gravity, Gmail, Opera Mini, WordMobi, and more. To help you find apps you may need to reinstall I recommend checking out the Nokia Addict N97 & 5800XM site where you can find install files. Several of the apps do still require your registration information, but it is sure nice to have a site with all the install files in one place.
After installing all the apps I like to use, I then had to go through and customize my folder structure and get everything setup and ready to go. After all of this my phone memory was shown as 34.3 MB and my mass storage as 23.2 GB (I loaded up lots of music and videos in my mass memory).
After browsing a bit and using the device I have seen the phone memory go down just to around 20MB with lots of web browsing. I think one fairly easy fix Nokia could implement is the ability to set limits for browser caching or ways to schedule/setup regular browser cache clearing.
I am satisfied with this setup for now and will have to keep an eye on the browser cache. My other heartache on the N97 is with the low amount of RAM that keeps closing applications in the background when I run more than 5 or 6 apps at once that consume memory. Power users are the buyers of this device and more RAM should have been included. I am not sure if the RAM can be addressed with a software update, but we’ll see what happens in the future.