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.

Nokia N97 24/7 Tour kicks off

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.


86 Comments to Tips & tricks: Optimizing your N97 internal phone memory

sumit gupta
May 3, 2010

my phone was unable to open songs images and videos . I hard reset my phone even after that i am unable to format my mass memory. What to do . please help.

June 5, 2010


I did what you did, it makes my N97 boost up!
but i think i will trade this phone into blackberry soon, i can hold no more this very slow phone dude…

Abu Bakar
June 19, 2010

Nokia N97 is a bad phone. It has got lots of features but very limited RAM which fills up very quickly. The processor also seems to be very slow. The software from Nokia which is supposed to move stuff from drive C: to Mass Memory also does nothing; at least thats what has happened in my case. I dont know why Nokia will do something like that. Giving customers a SmartPhone which can do a lot of stuff but offer them very limited resources to do anything. I have at least decided to never buy any Nokia phone in fututre after having this bad experience with N97.

Tony English
June 28, 2010

I have to agree with the other comments on here. The N97 was released as a flagship phone to rival the iPhone. It seems like it was more of a beta version for a later handset. My phone never seems to have any available memory although I have uninstalled plenty of applications and has already been back to my provider (3) for a repair due to a fault with the screen. I fail to understand how they can treat their customers in this way. I personally will not be buying another Nokia after this fiasco. And all for the sake of a few pennies per handset in terms of RAM and storage on c:

The phone itself has been available for almost a year now and the issues people were complaining about at its release are still causing problems. Obviously Nokia are only interested in supporting their latest handsets and us who paid a fairly big chunk of cash to get their hands on the N97 have been forgotten about. Well I won’t forget about this phone for a very long time!

June 28, 2010

Hello everyone.
I am actually pleased with the nokia N97, for now.
Could just everyone try to remember the time when nokia 3310 and it’s siblings were hi-tech? Mobile phones are evolving constantly, if you are not pleased now, you’ll probably never be… So quit whining everyone.
(and this reply is written with a nokia N97).

June 29, 2010

To be satisfied is to quit striving for excellence. So, whining my friends is perfectly acceptable in a progressive environment =)

July 23, 2010

Thank you for the n97 optimization.

July 23, 2010

SInce I bought the handset, its just giving my grief. I have always been a Nokia user since 1996 and always enjoys with the features they threw and how robhurst their handsets were.
With the experience of N97 and for the price that I paid immediately after the launch (used only for 3 days, its still in the box), I really regret it. If i go to sell the handset now I am not even getting 1/4 of it.I take my N97 purchase to be a farewell to Nokia. bye bye nokia.

July 24, 2010

well im on a n97 now and loving being able to type on a keyboard over the touch screens the n97 mini has all of the goods that you all want get it

Ola A
July 28, 2010

I just bought this phone 2 weeks ago and i had the same memory problems then i had probs installing a few apps (gmail, opera mini,…) this article helped with the memory problems, i decided to use yahoo mail via the browser so no need for mail app. Installed java runtime 2.1 from betalabs solved problem with gmail and other java apps. hard reset freed up space on c: (but contacts took up about 20mb).
After all this i’m finally happy with my n97. The key is to never buy a new product as soon as it comes out the payoff for waiting is price-drop
I pre-ordered my n82 for $480 (without 3g support on ATT) bought my n97 for $430 (qwerty + 3.5g on ATT)
Been using Apple Mac since 1997 but i choose n97 over iphone 4 any day as a do-everything device!
Also fewer software issues.

Thanks for the article nokiaexperts

August 4, 2010

Hey guys,it seems nokia doesn’t give a dame about this issue,or no one reads your article on N97 c: memory.
What can we do?

August 11, 2010

I have purchased Nokia E-71 on 10th of January’10, because I need email messaging instantly. I activated email messaging. On 27th of July’10 about 12.30pm it was a conversation with somebody. During the discussion it hears sound of beeping and cut the voice from both side.Next day on 28th I went to nokia care at TELECONNECT, 47 JANPATH, ASHOK NAGAR, BHUBANESWAR-751009. Wait for 1.30hrs and got the reply from centre that it will take 10days i.e on 6th of August’10 I will get the same. I went on the said date and got my set E-71. But due to closing hours the executives said you come next day for email message set up. Further I went on 10th of Aug’10; after waiting of two hours, some how the mechanic has installed own ovimail and then ask me for my mail id installing. I tried my rediff id but could not success. But other ids are successful installed. On 11th August morning some how I installed the rediff id, but no receive/outgoing mail thru this id. Because that is very important. Further certain applications were installed like ngpay and certain games which also not shown in the set.Please help me in this regard.
with regards,
M.PANCHANAN PATRO, MY JOBSHEET NO.635504886/100728/122 DATED 28/JUL/2010.

September 27, 2010

will I lose my data on the mass memory – 32 GB – if I update the software ?? please help thanks

September 28, 2010

Hi to All ,great comments but I have a specific case on this matter of the “memory full….”

This message only appear when I try to make my back up directly from the cel to the sd card.

Any one knows why this happend and how I can fix it?


PS. for all that have constantly this message in the other options, normally is a corrupted app. Check your last applications installed and delete it until the message disappear.

October 30, 2010


October 30, 2010


November 15, 2010

i dnt knw y i couldnt format my e mass memory,ma e mass memory is nw full,bt i cnt delete any song or pic etc,bt y i dnt knw can u tell me every body hw co i do it plz help me

November 28, 2010

i have a problam with locatin drive E on my n97 device. mass memory is not working,any idea to solve this problam?????

December 13, 2010

thank you so much for this tips & tricks. it’s really helpful. and i’m loving my n97 more and more.

i bought this n97 about 3-4 months ago, the first 2 weeks is really frustrating as the main reason i bought this phone over the n97 mini because of the 32G (really need a huge storage for documents, audios n videos) and then i have problems with the phone memory (i didn’t know much about the memory, how to organize it).

but when i read your review, my phone’s performance really boost and my adobe pdf trial is renewed automatically (so i didn’t have to buy it on9. hehe.)

now, this has been my new habit every 2-3 weeks. it’s very easy since everything is saved in mass memory and i have backup in memory card.

guys, if you really need a huge storage, i recommend you this phone, the memory’s problem is not a big deal actually.

Sher Singh
December 27, 2010

Thanks for helpful post,but my phone is still getting error.Music player is still not working properly.I format it twice but still it is giving problem.Whenever I try to open music player It says :general system error.Please help me

ghulam mustafa
December 29, 2010

i am n 97 mobile phone 32 gb my phone problems all the storage data show mamory full please help me

January 12, 2011

@ ghulam mustafa
try updating the phone to the latest version v22

January 13, 2011

Hi guys, i am desperate for some help. i too have a nokia n97, and at the mo my prob is that i cannot access any of my photos! my little boy dropped it one day whilst lookin at the pics on the phone and since then i cannot access photos. it appears that there are some ‘fatal errors’ with the memory card.

is this repairable?

i am hardly an expert with technology,but it appears that the photos are on memory E mass memory (???), so bearing that in mind, can i not simply transfer all of the photos to c memory?

couple of people have suggested the cable connection from phone to laptop to download them, and quite bizaar, some have also suggested the ‘freezer’ trick. i am about to attempt the freezer trick (cant lose anything)!

i am desperate for some help! ive got over 500 photos that i need back!!!

please some1 help me!!! lol-seriously!

January 24, 2011

I updated the firmware to my latest posssible:
software version: 22.0.110

After I had updated I was forced to do a #7370 and after that did the phone to act buggy, (locking down so I am forced to remove battery, shutting down application without reason, and now I getting the out of memory error when I still have over 22MB free.

The only thing that is working better now is the alarm, the phone is now sounding the alarm when set, before the update the phone waited 3 – 10 minutes after setting time before the alarm sound was activated.

February 8, 2011

@ the photo guy
you can try connecting your phone to a pc with a usb cable and then transfer the photos to your pc try that…
if you want to delete phone memory on n97 just uninstall most apps from Menu>Settings>Application Manager>Installed Apps. and then download your applications back from internet and install via nokia pc suite on mass memory! :) for more info on memory n97’s
plus its a great phone!!!!

March 4, 2011

Wow !!!
I’ve got a huge amount of free memory on my Nokia N97/32
20MB out of 32.1GB !!!

When you have an iPhone 16GB you can use all this memory for data AND Apps. Nokia Symbian gives you 45MB !!!!

I wish a bought an MP3 player instead of this Nokia because that’s all you can use it for.

Richard Doe
April 9, 2011

I have found what I believe to be the major cause for this issue! I believe all of us have dealt with the issue of the message location changing from the E:mass memory to the C drive whenever the phone is connected to the PC. Nokia’s answer is to simply go into the message settings and change it back.

Well I’m here to tell you this answer is simply not acceptable! What happens is that each time this occurs, the Nokia Messaging client creates another file on the C drive and never deletes the old one. So every time you connect the phone to the PC you get another junk file in the C drive. Obviously these files will take up space over time, especially if you don’t change the setting back to the E drive right away.

What I’ve been doing to remedy this is to uninstall the Nokia Messaging client and reinstall it. Today my C drive was down to 8.7Mb. After uninstalling the client it went up to 17.4Mb, which is a difference of 8.7 Mb. Quite a bit for an application that is only supposed to consume 2Mb of memory! After the reinstall the C drive was at 15.3Mb and after the setup of the client it was at 12.8Mb. So overall I was able to recover 4.1Mb.

This was not my worst case scenario and I have recovered upwards of 8Mb by following this procedure, depending on how long I let it go.

So with all this said we currently have two options, forgo using the memory munching client all together or go through this cleanup procedure on a periodic basis which is usually once a week for me! I simply have not found a client that performs the functions as well so I am currently opting to continue with my time consuming routine for now.

ATTENTION NOKIA SUPPORT TEAM! I had identified what I believe to be a major problem with the Nokia Email client. PLEASE investigate my findings and provide a fix to this issue!!

May 17, 2011

On top of ‘memory full’ problem, I am having problem with unresponsive screen. For instance, a phone rings, and I just cannot pick up the call – neither by sliding move, nor by green button, as much as I furiously try. Or, I would try to click on a contact, and instead the contact list would slide upwards as if I was trying to scroll. I have cleared cache and uninstalled some apps from C, and it has improved a bit, or so it seems. Can anyone advise are touchscreen problems memory related, or a separate issue.

yuvrajsinh jadeja
June 9, 2011

when i try to reset my phone n97 , i entered *#7370# than phone ask for lock code and i do nt know the lock code so pls help me.

yuvrajsinh jadeja
June 10, 2011

hello can anybody give me solution. Pls friends do the needful.

June 13, 2011

default lock code is 12345. hope it helps.

July 12, 2011

Install the latest firmware, v 30.0.004 from 16-June-2011. Much faster and more responsive, better internet browser and I have 233MB free on C, 7.6GB free on E (8GB n97 mini)

July 22, 2011

He frndzzz….don’t go for Nokia n97 by any fault. its a f–kng mobile since i use it now. lot of difficulties..low touch response, low ram..low damn c memory 45mb..if we add apps from ovi such as Nokia mail..or we update our Nokia map..the c memory gets full and there is no way to make the path of this apps to E memory…so don’t ever get fooled.. and in ma mobile when we take a camera picture the flash reflects from the shutter and make the picture worse, and the shutter of camera makes scratches in the lens…wat the hell Nokia made this crap for… damn irritated..

November 6, 2011

N97 ha internal memory. Does that mean the memory card cannot be taken out and used in another phone?

January 5, 2012

The best solution is to clean the mobile with acid HCL for 5 hours then you will never face any problem at all.

If you need your money back , sell it to some one who have never heard about it and purchase a mobile from another brand with real RAM .

khursheed ansari
March 19, 2012


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