Old phones, new problems

I still remember my first Android smartphone: a shiny ‘gold’ xperia Ray. It was my first expierence with Android and I loved it. Back then, I was looking for a smartphone that I could use for VOIP, GPS, Whatsapp, Agenda and maybe some light browsing. It wasn’t a powerhouse, but it worked and that was good enough for me.

But nothing lasts forever and I found myself switching phones quite a number of times. The Ray landed in the cupboard collecting dust as a spare phone. The sight of it pained me. Even though it was now an older phone, I had always liked its sleek design and it was still perfectly functional. I couldn’t stand the sight of the phone just lying there begging to be used.

So I gave the phone to a friend of mine. She still uses it and is quite happy with it. But a few weeks ago she ran into a problem: Whatsapp wouldn’t update anymore since there wasn’t enough space in the internal memory.

Link2SD

Off course, the first thing I tried was moving as many apps as possible to the SD card. Still not enough, since moving the app to the SD card still leaves stuff behind in the internal storage. Then I tried deleting non-essential apps. Still no good. I played with the idea of partitioning the SD card, mounting it, then moving stuff in the system partition to the new partition. I know my way around Linux, but a quick Google search revealed that Android didn’t really have the normal /etc/fstab. And I didn’t look forward to the prospect of modifying the boot image.

That’s when I ran into Link2SD. This nifty tool moves apps to the SD card and the creates a link towards it in the original location. This way, it can move an app to the SD card completely, not leaving any stuff behind. According to a guide I found, it was simply a matter of creating an ext4 (or ext3 or ext2) partition and then running Link2SD and linking the apps.

It worked like a charm and without any problems at all. Normally, everything I do takes longer because I run into some unexpected issue, but this worked in one go.

The end result was that all apps could update again so my friend can keep using her phone. Looking back on it, taking that phone and giving it a new lease on life was a great thing to do. It still brings back a smile on my face when I see it and I had great fun playing around with it.