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Mods [GUIDE] Stop Giant thumbnail files being saved on your sdcard by the Gallery [Stock only]

On Android 4 ICS (and possibly others), a giant thumbnail file may be created in your DCIM folder. This file can be several Gigabytes in size, depending on how many pictures you have. It is generated by the Android Gallery app.

Here's a list of different ways to prevent or reduce the size of that giant thumbnail file.

  1. Quick and temporary solution- just delete any files/folders in your DCIM folder that start with .thumbnail
  2. Create a file named .nomedia in certain folders to prevent the gallery from scanning those folders. More info
  3. Delete the .thumbnail and replace is with an empty folder or empty file. More info
  4. A thumbnail deleter app developed by ppero196
I personally use option #3. Works good for me.



#1 Sepero, Feb 27, 2013
Thanks for that, Sepero.

Yeah, I'm sure I'm not the only .thumbnail delete around the Android community. ;) Thank you for providing the alternatives to doing that.
#2 Frisco, Feb 27, 2013
Thanks Frisco. If anyone else has other solutions, I'll add those to the OP.

I figured this post would be a good start for our new Mods and Hacks forum. :D
#3 Sepero, Feb 27, 2013
I think .thumbnails were made since froyo...maybe GB. I'll have to check with my Optimus M...
#4 sammyz, Mar 3, 2013
How do you find this file? I have an app which sais I have the file but if I search in my files I don't see it. I can't delete it via the app because I can't place a empty file then. How to find it?
#5 liberi, Jan 2, 2014
Use an app like Root Browser
It should work.
#6 Sepero, Jan 3, 2014
But what happens if you delete the file without replacing it? Does that matter? Because via the app I can delete it but not get into my files, so if I don't have to I don't need to download any other apps. I read something if you delete that thumbnails that you gallery get slower, is that true?
#7 liberi, Jan 3, 2014
If you delete the .thumbnail file without replacing it, it will just come back as it was before.

If your gallery slows down afterwards, you can simply delete the fake .thumbnail that you created, and everything will go back the way it was.

The gallery doesn't seem slower on my phone. Your results may vary. Cheers
#8 Sepero, Jan 4, 2014
I will try the app then. I search for the file in my files but I simply don't find it while my cleaner app says that is uses 1.3 gb.
#9 liberi, Jan 5, 2014
I don't know how but I think I solved it whitout the app. I'm not sure but I think my sd card is way more empty. My app doesn't sayn the 2 files are there. I created 2 files with the name of the thumbnails which were there but when I wanted to place them in the DCIM they were gone, but I think it worked without placing it there.
P.S I'm sorry for my bad English
#10 liberi, Jan 5, 2014
Thank you Sepero - put me on the right track. LG Motion with 4.0 - checked settings>storage and noted that photos, video were using 2.68 GB and knew I didn't have that many photos and no videos.

Three .thumbnail files were there and they were huge (two were over 1 GB each and the third was 500 MB). I opened to see what they were and they were icons indicating broken photo or video.

CLUE: Not long ago my iPhone friend kept trying to send photos in messaging and they would fail with those icons. We got it worked out so he can now send them but my guess is these icons were created when he sent the photos. FYI: Had him turn off default iMessaging and select Use SMS instead).

I deleted all three files and regained the 2.68GB space back on my phone (6.0 GB max).

Rebooted the phone and checked - photos now take only 2.57 MB (not GB) which is what I expected.

Thanks for lighting the path to resolution. Best to all.
#11 ElBanko, Feb 22, 2014
i am sorry to be replying to such an old thread but if people are still experiencing this i have a solution that makes it so that the file is there but no loger expands and gets bigger you can do this by connecting your phone to your computer and making the file read only. you can make a new file in es file explorer thats is named exactly the same as the file that is getting too big then on windows right click and click on properties and make it read only you can also just do this straight from your phone if you are rooted with root explorer.
#12 Luisxgx, Jun 29, 2015
I personally used option 3 and worked fine. thanks
#13 rezikalf2, Aug 2, 2015
The answer provided is definitely true and working but there seems to be a slight problem in the execution of it though. As for some android devices, that i have seen , most don't seem to show the " .thumbnail " file when one wants to delete it. So one has to plug in to pc or laptop via a usb cable to delete it . Not only that the problem ends here, you got to remove the " .thumbnail " file here this way and eject your device and go on to phone storage in file manager and create a " .thumbnail " file as soon as possible atleast without opening the gallery . If you delay or open the gallery by any means , the " .thumbnail " file gets created again in the folder which once again i say , is invisible in some android devices without connecting to pc/laptop .
#14 Smruti Ranjan, Apr 29, 2016
But is it like even safe to delete it? Does nothing get lost? Quality or files? Because I have 3GB of photo/video but 6GB of thumbnail and really afraid that if I delete the 2 thumbnail files I will loose data
#15 Astropipe, Nov 27, 2016
So many years and the problem still floats around.
Issue with me is that even if I delete the entire folder of thumbnails, the file manager doesn't show a reduced memory usage. Maybe few kbs lesser than what it was.
That means, for example, my internal memory statistics show a consumption of 7.5GB with "other files" of 1GB. I go to explorer and delete 700MB thumbnails folder. But the internal memory usage is STILL 7.5GB in the file manager. Exploring the internal memory, if I select all file folders then their combined file size is now shown 700MB lesser, different from what overall stats show.

I guess the thumbnail file still stayed in my memory, in some "invisible" way
With my 8Gb internal storage , I still would be getting warning for low space.
#16 Piyushstv, Apr 19, 2017
What device that you use?
I have the same problem with my device and it's very frustrating 'cause i just have 500~ Mb storage left...
#17 ZBN45, Aug 4, 2017