Firefly AURII Secret Mini internal memory problem

Strange memory problem?

Well, I can’t find anything about the problem (until today, August 6, 2017, see below) I am having with my Firefly AURII Secret Mini, so maybe this post can help me, and Firefly Mobile, as I presume they would want this solved.

The problem is that the internal memory of my Firefly  AURII Secret Mini slowly fills up with ‘something’. And that ‘something’ is not apps and it is not data. The ‘something’ is completely invisible from a users point of view, at least invisible for me, and believe me, I know a little bit how to find ‘things’ in a computer like device, which my Firefly AURII is.

So well, let’s just create a basic page first. Maybe add a screendump of the current memory, as I will have to do a factory reset again as the internal memory of the phone is virtually completely full and some things don’t work anymore. I already uninstalled Dropbox that still resided there, but that didn’t really help.

So the memory before the factory reset, after uninstalling DropBox, that wants to be in that memory:

Memory Firefly AURII Secret Mini before factory reset.

And now it stopped completely, probably because it was hardly charged and connected to my computer through USB, at least I hope that is the case.

And fortunately that was the case. I was just able to turn it on again.

Just continued setting it up, I am getting good and fast with it. Memory just after the factory reset:

Memory Firefly AURII Secret Mini after factory reset.
And the memory after my ‘mixed’ formatting with ADB:

Memory Firefly AURII Secret Mini after (mixed) format.

And looking at the pictures now I may have been able to format the first partition as internal memory without formatting with ADB, but well, maybe next time. Or with second thought, not easy, as it is not visible. I thought it was visible looking at this page, but probably was looking at the wrong image.

Maybe a known problem

<div style=”margin-right: 1em; width: 8em;”>Seems to be a known problem as I found https://androidforums.com/threads/low-on-space-system-data-huge.278837/ and some more pages about a similar or the same issue. I presumed already it was some kind of log file growing and growing (folder /data/log). I already presumed something like that. On my phone the ‘dial *#9900# does not work. And no, I don’t like rooting my phone also, so for now it seems I am stuck with the problem. Went to the shop where I bought it today and not easy to explain what is going on, but it seems they are willing to help.

And the problem seems to be getting worse. I did a factory reset two or three days ago and the internal memory is virtually full again. I made screendumps to keep track.

Today, August 7, 2017, I went back to the store where I bought my Firefly AURII Secret Mini, after going there yesterday, but finding out there is not much they can do on Sundays. And yesterday the phone was full again, so I deleted Dropbox to make some internal memory available, but today, just now, and also when I was at the store, the memory was virtually full and the phone started complaining again things might not work. And indeed, things started to stop working properly, especially tonight.

Another factory reset

So yes, I decided, or better had to, do a factory reset again, which I just did. Memory before was:

Memory Firefly AURII Secret Mini before factory reset.

And this time I decided to just go for the full use of the SD card as internal memory by just using the standard phone option. I doubt that would make any difference, but according to the staff in the shop I am the only one having the problem, so it might be the split setup of the SD card I used before, even though I strongly doubt that. But I saw some messages about ‘memory card found’ before, so this setup may be different somehow. Anyhow, here is the memory for the clean Firefly AURII Secret Mini with my 16Gb SD Card:

Memory Firefly AURII Secret Mini after factory reset.

So, well, installing all the stuff again. And yes, I made a copy of everything that was on the phone and am using Carbonite SMS Backup & Restore for backing up my SMS messages. Main issue is that Viber does not seem to keep the messages, so I made a screendump of an important message I got yesterday.

So here we go again:

  • enter local WiFi passwords;
  • enter Google account for Google Play;
  • install Carbonite SMS Backup & Restore;
  • copy my files like music and videos back, and yes, the SMS backup files;
  • set up security, like entering pin;
  • set my desktop background image;
  • set up SIM and other preferences;
  • answer all ‘allow’ questions;
  • remove (default) signature for messages;

And full again today, August 11, 2017, with complaints about internal memory again and possibly problems storing/handling (SMS) messages. And I could not even move some apps that still resided in the ‘real’ internal memory to the SD Card without deleting the data of some of the Google system apps. It didn’t make much difference though as the internal memory filled up pretty fast again after deleting and moving some last ‘options’.

So factory reset again tomorrow I guess.

And I did not have really time, so I am kind of in trouble now as I did not find the time yesterday to do the factory reset again. And this was much earlier than expected, only after three or four days. I thought I had some more time. And it is a real problem right now, as my phone may not store any messages anymore or may not accept calls.

Memory Firefly AURII Secret Mini full again.

And I already cleared the cache, moved the remaining apps there to the SD Card, deleted Dropbox and even deleted the data from the system apps residing there, like Google Play stuff. The last may create more problems, but the phone stopped working properly, like I was not able to send messages again.

And it is getting annoying, as it seems some photos were not stored, some photos I cannot replace. So yes, better install a ‘mixed’ SD Card formatting as I think I did not lose photos when I had that.

And another

So here we go again…

Virus

Fortunately I am in touch with Firefly support. They didn’t respond to my e-mails, but they do respond to Facebook, or did, as it seems they have blocked me, and to Viber.

Related to my problem they suggested it is probably a virus that can only be analyzed and removed by their service center in Manila. Remedy would be to ‘re-software’ the phone.

Related to my research and analysis I can hardly imagine my phone is infected by a virus, as that virus would need to survive a factory reset and it would need to have access to system memory that I presume is, or better should be, inaccessible to anything ‘app’ or, in my case, something booting from my SD Card, as I can’t imagine any virus like that installing itself on a non-rooted phone without somehow running at boot time or something. Of course if a virus survives a factory reset it would also have access to the system memory, so ‘access to system memory’ is nothing weird, presuming the virus installed itself somehow from some kind of boot/reset option.

So no, I can hardly imagine it is a virus, as I never rooted my phone and also did not boot it (consciously) from the SD Card I have. As far as I remember I also did not install anything outside of Google Play. So if there is a virus in my phone it must have either come from my SD Card, or from Google Play.

And I just did some research on ‘virus after factory reset’, which seems to confirm there is stuff that can survive a factory reset. But even if, how did the virus get into my phone anyhow, as I can’t imagine the Android OS running ‘anything’ from an SD Card and I can’t imagine any app containing a virus that I got through Google Play.

So what now?

Well, I am trying to convince the vendor to let me do the re-software myself. Or maybe the store is willing to exchange the phone with another one of the same type and model. In the last case I guess I have to somehow erase the SD Card before putting it in the new phone, otherwise I would have the same problem again, IF the virus came from the SD Card.

And IF the virus comes from any of the apps I normally install from Google Play, then it would also be back on the new phone in no time, as I normally install the same apps. And no, nothing weird or out of the normal, just Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp, Dropbox, now the SMS backup software, Google Maps(!?), sometimes Remote Desktop for Windows and the Kindle software from Amazon. I can’t imagine any malware in each of those apps still. But who am I? The vendor is King I guess…

And I did some more reading and everywhere I find that to access anything ‘system’ you need to have root access. And the only way to get that is to root your device. But my device is not rooted and I prefer to keep it that way.

And again…

And yeah, again due for factory reset, as I see 2.15 Gb used of 2.26 Gb. Saw it already in the command prompt. That data seems to come from the /data folder, exactly where the article I found said the ‘log files’ were found.

So again, just now, August 15, 2017 in the evening, as the system really started to complain, I did a factory reset.

Phone surrendered

This afternoon, Thursday August 17, 2017, I surrendered my phone to be sent to the service center in Manila. Fortunately I was offered I could lend another phone temporarily and I accepted the deal, even though I am not fully happy with it. I already had made the decision if I would not be offered another phone I would buy another phone, and already decided it would probably be a Lenovo A1000 as that phone seems to meet my specs, even though the front camera seems to be very limited, 0.2 Megapixel as per specification. But I am not really a selfie type of person, so that is less important than specs like memory, and yes, now also, brand.

Main issue for me now is that I probably have to miss the phone for about two weeks, where I still can’t imagine the problem is really with my phone, this specific phone. I am pretty sure a software upgrade would solve the problem.

So yes, I expect something in return for surrendering my phone and not being able to use it for two weeks. And if it would turn out it has only gotten a software upgrade or a custom built or something I would be pretty annoyed, angry even, as that could have been done online. And if it would be returned with the same build number and the problem gone I would be amazed.

Anyhow, I don’t know exactly what is wrong with it and my thinking could be wrong, so let’s see what Manila says or comes back with first. And no, I can’t post any photos or screendumps here right now as I don’t have the phone anymore and I don’t have a card reader or another phone that can read my SD Card.

Life without my Android phone

It is August 27, 2017 now, more than a week ago since I surrendered my phone for repair. Fortunately I got a replacement, even though a very simple phone, but I can still call and text. I can’t use Viber and WhatsApp though and I can’t take photos and such. I also can’t use Messenger when I am on the way and such, but until now I managed pretty well.

And I wanted to write more about it, as I still don’t fully understand why Firefly wanted to have the phone checked by their service center where to me it is apparently a software problem that needs a software upgrade. And as far as I know that can just be delivered through Google Play.

I am also a bit in doubt about Firefly providing me a simple phone instead of an Android capable phone, but that is of course kind of industry standard or maybe even above. Still, it creates problems for me as I don’t have the full phone functionality I am used to.

Anyhow, let’s see what they found and if they were able to find and solve the issue.

Phone is back!

Well, my phone is back, about 3 weeks after I left it to be sent to Manila for repair as it is September 8, 2017. And it seems they just installed an older version of the OS, as the records said something like ‘upgrade’, but it seems it has been a downgrade as the build number is now FIREFLYMOBILE_SECRETmini_V002_20170324, where the ‘old’ build number was FIREFLYMOBILE_SECRETmini_V003_20170503.

Firefly AURII Secret Mini before repair.
Before repair

Firefly AURII Secret Mini before repair.
After repair

So yes, i am absolutely not happy only to find out my phone has been downgraded and that I had to miss it for about three weeks. And yes, of course I am happy my phone is back, but I am pretty sure if I update it now, as, yes, it says there is an update available, it may have the same issue again.

My main annoyance is that I guess they could have just made an update available through Google Play instead of capturing my phone for three weeks. And if I am right and the problem is related to the update, then the problem is NOT solved, as I, or any other owner, may just accidentally update the phone. As the update available says indeed FIREFLYMOBILE_SECRETmini_V003_20170503_20170503-1504, which resembles the build number that was installed on my phone before I returned it to Firefly.

Firefly, I think you can and need to do better. As no, I am not happy with the SMS app that is installed right now as it does not group the messages.

To be continued I guess…

Bad news

I think about two days ago I started to have the feeling the problem might still be there, but it only became obvious today, as only today the internal memory filled up very quickly again, going from 1.5 Gb to more than 2 Gb in half a day or one day or so. Very strange, as the first few days I had my phone back I had the feeling the problem was not there. So over the last week I slowly installed all my apps again, and yes, formatted the SD Card mixed again in a rate 40/60 as before.

So well, I went back to the store to report the problem. And the staff in the store agreed that the phone really has a problem, has the problem again. However, the tech people in Manila said something like the RAM is the problem, like 512 Mb is not enough and is causing the problem. Finally I said something that an option for me was to get my money back as the phone is not usable for me in this way. Then they offered 75% of the original price, which initially I did not agree with

Anyhow, I became kind of angry, got kind of very angry partly, so I decided to leave and go back tomorrow or so, insisting that I just wanted the full amount as a refund, not a 25% deduction, as to me the phone has a factory defect, which the Manila office keeps denying.

And right now I don’t really know what to do, as to me the solution is very simple: just put a software upgrade online fixing the problem. As actually I am very happy with the phone. It feels nice and does everything I want, like I can install all the apps I normally use in daily life. So actually I rather have the phone fixed than having a refund, as that would also mean I have to spend more, as my next phone will certainly be a 1Gb/8Gb phone again, not a 512Mb/4Gb phone. And price of that is around PHP 3,000.00, not the PHP 1,999.00 I paid for this one.

As again, same as with some other issues I had before, if I am not satisfied with the solution the brand will lose and I will lose, just losing trust, where Firefly actually had gained a lot of trust with my Vision 4 Plus that was a very good deal and made me also decide to buy this phone (and keep it) as I just trusted the brand.

So Firefly, please fix the problem and please don’t deny there is a problem, as there are many phones out there having 512Mb RAM and 4 Gb internal memory and as far as I know virtually all of them work very fine.

And yes, I really like the Firefly AURII Secret Mini, so I would not be happy letting it go.

Letting go

And it is September 15, 2017 now, a day after I went back to the store, and last night I decided that I was really tired of this whole thing and that I would just buy a new phone and take whatever refund they give me for this Firefly AURII Secret Mini. So yes, this afternoon I bought a new phone, a branded one now, not the Lenovo A1000 as I planned earlier, but the Lenovo A2010-a as it has a better front camera and as I like the 4.5 inch screen of the Firefly AURII Secret Mini.

Just bring it to the service center.

So yes, I learned a lot from this whole experience, from the falling and braking of my beloved Firefly Vision 4 Plus to the experience of a new phone with lower specs to an annoying problem Firefly is not able to or does not want to fix. Imagine, I continued my conversation, reporting the current status of the issue and the response I got was “bring it to a service center”. Well, I just got it back from the service center, and the issue is not solved. I even suggested it probably just needs a minor update that they can easily put online. But no, they didn’t get my point. Anyhow, that was after I had already decided to let go of the Firefly. And yes, also of the Firefly brand for now. As they fully lost the trust with me.

Indeed, not easy to build trust, which they really had with me, but relatively easy to lose it.

No refund (yet)

So I went back to the store today, Wednesday September 20, 2017, in order to get my refund, whether with or without 25% deducted. As I had understood that Firefly had accepted my suggestion to just have my money back and, as far as I understood, offered me a refund with 25% deduction, where I suggested to the store attendant to try to get a 100% refund as to me the phone is just not usable.

So today I went back to just get my refund, phone prepared, including box, headset and charger, only to find out that somehow the deal was off, or had never been there. Or at least not approved today. They asked for my number and they would call me. I have no clue why, but we’ll see. Just some time wasted as I went especially tot he store to return the phone and get my refund.

So another disappointment, and yes, it was my choice to buy a new phone already. But no, no Firefly for me again.

End of story?

Yesterday, September 28, 2017, I went back to the store not really knowing what to expect as I had not had any phone call or something. To my surprise I received a refund and even to my bigger surprise I received back the full amount, PHP 1,999.00. So I guess that is my end of the story, and also my end with having a relationship with the Firefly brand, as I am still not fully happy with what happened and as I would still have preferred to keep the phone, as I really liked it.

Anyhow, I think Firefly did the best they could, giving me a full refund for the phone. Maybe even better than what is common in the industry in these kinds of cases. So yes, thank you Firefly for acknowledging the problem and taking action on it.

Of course I would like to know what happens after, as I did not do a factory reset on the phone, so they might be able to analyze what files are causing the issue with the phone.

And well, my Lenovo A2010-a is doing fine, even though it has Android 5.1 Lollipop and not Android 6.0 Marshmallow, meaning I can’t move apps to the SD card, so I need more internal memory and have no option to do anything really as it is full. And it is already half full with quite a lot of bloatware, more than the Firefly AURII Secret Mini. But it seems to work fine until now and indeed gives a bit more of a feeling of being engineered better than the Firefly. Especially battery life is much longer than the Firefly.

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