Android storage has been a perpetual source of confusion among users. This is partly because there are no standard rules and loads of exceptions. All manufacturers don’t follow similar set of rules over all devices and thus there is a lot of confusion among beginners. Here are answers to some basic questions which we regularly come across.

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Q) What is internal storage?

A) This is the partition where all your apps are installed and stored. Internal storage also includes pre installed apps, OS, important settings and also data from pre-installed apps. so if your 16 GB internal storage device has 2 GB free on Internal storage, that is all that you can use for Apps.

Q) What is Phone Storage?

A) Phone storage is more like SD card  on your phone. These days several phones don’t have separate partition for Internal and phone storage, and this means you can use entire space for apps, but if you have phone storage on your smartphone, that part will be used to store your media files, camera images, app data and more.

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Recommended: What is Difference between Internal, Phone and External Storage? Android Storage Explained

Q) What is SD card storage?

A) SD card storage is external storage present on MicroSD card. Important system files and widgets can’t and shouldn’t be placed on your SD card, because it can be removed. Some apps or parts of apps can be transferred to SD card but only if app developer has provided apps2SD permission and if smartphone manufacturer permits it.

Q) Why Android storage is partitioned?

A) Short answer is because of security reasons. The data on internal storage has to be kept separate and hidden from users and other apps as it is sensitive. FAT file system used on SD card does not have proper permission system and it allows all apps to access all folders. Phone storage or SD Card 0 as phones display it based on FAT file system can not be used for apps as one app might read others folder and steel private info. Read detailed explanation at the link below

Recommended: Why Your Android Phone Memory is Partitioned as Internal Storage and Phone Storage

Q) Why do I get insufficient memory message although I have several GB free?

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A) The error message is due to less free space on Internal storage. Sometimes, you can side-load apps by downloading APK files if Play store doesn’t allow you to download or update apps due to insufficient storage space

Q) What precautions should be taken on partitioned Internal storage smartphones?

A) You must remove apps you don’t use from the storage. Regular spring cleaning is advisable. Besides, several modern performance booster apps like clean master can delete dump files and logs which are often stored on Internal storage. These logs and dumps occupy precious app storage space. Also disable or delete (requires root access) pre-installed apps you don’t use.

Q) Can I use phone storage and SD card storage together?

A) When you mount SD card, Phone storage is greyed out. You can choose default write disk as SD card. Data stored on SD card can still be accessed via respective apps and file explorer.

Q) Can I move data from internal storage to phone storage?

A) There is no simple way to do this, even with root access. You can check

Q) Can I move data from phone storage to SD card?

A) This can be done. You can manually copy and paste media files from Phone storage to similar SD card storage too.

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Q) Should I store data in SD card or phone storage?

A) Your Nand Flash memory or storage on your device performs better when a part of it is free. It is advisable to keep at least one third storage space free at all times (especially in devices with Android 4.2 or older version as they don’t have FSTRIM). As far as possible, it is better that you invest in a good quality SD card with higher class rating and store media files, camera images, app data, etc on SD card.

Q) How can I transfer all apps to SD card?

A) Some apps can be moved to SD card. After inserting SD card, you can go to App info page and check if “Move to External Storage” option is present. By pressing the option you can move parts or apps and sometimes complete app to SD card. There are several apps like clean master, AppMgr, etc which an tell you how many apps are moveable. With root access, most apps can be moved to SD card.

Q) Why all apps are not transferable to SD card?

A) some apps like keyboard, widgets etc need to work even when your SD card is not mounted. Such apps can’t be moved to SD card. Besides, sometimes manufacturers don’t allow apps on SD card due to security and performance reasons.

Q) Are non expandable storage phones better?

A) SD cards don’t fit well with Google’s Android vision. The goal is that you never have to use file picker or go hunting for data on SD card and that goal becomes tougher to achieve with SD card. Nevertheless SD cards offer freedom and can be immensely useful for both basic and power users.

Q) What points should be considered while buying a new phone?

A) While buying a new phone, its better you opt for a phone without any storage partition. If you plan on installing several big games and apps, go for at least 16 GB internal storage without partition or phones which allow you to store apps to SD card.

Conclusion

This concludes some most frequently asked storage related questions that we come across. Google has always taken storage woes seriously and has constantly endeavored to improve Android experience in this regard. In case you have more questions regarding storage, you can ask us in the comment section below. We hope all community users will help answer those questions along with us.

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The Author spent a significant chunk of his formative years resisting technology. He now keeps an eye on where the world is heading to, and drives a passive pleasure from this indulgence. His passion to write, learn and improve drives him each day. When his day ends, he enjoys the pleasant languor and detoxifies with family. You can connect with him on and Twitter