Need Help Understanding Internal & SD Card StorageSupport

Last Updated:

  1. Trupod

    Trupod Member

    I'm new to Android.

    Until today I've been installing apps wherever they default to, and have been wondering why "Manage Applications" shows some of my downloaded applications as being "on SD card". It's dawned on me that the phone seems to have two separate internal storage areas, one of which is called "SD card" even tho' I had not yet added an SD card.

    Today I installed a 64GB SANdisk external microSD card. I want to start moving applications to it. But I'm seeing things I don't understand:

    The phone's "Settings-->Applications-->Manage Applications" shows:
    Device Memory: .97GB used and 1.00GB free.
    USB storage: 5.2GB used and 6.3GB free.

    App2SD 1.0 shows:
    On Phone: total=1.97GB and Avail=.95GB
    On SD card: Total=11.5GB and Avail=6.29GB

    App2SD+ 0.9.3 shows:
    On Phone: 373MB/110apps and Free:976MB/1.97GB.
    On SD card: same as App2SD results

    Apps2SD doesn't show usage and capacity, just lists of apps that can or can't be moved.

    Can someone please explain:

    What are all the distinct storage pools in an Android (Sprint: Samsung Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch) phone? What is each for?

    Why the apparent discrepancy between what's shown by "Manage Applications" and App2SD?

    Where is the used/avail space on my 64GB card shown? And how to use it?

    Thanks for your attention.

    mgtraveler51 likes this.
  2. Netcat

    Netcat Well-Known Member

    The E4GT has built-in storage of 16GB with about 12GB of it available for storage. This is called the USB storage. It also has 2GB of device memory, plus your SD card. If you want to see where you stand, go to home/menu/settings/storage. There you can see the available memory on your SD card, the USB storage, and the device memory.

    If you go to the "file manager" app on your phone and tap on it then tap on the "home" tab at the top left, you'll see the 16GB internal storage in the folder sdcard. If you want to see your external SD card, scroll down to the external_sd folder and tap on it...THAT is your external SD card.

    If you plug the phone into your PC's USB port and go to "my computer", you'll see the phone listed as SPH-D710. Click on that and you can see your SD card storage (labeled card) and your phone's 16GB (11.5GB available) of internal USB storage (labeled phone). You can drag files around and save files from the phone to your PC or vice versa you like. Just be careful what you move.

    But before you can do this, you'll need to have the Samsung drivers installed (download Samsung "Kies" software and install it. You do NOT need to run it, you only need it for the drivers), and be sure that on the phone "USB debugging" is turned off, or un-checked showing dark grey check marks (go to home/menu/settings/applications/development). Then just plug the phone in and wait for your computer to recognize it, then go to my computer and click on it.

    I downloaded the APP2SD app and see that when you tap on the "on SD card" tab at the top, it actually shows the internal USB storage, not the external SD card. Tapping on the "phone only" or "movable" tabs show the 2GB of internal device memory. So if you try to move an app from the phone to your SD card using this program, you will actually only move it from your phones device memory to your phones internal USB storage. I believe that this program is designed to work with phones that do not have the 16GB of internal memory, just the <2GB of device memory plus an SD card.

    If you want to move apps from the phone's device memory to your external SD card, go to home/menu/settings/applications/manage applications. There you can select almost any app and choose to move it to the external SD card.
    Alan270, Trupod, Thrash and 1 other person like this.
  3. whatever L

    whatever L New Member

    So it means that, my device memory will get full even before my USB memory does? I changed from HTC Salsa because of the super tiny internal storage it had (150 MB) And I couldn't even download anything even though I have a SD card of 8 GB. When I bought Samsung Galaxy S2 I actually thought it would be 16 GB internal memory so I bought it. Does it mean I wasted my money then?
  4. KitsapAndroid

    KitsapAndroid Well-Known Member

    Not at all. The phone does have 16GB of internal memory, but 4GB of that is being used by the OS, so you get the other 12GB for whatever you want. Plus, if you have an external SD card, then you can just have your apps and pics stored there instead and leave your internal memory alone. That being said, don't store anything that uses a widget on your SD card, they don't always play nice from there. Hope that helps you out some. :)
  5. SGS2Fan

    SGS2Fan New Member

    If you haven't resolved this problem already, note that the Galaxy S2 only supports external micro SD cards up to 32GB.

    If you are struggling for the space, add a 32gig card and NOT 64GB.

    Hopefully this will resolve your issue.:cool:
  6. Trupod

    Trupod Member

    My 64gb card seems to work just fine.
  7. ttwiv

    ttwiv Member

    I don't see a way to get my Galaxy SII Epic 4G to automatically store pictures and videos on the external SD card. ...Oh wait, never mind -- found it. When in the camera app, touch the gear icon for settings and scroll down to storage and change it from "phone" to "memory card".

    I think when changing an app to move itself to the SD card (the app, not the data the app stores), the app does not move to external SD card -- it instead moves to the 12GB internal memory (or maybe stays there if that is where it already was), which is labeled in other places as USB memory. I moved one app to SD memory, and nothing new showed up in my then-empty "external_sd" folder. But when I set the camera app to store pictures to "memory card", then took a picture, the camera's DCIM folder appeared in "external_sd". Old pictures remained in DCIM folder in USB memory (/mnt/sdcard).

    Now to see if I can get the Google Play Music to pin playlists to the external card. I have a feeling that isn't possible. Anybody know?
  8. KitsapAndroid

    KitsapAndroid Well-Known Member

    @ttwiv All of my apps are on my SD card unless they have a widget. Not in my USB partition on my phone, but on my SD card. Yours probably are to if you moved them. Don't just go by the folders though. Pull out your SD card and see if you have any apps left on your phone that aren't grayed out turned into a little SD card or whatever it is they do now for missing SD card data. Sometimes the folders get hidden in other folders and so on. My internal USB memory is blank minus my widgets. I like to keep my phone as clean as possible. I let the SD card take care of the grunt work for me. :)
  9. ttwiv

    ttwiv Member

    Thanks for the info. How do you get all of your apps onto the SD card? When I go into "manage applications" the "move to SD card" option is grayed out for most apps, as most apps don't support running off the SD Card. I'm wondering if those apps -- the ones that don't allow moving to SD Card -- are not shown in your USB memory because they are instead in the ~4GB of internal memory that is partitioned off from the internal 16GB.

    This USB memory concept is present in my Galaxy S2, so it is a Samsung thing.

  10. KitsapAndroid

    KitsapAndroid Well-Known Member

    Tom, it's not that every single app I have is on my SD, it's just the ones that do not have a widget, or in the rare case, does not support running from the SD. So yes, my USB partition has a little bit of stuff on it, but it doesn't have much. Only what I HAVE to keep on there. Everything else runs from my SD card. If my SD ever died on me, I would be in a world of trouble. Lol! Thankfully, I keep backups. :) Also, it has been my experience that more apps than not run from the SD card. It's been a feature in Android since 2.1 I think? Anyway, point being, the majority of apps these days are able to utilize the SD card from what I have seen.
  11. MikeP0001

    MikeP0001 Member

    I too have a Galaxy S2 and a 64Gb SD card. I am running ICS.

    I moved all my apps to the phone, unmounted the existing 32Gb card, shut down, swapped in the 64Gb card, restarted it, formatted the 64Gb card and then tried to move an app to the SD card. I got a message that there was no room to do so. Otherwise the phone recognises the card as 59Gb.

    So, I assume it is correct that the GS2 cannot use the new SDXC cards correctly? :confused:

    As an aside, my cameras can't use it either!
  12. shankarbabu420

    shankarbabu420 New Member

    Hey guys, this is my first post! I noticed a few doubts over the phone's listed vs. actual memory and I thought I'd propose an explanation.

    The 16 GB listed internal memory is actually around 14.9GiB. GiB is the actual memory unit, but it is now interchangeably misused with GB. Please note, GiB (Gibibyte) is not the same as GB (Gigabyte).

    1 GB = 1000 * 1000 * 1000 bytes

    1 GiB = 1024 * 1024 * 1024 bytes

    GiB is the memory unit actually used to describe file size in modern day computers. GB is what storage manufacturers use to describe the Storage capacity. This has always been the case for HDD and flash drives and I suppose it's the same for SD cards and internal phone storage. However, since most people aren't aware of this subterfuge, no one really makes a big deal about it. :p

    So out of the 14.9 GiB SGS2 includes, 2 GiB is the device memory and about 1.3 GiB is used by the Android OS/Touchwiz4.0 UI etc. The USB storage thus makes up about 11.5 GiB.

    The GB~GiB issue is best illustrated in the post just above mine, wherein a 64GB SD card is read by the system as 59 GB (GiB actually).

    Hope this info helps somewhat...
    iLLbeFrank likes this.
  13. iLLbeFrank

    iLLbeFrank New Member

    OK, that makes sense thanks. So the phone's memory is all one big pool of 14.9 GiB.

    What gets me though is that in Settings>Applications>Memory usage the USB storage is referred to as SD card storage which is really confusing. And once connected to the PC via USB USB storage is called "Phone" and the external storage is called "Card". It took me a while to figure out which is which :confused:
  14. teriyakilynne

    teriyakilynne New Member

    That seems to be my issue. I have the s2 on t-mobile, so I'm not sure if there are any menu differences, but I see the same thing. When I go into my phone's settings/manageapplications, when I click on an app and hit move to SD card, it is only moving it to the usb storage, not my 32gb sd card. When I move that data all to my sd card through my computer, my phone seems to create new folders for data to replace the ones I moved from usb storage to my sd card. I don't know what to do! Can anyone help me with this? I'm not stupid in general, but whoever answers, please break it down pretty "dumb" for me...:eek:

    On a related note: is this an issue with the s4, because I'm thinking of upgrading in the relatively near future (but I'd like to make it work with my s2 for like 6 more months, at least)

Share This Page