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Monday, September 26, 2016

PSA: Android External Storage Adoption is not what you think it is

I got a little fed-up of managing app storage on my Moto G3. My storage use was perpetually at around 1GB free, which is not a big deal, but the OS would constantly remind me to clean up. I noticed that Marshmallow allowed you to "adopt" a microSD card as internal storage. That seemed like it would be the ultimate solution, right?

Wrong. It turns out that even after "adopting" a microSD card as internal storage, there are still several issues:
  • Not all apps could be moved to the SD card, so you'll end up managing storage manually anyway!
  • Google Play Movies refuses to download video (yes, purchased videos) into the now adopted "internal storage." So you end up losing functionality!
  • The conversion slows down all apps, not just the apps that move to the SD card. I have no idea why this is, but my guess is that swap, etc gets moved to the SD card. (I was using a UHS-1 card, so my card wasn't the bottleneck, though conceivably, microSD card readers in relatively cheap Android phones might simply not be that fast!)
There's really no point to adopted storage as Google has implemented it. What is annoying is that each app manages SD cards differently, so you end up with a mish-mash of different approaches in each app.

I really wonder if the Google PMs who run Android actually use Android phones, or whether they all use iPhones and only carry an Android phone only for appearances sake.

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