Skip to main content

Samsung defends lack of free storage space on Galaxy S4

Got a problem with the Samsung Galaxy S4? If you're one of the many complaining that your 16GB version of Samsung's flagship smartphone isn't quite as empty as you were hoping, Samsung has a suggestion for you: Deal with it.

We paraphrase, of course.

The issue at hand surrounds the sheer footprint that the Android operating system and other assorted software takes up on Samsung's mobile device. On the 16GB iteration of Samsung's flagship phone, just under 7GB are already spoken for by the time a new purchaser fires up the device for the first time. According to CNET's Luke Westaway, that leaves a mere 8.49GB of room for apps, media, and the lot – nearly half the total storage space of the 16GB S4.

Samsung's response?

"For the Galaxy S4 16GB model, approximately 6.85GB occupies [the] system part of internal memory, which is 1GB bigger than that of the Galaxy S3, in order to provide [a] high resolution display and more powerful features to our consumers," said the company in a statement sent over to CNET.

The problem? You can't move apps to the device's Micro SD card with the devices' stock firmwares - a manufacturer decision that's plagued devices like Samsung's Galaxy S3 and S4 phones, the Galaxy Note 2, and the Galaxy Tab 2, to name a few. While that doesn't much matter for those looking to fill their MicroSD cards with videos, pictures, and music, it does mean that downloading one decently sized Android game or two – if they eat up one or more gigabytes of space, like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's 1.4GB installation — will leave a user hurting for free space after a fairly short time.

Rooting one's phone is a way to get around the manufacturer-set limitations on app transfers to the MicroSD card, but doing so voids the warranty of one's device and potentially puts a less-than-knowledgeable user in the unfortunate position of bricking his or her device in order to unlock administrator-like access.

We've previously reported on other devices – like Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet – that fill up a decent chunk of the device's total storage capacity with essential software. In the case of the tablet, the Surface Pro comes with roughly 32GB or so of free space on the 64GB version of the tablet, whereas the 128GB version of the tablet gives users around 96GB to play with.

In other words, buyer beware for those who pick up the devices with the smallest-possible storage; you might be a little surprised at how little you actually have to work with versus what you expected!