A recent survey has users reporting that the Android OS for Samsung’s latest smartphone has a ravenous appetite for storage. Esper’s senior technical editor Mishaal Rahman conducted a very informal survey asking folks “how much of your phone’s storage is taken up by the system?”
Well, the results of that question took some interesting turns. Many reported the system install size on their phones to be around 8-20 GB, and a few upwards of 40 GB. This was the most common ground among different makes and models but when it came to the Samsung S23 series, and some other Samsung models, the reported system sizes tripled. Mishaal did remind people that a contributing factor can be how much space a user has allowed the system to use and also that there’s a more accurate way to check for this and provided a brief explanation of how Android has changed its partitioning for storage.
Quick follow-up: If you're wondering how Android calculates the storage taken up by the system, it just subtracts the storage attributed to everything else mentioned on that page from the amount of storage that's currently used up.— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 6, 2023
The code is here: https://t.co/4ceX3poAwb pic.twitter.com/yoTNbD0cA2
Thread that explains the discrepancy in the "system" size between the same model with different storage capacities:https://t.co/3iZwlNoiUi— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 7, 2023
While many of the responses to Mishaal’s survey may not be scientifically accurate they do show a trend of Samsung’s OS taking up increasing amounts of storage ranging from 62 GB up to a whopping 203 GB on a Samsung G22 Ultra 1 TB model but there is a catch as to why some are seeing such huge numbers.
User @AS1F_IQ states that it’s important to give the My Files app access permission so that it will separate user apps from the system category by tapping on the “i” next to apps. This also explains why so many are reporting such incredulous system sizes. However, even after doing this users are still reporting OS sizes in excess of 38 GB. It should also be noted that these reported system sizes do not include media files. User @Jefft1976 posted an updated screenshot of the phone that reported 203 GB after giving access to the My Files app and the system size was reduced to 99.84 GB. It is possible there could be further permissions to separate even more user-installed apps but still, this is greater than a Windows 64-bit OS install.
In regard to why Samsung’s Android OS tends to be larger, it has been explained (via Ars Technica) that Samsung will include its own versions of the very same Google apps Android phone manufacturers are obligated to provide. This, in turn, means that these phones in essence have double the installed apps, not including manufacturer-specific ones that are often referred to as bloatware. Although Ars Technica was called out for not including a disclaimer about the My Files setting, some still agree, including user @AS1F_IQ, that Samsung’s OS install size could use some improvements.