Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB comes with just 8.82GB of free space

In October of last year, shortly before the launch of the Surface RT tablet, Microsoft revealed that the 32GB version of the device actually included just 20GB of free space for users. The tech community erupted into a fit of collective outrage, with many insinuating that Microsoft was somehow misleading users with how it was advertising its devices.

The fact remains, of course, that devices that come with operating systems, restore partitions, and pre-installed software of any kind, don't avail the full advertised storage space to users. Even so, some users may be frustrated to learn that the cheapest version of Samsung's new Galaxy S4 comes with almost half of its onboard storage consumed. 

The S4 offers a range of storage options, including 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The smallest of these is heavily impacted by the large footprint of pre-installed software, which collectively eats up around 45% of the handset's integrated storage, as Geek.com notes. Of the 16GB of space, just 8.82GB remains for users, with the rest being consumed by the Android OS, and an extensive list of pre-loaded apps, including some of Samsung's own software such as its S Voice, S Translator and S Health apps. 

Let's try not to overreact here though. This is precisely why Samsung provides a choice of storage options; if that 8.82GB of onboard storage isn't enough for you, then you can always opt for one of the models with more space for your files - and don't forget that the handset offers a microSD card slot to allow you to flexibly extend your storage at a later date. 

Source: Geek.com | Image via Samsung

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if that huge Android takes that much space, I don't want to know what it does need to run. Probably a good thing it has 4 cores eh

lol samsh*t

it uses more space than Win 7 x64 full installed and updated ...

plus, winblows its not a plastic garbage product

FWIW, advertising rules are generally based upon a 'reasonable member of the public', rather than technicalities. 'Reasonable' being in this case: not a technophile, not a caveman.

It does seem like this issue is getting bigger, and might end up forcing changes in advertising practices at some point.

Well, Touchwiz is a piece of sh_t and it wastes a LOT of space for useless features and gimmicks.

Hopefully, we'll soon enough see some AOSP Roms like LiquidSmooth or CyanogenMod… and GS4 users will have the ability to get the REAL Android 4.2.2 experience, without space-wasting bloatware, and a beautiful UI/Theme (Holo)

myxomatosis said,
Well, Touchwiz is a piece of sh_t and it wastes a LOT of space for useless features and gimmicks.

Hopefully, we'll soon enough see some AOSP Roms like LiquidSmooth or CyanogenMod… and GS4 users will have the ability to get the REAL Android 4.2.2 experience, without space-wasting bloatware, and a beautiful UI/Theme (Holo)


False....my Galaxy S III which came with Android 4.04 has TouchWiz. The OS was using only 4GB of the 16GB that was total. I had 12GB of usable storage. My Galaxy Note 2 had 10GB of usable storage after the first boot.

Many of those custom roms also use a lot of space. All they drop in most cases is the Samsung apps and carrier apps. As far as the useless features andgimmicks. They are only such if you cant use them. However the vast majority will use the phone based on how it was out the box. They aren't going to root and they shouldn't have too.

How about we as consumers complain to the device makers who are being cheap. 32GB should be the minimum as these software's take up more space now. The problem is they want to force you to use cloud based services which I shouldn't have too. If I place my data on my phone it is avail all the time...on cloud services if it goes down I can have my stuff. Forget that!

TechieXP said,

False....my Galaxy S III which came with Android 4.04 has TouchWiz. The OS was using only 4GB of the 16GB that was total. I had 12GB of usable storage. My Galaxy Note 2 had 10GB of usable storage after the first boot.

Many of those custom roms also use a lot of space. All they drop in most cases is the Samsung apps and carrier apps. As far as the useless features andgimmicks. They are only such if you cant use them. However the vast majority will use the phone based on how it was out the box. They aren't going to root and they shouldn't have too.

How about we as consumers complain to the device makers who are being cheap. 32GB should be the minimum as these software's take up more space now. The problem is they want to force you to use cloud based services which I shouldn't have too. If I place my data on my phone it is avail all the time...on cloud services if it goes down I can have my stuff. Forget that!

So you're telling me that Android 4.2.2 stock isn't lighther than Android 4.2.2 + TouchWiz + Samsung Softwares?

It's probably more like 10GB of space leftover with system files using up several GB. And you wonder why people root their phones to access more space on their phones. Ridiculous why these phones don't come with 100GB of space or more for what you pay for them.

seriously get over itmy 8gig tablet came with 4gig usable my 16gig tablet came with 11gig useable my s3 16gig is also the same, hell man the iphone is the same seriosuly get over it

The problem with Samsung devices is that when the onboard flash gets full, you have no way to move apps to the SDCARD, even if you root the device because Samsung or ROM made from the original ROM don't support apps2sd.

Since flash nand is cheap, Samsung and Apple and others need to simply place more in the phone, especially in cases where the user cant expand the storage. With Samsung you can, however like I said; since you can move apps to the sdcard or even the usb stick you can also add, it sucks.

In my case I rooted my phone so that my 64GB sdcard is being used as the main system flash. But no everyone can do this and they shouldn't have too.

The only reason everyone is trying to make this a big deal is because tablets and phones come with far less storage vs desktops and laptops.

What ****es me off is this. Why is 16GB still the bare minimum when these device makers know the software is going to suck up half of it?

In the case of Samsung who actually makes their own flash memory, my not make 32Gb the minimum? I mean how much more does it cost to produce 32GB vs a measly 16GB?

You have Google, Samsung and Apple who are making goobs of money on the US market which buys the most of their devices,, and they always skimp out on some piece of hardware.

At this point like Windows, as operating system take on more features and capabilities; the more space its going to take up. Leaving the customer with 1/2 the space and forcing them to run out an buy more storage after spending $700 for a phone is BS.

This is where the FCC needs to actually regulate something. Don't accept a phone in the US unless it has at least 75% of its storage available to the user. This would mean phones need to come with more onboard. As much as Samsung makes the onboard flash should be at this point at least 32GB, but they can afford to put 64GB and the minimum as it cost them exactly the same amount of money to produce.

Look on retail...32GB of flash is about $25 average. $64GB is about $50 - $70 depending on brand. Before the 64GB really got popular, I paid $55 for a class 10 microSD card from SanDisk of Amazon. Now they've gone up about $10 to take advantage of the demand on them.

The phones needs to have 32Gb onboard or even $64 for what the device costs. And carriers aren't helping because they try to charge $40 for that little 8GB card they try to sell you in the store. For what we pay carriers for this crap, they need to stop hampering devices. Manufacturers like Apple and Samsung who have plenty of money are just plain all cheap *******.

Please don't go on and on about how much the OS takes up on a particular drive and how "Oh you were suppose to know that, and calculate that into the equation".... uh no, the average user is a moron when it comes to that. They have no clue what so ever. So please just tell them how much free space they will be left with!

I agree with some of the above posters, free(usuable) / total (stock) disk space should be advertised and communicated out to buyers from now on.

That varies to much, even on the same os it is different depending on the bloatware options installed, and some times that space can or cannot be recovered. Their are just to many variables to advertise free space. People should just not be stupid, you have a pc with a 500Gb drive advertised it should be common sense that some of that is actually taken up by the OS itself.

It has been like this for decades, it only came to be an issue because someone decided to get all ****y about the Surface out of no where.

Yes I think this needs to stop. If you advertise 16Gb it should have 16Gb free space.
Put the OS on a separate smaller partition/ drive.

moloko said,
Yes I think this needs to stop. If you advertise 16Gb it should have 16Gb free space.
Put the OS on a separate smaller partition/ drive.
False. If an automaker advertises that their car or van can seat 7 people, but one of your kids is so fat that only 5 will fit, that isn't false advertising. They advertise how much space you have as the max...64GB is 64GB no matter how much space is already used. They advertise the same way as PC's so. It doesn't need to change.

What doesneed to change is Samsung who is making plenty of money needs to have 32GB onboard as a minimum and still have the sdcard option. Or they needto support moving apps to sdcards.

How about if your car manufacturer advertised 7 seats, but then mounted the petrol tank on one of them, meaning you only had 6 to use?

Not the same. You can fit 5 fat kids in a car but they will be squeezing. ( a fat kid is still smaller than MOST adults.) Or 5 big adults...it happens. But with data you cannot just compress more data onto the storage. That is a set limit.

Now a motorbike can fit two...but only 1 fat person. There just is NO room for the other person to sit.

The difference between this free space and windows 8 free space is the platform.

For android, most applications uses less than 2 megabyte (the max used is about of 1gb). Instead, in Windows 8, most (real applications) uses a couple of gigabytes (the max used is about 16gb).


Brony said,
The difference between this free space and windows 8 free space is the platform.

For android, most applications uses less than 2 megabyte (the max used is about of 1gb). Instead, in Windows 8, most (real applications) uses a couple of gigabytes (the max used is about 16gb).



Yes, because there are so many multigigabyte apps for the Surface RT.

God people are stupid,

Look different OS's from different vendors take up different amount of space. The only constant is the actual default drive size itself, this is why the actual drive space is advertised and not the useable space. Also since you can quite easily remove un wanted programs bloatware it's not like the useable space out of the box is going to be the same after some tweaking.

The only reliable consistent way to advertise drive space is to just advertise the actual size of the physical hard drive since out of the box space changes quite a bit depending on the vendor/product/OS.

swanlee said,
Also since you can quite easily remove un wanted programs bloatware it's not like the useable space out of the box is going to be the same after some tweaking.

You sure about that? Most... like 98% of the samsung bloat can only be disabled can NOT be removed.

swanlee said,
God people are stupid,

Look different OS's from different vendors take up different amount of space. The only constant is the actual default drive size itself, this is why the actual drive space is advertised and not the useable space. Also since you can quite easily remove un wanted programs bloatware it's not like the useable space out of the box is going to be the same after some tweaking.

The only reliable consistent way to advertise drive space is to just advertise the actual size of the physical hard drive since out of the box space changes quite a bit depending on the vendor/product/OS.

Exactly what i tried to articulate, badly, further up this thread.

Does the storage screen only report the partition size for the data partition. It is possible that other partitions were made larger.

This trend is getting a bit silly now. You might know that some of the space is taken up, but your average consumer wont.

I have no problem when an OS takes up a small amount of space (which has grown with disk space) - but seriously - 8GB for a mobile OS?!? That's absurd! I think iOS takes up less than an 1/8th of that. I mean, come on, a full install of Windows XP was around what - 4GB?

Just remember that 2 GB that is for applications only are still available on top of the 8.82 GB free storage space on the internal memory.

Or is this kind of thing changed on the Galaxy S IV from the Galaxy S III and Note II?

You people have got it all wrong! OS and crapware must be local for performance reasons, but all your other information must be on the cloud, to be shared with advertisers and government.

If you have something to store locally on your device, perhaps you shouldn't be storing such things in the first place.

This is nothing new really. Look at some Windows Phone 8 Phones. Like the 8S, 4GB Storage, is actually about 1.7GB after the OS and bloatware is installed. I really think Manufacturers should be made by law to put the actual usable space in brackets next to the total storage space.

Bloatware? Every Windows Phone I've had or seen first boot have very few third-party apps preinstalled and whatever is installed can be easily removed. All of them!

True. Maybe I was being unfair. My comment was in reference to the 8S which has hardly any storage so with HTC installing their own apps as well only takes up more space. But it is true, you can uninstall them

Richard Cousins said,
True. Maybe I was being unfair. My comment was in reference to the 8S which has hardly any storage so with HTC installing their own apps as well only takes up more space. But it is true, you can uninstall them

Yeah all the phone carriers and manufacturers love to stack their own bloat on top.

The problem with such small amounts of free space is that apps cannot be installed to microSD card (and there is good reason not to, it's the lowest quality NAND of all). It's very easy for apps to take that 8GB of space leaving you with nothing.

You'd think by now they would perhaps use a secondary storage for the OS. Personally i don't think it is that big of a deal. For the general consumer they won't even realise. I'm sure the small print somewhere will specify the free space differs from the advertised storage amount.

Plus with the MicroSD slot and the price of a MicroSD. You can always buy one of those in the future.

Anyone else think nearly 8GB for a mobile OS install is pretty high? I'm guessing Android stock is pretty small but Samsung have developed some bloating apps, along with TouchWiz.

But it has a MicroSD card slot. And 32GB cards are less than $30! Plus, the card is directly accessible by just about any device you can plug the phone into (via USB), making it better than an iPhone and Windows Phone in that respect.

My 1TB hard disk's actual capacity was 931GB.

68k said,
But it has a MicroSD card slot. And 32GB cards are less than $30! Plus, the card is directly accessible by just about any device you can plug the phone into (via USB), making it better than an iPhone and Windows Phone in that respect.

My 1TB hard disk's actual capacity was 931GB.


so you can not access the SD card on the windows phone by the explorer?

As I replied above:

1 TB = 1 000 000 000 000 Bytes
1024 Bytes = 1 KiB

Therefore,
1 000 000 000 000 Bytes = 976 562 500 KiB

1024 KiB = 1 MiB
Therefore,
976 562 500 KiB = 953 674.31640625 MiB

1024 MiB = 1 GiB

Therefore,
953 674.31640625 MiB = 931.322574615479 GiB

Therefore,
1 TB = 931.322574615479 GiB

68k said,
... making it better than an iPhone and Windows Phone in that respect.

You can access both the internal and external storage through Windows File Explorer and I Mac OS Finder.

68k said,
But it has a MicroSD card slot. And 32GB cards are less than $30! Plus, the card is directly accessible by just about any device you can plug the phone into (via USB), making it better than an iPhone and Windows Phone in that respect.

I used to think that, that is why I bought a 32GB SD card, but SD storage is not equal to the built in phone storage. I use my S3 to watch TV shows and copy videos to it, copying a video to S3 internal disk takes seconds, while copying the same on SD takes minutes and is a pain.

How is it false advertising? when u buy a laptop with a 500gb hard drive you dont kick up a stink that windows uses 10GB or so on it do you? people just getting annoyed over nothing, you also dont get annoyed when you buy a 500gb hard drive then complain that is only has 470gb of usable space

Haggis said,
How is it false advertising? when u buy a laptop with a 500gb hard drive you dont kick up a stink that windows uses 10GB or so on it do you? people just getting annoyed over nothing, you also dont get annoyed when you buy a 500gb hard drive then complain that is only has 470gb of usable space

Exactly this.
I mean, hard drives are still sold as a size that's completely wrong after formatting but we've survived all these years without kicking up a stink.

But 10GB is nothing on a 500GB drive. 8GB on a 16Gb device is 50% of its storage. 1080p videos and 13MP pictures will eat that in no time.

It does beg the question how can a phone OS weigh in at almost the same as a desktop OS. In a lot of cases there are older desktop OS's that are smaller than 8GB.

Haggis said,
How is it false advertising? when u buy a laptop with a 500gb hard drive you dont kick up a stink that windows uses 10GB or so on it do you? people just getting annoyed over nothing, you also dont get annoyed when you buy a 500gb hard drive then complain that is only has 470gb of usable space

I get the point you're trying to make, but the difference is, with incidents such as this and the whole debacle with the space that was used on a Surface out of the box, it's half the space available.. 20-30GB on a 500GB disk is a few percent. 8.82GB free of 16GB is almost 50% .... slightly different kettle of fish!

Sorry but your completely and utterly wrong here...

1GB according to the disk manufacturers is equal to 1,000,000,000 bytes. According to how the operating system (and the rest of the computing world) calculates it, it's equal to 1,024 megabytes, which in turn are equal to 1,024 kilobytes, which are themselves equal to 1,024 bytes. So one GB as per the disk manufacturer is really 1,000,000,000 / (1,024 x 1,024 x 1,024) = .931GB as measured by everybody else. So a "500GB" disk has 500 x .931GB of storage, or 465GB.

and in relation to your Microsoft comment...LOL!!

Chicane-UK said,

I get the point you're trying to make, but the difference is, with incidents such as this and the whole debacle with the space that was used on a Surface out of the box, it's half the space available.. 20-30GB on a 500GB disk is a few percent. 8.82GB free of 16GB is almost 50% .... slightly different kettle of fish!

The same goes for a 20gb drive

if 8.8 aint big enough buy the 64gb version

Haggis said,

The same goes for a 20gb drive

if 8.8 aint big enough buy the 64gb version

I don't know about you but.. I've not seen a 20GB drive for sale for a long time. And back when you could buy a 20GB drive, the OS didn't take up half of it!

No back in Windows 95-98 days, when 10GB disks where the norm, the OS and all its junk took up 1-2GB, still quite a lot.
Or compare it to those 64GB SSD's when they first came out, in an era where Windows Vista/7 took upto 40GB of disk space, and preferably more.
Thats a lot more then 50%. yet we didnt hear anyone.

Want more diskspace, get more diskspace. They advertised it as such for decades, and only with the Surface people where looking for something to crack it down, because it was Microsoft and the device was better then its competition, but noooo all of a sudden disk space is a huge issue...
Move along people, stop crying, thank you.

Chicane-UK said,

I don't know about you but.. I've not seen a 20GB drive for sale for a long time. And back when you could buy a 20GB drive, the OS didn't take up half of it!

yeah your not understanding

there is 16/32/64gb

If the 16gb does not give you enough space after the os in installed then buy the 32gb or 64gb

So all should be perfectly happy when the 16GB S5 comes out with 2GB free space. It should be made law to display/tell the amount of free space.

Haggis said,
Ok change my figures then, what if you buy a 20gb hard drive and the os takes up 10gb its the same thing lol

Dude, that's why nobody sells 20 GB hard drive anymore. And you're talking about the past.

The question would be: why doesn't Samsung sell a phone with 500 GB storage? I wouldn't mind if Android plus all the crappy apps and bloatwares took even 50 GB in space.

Blueclub said,
So all should be perfectly happy when the 16GB S5 comes out with 2GB free space. It should be made law to display/tell the amount of free space.

Not feasible.
As much as i said exactly the same thing above, it's just not that simple and would lead to inaccurate advertising as even a simple OS update would lead to the advert being wrong, the packaging being wrong and all the related press material, being wrong.

The only real steady figure to measure is the stock standard size of the storage capacity before it is touched, so this is what they do.

mahara said,

Dude, that's why nobody sells 20 GB hard drive anymore. And you're talking about the past.

The question would be: why doesn't Samsung sell a phone with 500 GB storage? I wouldn't mind if Android plus all the crappy apps and bloatwares took even 50 GB in space.

What i am getting at is even buying a brand new hard drive you dont get the "Advertised" free space

If 16gb is now big enough due to only havinf 8.8gb free space then buy a 16gb one or a sd card

Haggis said,

yeah your not understanding

there is 16/32/64gb

If the 16gb does not give you enough space after the os in installed then buy the 32gb or 64gb

I understand perfectly well. I'm not an idiot. I obviously just have a different feeling on how storage space in devices should be advertised.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

Haggis said,
How is it false advertising? when u buy a laptop with a 500gb hard drive you dont kick up a stink that windows uses 10GB or so on it do you? people just getting annoyed over nothing, you also dont get annoyed when you buy a 500gb hard drive then complain that is only has 470gb of usable space
Would you mind buying a laptop with 500GB HDD with only 250GB space left?

Pink Floyd said,
Would you mind buying a laptop with 500GB HDD with only 250GB space left?

Pretty much any laptop you buy will have a certain amount of disk space missing from the total disk allowance due to OS, bloatware etc.

A direct percent comparison doesn't hold up here as there is a huge difference between 500GB and 16GB.

I have not contradicted anything from what you said. 500 GB = 500 000 000 000 Bytes. That's how I calculated 465 GiB. Anybody who understands the difference between binary units and decimal units will understand what I am saying.

This is a ridiculous trend and I can't imagine it's long before theres some kind of lawsuit about this, to force vendors to show free / USABLE storage space.

Exactly. At the bare minimum there needs to be a universal standard for how storage is advertised, as a 16GB model from one vendor shouldn't have half the storage offered by another. The amount of storage advertised should be the amount available, as consumers have no way of knowing otherwise. When the iPod was marketed people had access to the full storage, yet somehow phones are treated entirely differently.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Exactly. At the bare minimum there needs to be a universal standard for how storage is advertised, as a 16GB model from one vendor shouldn't have half the storage offered by another. The amount of storage advertised should be the amount available, as consumers have no way of knowing otherwise. When the iPod was marketed people had access to the full storage, yet somehow phones are treated entirely differently.
The iPod also didn't have an operating system, it use a simpled ROM...The iPod Touch does have an OS and it nearly used 1/2 the space.

When are we going to see an article about how in a 16GB iPhone, the OS takes up about 45% of the space. I mean why be hyprocrites about it.

What we need to do is complain with companies like Samsung who do make their own storage and costs them next to nothing to use 16 32 or 64GB. It fact the production cost of all 3 are essentially the same. So why not just make a 64GB model period and still leave the sdcard slot?

TechieXP said,
The iPod also didn't have an operating system, it use a simpled ROM...The iPod Touch does have an OS and it nearly used 1/2 the space.

I never suggested otherwise. My point is simply that when it comes to a 64GB iPod and a 64GB iPhone consumers have no reason to expect that the amount of usable storage would be any different. Consumers shouldn't be expected to learn the intricate differences between each platform and should be able to rely on accurate advertising claims.

All phone manufacturers are guilty of this, though some have been worse than others.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Exactly. At the bare minimum there needs to be a universal standard for how storage is advertised, as a 16GB model from one vendor shouldn't have half the storage offered by another. The amount of storage advertised should be the amount available, as consumers have no way of knowing otherwise. When the iPod was marketed people had access to the full storage, yet somehow phones are treated entirely differently.
They will have a way of knowing. All devices have a way of seeing what storage is available. Every brand new phone will have the exact same ROM thus will have the exact same amount of free space...fee space you can easily locate when you are shopping for the phone. As far as buying online? The device is advertised as having 16GB. They don't need to disclose anything else. If space is that important to you, you either buy a phone that has larger onboard storage, or buy a phone that allows you to add. Just as you would with any other computer.

theyarecomingforyou said,

I never suggested otherwise. My point is simply that when it comes to a 64GB iPod and a 64GB iPhone consumers have no reason to expect that the amount of usable storage would be any different. Consumers shouldn't be expected to learn the intricate differences between each platform and should be able to rely on accurate advertising claims.

All phone manufacturers are guilty of this, though some have been worse than others.

I never said you did. The comparison however was unfair. The iPod uses a ROM and not use the onboard storage to hold an operating system. No one is really going to think how much space the onboard software is going to take. But it is easy to find out if you are a nit picky shopper.

Most users aren't that much concerned about space because they wont be storing much media other than pictures...which you can takes 1000's before it is every full. Unless you install huge applications, that 8GB left is plenty for the vast majority.

Instead creating a standard way of adversting free space, why not do this - Complain about the fcat that if an OS is going to use nearly a 40% threshold on the device before I even use it, that it needs to have double the storage a capability as a standard?

Nand flash is cheap. It cost Samsung nothing to produce 32 or 64..they cost the same to produce. So why are they only using 16GB with all the money they already make? 32GB should be the bare minimum, especially when an OS will already take up I/4th of that before I use the device and start adding my data.

iOS is no different. What I am hating on about this articles is that the writers picked on Microsoft and Samsung because they hate them on some level, yet APple does the exact same thing. Example...The iPod Touch 8GB when they had those, the OS left 2GB for personal usage. The present iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad take 7.9GB of the space and it doesn't even have the carrier bloatware. But how many articles have we seen about it?NONE. Its the bias that is the problem.

Breach said,
Technically they don't advertise 16 GB of free space, do they?
Its not technically. Its they advertise what the phone storage is as a whole. Not how much is used or available.

Breach said,
Technically they don't advertise 16 GB of free space, do they?

Funny, but I recall when this complaint was directed at Widnows RT tablets, the response was somewhat different...

Breach said,
'Technically' also means - strictly and factually speaking.
No...technically means, that well they are saying something,; but you need to read into what they really mean. Its like technically right now you're right...

They are hiding anything. When they list device specs, they list storage based on its full capacity. There is nothing technical about it. It is specific. It specially says the phone has 16GB of storage. Not how much is used, not how much is avail for you to use...its how much is available total.