• SGS4 only has 9.5GB user-accessible internal storage

    By Chris Ward , April 28, 2013 - Leave a comment

    It’s commonplace for Android handsets to have a reasonable chunk of their internal storage taken up by system files and pre-loaded apps. Typically we tend to see around 11-12GB of storage available to the user on a 16GB handset. However, recent handsets such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 seem to be taking up even more storage space with install files.

    Droid Matters reports that its Samsung Galaxy S4 review device (from Sprint) has 9.62GB internal storage available out of the box, while Geek.com says its device has an even lower 8.82GB (carrier not specified). Different carriers load different bloatware onto devices, but the reality is that of the 16GB advertised internal storage, the SGS4 will have up to 9.62GB. Even then, performance tends to deteriorate slightly when the internal storage capacity is close to full, so you wouldn’t get the full 9.62GB either.

    SGS4 internal storage

    This isn’t a huge problem of the Galaxy S4 as it can take a microSD card up to 64GB, however external storage isn’t ideal for certain file types and when the handset is being advertised as 16GB internal storage, the average consumer will assume that they have this amount of memory (or something close to it) available for saving files.

    The HTC One on the other hand has 25.29GB user-accessible internal storage, so also has a large chunk taken up by the install. This still leaves the user with a reasonable amount of storage space, but the One does not have a microSD card slot so the memory cannot be increased any further.

    Really there should be tighter standards when it comes to advertising the internal storage of a handset. Adding a 16GB microSD card isn’t a huge expense, but for handsets such as the S4 which are already at a premium price, this should be made clearer to the consumer. We try to provide details on user-accessible internal storage where possible and if available you can find this information under our specification tab on a product page.

    [image name=samsung-galaxy-s4]

    Chris Ward

    Better known as 'Wardy', digital media is where his interest lies. Responsible for many elements of the Clove website and external advertising activities, Wardy is our interactive media graduate. Always chilled out, there is never a time when you see 'Wardy' stressed. A keen music follower, he knows his DJ's and how to mix a few tracks together. Always eating, he remains stick thin and is the envy of the rest of us! A very deep character, there are some suprising twists to what Wardy knows and you'll never meet a nicer bloke if you tried!


  • I am so pleased Chris you have brought this matter up as I have personally been on a crusade in the forums informing would be buyers of this very same issue.

    Yes, I consider it an issue on several marks:-
    It is about time advertising of product design was met with product use. Manufacturers should by law be told not only must they list the model’s quoted total storage but also inform the would be buyer the actual storage is different from the available storage.
    Too often we hear item X has 16GB storage when in reality the actual available amount is in the case of the S4 a mere 9.62GB.
    That is a vast difference and as such should at least be mentioned on the manufacturers web site.

    Now for many the actual available storage space of 9.62GB will not be an issue ~ providing the owner uses the device with caution and I will explain this in a moment.
    However, we should not be expected to use caution on what is seen as the Flagship phone.
    Can you imagine purchasing a vehicle only to be told as you drive it off the forecourt the boot of the car is designed and advertised to take 50 litres of fuel but to get it to work we have reduced this to 28 litres, you would question the purchase at the very least.

    So, why is it so important given 9.62GB is still a large figure….
    Well, not withstanding the above advertising issue there is also the day to day running of the phone.
    If you are someone who likes to play 3D Games or certain program’s that require additional large amounts of download data it is you who will have to plan very very carefully.
    As an example Real Racing 3 takes 1.12GB of total storage data and Asphalt 7 uses 1.35GB
    The astronomy app SkySafari Pro takes 920GB storage soI am sure you can see installing just one of these apps (and there are quite a few similar) is going to have an impact on the use of your shiny new S4.
    In previous versions of Andoid it was not a problem as we had apps such as ‘Apps2SD’ that allowed you to transfer apps from the internal storage to the external storage on your micro sd card.
    However, Google is dead against the use of external storage and as such when Jelly Bean came into use this option of App and associated data transfer was removed. From now on any App and it’s associated data have to be installed in the internal space and in the S4’s case inside that remaining 9.62GB.
    The trouble is this is only going to manifest and become worse over time……
    As developers continue to improve their games and program’s adding additional graphics and more larger files these very same applications today will see see sizes growing.
    A typical game today may require a total of 1.35GB storage but in 6 months time after the developer’s added improvement we could see the size grow to 1.55GB.
    Again planning must be used and used well.
    Not only must you work out will I have enough storage space to install and run all my apps but will I still be able to do this at a later date.

    From a personal point of view I think it is shoddy on these manufacturers who release devices stating 16GB when true figures are nothing of this.
    How on earth they can call it their Flagship device is bewildering…..
    At least Apple on launch allow you the option to purchase your device in a number of storage formats. Manufacturers such as Samsung do not.
    Shoddy Samsung… Shoddy on all accounts.


    • All the more reason for the larger memory variants (32Gb and 64Gb) to be available.

      I have not seen the availability of these versions listed anywhere and I suspect it will another Note I/Note 2 situation where Samsung announce the larger memory versions at launch but they never actually appear.

      I would still like to buy a 32Gb or 64Gb Note II. I know I can add a 64Gb memory card but I want the faster integral on-board memory.

      Whilst I really like the fact that the Samsungs have a removable battery and a card slot, I am sorely tempted by a 64Gb HTC One.

      I will probably not buy either and wait to see if a Note 3 appears in 32Gb or 64Gb variants and has a decent display with a high ppi. The manufacturers seem to shoot themselves in the foot.

    • What makes it even worse is that only one carrier gets to sell the 32GB version, and good luck waiting for the 64GB version.

      I had to ship my 32GB S3 in from Germany. I shouldn’t have to do that. If I’d bought the 16GB version I’d definitely have run out of space and been frustrated at having to remove games I wanted to keep.

      Also I’d like to know what the OctaCore proessor is like, but we only get the less-exciting Snapdragon 600 (less exciting because other phones already have it).

      The more I hear about it the more I think I’ll skip the S4. I don’t like the way Samsung treats its customers.

      I’m starting to wonder about the 64GB HTC One…not sure when that’ll be available though. If I have to wait months then it’s no longer new.

      I dunno, maybe the Note 3…if Samsung doesn’t mess me around again…

  • Which is the reason why I want a 32gb version at least but Samsung doesn’t seem to be releasing that version in most parts of the world. External storage is good for storing media but with google removing the native ability to move apps to external storages and operate from there from android a while ago, this is a huge problem especially considering the size of additional files needed for a great number of HD games nowadays which needs to be put in the internal storage.

  • According to Knowyourmobile, Samsung say it us the choice of carriers and resellers whether or not they want to sell the 32Gb and 64Gb versions of the S4. This is somewhat at odds with what Clove and other retailers selling SIM free S4’s say.


    Perhaps someone at Clove can clarify the situation from Samsung as I would buy a larger memory version of the S4 if it were available.

    • It’ll be a similar situation to what we saw with the S3 64GB. It comes down to whether or not resellers/carriers will commit to a minimum order quantity, which needless to say is risky, especially for independent resellers such as ourselves.

      With the way pricing is, there may not be enough demand for the higher memory variants to warrant the risk of committing to stock. As we did with the S3, we’ll try to find a solution if possible though.

      • Even more the reason if Samsung wish to imitate Apple they should then have all models available for purchase either direct from their web store, high street or allow Wholesalers to stock multiple storage models without this idiotic minimum order routine.

        As an example I bought a 64GB iPad purely because I could not get a 64GB Note 10.1 from Samsung.
        Now I have the iPad my next tablet will be an iPad5. As such Samsung not only lose out on my present purchase but on all other subsequent ones.


  • Got my S4 Two days ago, and it indeed says “Total Space: 8.82 GB”. I had no idea why it said that until I googled it and your article came up.

  • Looking around the various forums, it seems there are a large number of people looking to the 32Gb or 64Gb versions.

    Samsung must have some ridiculously high minimum order quota if a major onlne reseller like Clove can’t afford to risk stocking the larger memory variants. As attractive as the phone is, I won’t be buying one until I can get a 32Gb or 64Gb version.

    • Unfortunately with an MOQ it’s not as simple as it sounds and while people may express an interest on forums, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate to sales once the price is announced.

      We’ll do our best to make it possible and provide an update when we can.

      • Well if you do manage to pull the rabbit out of the hat Chris, count me in for a 32GB model.
        Although I am still keeping my order with you for the 16GB model I know if a 32GB becomes available I will have no problem in passing on the lower storage model to a member of my family.


        • I’m afraid I won’t be buying a 16GB. As soon as I can find either a 32Gb or 64Gb version I will buy it. If I can buy it from Clove, I will.

          Can’t believe that Samsung make life so hard for their “indie” dealers. Clove and others indies are not even listed on the Samsung website as a “place to buy”.

        • Thanks Mike,

          Your family must have access to so many great gadgets by now!

  • The lack of user memory and unavailability of the larger memory variants of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is to be featured on the BBC1 programme “Watchdog” on Wednesday May 15th.

  • Just an update on my purchase……. Yes, even though I posted earlier and above on the problems with the lack of storage space the only way to obtain 100% proof was to purchase the 16GB model and see for myself.

    Well, exactly as I feared the phone’s storage on first boot was just over 9GB remaining.
    First stop was to the camera app where I altered the settings to store all photos taken onto the external 64GB MicroSD card.
    Next I installed a decent file manager (Solid Explorer) so as to keep an eye on where the storage went.

    So, having now had the phone for a week how did it fair in the storage stakes?
    Not good….. but then this is was what I were expecting to find.

    I don’t play heavy 3D games that require extra-terrestrial amounts of additional storage data but I do enjoy my hobbies into Astronomy and Photography.
    Just one single app (SkySafari Pro) installed hit the internal storage with 1GB used.
    After installing a few more apps like this and I am stuffed.

    I do not have any media on the internal storage, it’s all on the SD card and I have been selective and careful in where the space has been going.

    Now to many buyers who are not going to be aware of this problem the same will not be aware in having to use a file manager and searching through folders where the space is eaten.
    Android/Data is a good place out of the ordinary to go hunting.
    Check all the apps installed and see if there is anything you can reclaim.
    An example being Dropbox and Google Earth where each can chew hundreds of MB data.

    Even after I have been pruning here there and everywhere my S4 is creaking under the strain of ‘lack of storage’.

    Would I buy this phone again……… Not a chance. Not until Samsung first come clean with the problem and second they release a 32GB Model.

    If ever you get any 32GB Models in Chris let me know. I’ll then have one immaculate 16GB Model to go cheap to a happy home (my family are fed up of me giving them all manner of electronic goods).


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