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Tech blogger Mishaal Rahman has revealed the secret behind the large volume of the system catalog of Android smartphones. It turns out that the problem doesn’t actually lie in the greediness of the OS itself. Instead, it’s due to an incorrect calculation method, which often leads users to mistakenly reset the firmware to factory settings.
According to the source, when determining the size of the system directory, the OS classifies all files that it cannot recognize as others, such as photos, videos, or documents, into this category. In other words, Android simply adds unrecognized file types to the total system volume.
To illustrate the problem, the blogger created a 3 GB file filled with random data and placed it in the /data/media/0 directory. The operating system was unable to recognize it and simply increased the volume value of the System folder accordingly. Another clear example is data for game emulation, which can falsely contribute to the system directory’s size, even though it’s actually located in the /data/media folder.
According to Rahman, currently only the Samsung One UI firmware correctly calculates the volume of the system folder, and this is only in the sixth revision. Previous versions of the shell also suffered from a problem with directory recognition, making it appear as if the system was taking up to 60 GB.
Another issue is the different methods used to calculate the total memory of a smartphone. Similar to Windows, the mobile OS calculates in gibibytes (1024³ bytes), while smartphone manufacturers advertise their products with a declared capacity in gigabytes (1000³). As a result, users can experience confusion with the available memory capacity, as they receive less than the advertised capacity.