Live Chat
  • One stop service: solve all your problems
  • Orders Tracking and shipped out notification
  • More campaigns, even more discounts!
  • Need help before making an order?
  • Chat with us in real-time.
  • For Aftersale issues, just submit a ticket. We will reply within 24 hours.
  • Multi-language service
  • 24/7 support available
Hi! Log Out Log In SIGN UP
Home > How To > Why do 16GB phones only have 12GB storage available?
Why do 16GB phones only have 12GB storage available?

Why do 16GB phones only have 12GB storage available?

By  GB Blog Official 2017-01-12 38258 5

Ever found your phone running out of space? Well, one reason is the actual storage of your phone is less than the nominal storage. For example, 16GB phones typically just 12GB storage available to use. So what is actually causing this madness? Here, I will list some brief reasons.

What exactly is phone storage?

For Android phones, the storage includes RAM (Random Access Memory) and storage (some people call it ROM). RAM is the active running memory of your phone, and is used to store temporary data and exchange cache data with the CPU. Storage, on the other hand, is considered to be the storage capacity for your phone – it's the equivalent of the computer hard drive which is used to store data.

For Apple iPhone, the capacity shown in the setting refers to the actual storage capacity, although it will not display the RAM available on your iPhone. According to official Apple data, the RAM of iPhone models before the iPhone 6 / 6 Plus is 1GB RAM while iPhones onward all have 2GB RAM.

Find out actual storage capacity on your phone

Why do 16GB phones only have 12GB storage available?

1. The operating system consumes space

Just like a desktop-based OS such as Windows PC, the primary drive (e.g. the "C" drive) has some space used even if you haven't stored anything – the same principle applies to your phone too. The operating system obviously occupies some space on your device, different operating systems and versions consumes different space. The following picture shows the OPPO X9007 with the Android 4.4.4 operating system consuming a massive 4GB on the Android phone.

operating system occupies device's space

2. Binary and decimal calculations lead to different storage

Generally speaking, the memory card manufactures adopt decimal calculation when producing storage devices. According to this method, 1GB=1000MB, however MS Windows OS uses a binary calculation, which means 1GB=1024MB. Meanwhile, Android and iOS system both adopt binary calculation when recognizing the storage space, so the different calculation methods lead to a perceived decrease in storage capacity. The following examples clearly show the specific conversions between binary and decimal calculations.

calculation of storage space

Note: the left digits (8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) are the storage capacities using binary calculation, also known as nominal storage, while the digits on the right (7.45GB, 14.9GB, 29.8GB, and 59.6GB) represent the actual storage available under decimal calculation, known as actual storage.

3. Storage medium NAND Flash blocks occupy part space

Storage medium is physical medium for the data storage, e.g. CD, DVD, hard disk, USB flash disk, SD card and so on. Both NAND Flash and eMMC are the two main forms of storage media for various mobile devices; eMMC is the updated version of NAND Flash, and up to 99% mobile phone storage solutions utilize NAND Flash.

However there is a significant problem. Due to its inherent structure and workmanship, NAND Flash cannot always ensure memory block integrity, leading to bad blocks being randomly generated and occupying the storage of NAND Flash. This is therefore another possible cause for your lost storage. For a more technical explanation, please refer to the figure below:

technical explanation of NAND flash

For the above reasons, it becomes apparent why 16GB phones have just 12GB of storage available to them: the OS, different calculation methods, and bad blocks occupying NAND Flash are the three main reasons. While it's not physically possible to address these factors, you can still resolve them.

reasons of shrinking storage space


For the purpose of this article, the featured image(s) were sourced from the internet. For any issue, please contact us, and we will deal with the matter promptly.

Gearbest Mobile SAR Value

Prev article:Brave New Worlds | How to choose between VR and AR

Next article:DON'T RISK IT | How to avoid losing your dog