The Droid Bionic has 16GB of internal storage, but you can't have it all

We're already getting angry e-mails over this one. Just about every spec sheet everywhere on the Motorola Droid Bionic states that it has 16GB of on-board storage in addition to a 16GB microSD card. And that's true. But you don't get to play with it all.

Because of the way things are partitioned, and because the operating system takes up some of that internal storage, you won't actually see 16GB of internal storage if you look at the phone's settings. Instead, you have about 3.5GB of "application storage," which is where apps install by default. Then you have 8GB of "Internal storage," on which you can save photos, movies, music, etc. Apps also can store data here as well, so you'll likely see it decrease over time. Then you have the 16GB microSD card that comes pre-installed. (It can be increased to a 32GB card.)

So, realistically, you have 27.5GB of user-accessible storage memory, and not 32GB as you might think looking at the spec sheets.

More in the Droid Bionic forums

Phil Nickinson
  • as if i didn't have enough reasons to be completely unimpressed by motorola's crap phones. sheesh, 8 gigs, really? first
  • That's better than the 1GB HTC have
  • I was just about to say that. The less than 1GB on the EVO 4G doesn't leave much room for apps. Have to choose carefully what to install, and the fun thing is that, while some apps can be moved to run from the SD card on the EVO, not all apps do that. Wonder if that same situation exists on the Bionic? Personally, if I were on Verizon, I'd get the Droid 3 due to a physical keyboard and comparable specs, accept no LTE on Droid 3.
  • If you root it, you can install any app on the SD card. Just sayin'. Don't expect HTC to stick with 1GB onboard forever.
  • Not the worst tragedy in the world. Picked up mine during my lunch break yesterday. Couldn't be happier. Too bad I don't yet live in a 4G area. But its worlds beyond my OG that I was able to pawn off for $200. Wish I had a Costco membership. Heard they're offering a slick deal.
  • Wow, you got $200 for your OG? Where? I might have to think about selling mine when I upgrade.
  • I was the biggest advocate for this phone for about 6 months but now I have to decided to wait. I love Moto build quality, reception, and the notification light, but I hate the decisions they have made over the past year.
  • So the Bionic has 8GB of internal storage actually available? Are the other specs right? Do other phones have less memory than claimed?
  • That still makes it the best storage on a phone
  • Have you played with a Samsung Galaxy S 2?, this phone is arguably with the best cpu, and only that.
  • Samsung SG II S...16 or 32GB onboard...You were saying?
  • Hey, small request here. Could check this stat with every phone you review? It wouldn't have to be its own article, just a couple of seconds in a hands on video for example. I've seen a lot of other people wondering about how much storage is actually shown on the device in the forums (specifically the app install space). Thanks!
  • It shouldn't be a big surprise really. A lot of sites were comparing this to the Photon and the same thing happened to that.
  • sucks to see apps to SD has been adopted by the manufacturers. i want free memory
  • I think you forgot to add "Android 101:" to the beginning of the title...
  • Not really. The point of the article is to inform people who don't have the phone in their hand to look at so they can make an informed decision.
  • This is a person to person preference. I do fine with the Evo's miniscule amount of space. Could always use more though!
  • This isn't that big of a deal. All hdds partition and format to less space. Besides just upload your stuff to your PC from time to time and you'll have plenty of space.
  • Is your math off?? jeez. 8 +3.5 +16 = 27.5GB of storage.
  • Not now it's not. :p
  • Wait, what all goes into the 27.5 number? Everything but the OS space, or does it not include the app storage 3.5 either? I'm confused. If it includes everything but the OS space, then HOLY CRAP, how big is the OS? Mobile Nations should do a "skinny OS shootout" where you see which OS on a top-selling phone of that flavor is smallest.
  • Well 16 (total internal storage) - 3.5 (app partition) - 8 (data partition) = 4.5GB. Now, for a long time a GB has been defined by vendors as 1 billion bytes rather than the 1,073,741,824 bytes that the OS sees. So 4.5GB (marketing) is actually 4,500,000,000 bytes or 4.19GB (reality).
  • Its the same exact configuration as the Photon 4G.. Only they include an 16GB MicroSD card as well. And I'm sure the internal memory is configured as /mnt/sdcard and the external is /mnt/sd-ext just like the Photon too, which results in many apps not recognizing the external SD card. At any rate, its plenty of room.
  • Thanks for pointing that up for me , I couldn't figure that out in my ATRIX & yes that's allot of Storage
  • Is the Bionic a "world phone" too? Didn't see anything anywhere about that.
  • this is why the FireRat MOD was created.
  • Who really uses 16gb SD card. I have a 32gb card. And I have 255gb apps and use only 1.2gb on my X. AND PLEASE STOP ASKING FOR APPS2SD IT IS NOT NEEDED!
  • It was needed on phones like the OG Droid cuz it only had 256k for App storage.
  • You are lucky My OG MILESTONE had only 150MB for storage
  • "And I have 255gb apps and use only 1.2gb on my X" I assume you mean 255MB. I have 1.13GB internal space and have used all but 123MB and that's with a lot of stuff moved to the SD card. Some of us like to have a lot of apps and the average size of apps is increasing.
  • I use 27.32GB of the space available on my 32GB SD Card.
  • Bait and switch at its finest
  • maybe false advertising at the worst, but it isn't a true bait and switch.
  • Well it does say actual formatted space will be less, so not really bait and switch. Just because you fail to read the fine print that is your fault not the company!
  • "Formatted space" refers to the actual number of accessible bytes after it is formatted for use by the OS. In this case, I don't think "formatted capacity will be less" covers the "you can't access entire GBs of this space which are accessible, but only accessible to the system" way it turned out. And this applies to all handsets that list all the space and then don't let you access it (Thunderbolt, etc.). Not cool, man, not cool. Don't even list the spec if I can't access that space.
  • It is completely expected. All phones that quote internal memory are never user accessible amount. A big chunk of the memory goes to webtop. The fact that you can access the internal memory for anything other than apps is a huge improvement over the Droid X that had 6+GB of free space. For apps. Only.
  • Yep, the WebTop takes 3GB I agree with you on the storage manner
  • Are people really that upset about this? How many of you buy branded computers (HP, Dell, etc) with 500gb HD and expect all 500gb to be available when you purchase it? Its not a bait and switch or false advertising. The phone has 16gb of internal memory of which a portion of that is used for the OS and other software.
  • Agreed, I don't understand what the big deal is either. Isn't this the way of every drive memory?
  • I said this before, it shouldn't be a big surprise at all. It was the same thing when the Photon came out.
  • Well said
  • Wahhh Wahhh Wahhh... friggin crybaby's.. LMAO! Get a life people. It's JUST a phone, not a nuclear device. NO ONE is going to use it all anyways, so what the F is everyone's problem?
    Grow some balls people and USE the phone for what it was meant for.. A PHONE! LOL... putas
  • Yeah! What he said! Lol
  • But then I can't download 352 apps and never use them.....LOL
  • HTC is guilty of this too. Technically, the phones have the storage on the spec sheet. You just can't use it all for what you want. Some is used by the device. The marketeers need to start putting a disclaimer after the full spec as to what is available for the user.
  • Oh my god people GET OVER IT. If you need to buy a bigger SD card then do so. Stop bitching. I swear people will find any little thing so they can bitch about this phone. You can get a 32GB card on Amazon for really cheap. Quite your whining.
  • Yep , its like people need a more reason to hate this phone
  • Might I remind people that the HTC Thunderbolt has "8GB" of internal storage and you get to use "0" of that. you get 2.3GB for apps and that is it.
  • Exactly! As someone else said about the number of apps; I have 198 apps installed on my phone. There are things I just leave because I'm too lazy to go delte them and I still have space. I have zero apps installed to SD card Apps - 198
    Space used - 1.3 GB So at that rate I'd get 533 apps installed with 3.5GB Is that not enough apps for you kiddies? Give me a break. Whiney little bishes. You whiners are most likely HTC or Samsung fanbois. It's just a phone douche's, get over it.
  • Do some applications do not work correctly if you transfer them to the sd card? It is better to leave them in the phone storage if you have space?
  • Not sure. I've never put them on the SD. I have heard some apps have issues with it, but haven't seen it myself. I would think the phone can access it's internal HDD faster than the SD card. I assume that depends on the speed of the SD card in question. I'd just leave it on the internal HDD if you have room. With this phone, you have PLENTY of room with 3.5GB
  • No music or video's of your girlfriend on your phone, huh? Loser. (Just saying that since you called everyone a "Douche" who likes room on their phones)
  • 1) store your music on Google Music "Beta". You don't need to use any of your sd card or internal storage for music
    2) 32GB of sd card space is a lot... a hell of a lot more than 32GB of space on an iphone. Why? Well because You can format your videos to take a lot less space than they do on an iphone.
  • I don't want videos of her, I see her ass everyday!!
  • Really? That's still a helluva lot more than I have on my EVO 4G, so that's still more to work with. I don't see the problem.
  • Its not... we should serve some cheese to go with all the whine
  • You know, maybe the memory that is not available was "roped off" from being used so it was guaranteed available when a certain flavor of Android was released in October. When updating to a .X version you really don't need that much storage room for it. When updating to a X.X version you are essentially replacing the entire OS and not just patching it which means it's going to need more room.
  • Room that's created by clearing out the old OS... New version doesn't necessarily mean higher storage requirements, at all. As others have said, all manufacturers do this. The EVO 3D has 4GB and 0 is available for storage, like a gig is reserved for apps and the rest is for the OS IIRC.
  • For those of you who are righteously indignant about the Bionic using memory to store applications and OS and stuff, where does you current mobile phone store all that?
  • I had actually kind of assumed the entire 16GB would be reserved for apps and stuff.
  • Do you guys also complain to restaurants when that 8 oz. chicken breast you ordered doesn't actually weigh 8 oz. when it is served on your plate? No, because what's advertised is pre-cooked weight. Just like all memory listed is the storage size without anything there. If you want your 32gb back feel free to wipe the OS from your phone.
  • LOL!!!! Awesome! Some people will complain about anything. Same ones that complain about changes to pricing and data plans, when they are already grandfathered in, so it doesn't even affect them. Even if it did, it's paying for a service or product. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Plenty of people will buy it and some 16 year old on a tech forum that uses daddy's money to buy new phones isnt' going to affect the profit margins of Motorola or Verizon one bit. It's fun to see them bitch though and always want want want me me me.
  • Are people really complaining that they have "only" 3.5GB of space for applications? Tell you what...once you fill that up, get back to me.
  • 3.5GB is more than triple the storage I have on my EVO 4G, and that's before you even get to the SD card storage. Wish the EVO had THAT much user accessible memory. I don't see what there is to complain about.
  • I'm righteously indignant that this storage discussion is even an issue. Try it on an EVO 4G and get that "out of memory" message at 43mb of memory. I wish I had more than the 400 or so megabytes that was left of the 1GB of storage that the EVO had. At least some of that wasted space is Crapware I can't delete until I get brave enough to root.
  • My only issue is when the carriers (I can only speak about Sprint) place programs that have zero to do with the operation of the phone and do not allow the end user to delete them. I'm talking about Nova, Amazon MP3, Teeter, Sprint Nascar, Sprint Hotspot, etc. I don't know for sure how much memory each takes up, by I know they are always running in the background on my EVO. The GB update (1,2, and 3) have led to the HTC logo pooping up with regularity. My phone actually ran a bit smoother with more apps "before" updates. My USB port stopped working so my replacement phone had the update already, so I was SOL from the gate. I am looking at the recent revolutionary work around, but have been a bit busy. At least when you purchase a desktop or laptop with unwanted programs, you can erase/delete them.
  • S-Off/Root/Delete. Start with that NASCAR
  • Ridiculous. My X has more than that and I have a ton of apps on it. I'm no longer excited about this phone.