firmware Technology Reviews

Galaxy S23 eats up your internal storage… depending on where you are

One of the best features of the Galaxy S23 series is that except on the base model, you get a minimum of 256GB of storage. That stems down to the fact that Samsung is using UFS 4.0 storage on the Galaxy S23 lineup and UFS 4.0 chips start at 256GB storage, which is why the 128GB Galaxy S23 uses the old UFS 3.1 standard instead of UFS 4.0.

But no matter how much internal storage your Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, or Galaxy S23 Ultra might have, it seems Samsung is eating nearly 60GB of the total internal storage to store system-related files. This seems to be a country-by-country issue and mostly affecting Western markets like the USA and the many countries in Europe, but it has not gone down well with folks since the discovery was made.

Internal storage used by system data varies from country to country

The discovery that the Galaxy S23 series can take up to 60GB of internal storage before you start using it has gotten people talking about how Samsung seems to be the only major Android manufacturer that doesn’t use Android’s A/B Seamless Updates feature. Devices supporting seamless updates have two system partitions and new software updates are installed on the partition that isn’t being used, following which those devices restart into the newly updated partition, considerably reducing the time it takes to install updates.

But if the A/B partition system doesn’t exist, it is a mystery why Samsung needs so much internal storage for preloaded data in some markets. That said, the natural suspects are bloatware from carriers and network operators, partner apps (for example, new Galaxy phones come with both Samsung Messages and Google Messages installed, and neither can be uninstalled), and other such country-specific data.

Just for comparison, below is a screenshot of the storage breakdown from a Galaxy S23 Ultra in India (on the left) and one from the Netherlands (notice how the Indian variant is using considerably less space for the system):

In contrast, devices like the Google Pixel use around 15GB internal storage for the system partition while still working in different parts around the world without issues, which makes one wonder why Samsung needs so much space for system-level data and apps. Duplicate apps are one confirmed reason (in addition to Messages, Samsung installs its own versions of apps like Calender, Play Store, and more) along with the many additional features you find on Galaxy devices, but the rest seems to depend on where you brought your phone.

Check how much storage is used by system data on your Galaxy device

For those wondering, this isn’t exactly a new thing that’s exclusive to the Galaxy S23 series. Your Galaxy S22 series device might also be using 30GB+ storage space for system data. The easiest way to check is through the Settings » Battery and device care menu on your phone. By default, the space reported as being used by system files includes all your third-party apps, but you can check out the actual space being used by system files by tapping the “i” icon next to Apps, tapping Settings, and enabling the toggle next to My Files on the next screen.

Image of Galaxy S23

SamsungGalaxy S23

Image of Galaxy S23 Plus

SamsungGalaxy S23 Plus

Image of Galaxy S23 Ultra

SamsungGalaxy S23 Ultra