If you follow tech news carefully, then you might have read about the goings-on around Samsung and memory occupied by the system by the Galaxy S23 series. A news that started on Twitter, where those who already have the S23 Ultra in their hands (mostly reviewers and influencers) have underlined the excessive space taken from samsung software. In reality, this story is nothing new under the sun, it had already been talked about in past years but has been rekindled by virtue of the media attention aroused by the launch of the S23 series. The problem is that what is passing under the eyes of less attentive readers (and geeks) is that the Samsung Galaxy S23 software is too heavy, when in reality the story is more complex than that.
Samsung Galaxy S23 and the age-old question of the memory occupied by the system
It all starts from this screen, which some users have shared on Twitter to show how much memory is occupied by the operating system of their smartphone. If you have a Samsung model, you can reach it by going to the menu Settings/Device Care/Storage Memory. Here is an overview showing which file categories and how much space they occupy in the storage memory. Taking into consideration our Galaxy s22 ultra e S23Ultra, it can be seen how on the first the system occupies 119 GB while the second almost 77 GB. But already here we run into the first problem that the most distracted could run into.
What this overview shows is a system app from Samsung, ie Device Assistance, which basically does not have full access to the smartphone memory and is therefore "forced" to make an estimate. To give it full access, just click on the "i" next to the item Applications: once done, the situation changes, and sometimes not even poco. As you can see, if on S22Ultra the space occupied by the system drops from 119 to 109 GB su S23Ultra it even drops from 77 to almost 44 GB.
To remark that it is by no means a "novelty" concerning the S23, the same menu with the same limitation is also found on an older Galaxy Note 10+ with One UI 4 and Android 12. It should be noted that, in this case, even giving full access to the app doesn't change the amount of space it takes up, further emphasizing how this overview is in effect a approximate calculation which may vary from model to model. Consequently, relying on it to reach conclusions such as those that are circulating in the comments below the articles that talk about it, namely that "Samsung software is too heavy“, is at least incorrect. What is certain is that, in a certain sense, Samsung is like shooting itself in the foot by giving its users an inaccurate tool on which to base their considerations, whether positive or negative.
At this point, the question remains: how much space does Samsung's system take up? To give a much more elaborate and comprehensive answer are the colleagues of DDay, who like us have questioned themselves on the actual veracity of the news popped up on social networks. As they rightly point out, the Device Assistance app does not have root privileges, that is, those permissions that allow an app to be able to access all the folders and sub-folders that make up the operating system. This prevents it from using the "du" (Disk Usage) command inherent in Linux and therefore Android, essential for having a real measurement of the occupied memory. The result is that the calculation is performed simply by removing from the total memory the space occupied by folders and partitions that it is able to view.
As specified, even if you give full access to the memory by clicking on "i", that number that drops (from 77 to 44 GB, in the case of our S23 Ultra) is not reliable at all. To find out how much space the system really takes up, you can use the command "lpdump” on the console to access the database with metadata of the memory partitions. In the case of DDay, initials 53 GB (dropped to 37,5GB after clicking "i") it turns out that the real space occupied by the system is equal to 12,5 GB. A decidedly more likely figure: on Pixel 7, the system occupies about 8 GB and it is plausible that the Samsung one occupies 4/5 GB more having more features and pre-installed apps.
If that wasn't enough, there is also another factor that creates further confusion: Taking a 23GB S256 and a 1TB one, the OS seems to occupy more on the version with more memory. In fact, that's not the case at all. The reason can be traced back to Samsung itself as well as to the other manufacturers of memories (SK Hynix, Yangtze, etc.) that we find inside smartphones. Those who produce these memories use the base-10 system to calculate the available space in Gigabyte, while operating systems (such as Android) use the binary system in Gibibytes: If for Samsung a 1 GB module corresponds to 1.000.000.000 bytes, for Android it corresponds to 1.073.741.824 bytes. This is why when you connect your smartphone to the PC via cable, you see less memory indicated: for example, with my 10 GB Note 512+ I see 467 GB of memory, while with the 23 GB and 256 TB S1 the available one is 238 GB for the first to 900 GB for the second: on the basis of this ratio, therefore, the (incorrect) estimate of the Samsung app penalizes the more capacious memory cuts.⭐️ Discover the new Weekly Flyer of GizChina with always different exclusive offers and coupons.