Android OS “Marshmallow” (6.0–6.0.1) Storage

There’s been so many different Android OSes that it’s easy to get cavities once you sink your teeth into them. They’re all candy-type names. Kit-Kat and Lollipop are probably the most popular ones these days, but Marshmallow is getting more popular.

The reason I’m posting this is due to the lack of information I found online – yeah that’s possible – about the storage options. When you first setup Marshmallow you get prompted about how you should setup your storage card if one is present. The options include PORTABLE and INTERNAL. This was confusing until I found some more information through some deeper searching. Sections in RED were added by me to the original information. Source link below table.

Portable Card Internal Storage
Select this mode if you frequently swap your SD card between devices, use your SD card for media storage only. Select this mode if you want to completely extend your device storage with the card, and need the card to store large applications, games, and their data.
You have a Class 2, 4, or 6 card. You have a high-speed card (UHS-1) [Class 10 or higher]
If you frequently swap cards, use SD card to transfer content between devices and do not download many large app, we recommend configuring your card as “portable”. If you want to store large games on the card, if your device storage is always filling up, and you plan to always keep this card in the device, we recommend keeping your card as internal.
Only pictures and media can be stored on the card.Downloaded applications, their data, is always internal. they can not be moved to the card.The card is readable by other devices. (another phone, Mac, PC, digital camera)

Content on the card is not encrypted by default.

The card will NOT be reformatted when Portable storage is selected.

The SD card can become your device primary storageDownloaded applications, their data and media can be moved to the cardThe card is not readable by other devices. (another phone, Mac, PC, digital camera)

The card is always encrypted, and can not be decrypted on any other device. [This can be bad if the phone crashes]

The card will be formatted when Portable storage is selected.



The main thing there is the third set. If your SD card stays in your phone all the time – like with most of the recent phones – then it’s probably for you. If you don’t remove the card from the phone and always access it using a USB cable then setting it up as INTERNAL is best.


Once you setup the card as INTERNAL any and all information that was on it will be lost. If you have anything on it that you don’t want to lose create a backup first. Copy it to your PC/laptop and then setup the card. Once done you may copy the information back using the cable.

As stated above – if the phone crashes and you lose access to the card then all data is lost.

If you use CWM or TWRP and copy things to your SD card before flashing then you can’t do that if you setup the card as INTERNAL. This is because the SD card will only be decrypted by the OS and not by the recovery.

Overall this is good for privacy but bad if something goes wrong with the device. Use with caution and do backups.