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Under Settings -> Storage, I see entries for both "SD card" and "USB storage". What's the difference? What should I be using each of those for?

In addition, how can I control what data goes where? since so far, everything I've copied into my mobile (via USB cable and via Kies Air) seems to go to the "USB storage", as the "SD card" is almost completely empty of data.

Finally, where can I find the base folder of each of these, using a file explorer?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Have just noticed this too on my (original) Galaxy S since it got the Gingerbread update, presume that this is something that Samsung have changed in their Gingerbread build, as the S2 comes with Gingerbread from the factory.

On the Galaxy S (and I presume it will be the same on the S2) they have a built-in storage (either 8GB or 16GB in the original S) that looks like an SD card to the OS, but is actually built into the phone, there is also a Micro-SD card slot, that can take normal micro-SD cards. Previously these showed in the phone as "Internal SD Card" and "External SD Card", since Gingerbread they're now shoing as "SD Card" and "USB Storage".

It looks like "USB Storage" is the built-in storage space (8GB on my phone), whereas "SD Card" is the separate SD card that plugs into the slot by the battery and you can plug the card in yourself (I've got a 32GB card in mine).

Most apps don't know that there's two separate storage spaces, as this is a Samsung thing, not an Android thing. Media files copied into either location will be picked up OK by the media scanner, so you can put your music, etc where you want without any worries. Some apps, like the Camera app, have been modified by Samsung to know about the multiple storage locations and will let you save to either (configurable in the settings) others don't, and will only save to the "USB Storage" space.

I haven't had a chance to play with Kies Air since Gingerbread, so can't help you there (but I will try to over the weekend and update). But for File Manager apps you should be able to see the folder /mnt/sdcard which is the "USB Storage" and looking down that you should see a folder called external_sd which, if you open it is your micro-SD card. For any apps that let you pick where to save files, saving to this location will ensure its on the actual SD card.

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Indeed, there is an external_sd folder under /mnt/sdcard. I think the simplest thing will be to just move big files like music and videos there, and leave the apps to the regular internal memory. –  Oak May 19 '11 at 14:52
@Oak That's what I do, use the external SD for all my music, videos and file transfers between PCs and leave the internal storage for apps to save to, and the camera. –  GAThrawn May 20 '11 at 8:34

On galaxy s3, sdcard refers to internal storage, ext sdcard to an sd card to be plugged into the micro SD slot. USB storage refers to an USB stick that would be connected to the USB port using a dedicated USB otg cable.

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