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Internal storage of Android devices is devided into several partitions, each dedicated to a special "task". Some of the more important ones include:

  • /system: This is where the Android system and the pre-installed apps reside. It usually is mounted read-only, so on non-rooted devices you cannot write here (with the exception of applying a system update, e.g. OTA, or flashing a new ROM)
  • /data: Here the downloaded apps and all app's data are located. Additionally, some system settings are stored here, log files, and more

Your sdcard usually has a single partition only -- but also could be split into multiple partitions. The latter is mostly done for things like App2SD+ or Link2SD, which provide extended features for moving apps, data and caches from the internal storage to sdcard.

For more details on partitions, you might want to visit Wikipedia.

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