I understand how partitions work on a harddisk, also how to use programs to create, change, delete these partitions.

I am using also Android for quite some time - but never really tried to go very deep regarding the system itself.

I would really get some more details regarding how the system works but I feel I cannot find the right source for the deeper knowledge.

In this question I would like to focus on the Android partitions only.

I found this source:


But I would like to understand a little bit more:

Is the concept similar to harddisks? Can these partitions also be changed? Or would it be necessary at all? Are there tools to change the partitons? Can I brick my device forever when working on the partitions?

Thank you so much!!

  • 2
    In *nix operating systems, most of the system resources are exposed as a folders like /system etc which is sometime analogous (where it involves storage) to partitions in Windows world. USB flash drives, memory cards, even serial and parallel ports are all exposed as a folder accessible from root /. I am not a *nix user and hence I can't say any more.
    – Narayanan
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 10:23
  • 1
    Technically spoken, one could of course change the partitioning of Android devices (some Custom ROMs even offer interfaces to it). However, without deeper knowledge I'd keep my fingers out of it (at least when it comes to /system and /recovery partitions), as things like system updates might depend on the "known defaults" for the device in question. As this goes somehow deep into system internals, I don't think it is a topic well fitted for our site. I'd rather recommend the XDA-Developers forum for this.
    – Izzy
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


The Android firmware is composed of several image files. These image files are flashed to (device specific) locations on your devices internal memory. Typically these images are for the bootloader, recovery, fastboot, and the system (OS). The remaining memory is mapped to your internal storage. Since each device expects them to be located at different locations depending on the manufacturer, you cannot modify them safely.

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