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What is the best place in the Android (4.4 or similar) file system to save some documents (.pdf, personal docs, other files, music, ...)? In other words, is there a specific folder where one can create a home directory and put in files without having to fear that it is wiped out by (updates of) Android?

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Note that this is not guranteed to be the case with every update, and may vary from device to device. However, in every case I'm familiar with, this has held true.

OTA/Automatic updates (and many but not all ROMs installed with a custom Recovery) will generally ignore anything inside the /sdcard/ directory. I keep everything in there and whenever I switch ROMs or update, that directory stays safe as long as whatever I'm installing doesn't require a factory reset.

Devices with no physical SD Card slot such as Nexus, and Kindle Fires have treated that sort of as the default /home/user/ directory. Downloads from Chrome go to /sdcard/Download/ by default. Music gets downloaded to /sdcard/Music/ etc...

Devices with a physical SD Card slot seem to use that as the mount point for an inserted card. You can use it if you have a card inserted - otherwise, it's not available.

  • Some devices will be different. As Izzy noted, the external SD card can have a different default mountpoint such as /sdcard/external_sd/ or something with /extSD/. It could realistically be any point that the manufacturer or ROM builder decides on.

Having said that, it's always a good idea to keep your data backed up. I haven't had any emergencies, and my data in the directory has never been wiped when I wasn't expecting it, but it's always best to be safe.

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    Good points all. Note, however, that on devices with both, internal and external SDcard, the external one might be found in other places – e.g. /sdcard/external_sd (there it is on most of my devices), or something wih extSD, or even something else. With your documents stored on the external card, you could safely remove that before and re-insert it after updates to ensure the update process won't touch your data ;) – Izzy Nov 7 '13 at 17:34
  • Ah, I wasn't aware of that. I'll update the answer. – dotVezz Nov 7 '13 at 17:41
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    You cannot know all devices – that's why we're a community here, helping out each other, bringing our knowledge together :) Thanks for editing it into your answer, so it doesn't get overlooked too easily. – Izzy Nov 7 '13 at 17:43
  • Thanks, that was exactly what I was looking for. If there is no removable sdcard, I could imagine one could keep data on an external USB stick and be connected via OTG (but I am not sure). Would be great to hear if people have used this approach. – Marius Hofert Nov 7 '13 at 18:32

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