Samsung and LG both announced their flagship smartphones for 2016 this week, and both the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 feature microSD card readers… which wasn’t a given. Samsung has long included support for removable storage in its smartphones, but last year’s Galaxy S6 did not have a microSD card slot.
But it looks like both LG and Samsung want you to use those microSD cards for media, documents, and other files… but not for apps.
Google introduced support for “adoptable storage” with Android 6.0. This lets you format a microSD card so it can be used as if it were internal storage.
This makes it easy to expand the amount of usable storage on inexpensive Android devices that might not have a lot of built-in eMMC storage space. But microSD cards usually have slower read/write speeds than internal storage, so you may have to make a trade-off: more storage space, but slower speeds.
That said, it’d be nice to have the choice… but both LG and Samsung have decided not to enable support for adoptable storage on their new phones.
Samsung has issued a statement to multiple sites, including Ars Technica, saying that there’s a different reason for leaving out adoptable storage: once a card is adopted, it cannot be ready by other devices. So if you wanted to eject your microSD card and insert it into your PC to copy photos, videos, or music, you wouldn’t be able to do that.
The first time you try to use a microSD card as adopted storage, your phone would also reformat the card, erasing any data you may have. Samsung says it’s protecting you from accidentally losing data… by not giving you a choice.
A simple “are you sure you want to do this?” message probably would have sufficed.