Select City

    What is the Difference Between External Storage and Internal Storage? :Cashify Explains

    By Sidhant Gupta | 
    Updated: 8th Sep 2020 15:32 IST

    Table Of Contents

    • 1
      Difference Between Internal Storage And External Storage
    • 2
      Different Types of External Storages
    • 3
      Can We Access The Primary External Storage?
    • 4
    • 5
      • Good external storage brands

    Image Source: androidpit

    Desktops, laptops, smartphones, and smartwatches have one thing in common i.e. storage. These devices/gadgets possess a storage system to save system files, user files & documents, apps, and user data. In your Android smartphone, you must have seen the 2 types of storage options – internal and external storage. Now, there are many users who are confused within these two terms. Here, in this article, we will explain the difference between internal and external storage. And which one should you use.

    Read also: Best Phones for TikTok in 2020

    Difference Between Internal Storage And External Storage

    There are many users who think that external storage means SD cards and external hard disks. However, it is totally their misconception. Let’s clear that misconception.

    When you install an app on your device you will find that it has created a unique private folder. That private folder can be accessed by only that app. The space where these files are stored is called Internal Storage and files stored in this space cannot be accessed by the other apps and users. All the Android system files, OS and app files that users are not allowed to access are stored in the Internal Storage. In order to access these files, you need to download an app that gives you access to these internal files or root your Android device. 

    On the other hand, all the media files or documents can also be stored on the external storage. The files stored in the external storage can be accessed by the user and other apps easily. For example – the app settings of the music player of your smartphone resides in internal storage, but MP3 files that you download using that app are stored in external storage. 

    Internal Storage also provides an extra security layer because the files stored in the created directories are not accessible by other apps.

    Different Types of External Storages

    Basically, there are two types of external storage. One is the popular form of external memory that most smartphone users understand i.e. SD card, also known as memory cards that is the secondary external storage and the other one built-in external storage which is known as primary external storage. A Primary External Storage is one that is accessible by the user but still part of the built-in memory. All your media files, documents, and pictures are stored on this primary storage and this is when you don’t have a physical external storage device such as an SD Card.

    different types of storage sd card secondary external storage

    Image Source: digitaltrends

    The other form of the external storage device is the Secondary External Storage, all the external memory storage devices such as an SD Card, external hard drives and even the cloud storage such as Google Cloud, Dropbox fall under the Secondary External Storage. 

    The SD cards are inserted manually, can be removed, and carried on the other hand primary external storage is built-in. 

    Read also: Battery Tips: How To Extend Your Smartphone Battery’s Life

    Can We Access The Primary External Storage?

    All other External Storage including the Primary External Storage is easily accessible by the user. Your data, such as photos, videos, documents, and other media files resides in the Primary External Storage. Users are able to store the data in Primary External Storage even without having an SD card installed. The SD card that you install is the removable external storage and it can be used in a number of other compatible devices.

    how to access primary storage

    Image Source: devexchanges

    For storing sensitive files, information, app data, user settings, and other system files the Internal storage is used by Android OEM and app developers. The major reason for storing these files here is to protect the files and block any unwanted access.

    Unlike in Internal Storage, any file stored on Primary External Storage can be accessed using the built-in file explorer app. Also, other apps can access this data after read/write permission is granted. 

    However, sometimes, there have been cases where the app was found to be stealing the data without permission of the user. In such cases, the role of primary internal storage comes into play.

    The built-in memory comes with varied configurations. These can start from 4GB and go all the way up to 512GB or even more than that. As a result of which it becomes even more necessary to divide the built-in memory into internal and external memory.

    Read also: How To Use Dual WhatsApp On The Same Phone


    We hope that you understood the difference between Internal Storage, Primary External Storage, and Secondary External Storage. In short, Internal Storage is for apps to save sensitive data to which other apps and users cannot access. However, Primary External Storage is part of built-in storage which can be accessed (for read-write) by the user and other apps but with permissions. On the other hand, Secondary External Storage is SD cards that are removable from the device and offer more flexibility.

    Click here for the latest smartphone news and latest phone reviews. If you want the best price for your old smartphone, or want to repair your phone at home, make sure to hit up Cashify!


    Good external storage brands


    Samsung assures that their  ‘Powerful, Safe and Convenient ’ memory cards are the best ones available in the market. One of them is the Pro Endurance microSD card made available in 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB which lasts up to 43800 hours and comes with the latest video monitoring standard, multiple application compatibility and allows you to play in 4K & FHD. Similarly you have Samsung’s EVO select  with a higher write speed of  around 90Mbps and EVO Plus microSD memory cards that serve really well. So these external storage memory cards from Samsung offer guaranteed excellence in its performance.


    Being a brand that focuses on the manufacture of flash memory products, including memory cards and readers, USB flash drives and solid-state drives, SanDisk provides a wide number of options for external storage uses. SanDisk’s memory card prove useful as a memory center for your device thereby ensuring good performance. For example, the SanDisk Extreme Pro is the quickest UHS-I card when it comes to watching a 4K video and downloading. You can also choose from the other options of external storage made available by this brand such as SanDisk Ultra SDXC UHS-I card , Mivro memory cards or the Ultra A1 MicroSD card.


    Featured Videos

    • iQOO 9T Vs OnePlus 9RT Full Comparison: Which One To Buy?
      We will discuss the iQOO 9T Vs OnePlus 9RT comparison in the article. Both phones come with the same price tag. In addition, both of these phones come with impressive specs and features. However, there exist some significant differences too. To know these differences, let’s explore the article and know which one to choose among the iQOO 9T &…
      27th Sep 2022
    • Vivo V25 Pro Vs Oppo Reno8 FAQs Comparison
      Today, we’ll talk about the Vivo V25 Pro Vs Oppo Reno8 and discuss some frequently asked questions. Both of these phones are excellent performers as well as competitors in the range of Rs 30,000 to 40,000. Moreover, both phones are camera-centric and have the same processor. However, the price difference between the two is around Rs 10,000.  Let’s explore…
      26th Sep 2022
    • How To Buy Apple iPhone 12 At 29,999 in India?
      Are you planning to buy Apple iPhone 12 in India on Amazon and Flipkart Sale? Then, you should read this article to learn the best deals on how to buy Apple iPhone 12. It’s September 2022, and it’s the best time to buy Apple iPhone 12 in India. Furthermore, the sale on both platforms will…
      22nd Sep 2022
    • How To Buy iPhone 13 At 34,999 In India?
      Are you looking forward to buy Apple iPhone 13 this time of year as well, like us? Yes, everyone in India is delighted, but not because of the holidays or the fact that they get time off from work. But because the Amazon Great India Festival Sale and the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale will…
      22nd Sep 2022
    • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Vs OnePlus 9RT FAQs Comparison
      We’ll talk about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Vs OnePlus 9RT, which are competitors in this smartphone category from Samsung and OnePlus, respectively. Moreover, both of these phones were released in 2022, and although they have a few minor changes. However, they target a similar audience. In this post, we’ll compare the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and…
      22nd Sep 2022

    You May Also Read

    Realme Mobile Price List
    Realme Mobile Price List
    Realme has become one of the best-emerging smartphone brands in India. Although the brand has multiple smartphones in its portfolio, it often becomes confusing for buyers to decide which one to buy. If you’re having similar issues, then you’re at the right place. We have compiled Realme mobile price list 2022 for you. With its…