Saturday, October 01


Android Adoptable Storage, A Review

Update: Most of the problems detailed below seem to be Sony's fault.  I've been testing with my Moto G4, and the problems for the most part simply don't arise.  So I'm back to blaming Sony again.

It's a complete fucking mess.

To update the earlier updates:

I criticised Sony for disabling adoptable storage on their devices.  Having used it, I now agree with them; the user experience is awful:
  • Some apps refuse to install to adoptable storage, and there's no practical way to know which ones this will affect.
  • Some apps install to adoptable storage, but won't run from it.
  • Some apps show that they are using adoptable storage, but when you check the details they are actually still on internal storage.
  • Some apps show that they are using adoptable storage even when you check the details, but when you add the numbers up, you find that they are still using internal storage.
  • Some apps that support storing data on normal (portable) SD cards don't work with adoptable storage.
  • If you format your card as a mix of portable and adoptable storage, you end up with two storage devices named "SD Card".
Plus (and this one is Sony's fault - it doesn't happen on my G4) the used storage numbers go negative.

There were three goals I wanted to achieve:
  • Store my SF magazine subscription on SD card instead of scarce internal storage. I've had a digital subscription to Analog and Asimov's since shortly after I got my first tablet, and have 39 issues of each.  They weigh in at 60-115MB per issue.

    This doesn't work.  The Kindle app shows that it's storing them on the adoptable storage, but this is a lie.

  • Move large games like Final Fantasy to SD card.  This doesn't work at all.  In one case I had Final Fantasy VI not showing up on either the adoptable storage or the internal storage.  It was actually on internal storage, and stays there no matter what.

  • Move many small games and apps to SD card.  This is mostly a failure.  All the Kairosoft games (I have 35 of them, everything they've translated into English) install on the adoptable storage, but only about a third of them will run that way.  They others either crash or request storage permissions that you can't grant.
And even when it does work, the Android storage functions are completely inadequate for working out what has been put where.

This is all on Android 6.01; maybe some of this has been fixed on the recently released Android 7, but I don't have access to Android 7 on any of my devices yet.

And finally, for some bizarre reason, even after reformatting the card back to portable storage, I can't use Sony's home-grown function to move apps to SD cards, because my card is bigger than 32GB.  I tried reformatting it down smaller than 32GB and it started working again.  So now I've reformatted back to normal and I'm filling it with my PDF archive.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:12 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 I have a Nexus 5X with Nougat, but of course Google doesn't believe in putting SD cards on Nexus devices so I can't tell you whether it works or not.

Posted by: RickC at Monday, October 03 2016 05:15 AM (ITnFO)

2 Ugh. I just found out that my Zenpad (Z508C) has a Marshmallow update.  Overall it looks good, except for "Android Marshmallow won't support APP2SD. Please move apps to internal storage before system upgrade".

Posted by: RickC at Tuesday, October 11 2016 07:11 AM (ECH2/)

3 I passed on the Zenpad because it looked like it had been orphaned, but now that it's got Marshmallow I'm giving it another look.  (Also because it was never released in Australia.)

I love the Xperia tablet, but with only 16GB storage (~9GB available) it's not a device for a packrat.  My Kindle library alone is about 9GB.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, October 11 2016 10:38 AM (PiXy!)

4 If I had to do it again I would've gotten something with a more powerful GPU.  I play a couple 3D games that can slightly bog the Zenpad down. Other than that[1], though, I really like it.  It's quite powerful, and the two speakers are great for watching video. [1] and the fact that it has only 2GB of RAM, which actually isn't too much of a big deal, except that it's overly aggressive about killing apps.  Leave a game to check FB and come back, and the game has to reload.

Posted by: RickC at Wednesday, October 12 2016 12:37 PM (ITnFO)

5 The 580CA has 4GB of RAM, but I think the GPU is identical.  The Xperia tab has 3GB and is noticeably better than my old Nexus 7 at leaving apps alive.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, October 12 2016 02:04 PM (PiXy!)

6 Having to have apps restart isn't that big a deal; it's just annoying, as they don't actually take all that long--this thing has good flash.
Marshmallow killed one of my games--it crashes on startup every time.  Am going to reboot and see if that magically fixes it.

Posted by: RickC at Wednesday, October 12 2016 03:23 PM (ITnFO)

7 I think I need to consider backing off Marshmallow on my ZenPad.  It's showing all the classic signs of not liking an upgrade: laggy input, apps taking a long time to start, and so on.

Posted by: RickC at Saturday, October 22 2016 05:28 AM (ECH2/)

8 Went to the Asus support site yesterday to get the last pre-Marshmallow build, and discovered a new Marshmallow one.  Interesting.  I installed it and the game I play that used to crash on startup after the upgrade works again!  Tablet's still a little laggy so I may still revert but it's more usable now.

Posted by: RickC at Monday, October 24 2016 04:09 AM (ITnFO)

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

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