Emulated, sdcard0, sdcard1? Can someone help me understand where my apps and photos are? [FP1]

Settings>About phone
Model number FP1
Android version 4.2.2

Fairphone Updater
You are running Fairphone Cherry 1.6

Default write disk
Internal storage
SD card

(Internal storage has a total of 13.37 GB, so that’s a good sign from the hacker gods.)

I realize this is an older version, but I had some trouble trying to change versions. I wanted to get back to a clean slate before trying other updates (not to mention, I needed my phone to work!). At any rate, I have Google Apps installed, finally I have my imap settings back in my email client, and basically I’m just trying to learn about Jelly Bean in order to use my phone effectively. (I ran Gingerbread for a long time.)

Why I’m here is that I ran into the insufficient storage bug. I read factory resetting might help, and it did, but now I’m just confused about how Fairphone manages its storage. Using OI File Manager and my laptop, here’s what I’ve discovered so far. Please help fill in any missing information.

This appears to actually be my SD card. When I plug the phone into my laptop as a storage device, I just see 2 folders, backup and LOST.DIR. I added a file called deleteme.txt. On the Fairphone I can see this file. So far so good.

What is this? I see that Fairphone has two SIM card slots, but I only see a slot for one SD card. There are a lot of folders: Alarms, Android, DCIM, Download … Basically everything is empty, except the DCIM/Camera folder. This is where my photos go. I am pretty sure this is a mistake - can someone pls help me store photos on the SD card?

Inside this there are 2 sub-folders: 0, which maybe redirects to sdcard0? and legacy, which appears to redirect to the same place. What is going on here - can someone please explain the purpose of this “emulated” storage area?

Again, this appears to redirect to the folder with all the Alarms, Android, DCIM, … which folder am I supposed to be using? Which folder is filling up with apps, causing the insufficient storage error? Can the insufficient storage error be prevented by saving photos and videos to SD card, and if so how?

Specifically I would like to prevent this “insufficient storage” error from happening again. It has happened twice to me, and the most recent time was quite inconvenient. Generally I would like to understand how Fairphone storage is working, because it seems to be quite different from the binary internal-or-SD setup I am used to. Thanks, and I appreciate any help anyone is able to give.

To switch where photos are stored, go to settings, storage and under “default write disk” select either internal storage (the storage on your phone) or SD card (your SD card)

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Oh, have you run the unified storage update? If not, your internal storage is split into three different partitions with only (if I remember correctly) 1 GB available to install apps to.

My advice is to run that update first. Do make a backup of everything you want to keep though. It completely wipes your phone.

You are right, sdcard1 is the actual SD card and sdcard0 is your internal storage. legacy and 0 are just shortcuts to (mostly?) the internal storage.

No, it cannot be prevent by saving the photos to the actual SD card. The original Fairphones (FP1 = First Edition) came with the original Android storage layout (which was state of the art by that time). There are two partitions on your internal storage:

  • one for user files (photos + music + etc.)(13GB)
  • one for system files / apps (1GB)

Fairphone later on released the Storage Upgraded because the 1GB partition got filled up very quickly, and limits your number of apps. (That’s where the “Insufficient Storage error” comes up. You might have found information about it by using the forum’s search.) Your problem can be solved by applying the Storage Upgraded mentioned above. But, as @Jerry said, it will wipe all your data so be sure to have a backup.

@Jerry: please merge your multiple posts into one.

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As long as this haven’t been done already (the option was introduced with the 1.6 update). I would have thought that the structure that @heyandy889 describes is the one that you get after the update. Well, it is easily confirmed: go to System settings > Storage. If you find “Internal Storage” and “SD Card” your storage is upgraded. If you find “Internal storage”, “Phone storage”, and SD Card, you have the original FP1 setup which, as @Stefan rightly says, can cause your problem.
However, I distinctly remember haaving seen threads about insufficient storage also after upgrading, so there might be other causes.


Thank you @Jerry @Stefan @kgha

I edited the original post to reflect the state of Settings>Storage. I was pretty sure I factory reset back to stock (1.6 Cherry with divided partition?). However, based on kgha comment, it seems I am running updated Cherry.

Well. This is good. Thank you everyone for all the help. You have helped me understand the problem, and in the process, given me confidence that I have a good setup to prevent the insufficient storage bug. Happy hacking!

edit: it looks like my timing was good for trying to update OS versions. Kola Nut 1.8.7 was released literally today. The update worked for me!

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