Samsung and LG both brought external storage to the table with their releases this year, the Galaxy S7 and LG G5, however both phones won’t support one of Android’s biggest new SD card features, adoptable storage.
So what exactly is adoptable storage? Long story short, it allows an SD card to be treated as internal storage. So instead of in years past where you could only use the SD card for specific files and apps, now you can use it just like you’d use the phone’s normal storage. The device then shows the SD card’s capacity as a part of the device’s storage, although you do lose access to the SD card from other devices. It’s a great feature that many users would likely take advantage of, however on these new devices it simply doesn’t exist.
Arstechnica was able to obtain the following quote from Samsung regarding this change.
Samsung decided not to use the Android Marshmallow “adoptable storage” model. We believe that our users want a microSD card to transfer files between their phone and other devices (laptop, tablet, etc), especially the photos and videos they shoot with the camera.
With adoptable storage, first of all the card may be erased the first time it is inserted into the device. This behavior may be unexpected by many users and we don’t want our users to lose their files. Second, once Marshmallow starts using a card for adoptable storage, it cannot be read by other devices, so it loses this ability to be used for file transfer. Adoptable Storage is also primarily targeted towards emerging markets where devices with only 4-8GB of onboard storage are common. We think that our model of using microSD for mass storage is more in-line with our owner’s desires and expectations for how microSD should behave.
While some of this does indeed make sense, it would have been nice to have the option to use the feature if you decide to do so. Google did afterall allow users to easily make the decision on whether or not they wanted to enable external storage as adoptable storage. However, the LG G5 and Galaxy S7 both won’t give users the option.