One of the best new features in Android 6.0 Marshmallow is the ability to use your microSD memory card as an extension of internal storage. This means that for Android devices with low-levels of internal storage, yes we’re looking at you Xperia M4 Aqua, you are able to boost the amount of space you have to install apps/games just by sticking in a large microSD card.
Up until Android Marshmallow, microSD support was limited to simple file storage i.e. it worked great for saving your media (photos/videos/music), but proved less useful with apps and games. Some apps/games allowed you to transfer the APK to the memory card, but this was not widely supported and in many cases would not transfer the data.
We covered the process of how to enable adoptable storage in our recent Concept for Android Marshmallow review. Essentially, once you install a SD card, you are given the option to use either as simple file storage or as internal storage. If you opt for the latter, the SD card is formatted and encrypted, which means the card cannot be used elsewhere, such as a desktop or laptop for example.
However, whilst adoptable storage is potentially very useful, many OEMs are not including the feature in their handsets – well at least their premium offerings. Both LG and Samsung are not supporting adoptable storage in the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 respectively and with the recent Marshmallow rollout, it looks like Sony is also not supporting the feature within the Xperia Z3+/Z5 series.
It remains to be seen whether adoptable storage is included for the mid-range handsets such as the Xperia M4 Aqua, when Marshmallow eventually rolls for these devices. After all, we have seen Sony offer the ability to move apps to SD card on its lower-range models in the past at the expense of the premium handsets. It could be a similar story here.
We can understand why Google and/or the OEMs might be reluctant to include adoptable storage in its flagship device. After all, it may lead confusion for some if they try to remove their SD card and find they can’t read it on their computer. There can also be a performance issue related to the speed of the SD card used.
To get round this though, the feature could always be tucked away within developer options. Away from the prying eyes of most users.
Anyway, we wanted to know how important is this feature to you? Is it something you were looking forward to when upgrading to Marshmallow? Would you still like to use it, even if you have a flagship device? We’d love to hear where you stand below.