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【Fun Fact】Android 15 will be able to display the remaining lifespan of your phone's storage

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According to current information, Android 15 will introduce a new monitoring feature to display the remaining lifespan of the phone's storage.

The remaining lifespan of the phone's internal storage will be shown as a percentage. This feature will not only be available to the system and software developers but will also be accessible to the phone users themselves.


Principle of Mobile Storage

Currently, mobile storage predominantly uses Flash storage, which operates similarly to computer solid-state drives (SSDs) or portable USB drives and memory cards.

The data recording method can be simply described as filling a very small space with numerous switches capable of recording "zeros" and "ones." When data is written, the controller sends signals to toggle these tiny switches. In contrast, traditional mechanical hard drives rely on changing the magnetism on the disk surface to record "zeros" and "ones."

The advantage of flash memory is its ease of miniaturization. Since it lacks components like disks and read/write heads, it has long been widely used in portable electronic devices. However, flash memory has a drawback: its theoretical lifespan is actually shorter than that of mechanical hard drives. You can understand it this way: the switches inside flash memory have a finite lifespan, and each operation causes some wear.

Alternatively, you could think of flash memory as a piece of paper. If you repeatedly write and erase in the same spot with a pencil and eraser, eventually that spot will wear out and tear, making it impossible to record data in that area.

Mechanical hard drives, simply put, use a read/write head that is electrically energized to change the magnetism of sectors on the disk, recording data in the form of zeros and ones. This recording method itself causes almost no physical damage to the disk, making data preservation theoretically much more reliable than in flash memory. However, with technological advancements, there are now many techniques to extend the lifespan of flash memory.

The simplest is "wear leveling," which tries to use each switch as evenly as possible, spreading the wear across the entire storage area. If a switch is found to be defective, the system can mark it and skip it during data writing, or allocate spare areas to compensate for the damaged parts.


How to Reduce Storage Wear

If you typically replace your phone every 2-3 years, you probably don't need to worry about the lifespan of your phone's storage. Under normal circumstances, you'll likely notice battery wear long before significant storage wear becomes an issue.

However, if you plan to keep a phone for a long time, there are ways to reduce storage wear.

The simplest and most effective method is to buy a phone with as much storage as possible and avoid filling up the storage space completely. We've previously mentioned the concept of wear leveling, so you can understand it this way: the more switches there are, the fewer times each individual switch will be used on average. Therefore, buying a phone with larger storage capacity can theoretically extend its lifespan.

Not filling up the storage space is based on a similar idea. Recording data requires switches to maintain a state of zero or one. Data can only be written by switches that are still in an idle state. When you have less available storage space, some data that requires random access will continually use the idle switches within a small area. This concentrated wear accelerates the deterioration of that small area.

If you want your phone to last longer, don't hesitate to choose a model with larger storage and a bigger battery capacity. This is like starting a game with a character who has higher health and defense.

In short, the next version of Android will provide more information to help us understand the wear and tear on our phones. Previously known information has confirmed the inclusion of a battery health monitoring feature. Combined with the display of storage health, we will be able to more intuitively see the current state of our phones, giving us a better understanding of their condition.

In other words, when you notice a decline in your phone's health, it might be time to start considering whether it's worth spending money on a new one.