Remember when Samsung promised to investigate the possibility of freeing up storage space on the software-heavy Galaxy S4? It turns out that's easier said than done. Case in point: the latest software update for the international Snapdragon-powered GT-i9505 (I9505XXUBMEA), which SamMobile spotted being sent to at least some GS4 owners in Germany. The updated firmware clears up 80MB of space, which is nice, but doesn't really put a dent in the nearly 7GB of system files.

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To try and make up for this, Samsung is going a different route. Apps can now be moved to the external SD card natively, a feature that Google itself abandoned back in Android 4.1. This should make a few users happy, though it's far from a perfect solution - high I/O apps rarely do well when moved to the SD card, and I doubt some of the chunky Samsung apps will be eligible for the shift.

Other changes to the updated firmware include new camera software, "HDR" video recording, a toggle for Smart Pause, display and icon tweaks, a new semi-transparent status bar, and a secure boot status option in the About Phone settings menu. The update should start rolling out to other GT-i9505 models soon, followed by the Exynos-powered GT-i9500. Who knows when these features will be coming to US versions of the Galaxy S4.

Our German readers should be getting over-the-air updates today. If you're not seeing it, you could try KIES, or head over to SamMobile's download page for the updated firmware.

SamMobile - New Software Update rolling out for the Samsung Galaxy S4

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Babbaaa

    Oh, cool info thx... HDR-Feature sounds nice ...

  • Barton82
    • ProductFRED

      Only the APK gets moved, not the game data (which is usually in the gigabytes...).

      • Barton82

        That's why I asked.

        • ProductFRED

          That's why I replied :)

    • HebeGuess

      I see it was because those app data(obb) are designed to be placing on sd storage, in the case it goes into the virtual sd which ends up consuming internal storage capacity. Then, Samsung introduce app-to-sd to moves app(apk) to physical sd partition..

  • HebeGuess

    Such a lousy effort for freeing up space. And oh~ it's also a step backward.

  • yos49505

    ok i have a dumb question but am not really sure of the correct answer. I bought the S4 in germany and have the german firmware installed. However right now i am in UAE, will i still get this update?.....please dont laugh at this question

    • forthdecember

      You should be able to still receive the update, as the updates are rolled out by telcos. Even if so happen that you did not receive the update OTA, simply connect your phone to KIES on your PC and update from there. VOILA! problem solved.

  • Funem

    Apps to SD had a bug that Google never fixed but other ROMs like cyanogenmod fixed. When moving apps to SD if they went over a certain size or number the phone bootloops on rebooting. See here http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=25563#makechanges

  • Matthew Fry

    Holy crap. That's so much bloat!

  • squiddy20

    Assuming they aren't already, how hard would it have been for Samsung to convert the "features" (S Voice, S Translator, ChatOn, Air Gesture, Smart Scroll, etc) into apps and put them in /data/apps so that they can be removed by the end user if they so choose? So stupid.

  • Codizle

    this is better then nothing. Hopefully the At&t variant will also get some kind of update. Also it would be nice to convince google music to use the external memory card

  • Mrkud

    Poland just got this update too!

  • awd22

    Have you grey options too since the update?(german firmware)