Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has recently introduced an innovative feature that allows users to expand their phone’s storage capacity. This new feature was announced alongside the launch of the Xiaomi 14 and 14 Pro models.
The UltraSpace storage expansion feature can add up to 8GB of additional storage to the phone’s default memory capacity. For instance, a phone with a standard storage of 256GB could effectively have its storage increased to 264GB. Unlike typical virtual RAM expansions, this feature does not require any additional hardware or sacrifice of existing storage.
The technology behind this feature lies in Xiaomi’s clever utilization of the reserved space within the UFS memory chip, typically dedicated to Over-Provisioning (OP). OP is a technique used to improve the performance and reliability of flash memory by reserving a portion of it for essential functions such as Wear Leveling, Garbage Collection, and Bad Block Mapping. Xiaomi found that the space allocated for OP is usually larger than necessary, thus providing an opportunity for storage expansion.
To reclaim this extra space without compromising the performance or reliability of the phone, Xiaomi engineers reconfigured the system’s firmware (HyperOS) to occupy less space. This optimization process has freed up 8GB on the 256GB storage models and 16GB on the 512GB storage models. As a result, users of the Xiaomi 14 can gain up to 8GB of extra storage, while Xiaomi 14 Pro users can gain up to 16GB.
While it remains unclear whether Xiaomi plans to extend the UltraSpace storage expansion feature to other phones, the fact that it involves a firmware-level reconfiguration suggests that it could potentially be implemented in other Xiaomi devices in the future. This innovative feature could prove incredibly useful for users who frequently find themselves running out of storage space on their devices.