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Have you, at a particular point, tried to locate the file path of some image in your Files and found the file path stating something like this: “/storage/emulated/0/DCIM/Camera/IMG_202020430_197267.jpg”?

You understand every aspect of the file path, from your DCIM to the Camera to the image name. But what does “/storage/emulated/0” actually mean? It must occur to you as perplexing. Why? Because when you try to track the so-called “emulated” folder to the File Explorer, there is none in the file directory. 

Now, you must be wondering what exactly is “/storage/emulated/0”. And since there is no specific folder in the file directory under “emulated,” how do you access it? You will learn everything about this topic by reading this article. 

/storage/emulated/0 In A Nutshell

Just like your computer, your Android device has internal storage. You can connect the external storage on several smartphones using an SD card or a USB drive. 

This smartphone’s internal storage contains the sensitive OS files, and your personal files and folders, which you can access using the file explorer app that comes on your device by default.

Aside from locking the user out from the system files in your internal storage, Android developers use what is known as an emulated folder, or emulated storage, as others call it, to prevent unauthorized access and changes to the actual filesystem on your phone. 

Because of this setup with emulated storage, Android provides you access to your files without actually accessing the actual physical location on the smartphone. Hence, storage/emulated/0 represents the root of the storage you see on your smartphone. 

For example, what looks like DCIM/camera to you may actually be storage/emulated/0/DCIM/camera. Interesting? Read further to find out more.

What Emulated Storage Is 

Think of emulated storage as a way of giving you a reference to a file on your internal memory without actually helping you gain straightforward access. 

This is done through what is known as a symlink or symbolic link. This is used to point to the device’s internal and external storage when available. 

So, emulated storage is entirely emulated. It means it mimics what is actually on the internal and external storage by pointing toward the actual file path. 

While you might see a file in storage/emulated/0/DCIM/Cameram, the actual location on the real filesystem is perhaps storage/emulated/0/DCIM/Camera. However, this is kept away from the user side of things to stop apps from gaining access.

On smartphones running on Android, this usually starts from storage/emulated/0. However, with external storage, there will also be storage/emulated/1.

The Advantage Of Emulated Storage

No matter as to whether it uses the internal or external storage, an emulated folder has a noteworthy advantage. 

By only allowing access to the storage/emulated/0 folder via a symlink and not the actual internal storage, your Android OS is able to prevent apps on your device from obtaining unauthorized access to personal data or essential files in the Android file system. 

Note that this also applies to both internal memory and external storage devices like your SD card. The emulated SD card will be accessible via the storage/emulated/1 folder. This means that even portable and emulated storage go hand in hand on Android, so your data should be safe, regardless. 

Here Is How To Access storage/emulated Folders Through File Explorer

If you wish to see this part of the file path of your files and folder, you will have to use something other than the stock file manager. 

One of the best apps to gain access to the path of the storage/emulated/0 folder on your smartphone is X-plore File Manager. Yet, keep in mind that if you download this app, you cannot make any changes to these files. 

Follow these steps to use ES File Explorer to view the internal storage emulated folder:

  1. Download and install X-plore File Manager from Google Play Store. 
  2. Launch the app
  3. Go to the homepage. 
  4. Then, select “Internal Storage.”
  5. At the top of the screen, you will see that the path you are in is the storage/emulated/0 folder.

Furthermore, the Android Debug Bridge or ADB can also be used to take a look in the storage/emulated/0 folder should you have turned on USB debugging on your smartphone. 

So, here is how you can turn on USB debugging:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Then, scroll to About Phone, then to Software Information, if available. 
  3. Tap “Build Number” seven times.
  4. Return to the main Settings menu and open the Developer Options entry.
  5. Look for “USB Debugging” and turn it on.  

At this time, you must have the ADB downloaded from this link. Then, extract it into a folder on your computer. Here are the must-follow steps:

  1. Open the folder where you extracted ADB in, and enter the “platform-tools” folder. 
  2. Press Shift and right-click. 
  3. Choose “Open Powershell window here”.
  4. Then, type “adb devices.” Press Enter. 
  5. Now, plug in your device and accept the prompt on the screen. 
  6. Again, type “adb devices”. If you see your device’s serial number, this part has been done successfully. 
  7. Then, you must enter “adb shell”.
  8. Type “cd storage/emulated/0”.
  9. Now that you have navigated to this folder, you may enter “Is” to take a look at the contents. 

One More Thing, Can You Delete The Emulated Folder?

Whether it is the internal storage on your phone or the portable storage like your SD card, the emulation layer simply mirrors the data on your storage. 

Once you delete a file, folder, or other data in the emulation layer, Android deletes the real data from the internal storage or SD card. Keep this in mind. 

Nonetheless, you cannot delete the entire emulation folder since the Android filesystem protects it. If you delete storage/emulated, you are essentially formatting your entire device’s storage.

Now You Have A Full Grasp On How storage/emulated/0 Actually Works

The Android storage/emulated/0 directory on your phone is actually a symbolic link to an actual path on the storage of your device. Since the folders and files you see in your Files app are not actually in that location, this provides the best perspective into how emulated storage works. 

Emulated storage prevents unauthorized apps from accessing the actual filesystem that Android keeps underneath the hood. Instead, those apps are only able to access the emulation layer. True to form, your Android device also will not let you access these directories unless your device is rooted. 

Now, you have a full grasp of how the storage/emulated/0 directory actually works on your Android phone. For more articles and discussions on technology, keep browsing this website.

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