What is UFS storage for smartphones?

What is UFS storage for smartphones? Well to answer that, we need to know what smartphone storage is.

Storage is a place where you keep stuff. All smartphones (and computers) require some sort of storage to hold important stuff. These important stuff could be critical to the proper functioning of your device.

The most important function is that the storage holds the Operating System. Without the storage, your phone would not turn on as the Operating system would not boot the device.

There are three main types of storage for smartphones today.

  1. eMMC
  2. eUFS
  3. NVMe

The first two are primarily used for Android phones whilst the third option is used for Apple’s iPhones. This post will focus on eUFS storage.

What is UFS storage for smartphones?

UFS storage is a flash memory storage standard for smartphones and other consumer electronics. Although everyone generally calls it UFS, the proper name is eUFS which is short for embedded Universal Flash Storage. It is named this way because it is usually embedded in the motherboard of smartphones. UFS storage cards are removable while eUFS storage is non-removable.

UFS storage is made using NAND flash and it has successfully replaced eMMC flash storage as the market leader. It is much faster and highly reliable. However, with that being said, UFS storage is very pricey. This factor alone explains why many manufacturers persist with using older eMMC storage.

UFS storage has a full duplex structure so it can carry out dual instructions at once.

Just like eMMC flash, UFS storage comes with a built-in memory controller. This memory controller allows the host SoC to interface with and control the flash storage. UFS utilizes an m-PHY high-speed connection protocol. Hence, it is really quick. The controller also lifts some burden on the host system by handling error correction and fixing bad memory blocks/sectors.

Also, just like eMMC flash, UFS storage appears to the host SoC as a bootable peripheral. It usually contains the operating system files that help a device come on.

Read: What is Flash Storage?

UFS versions


The UFS flash standards are controlled by a body known as the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association. The website for this body is jedec.org. JEDEC has about 342 members which include big players like Qualcomm, Google, Apple, Facebook, ARM, Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, HP, TSMC, LG, Synix, Westgate etc.

JEDEC is responsible for putting out the different UFS versions, the latest of which is UFS 4.0 by Samsung.

Read: What is eMMC storage for smartphones?

Notable devices

  • UFS 2.0: Snapdragon 820 and 821. Kirin 950 and 955. Exynos 7420.
  • UFS 2.1: Snapdragon 710, 712, 720G, 730G, 732G, 835, 845 and 855. Kirin 960, 970 and 980. Exynos 9609, 9610, 9611, 9810 and 980.
  • UFS 3.0: Snapdragon 855, 855+, 860, 865, Exynos 9820–9825 and Kirin 990.
  • UFS 3.1: Snapdragon 855+, Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon 870, Snapdragon 888/888+, Exynos 2100, and Exynos 2200.
  • UFS 4.0: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Dimensity 9200+, Dimensity 9300


It is very expensive which overall increases the production costs of smartphones. This then translates to higher phone prices which tend to repel smartphone users. As a result, manufacturers tend to stick with eMMC 5.1 flash for the cheaper models.

Like every other NAND flash, UFS has a finite number of reads and writes as well as a tendency to develop bad memory blocks which cause memory loss.

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