Mod Brings 64GB of Storage to the Google Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 was LG's second Google Nexus device, following in the footsteps of the Nexus 4. The Nexus 5 is based around a 1080p, 5.0-inch IPS LCD panel, a 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 System-on-Chip backed up by 2 GB of RAM, a choice of either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage, wireless charging, an optically stabilised 8MP rear camera and a polycarbonate shell. However, whilst the hardware was not state-of-the-art, but was middling to high end, stock Android is beautifully smooth and quick on the device. Indeed, the Nexus 5 was the first device to ship with Android 4.4 Kit Kat, the Google Now Launcher and Google's new dialer, which is able to look up numbers from local businesses. The Nexus 5 uses a number of features, such as Qualcomm optimising the Snapdragon 800 for low power consumption during media playback on the Nexus 5 by using the onboard digital signal processor rather than the application processor cores. Oh and the Nexus 5 had something else that customers loved: an inexpensive price tag. The Nexus 5 has been updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, too; customers who bought the device two years ago are at the time of writing still receiving support.

Many customers were tempted into buying the Nexus 5 by this low price tag and sought the 16 GB model. Whilst it is certainly possible to use a modern Android smartphone with 16 GB of memory, for many people, we quickly run out of space: there are a few reasons for this. One is that application sizes have grown in the last two years, another is that recording videos and taking pictures quickly eats up this space. Over the years, Google has incorporated ways to help customers manage their device space - one example is how Google Photos has a useful function to check what pictures and videos have been uploaded and offer customers the chance to delete those still on the device, thus saving space. However, for many people, a 16 GB device quickly becomes a limitation. Unfortunately, Nexus devices (apart from the very first HTC-built Nexus One) do not ship with MicroSD card slots. This means that the onboard, internal storage the device ships with is what you are stuck with unless you use a clumsy USB OTG cable and memory card slot or clip drive. This is not a realistically practical approach for many people day by day! However, one innovative XDA forum user, KApetz2, has modified his red Nexus 5 by replacing the existing internal eMMC storage chip with a higher performance 64 GB chip. This gives the device two advantages over the stock Nexus 5. One is the obvious advantage of a lot more storage space on the device and the second is that it has had quite the performance improvement, as the eMMC chip is a more modern, higher performance chip compared with the 4.5 standard unit residing in the stock device.

The process of installing the 64 GB memory chip into the Nexus 5 is not quite as simple as opening the device up, locating and removing the old chip and soldering the new one, as once the device reboots the partition tables need to be amended to allow support for the 64 GB card. As one might example, the inside of a smartphone is a difficult place to work: it's relatively easy to damage or more likely destroy it. However, as far as modifying the Nexus 5 for greater storage and higher performance goes, replacing internal components is a great way to extend device longevity. We've included some pictures of the original thread in a gallery below, but hit up the source for more information and pictures about the modification.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.