What Is “System Data” on Android?


An Android comprises different types of storage, namely internal storage, external storage, shared preferences, and database. In the storage of an Android device are different types of files. But a considerable amount of its capacity is dedicated to the system data. So, what is the system data on Android? 

Quick Answer

System data on an Android device are specifically made up of the operating system and extension files. These data are always kept in the system file systems like /(root), /usr, /var, /tmp, etc. 

Without the system data, the Android device will not work properly. However, it is also important to note that while using the Android device, the system generates many junk and miscellaneous files. These extra files are unimportant to the functioning of the Android system, and quite frankly, it slows down the system.

Keep reading to learn more about the system data on Android. 

Why Is the System Data on Android Important? 

The system data is very vital data on an Android device. Hence, you should not delete it, except if you have a reason and know what you are doing. Moreover, Android has been designed so that system data are not readily available. Hence, a user cannot delete the system data by mistake. 

If you are wondering what importance system data plays, below are some of its importance. 

Importance #1: Boot Files 

One of the importance of the system data on your Android is that it contains the boot scripts. The boot script of most Android devices resides in the /system/init.d/ folder. Hence, if you delete the system data, your device will not load past the boot screen

Importance #2: Configuration Files 

Another crucial function the system data plays on an Android device is storing the system configuration files. These configuration files are what the Android UI uses to control hardware. These configuration files are often stored in the /data/system/ folder, while driver configurations are stored in the /data/misc/ folder. You’d find several configuration files in the system data, such as appops.xml, netpolicy.xml, profiles.xml, etc. 

Importance #3: Installed Packages 

There are also installed packages in the system data that, if deleted, the Android device will run into many error messages. These packages can be components of themes you have enabled, activities from apps you have disabled, etc. For example, if an installed package like the gesture.key is missing, then your device lock screen pattern will be disabled, or if the packages.list file is missing from the system data, the list of all installed packages in the system will be deleted. 

How To Clear Junk Files From System Data

Deleting system files are highly discouraged. However, the junk files generated by the system data can significantly increase the storage space it occupies. In such cases, it is ideal to delete the junk files, not the entire system data. If you don’t know the difference between junk files and the main system data, below are a few methods you can use to save yourself the hassle.  

Method #1: Using the Settings App 

Using the Settings app is one of the best ways to delete junk files from your Android device. It is safe, as you would not accidentally delete important system files, and straightforward, as you would not need to install any tool on your device. 

Here’s how to use the Settings app to delete junk files.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Android device.
  2. Scroll down and tap on “Storage & Memory”
  3. Click on the “Cache data” option. 
  4. From the pop-up option, tap “OK” to confirm that you want to clear the cache data. 

Method #2: Using Google Files 

Another option you can use is Google Files. If the Google Files does not come preinstalled on your Android, you can safely install it from the Google Play Store. You can also use other apps, such as Phone Master, CCleaner, etc. 

Here’s how to use Google Files to delete junk files.

  1. Launch the Google Files app on your Android device. 
  2. Click on the “Clean” button at the bottom left corner of your screen. 
  3. On the “Junk Files” option, click on “Clean”
  4. Confirm you want to clear temporary app files, then click on the “Clear” option. 
Alternate Method

You can also clear junk files in the system data by loading your Android into Recovery Mode, using the volume up and down button to navigate to the “Wipe cache partition” option, and using the power button to confirm you want to delete it.


System data are the most important data to ensure your Android device function accordingly. If the system data is deleted accidentally, you would need to reinstall the Android OS on the device for it to function again. However, it is safe to delete junk files that may occupy extra space in your Android device. But if you are unsure of which is which when you want to delete the junk file, remember to use a tool like Google Files to be on the safe side. 

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