Efficient delivery of payload to intracellular targets has been identified as the central principle for nanomedicine development, while the extracellular targets are equally important for cancer treatment. Notably, the contribution of extracellularly distributed nanoparticles to therapeutic outcome is far from being understood. Herein, we develop a pH/light dual-responsive monochromatic ratiometric imaging nanoparticle (MRIN), which functions through sequentially lighting up the intracellular and extracellular fluorescence signals by acidic endocytic pH and near-infrared light. Enabled by MRIN nanotechnology, we accurately quantify the extracellular and intracellular distribution of nanoparticles in several tumor models, which account for 65-80% and 20-35% of total tumor exposure, respectively. Given that the majority of nanoparticles are trapped in extracellular regions, we successfully dissect the contribution of extracellularly distributed nanophotosensitizer to therapeutic efficacy, thereby maximize the treatment outcome. Our study provides key strategies to precisely quantify nanocarrier microdistribtion and engineer multifunctional nanomedicines for efficient theranostics.