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How to Store Apps to the Memory Card in an Android Phone

Updated on June 7, 2013
Store Apps to the Memory Card on Android
Store Apps to the Memory Card on Android | Source

Android has always supported expandable memory in the form of SD/memory cards. But from the beginning, android has had apps stored in the internal memory. Android devices have the bifurcation of memory and this means that apps do not get stored in the SD card. Preference is given to internal memory partition for system files. This means that even the larger apps and games are stored in the internal memory wasting or hogging up much needed storage space in the android phone. This means the no app can be installed in the phone and the phone will operate very slowly.

You can free up internal memory space by knowing how to store apps to the memory card in an android phone. It is possible to move and store apps to the memory card in an android phone. This is true with an android phone with android version 2.2 or later versions. Since all app will be stored in the internal memory, knowing how to store apps to the memory card in an android phone means you can move/transfer them to them to the memory card.

It is recommended that apps which run input devices, home screen widgets, and wallpapers should not be moved to the memory card. The consequences will be that the running these apps from the memory cards will adversely affect system performance. Any other app such as games can be safely moved to the memory card without impacting on system performance.

There are a number of ways you can go about how to store apps to the memory card in an android phone. We will explore some of these methods of storing apps to the memory card.

How To Move Games & Apps To External SD Card on Android

Method 1

  • Open the app launcher and scroll down to ‘Settings’ and tap to open options.
  • Tap on ‘Applications’ and follow up by tapping on ‘Manage Applications’ to see the installed apps.
  • Tap on an app and tap on the ‘Move to SD card’ option. Give the process time to complete and do the same with other apps.


Method 2

This method on how to store apps to the memory card in an android phone involves a hack which doesn’t require that the android phone is rooted. It is referred to as the Apps2sd functionality. System apps will not be moved to the memory card and most apps will only be moved partially. Any app is moved singly as the method cannot move them in a batch. You need to have the adb executable which does not require you to have a rooted phone. The process is a little tedious but is worth all the effort.

  • Download the latest version of Android SDK (which includes adb executable) from the official Android development site.

  • After downloading the archive of the SDK, unzip it to any folder and remember its location. Connect the phone using USB cable. Go to ‘Settings’, then tap on ‘Applications’ and finally ‘Development and enable USB debugging.’

  • On your computer (on Windows: click Start, type “cmd” and press Enter). Navigate to folder containing file named “adb” (<sdk>\platform-tools folder) using this command: cd “full-path-to-sdk-platform-tools” (replace “full-path-to-sdk-platform-tools” with an actual path)

  • Type the following lines in the terminal window and press Enter after each line:
    • adb devices
      • This checks that the phone is connected and is in the correct mode.
    • adb shell -- If you get “cannot find file” error and are using Mac or Linux, instead type: ./adb shell
    • pm set-install-location 2
      • If this command doesn’t work try using the “old” command: pm setInstallLocation 2
    • exit

Now on your android phone;

  1. Tap on ‘Settings’, scroll down to ‘Applications’ and finally to the ‘Manage Applications.’
  2. Click on the SD card or USB storage to show list of apps installed in the memory card and those that can be stored in the memory card.
  3. Tap on the Menu button and select sort by size.
  4. Select each app and tap on ‘Move to SD Card’ option.


Whichever method you use, you will surely achieve the final intention of moving apps to the memory card on your android phone. These are perhaps some of the best ways to go about how to store apps to the memory card in an android phone.


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  • GeorgeCM profile image

    GeorgeCM 4 years ago from Nairobi

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