How to move Android apps to an SD card and free up phone storage

Unlike iOS, Android lets users move apps to an SD card when internal phone storage space begins to run tight. Unfortunately, not every phone is actually capable of shifting apps across to an added microSD card but for those that can, it’s a lifesaver.

Generally, handsets allow around 16GB of additional space, with some offering 128GB or up to 1TB – well beyond the industry average of 16-32GB of internal storage space. Moving your Android apps to a microSD card can reclaim some valuable internal storage space.

Not every handset has a microSD card slot, of course. Google Pixel devices haven’t had microSD slots since their creation, whereas Samsung – after their foible with the Samsung Galaxy S6 – has made a point of including expandable storage in all its flagship devices, including the latest Galaxy Note 9.

Even if you do have a phone that has expandable storage, not every handset – or every app – actually supports the migration of apps to an SD card. However, if your handset does support it, here’s how you can move Android apps to an SD card.

How to move Android apps to an SD card

1) First things first, you’ll need a microSD card. This may sound like a silly first step, but there’s a couple of possible pitfalls to look out for. The first is that, although you can buy huge microSD cards, Android handsets have different maximum capacities, so check your handset’s limits. There’s no point buying a 128GB card if your phone will only show 32GB.

The second caveat is that you should always buy SD cards from reputable retailers. You’ll find plenty of cheap SD cards on eBay or Amazon Marketplace, but quite often these will be fakes that are either smaller than advertised, unreliable or both. Don’t take the risk.

2) Head to the phone’s settings and scroll down to Apps on the list. You’ll see a full list of every app on your phone.

3) Tap on the app you want to send to the SD card to see how much space it’s taking up. Scroll down and you’ll see a button labeled “Move to SD card”. Some handsets have a submenu for this, labelled Storage. If it’s blanked out, the app doesn’t support the feature.

4) Repeat this for as many apps as you want to move. If they start misbehaving or you just want to put things back, you can press “Move to phone” to send each app back one by one.

Image: Magnus Jonasson used under Creative Commons

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