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How To Move Apps To An SD Card


29/06/2018 – 3:14pm

Need more storage space on your phone? Need to use the microSD card to store apps?

There are times when you may find your phone’s onboard storage insufficient, and want to install applications to a microSD card embedded in the handset.

Not all Android phones actually allow you to store apps on SD cards. Despite Google actually building the feature into Android’s core code, it still requires the phone maker to activate it in order for the phone to support it.

Many high-end models don’t bother with it in favour of large amounts of onboard space, but there are mid-range and low-end phones which do support apps on SD cards due to the smaller amount of onboard space they typically have.

However, another hurdle is that even if the phone supports apps on SD cards, not every app works with it. In particular, some of the larger types of apps which you’re more likely to want to keep external, such as games, often don’t support it, or support such a small quantity of data on cards that it’s hardly worth bothering with.

If you phone and the app you want to move does indeed support external storage, here’s how you can move the app to the SD card.

Obviously, ensure you have an SD card with sufficient free space inserted into the phone before you begin!

  • Open your phone’s “Settings” menu.
  • Tap “Apps” or “Applications“.
  • Select the already installed application you wish to move to an SD card.
  • Tap “Storage“.
  • If external storage is supported, there will be an option that reads “Change” under “Storage Used“. Tap “Change“.
  • Select the SD card from the pop-up menu.

You can repeat this process and select to move the application back to Internal Storage by once again using the “Change” menu item, should you wish to.

Using An SD Card As Internal Storage

Added with Android Marshmallow, Android supports changing how the phone uses an inserted SD card from external storage to an effective extension of the internal storage. In other words, it treats the card as if it was part of its internal storage capacity. 

Again, this feature is sadly not supported by every phone from every manufacturer, even if they’re running Marshmallow or above, as Google can’t force phone makers to activate it if they don’t want to.

Also bear in mind that to make the most of this feature, it is advisable to uses the fastest SD card you can get hold of in order to ensure smoother operation of apps installed onto it. Class 10/UHS-1 would be recommended as a minimum, but UH-3 would be better.

Ensure that you are not using an SD card that already has data on it you wish to keep, as turning it into Adaptive Storage in this way will format the card, thus removing anything already stored on there. Either move your data to another card or storage device, or use a brand new or otherwise empty card instead.

Also bear in mind that once you make it Adaptive Storage for your phone, if you want to use it in any other phone, you’ll need to format it again. You’ll no longer just be able to pop it out to transfer stuff around like you normally would unless you first uninstall any content on your phone which uses the card, deactivate Adaptive Storage mode on the phone, and then reformat the card.

Lastly, bear in mind that if you take the card out while Adaptive Storage mode is active and you have apps and games installed on the phone while using the card’s storage, the apps and content using the card will no longer function properly and may be inaccessible.

With all that said, here’s how you can use Adaptive Storage:

  • Open your phone’s “Settings” menu.
  • Tap “Storage“.
  • Select the SD card.
  • Tap the menu button in the top right corner.
  • Select “Storage Settings“.
  • Tap “Format As Internal“.
  • Tap “Erase & Format” to confirm.
  • Tap “Move Now“. You’ll get an estimate on how much time and how much space this will take.
  • Tap “Next” and wait for the phone to do its thing.
  • Tap “Done” when it is finished!

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