Here’s how to move Android apps to SD card to free up storage space on your phone!
Don’t you hate it when you try to install a new app on your Android device and the Not Enough Space warning pops up? This means that all those games, photos, and videos must eventually be deleted.
If your phone has a memory card slot, then the solution is easy. A microSD card is an easy way to increase your phone’s storage. You can move apps to SD card to free up space, instead of deleting apps on your Android device.
How you do this depends on the version of Android you’re using. I will explain all the ways to move Android apps to SD card in this guide.
Basics on Using a MicroSD Card on Android:
Before you start, consider a few points.
Memory cards are slower than internal storage, so you may see slightly worse performance for resource-intensive applications. When choosing a memory card, choose the fastest and largest that your phone can support—check your phone’s specifications to see what cards are compatible with it. (Make sure you know how to spot fake microSD cards to avoid scams.)
It’s not possible to move pre-installed apps without rooting, and even some third-party apps may not support it. Also, on older versions of Android, you may not be able to use widgets associated with apps that you’ve moved to your memory card.
With all this in mind, let’s see how to move apps to SD card.
Use SD Card as Internal Storage
Android Marshmallow introduces changes to the way Android phones can handle memory cards, and these changes continue to newer versions of Android.
Now you can set the microSD card to work as internal storage. Instead of having internal and external storage exist as separate spaces,
Data and apps can write as needed, and everything happens seamlessly. As a result, you don’t have to worry about where your apps are stored.
You have to set this up first. Your card will be erased in the process, so make sure you have backed up all the data you need:
- Insert a memory card into your phone. When the New SD Card notification appears, tap Setup .
- Next, you have to choose how your phone should use the card. Choose Phone Storage on Android 9, or Use as Internal Storage on earlier versions. Or, go to Settings> Storage , select card, tap menu button, and select Storage Settings.Â Tap Format b> as internal .
- On the next screen, tap Format SD Card,Â or Erase & Format. Ithis will erase your memory card.
On Android 9 and up, you are offered the opportunity to move your content – including apps – to a memory card. It also shows you how much space you will save. Press Move Content to finish.
This feature is called Adoptable Storage,Â and it requires you to permanently store your microSD card in your phone. The memory card is also encrypted, so you can’t place it on another device to copy data.
The big downside of adoptable storage is that all Android phones are different, so some manufacturers choose not to offer it on their devices. If you don’t have it, you will have to manually move the app to your SD card.
How to Move Apps To SD Card On Android 9 Pie And Up
If your phone doesn’t support adoptable storage, you can still manually transfer apps to SD card on Android 9 and later. Keep in mind that you can’t do this for every app, and not at all for pre-installed apps:
- Go to Settings> Applications & notification> App info .
- Find the app you want to move in the list and tap it.
- Select Storage . If the app supports moving to the card, you’ll see a button labeled Change.Â Tap this.
- Select SD Card in the Change storage dialog box. This displays a confirmation screen. Tap Move to get started.
To move apps back to internal storage, repeat the steps above but select Internal shared storage in the last step. You should always do this when you want to replace or remove your memory card.
How to Move Apps To SD Card In Android 8 Oreo
The process for moving apps to the SD card on Android 8 is basically the same as for Android 9:
- Go to Settings> Applications & notification> App info.Â
- Scroll down to find the app you want to move to the memory card and tap on it.
- Select Storage. If the app supports moving to the card, you’ll see a section labeled Storage in use. Press the button marked Change. Select the card to which you want to move the app, followed by Move .
How to Move Apps To SD Card In Android 7 Nougat
You can move apps to memory card in Android 7 Nougat via Settings. However, you cannot move all apps. If they don’t support it, you won’t see the Change button,Â
- Go to Settings> Application.Â
- Find the app you want to move to your microSD card and tap on it.
- Go to Storage> Change and select your card from the prompt box that opens.
- Tap Move to complete the process.
Depending on the size of the app, it may take a while to complete (especially in the case of large games), so don’t touch your phone until it’s finished. To move apps back, repeat the steps and select Internal shared storage.
How to Move Apps To SD Card In Android 6 Marshmallow
Moving apps to the microSD card in Marshmallow is the same as in Nougat:
- Go to Settings> Applications , then tap the app of your choice.
- Tap Storage> Change , then select a memory card when prompted.
- Press Move to complete the process.
How to Move Apps To SD Card In Android 5 Lollipop
Android Lollipop has less strong support for memory cards than later versions of Android, but you can still move apps from within Settings .
You are limited which apps you can place on external storage; it depends on the developer who supports the option. Also, the whole app doesn’t move to the card either — only some of it moves.
You can see which apps you have on your card by swiping to the right tab on the Apps screen, labeled On SD Card. This makes it easy to identify what you might want to move.
To move apps:
- Go to Settings> Apps and tap the app you want to move to your SD card.
- Next, under the Storage section, tap Move to SD Card.Â The button will be grayed out while the app is moving, so don’t bother until it’s done.
- If there is no option Move to SD Card,Â the app cannot be moved.
When done, the Storage section will update to show how many apps are currently stored on the card (and how many are still on the internal storage).
How to Move Apps To SD Card In Android 4.X And Earlier
Support for microSD cards is very limited in all versions of Android 4.x (including KitKat, Jelly Bean, and Ice Cream Sandwich). Stock Android simply doesn’t support the ability to move apps to an external card, as Google seems intent on removing the card completely.
However, some manufacturers choose to include this feature in their own versions of the operating system. If your old device supports it, the process is straightforward:
- Go to Settings> Application .
- Next, find and tap the app you want to move to the card.
- Select Move to SD card.Â If this button is not available, you can’t move apps (or your phone doesn’t support it).
If you’re still using an Android 2.x device, these steps are roughly the same as what you’ll be dealing with. Home screen widgets are not supported in this old version — You must save the app in internal storage if you want to use the widget.
If you don’t have the option on your phone, then you should look into third-party apps.
How to Move Apps To SD Card Using Link2SD
If your phone doesn’t support moving apps to SD card, or if you want to move apps that don’t support it individually, there are several apps third parties who can help you. Apps2SD is a popular option, as is FolderMount.Â Both require a rooted Android phone.
We’ll take a look at another option, Link2SD, which has both root and non-root features. You can use it to bulk move apps to your card, to “force move” apps that you don’t normally allow, and to move data folders for larger apps and games to your external storage.
- First, launch the app and grant root permission if your phone is rooted. Then tap on the app you want to move and select an option:
- Link to SD Card: This requires root and moves all apps and their data to your card.
- Move to SD Card: It doesn’t require root and only works if your phone supports moving apps to external storage. If you have root, you can also force move apps that don’t support it.
- Link to SD Card (Data and Cache): Moves data files, and requires root.
To move more than one app at a time, tap the menu button in the upper right corner and select Multi-select . Now tap on all the apps you want to move, press the menu button again, and select Link to SD card or Move to SD card. This is the same option as described above.
Link2SD is free, with paid upgrades. It works on Android 2.3 and up.
Best Way To Move Apps To SD Card On Android
The best way to install apps on your SD card depends on the version of Android you’re using, whether your phone manufacturer has implemented all the features, and what apps you want to move.
On phones that support adoptable storage, it’s the best choice. This eliminates the need to manually manage your cards.
For phones that only support moving apps to the card manually, that method is the best and cleanest.
If your phone doesn’t support any of these, or if you have special requirements, consider rooting and using Link2SD.
If your app is taking up too much space, another good solution is to use the Android Go suite of apps. Not only is it smaller and takes up less space, it also runs faster on older or less powerful phones.