How to move apps to sd card & Install Android Apps on SD Card by Default


It’s fairly simple and quick to move apps to the SD card of your Android device, so read on!

how to move apps to sd card on android

We can remember a time when we couldn’t have imagined filling 16GB of internal storage on a mobile device, let alone 32GB! However, many of us now use our portable devices for photography and video capture, apps, emails, personal finance, listening to music, watching videos, and so much more. More importantly, modern games are quite graphics-heavy and consume a lot of space. It’s fairly easy to run of storage on your devices. So, when a user tries to install a new app and Not Enough Space warning pops up it becomes frustrating to decide which content to delete or which app to remove from internal memory get the required storage. If the device has a memory card slot then its a great relief as you simply move apps to an SD card to free up space.

Android apps are automatically installed to the internal storage of your phone by default, but you can move those currently installed apps (or portions of them) to the SD card, enabling you to maximize the storage on your device. Depending on the version of Android your device is running, you can also set the default location to be the SD card, to stop the internal storage becoming too cluttered. Depending on the amount of extra storage you want, such cards are fairly inexpensive for the convenience they offer, and it’s pretty simple and quick to move apps to the SD card.

There are different ways of doing this and we’ll run through them here, although it should be noted first that the best apps to move to an SD card are those that aren’t too demanding. This is because running them from an SD card is likely to be less speedy as running them from the internal storage. The method you choose involves a number of different aspects, such as the type of apps you’re moving, the device you’re using, and the version of Android your device is running.

Something worth mentioning from the start is that in the case of some pre-installed apps such as YouTube or Google Chrome, you’ll find the option to move them to an SD card is unavailable. Also, some particular phones move just a portion of an app to the SD card while the rest remains in the internal storage, thus freeing up less space, while some developers don’t allow the moving of their apps to an SD card at all. The steps below may differ very slightly depending on the type of phone and whether it’s running stock Android or a manufacturer’s skin, but generally, the process will be very similar, so let’s check out the options.

Option 1 – Move apps to the microSD card using Android application management system

This method might be a little different based on your current Android version. However, the basic route is to head from the app drawer on your device to the Settings menu. Tap on Application Manager to get a list of the apps you have installed, and then select the app you wish to move to the SD card. The next step is to tap Storage and if you see the Change option you’ll know you can move the app. If this does not appear, this means you cannot transfer that app. From Change, you’ll see options for Internal Storage or Transcend SD card. Tap on the latter to move the app to the SD card, or if you want to move an app back to internal storage simply choose this option. That was pretty easy right, but there are other methods available if your device doesn’t support this way. For your convenience, we put it in a step by step process. Just remember it may be slightly different on your device.

how to move apps to sd card on android
  1. Go to Settings > Apps & notifications > App info.
  2. Scroll down to find the app you want to move to the card and tap on it.
  3. Select Storage. If the app supports being moved to a card, you’ll see a section labeled Storage used. Hit the button marked Change.
  4. Select the memory card you want to move the app to, followed by Move.
  5. Similarly, you can also move back an app to the internal memory of the device.

Option 2 – Use an SD Card as internal storage on devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and higher.

If your smartphone is running Android Marshmallow or higher you can format a microSD card to act as an integral part of the internal storage (dependent upon device). This is dubbed Flex or Adoptable Storage, and while major players such as LG and Samsung have removed this feature, others such as HTC and Motorola do support it. However, when formatting the microSD card as internal storage you won’t be able to use the card in another device unless it’s reformatted, and current data on the card back up erased. That’s something to bear in mind and you may want to back up the current data on the card to your PC or transfer apps on the SD card back to internal storage before you begin.

Another pointer if you want to do this, is that you should opt for one of the fastest microSD cards to get optimum results. To use this feature, follow the step by step guide below.

  • First head to the Settings menu then tap on Storage.
  • At the very top corner on the right of the screen you’ll see the button for the overflow menu (three vertical dots) and from there select Storage Settings.
  • Tap on Format as Internal Storage followed by Erase and Format.
  • At this point, some people using an SD card that’s too slow may see a message of caution that it could negatively affect the performance of the device. For instance, it could lead to slow data transfers or apps stuttering, and therefore we’d recommend using at least a Class 10 or UHS card.
  • If you decide to proceed, tap on Move Now followed by Next to start the transfer, and finally tap Done.
  • Remember not to remove the SD Card during the formatting process.
  • At this point, the system will then recognize your SD Card as if it was an integral part of the internal storage, and when you head to the Storage section under Settings you’ll see the adopted card and internal storage listed together.

Once you’ve done this, every time you install an app on your device, Android will decide where it’s placed depending on the recommendations of the developer. It’s not recommended to then move the apps again, but if you choose to do this you’ll need to head to Settings, followed by Storage and USB. From the Internal or SD card options, tap Apps, choose the app you want to be moved and then tap Change.

Option 3 – Move Apps to an SD Card Using Third party App

Unfortunately, if your device doesn’t support any of the methods explained above there is still hope to move apps to external memory by using an app. However, the downside is you need to root your device to allow the app to do its magic. If your device is already rooted then it just matters installing an app like Link2SD, App2SD Pro, or FolderMount.

Link2SD and App2SD are the most popular options which also has in-app purchase for extra premium features.

It’s true that growing numbers are now opting to use the Cloud to negate concerns about running out of storage, but using an SD card is still a popular option. By moving apps to an SD card you’ll avoid those unfortunate occasions when the memory is so full that you can’t download even one more app. When this happens we have found ourselves, deleting a whole bunch of apps, videos, and more, and so learning how to install and move apps to SD card on Android really makes sense.

At first glance, it might look like it’s not worth the effort to move apps to an SD card or use the SD card as adopted internal storage. The information can look rather daunting if you’ve never attempted this before, but it really isn’t too difficult if you follow the above steps as you go. If you want to maximize the storage of your device and follow one of these methods, do let us know how you got on in the comments section.

Recommended reading

Khaled Shariar
Khaled is using Android OS since the very first Google Phone. Back in 2008, he started to help other Android users to find the right Applications/ Games and solving issues with their phone. Khaled also works in Creative Media Design.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join Us



10 Quick tips to speed up Android phone and boost performances

Why is my phone so slow? How to make an android phone faster?Just...

Best LED Notifications Apps to Customize or Add LED notification on Android phone

No notification light on your phone? These apps can add one or help configure

5 Best Android forums for rooting/modding tutorials, tips, questions, and answers

Check out these best Android forums for support, troubleshooting help, tutorials, and much more!

Best Offline Radio Apps & How to Unlock secret FM tuner on Android smartphone

Here's how to activate the hidden FM radio chip on phones and use apps to listen radio without wifi


How to Change Icons on Android without Rooting

Guide to change app icons on android - Even Without rooting or using a custom launcher app

5 Best Tethering Apps and 3 Ways to Share Mobile Data with a PC

Share your mobile data connection/Internet with PC or Mac on the go!Using your Android smartphone as a hotspot to enable the sharing of mobile...

Top 5 APK Leecher to Download Android APK files to PC or directly on the phone

How to Download apk files directly on PC or Android without play store?There...

How to Screenshot on Samsung Galaxy S Phones

Six different ways to take screenshots on Galaxy S phonesWhy you might...

Most Popular

15 Free Music Download Apps for Android

These music downloader app gets you free music for your phoneCan I download...

Top Free Movie Apps for Android to Watch & Download Movies Legally

Watch movies online and save HD movies offline with these best movie download app

The Best Android Call Recorder Apps to record phone calls

Here is a compelling list of apps that will record phone calls with clarity and flexible.Recording your phone call can be extremely useful if...

Top 15 Free HD Games for Android with high-quality graphics

Give yourself a visual treat by playing HD games on your smartphone or tablet!

The Best Free Poker Apps for Android to play Texas Holdem, Zynga and more

These popular mobile poker apps and games to bring action on a smartphone wherever you are!

The Best Root Apps to install on Rooted Android Phone/Tablet

Boost the capability of your rooted android device unlocking its fullest potential with these top root apps.

How To Factory Reset Samsung Galaxy S4 & Wipe Data

Reset Galaxy S4 phone to factory settings or Wipe cache partition (Hard Reset) to refresh the system performance.

The Best Free Ad blocker for Android: Block ads and Stop pop-ups

Top free ad blocker and popup blocker to get rid of annoying adsYou...

10 Best Free eBook, PDF & ePub reader Apps for Android

Top free reading apps to read ePub and PDF books with the great viewing experience

15 Best Free Wallpaper App for Android to Download HD Backgrounds

Top free wallpaper app to beautify your home screenIn courtesy of Google, we...

More on GetAndroidStuff

How to Transfer Music from iTunes to Android and Organize Tracks

There are a variety of ways to move your iTunes library to android and manage songs without iTunes

12 Best engineering apps for Android and iPhones

The best engineering apps aimed at making engineers smarter!Engineers develop smart things and...

The Best Cookbook App & Recipe App on Android for Free

Spice up your time in the kitchen with these android cooking appsThe notable...

Top Free Ubuntu Launcher and Theme for Android

Make Android look like Ubuntu Phone with these Launcher and ubuntu theme for android

15 Best Free Android Weather Widgets in 2021

A good weather widget to know whether you need an umbrella or sunglasses!Are...

10 Best Torrent App for Android in 2019

These are the best android torrenting app for downloading music torrents, movie torrents & Softwares

The Best Android launcher for Free

These Android Launcher / Home Screen Replacement Apps will style and freshen up your phone.

The Best Survival Games on Android to Get You Hooked

Playing survival games is both absorbing and challenging, but here's a warning… you can soon become addicted!Survival games are among the most popular genres...