Why Can’t You Move an App to SD Card on Android?

To create additional space on your phone’s internal memory, a practical approach is to shift apps to the SD card. The process involves navigating to Settings > Applications, choosing the app, and selecting the “Move to SD card” option. Yet, you may notice that for certain apps, this option appears greyed out. What leads to this situation?

Reason 1: Developer Choice

Developers must use the “android:installLocation” parameter in the manifest section of an Android app to explicitly enable the option for moving their software to the SD card; otherwise, the “Move to SD card” option becomes inactive. Many developers choose not to activate this button for various reasons. When the SD card is connected, Android apps are unable to run.

To put it differently, if an app serves a critical function, such as setting an alarm for a dentist visit, it’s advisable not to keep your phone connected to your PC constantly. In such instances, developers may opt to deactivate the “Move to SD card” feature to prevent users from encountering issues and subsequently complaining that the software doesn’t function as expected

Reason 2: Widget Support

Programs stored on the SD card may face restrictions if they lack widget support. In certain versions of Android, when a device is mounted and an app is stored on the SD card, the widgets associated with that app may become unavailable for selection. To make the widgets from the app reappear, the device must be rebooted.

Reason 3: Syncing, Service, or Account Interface

The functionality of an app that performs background synchronization, operates as a service, or utilizes an account can be restricted by an installed SD card. To prevent this, the option to transfer to the SD card has been disabled.

Reason 4: Problems with the Device

If your device lacks the capability to transfer apps to external storage, moving them to the SD card may not be feasible.

Numerous smartphone users are currently grappling with this problem, especially with the absence of support for moving apps to memory cards in recently released phones. The Realme brand serves as an example in this regard. The only way to move apps to an external storage device is by formatting your SD card to function as internal storage on your phone.

Reason 5: Moving the Wrong Apps

It’s common knowledge that even small apps and games can be transferred to an external storage device or “memory card.” However, is it feasible to relocate the camera app to internal memory? Can the Play Store be moved to the SD card?

Certain pre-installed apps require internal storage rather than an SD card on all devices. Companies do not permit the transfer of their default apps to

external storage devices because they may not function optimally on SD cards.

How to move an app from SD card to Android?

Is your device running low on memory? This guide will walk you through the process of migrating apps to your SD card, helping you free up space and maximize your storage capacity.

The availability of cloud services, streaming options, and the increased internal capacity of larger smartphones has simplified storage space management. If you find yourself running out of space, you may need to remove apps to make room for additional files and applications.

For those using low-cost devices, storage capacity might be a limiting factor. If you’re a fan of gaming, these apps can consume a significant amount of space. The good news is, if your device supports expandable storage, you have the option to move apps to an SD card. Additionally, you can use your microSD card as internal memory, allowing you to transfer apps and other data from your phone. This guide will walk you through the process of achieving both.

Method 1: The Quick Fix

  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Navigate to Apps.
  • Navigate to the app you wish to save to the SD card.
  • Choose Storage.
  • If the programme supports the feature, you will see a Storage utilised option. Tap the Alter button right under to change the location of the app.
  • Choose the SD card.
  • Tap the Move button.
  • The files will be transferred through the phone.
  • This process is reversible, so if you decide you want the programme back on your internal storage, simply repeat the process.

Please keep in mind that these instructions were created on a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus running Android 11. Keep in mind that the instructions may alter somewhat based on your device and Android version.

Method 2: Using SD Card as an Internal Storage Device

If your applications or manufacturer do not support the previous method, there’s an alternative way to transfer Android apps to a microSD card. This might be a more convenient option for you than using public transportation. Android allows you to utilize your SD card’s internal storage as external storage, eliminating the need to worry about where to store your programs or files. Your SD card and internal storage will merge into a single unit.

However, there are several drawbacks to using your microSD card as internal storage. When you use an SD card as internal storage in a phone, you can only use that storage device with that specific phone, unless you format it again. The phone requires the microSD card to function, and removing it will trigger a factory reset.

Additionally, concerns about the performance of your phone and SD card may arise, as SD cards can be slower. To ensure optimal Android performance, it’s recommended to choose a memory card with the highest speed possible. Lastly, not all phones support this feature, even if they have expandable storage.

Here is how you can do it:

As an illustration, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Insert the microSD card into the phone.
  2. If your device supports this feature, you’ll receive a notification prompting you to choose how to proceed.
  3. Select the option for external storage. The microSD card will be formatted and encrypted.

How to adopt SD card from the settings:

Insert the microSD card into your Android device. Open the Settings app. Navigate to Storage. Tap on the inserted SD card. Access Storage settings by pressing the menu button. Choose Internal as the Format option. Proceed to erase and format the drive. Click OK. Transfer your data, or choose to do so at a later time.

Method 3: Using Link2SD

If your phone doesn’t allow the movement of apps to the SD card or if you want to relocate an app that doesn’t inherently support it, third-party apps like Apps2SD and FolderMount can assist. Both of these options require a rooted Android device.

Another alternative is Link2SD, which caters to both rooted and non-rooted devices. It enables the “force-move” of apps that typically don’t support relocation and allows you to shift data folders for larger apps and games to external storage by moving multiple apps to your SD card in bulk.

For rooted phones, follow these steps:

  1. Open the app and grant root access.
  2. Choose the app you want to move and select an option:
    • Link to SD Card: Requires root access, transferring the complete app and its data to the SD card.
    • Move to SD Card: Available without root if your phone permits moving apps to external storage. With root, you can also force-move apps that don’t natively support it.
    • Link to SD Card (Data and Cache): Requires root privileges and moves data files.
  3. Tap the menu button in the upper right corner and select Multi-select to move several apps simultaneously. Now, choose all the apps you want to relocate, then press the menu button again and opt for either Link to SD card or Move to SD card, depending on your preference.

Link2SD is available for free with an upgrade option for purchase. It is compatible with Android versions 2.3 and higher.

How to move apps from device storage to SD Card on the following OS versions:

1.   Android 8, 9 and Above

If your phone lacks support for adoptable storage, you can still manually move apps to an SD card on Android 9 and later. However, it’s important to note that this is not possible for all apps, and pre-installed apps cannot be moved. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > App info.
  2. Find the app you want to move in the list and tap on it.
  3. Choose Storage. If the app is eligible for relocation to the SD card, you’ll see a Change button. Select it.
  4. In the Change storage dialog box, choose the SD Card. This will show a confirmation screen. Initiate the move by using the Move button.
  5. To revert the app to internal storage, repeat the above steps, but this time select Internal shared storage in the final step. This is crucial when changing or removing a memory card.

Keep in mind that not all apps support manual relocation, and system apps or pre-installed apps generally cannot be moved.

2.   Android 7 Nougat

On Android 7 Nougat, you can individually move apps to a memory card via the Settings. However, note that you cannot move all apps simultaneously. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Find and tap on the app you want to move to your microSD card.
  3. Navigate to Storage > Change, and select your card from the prompt box that appears.
  4. To complete the process, tap Move.

Keep in mind that the duration of the move may vary depending on the app’s size, especially for larger games. It’s advisable not to interact with your phone until the process is complete.

3.   Android 6 Marshmallow

Transferring apps to a microSD card in Marshmallow follows the same steps as in Nougat:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Apps, then tap on the desired app.
  2. Tap Storage > Change, and when prompted, select the microSD card.
  3. To complete the process, use the Move button.

4.   Android 5 Lollipop

Lollipop provides limited support for memory cards compared to later Android versions, but you can still move apps from within Settings. Keep in mind that not all apps support this option, and only a portion of the app is moved to the card.

To move apps, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps and tap the app you want to move to your SD card.
  2. Under the Storage section, tap Move to SD Card. The button will be grayed out while the app is moving, so wait until it’s done.
  3. If there’s no Move to SD Card option, the app cannot be moved.
  4. Once completed, the Storage section will update to show how much of the app is stored on the card. The Move button will now read Move to Phone or Move to Device Storage, allowing you to remove the app from the card.

5.   Android 4.x and Earlier

MicroSD card support was severely limited in all Android 4.x versions, including KitKat, Jelly Bean, and Ice Cream Sandwich. Stock Android did not offer the option to move apps to an external card as Google seemed to be moving away from supporting cards. However, some manufacturers chose to include this capability in their customized versions of the operating system. If your older device supports it, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Apps.
  2. Find and tap the app you want to move to the card.
  3. Choose Move to SD card. If this button isn’t available, it means you can’t move the app, or your phone doesn’t allow it.

For those still using an Android 2.x device, here are the steps you’ll need to follow. Keep in mind that home screen widgets are not supported in these older versions; if you want to use a widget, you must keep an app on internal storage.

If your phone lacks this option, you may need to explore third-party apps.

How to Force Move Apps to SD Card on Android?

Here is a revised version of the provided text:

  1. Open your phone’s File Manager.
  2. Choose between internal storage and the SD card. Navigate to your phone’s internal storage.
  3. Select the “Apps” folder.
  4. A list of all installed apps on your phone will appear.
  5. Click on the app you want to move to the SD card. The app’s information page will be displayed.
  6. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of your screen to open a menu.
  7. From the menu, select the “Change” option.
  8. In the change storage dialogue box, choose the SD card.
  9. A confirmation pop-up will appear after selecting the SD card. Click the “Move” button to start moving the selected app to the SD card.
  10. Wait for a few moments until the app is completely transferred to the SD card.

Note: The steps mentioned above might vary depending on the phone brand, but the general process remains similar for most brands. After completing these steps, the chosen app will be moved to the SD card, no longer occupying space on your phone’s internal storage. Repeat the process for other apps as needed.

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