How to move apps to sd card on an unrooted device: A noobs guide. **Updated 09/02/11**Tips

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  1. williamj1

    williamj1 Well-Known Member

    mod note: this guide has been superceded by [Guide] Move more (most) apps to SD without root (Simplified)

    My Noob's Guide to this Process. (The phone doesn't need to be rooted)

    *Updated: Widget Info / Guide / Fix *

    *Updated 2: Added some more info for windows 7 users and for new SDK*


    • This requires Froyo 2.2
    • It doesn't void your warranty
    • It doesn't delete existing apps
    • It's perfectly safe
    • It doesn't require rooting.

    I realise there are a few threads about this, but I thought I would make a new one for my easier guide, and hopefully people will find it more easily as they won't have to scroll through pages of other threads to find an answer.
    I am now successfully running most apps from my SD Card now. I just thought I would make an easier guide as the others are fairly complex for noobs like me. So here is my guide - hope it helps :)

    1. Download the SDK from here- Android SDK | Android Developers
    2. Extract using something like WinRar
    3. Copy the second folder into the sdk named "android-sdk-windows" to the desktop.
    4. Open the folder on the desktop and open the file, SDK Manager.exe (as no such file as setup.exe exists in the new version of the SDk)
    5. Close the command / windows command prompt window that opens
    6. Untick all options you are promted to download except ones like the manuals, and Essentially, ensure the USB driver option is selected / ticked.
    7. Let these files download
    8. Ensure on your phone, USB Debugging is on - Go to Settings/Applications/Development/USB Debugging and ensure its ticked / on.
    9. Download and install HTC Sync from HTC's website for your device.
    10. Connect your phone by USB and select the HTC sync option when it pops up with charge only, disk mode etc.
    11. Allow the sync to complete.
    12. Open windows command promt. Start / Run
    13. Type in (without quotations) "cmd"
    14. The following should appear. (with your user account instead of William - note its "users" in windows 7, not documents and settings [​IMG]
    15. Type in the following after the ">" at each step (without quotations,and including spaces and capital letters)

    "cd desktop\android-sdk-windows\tools" (might be "cd desktop\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools" in windows 7)
    "adb devices"
    "adb shell"
    A $ sign should pop up
    "pm setInstallLocation 2"
    Another $ should pop up

    And your done. Close everything, disconnect phone, turn off phone and then turn it back on again.

    16. Now the phone will be set to install all apps you install onto the SD card. However, current apps on phone will mostly still be stored on the internal memory. This process doesn't move these apps for you, it adds the ability. So you must now manually move those already installed on the phone.

    To do this, go to settings / applications / manage applications
    Then you just click on an app, and the move to SD card box should no longer be Grey. So you must now move all the apps you want onto the SD Card.


    Note: I would not advise moving apps like widgets, or anything system related. Furthermore, for example, I have the 3g watchdog app constantly running, so it is advisable to keep apps like that on the internal memory.
    See below for more information on widgets...

    If you get an invalid path message, it suggests it cannot find the required folder you are asking it to. My method only works if you have saved it to the desktop. If you have saved it elsewhere it won't work. You would have to redirect the desktop part of the code ("cd desktop\android-sdk-windows\tools") to somewhere else.

    For example if you saved it in my docs instead, it would be - "cd My Documents\android-sdk-windows\tools". That's why I used the desktop, it's far easier to code the cmd to find the file.

    Finally, part of the problem is that when you extract the core sdk rar file, it is extracted to a folder wherever it was saved originally titled android-sdk-windows, but in that is another folder called android-sdk-windows, and then only once you open that second folder do you gain access to the tools, usb driver folders and so on. Therefore, you must either, remove the first folder so you are left with just a folder named android-sdk-windows which inside contains tools... or you must recode my above to say "cd Desktop\android-sdk-windows\android-sdk-windows\tools".

    Likewise, beware as I can't remember for certain, but I think the sdk in its core form is called android-sdk_r07-windows or something (08/09 too), so rename this to android-sdk-windows.

    One final note. Fairly irrelevant to this process but since this is being viewed a lot I'll say it anyway. Don't ever use a task killer. Wrecks the phone! Happened to me, happened to thousands. Ask below for more info.....


    Widget Fix / Guide

    Just to clarify about widgets for anyone unclear. There seems to be a bit of confusion here. This may have been said earlier I don't know, but again hopefully this is simpler. Ill add this to the first post too.

    With this process, you can still use widgets, but not if they are on the SD Card (which they automatically will be assuming you got my original guide process to work.) Ive tested this, and it works every time for me. I know some widgets are weird but I think it will work. So to get a working widget....

    Note: Some irritating widgets may require you to uninstall the app before you proceed to step 1.

    1. Download and install the widget from the android market
    2. Go to Settings/Applications/Manage applications/Downloaded (or All) and find/select your widget.
    3. Select move to phone.
    4. Turn off the phone
    5. Turn on the phone
    6. Voila. Widget should now work.

    Good luck. Any questions just ask. Ill check back regularly too. Hopefully, this guide is a little simpler for noobs :)


  2. SHiFT3R

    SHiFT3R Well-Known Member

    After this procedure ALL (not really) of your NEW apps will be installed to your SD card. So all of your already installed apps will still have to be moved manually.

    ALL= this is not accurate. Some apps will go to your phone's memory and you can do nothing for this.

    After that widgets will also be install on SD. If you move them to phone memory they probably wont work. So advice for not installing widgets on SD is... how can I say it... unnecessary.

    Organized guide. But you can find this info on Tip and Tricks section of the forum. It is from another blog I think. Well done though!
  3. williamj1

    williamj1 Well-Known Member

    Ok thanks, but its not from another blog. Obviously I didn't come up with the method, but I haven't just copied and pasted the method under my name. I typed it all up, in my own words and if you compare it to the "other blogs" you will see that mine includes substantially more detail, pictures and basic information which many take for granted. As I say, the other guides are a bit more complicated and difficult to follow than they need to be. I made this guide, using information already available, and put it into simpler "noob" language.
    muziqlvr, haj1960 and GSMGuy like this.
  4. ASD007

    ASD007 New Member

    I followed the guide 'literally', all went went well until the last $ sign that appears at the end, but when I installed a new app from the market, it still installed to the phone memory and I couldn't move it to the sd card using Manage Applications, am I missing something here! I'm on froyo-HTC Desire.
  5. Rastaman-FB

    Rastaman-FB Well-Known Member

    nice, i did this last week using the guide from xda devs
  6. Yathushan

    Yathushan Well-Known Member

    Very nice. Thanks for the info williamj1.
  7. Ghibli

    Ghibli Well-Known Member

    Excellent, thanks for the clear explanation.

    Really needed this for my Need For Speed...
  8. williamj1

    williamj1 Well-Known Member

    When you say all went well "until the last $ sign", did both dollar signs come up? Two should show up in total.

    Also, what was the app. Although it works for 99.9% of all apps, there are a very minor few which explicitly state they must be on the internal memory, like ones which deal with the very internal aspects of the phone.
  9. Rastaman-FB

    Rastaman-FB Well-Known Member

    they can still be moved, it just breaks the phone
  10. pauliep

    pauliep Member

    WILLIAMJ1 .. i love you man .. haha .. many thanks for this NOOBS guide , im so much of a noob im not even sure wot the hell noob means , haha but im guessing im probably one of em , worked first time for me no problems at all , ive seen a couple of these posts describing the same kinda of method but i finally got the bottle to try your one last night and like i said i had no problems at all , so thanks again mate ...
    just 1 quick question though please if you dont mind ... you know when i had to tick the usb debugging box thingy ... do i have to untick it now or leave as it is ???? i do most of my installing of apps and everything else in disk drive mode when i drag and drop onto sd card via usb cable ... i hope you understand the question .. haha and if you could tell me what NOOB stands for would appreciate that aswell .. haha .. thanks again ...
  11. magneticflip

    magneticflip Member

    Do you have to be on 2.2 for this? Is there any way to undo it as well?
  12. Wizo

    Wizo Member


    "pm setInstallLocation 0" ...default

    mardum, Eris Ed and afek like this.
  13. williamj1

    williamj1 Well-Known Member

    Lol, thanks :)

    And yes I understand your question I think. You can disable / untick the usb debugging box if you wish. It really makes no difference. Now the process is complete, it won't make any difference now. You can leave it as it is for future use or disable it. It won't move all your apps back. In fact, unticking it now won't do anything at all, nor will leaving it ticked so go ahead.

    The only thing is, if you ever want to set it to save all apps by default to the internal memory again, i.e. remove the process then you will just need to tick usb debugging and then do it again setting pm install location to 2. So yes, you can untick it if you wish :)

    And, as far as I know, noob doesn't stand for anything. But the word noob just means the opposite of a pro or expert. I am a noob with android stuff as I switched from apple os crap so I really know very little about android. It was a noobs guide because it was simple, for people who didn't have a clue what they were doing.

    Like, I was a total noob at using the other guides as they said "open cmd run promt" and I was like whoa slow down wtf? :p So I made this "noob" guide, for people like me who aren't experts with this techy stuff.
  14. pauliep

    pauliep Member

    ok , thanks again mate , much appreciated :)
  15. hanimal

    hanimal Member

    I'm trying to follow this guide.

    But i'm having 1 problem.. my phone wont detect htc sync.. i'm in debugging mode, i've tried updating the htc sync... restarting the phone.. restarting laptop..

    I've got the drivers installed.. will i mess up my phone if i continue with out syncing the phone ?
  16. Nessiehunters

    Nessiehunters Member

    I had the same problem with the htc sync, but I left it for a little while (5-7mins) and it eventually connected.
  17. medic-one

    medic-one Well-Known Member

    Can u just confirm something for me please, im with tmobile and only just yesterday we got the froyo update and im a bit dissapointed that a lot of the silly apps and games i downloaded aren't movable to the sd card, but witth the abovee procedure i can move them correct?

    And is there a list of apps/programs that really shouldn't be moved out there?
  18. DragosP

    DragosP Active Member

    No! The above procedure is for the apps that will install AFTER.
    There isn't a list, but all applications that were written for Froyo are ok.
  19. medic-one

    medic-one Well-Known Member

    Ok thanks, i've only had the phone for a week so only have a handfull of apps. So if i delete them and then install them again after this i can move them right?
  20. williamj1

    williamj1 Well-Known Member

    Nope it can't do any harm. As long as the drivers are installed then the HTC sync isn't really necessary. All it does is ensures people have the drivers, but if you have then its irrelevant to have htc sync. Try the next step anyway...
  21. xsenzeix

    xsenzeix Member

    What happens if the apps want to update? Won't that screw with the phone.
  22. jred7469

    jred7469 Well-Known Member

    Just done this myself with no problems - fab guide
  23. williamj1

    williamj1 Well-Known Member

    If the app wants to update, you go onto the market and update the same as before. Why would it cause problems? All this does is move the app to the sd card. It's really a very simple, safe process and it won't screw with the phone.
  24. denialnw10

    denialnw10 Well-Known Member

    Is there a guide like this for linux users?
  25. williamj1

    williamj1 Well-Known Member

    As I may have made clear already... I am a total noob! But ill ask anyway :p

    You can run linux on an HTC Desire? :O

    PS: Why in hell would you want to?
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