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Apps will not transfer from internal to SD card; what's the real reason?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by cmdruser, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. cmdruser

    cmdruser Member
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    Through my phone calls to various companies, I have to ask the thread topic, because no one wants to take ownership of my problem.

    I have a ZTE Majesty (aka ZTE 976C) with Straight Talk as the carrier, running Android 4.1.2. I have had a big problem with apps filling up the internal memory. Most of them have the option to "Move to SD card" grayed out. On my previous phone (HTC Merge through Ntelos, Android 2.3.4), almost all of the apps allow movement.

    ZTE WILL not help, because they are "contractually obligated" to refer all support calls to Straight Talk. I got three different answers from Straight Talk, because their "technical support" person basically looked at the manual that they have online (which has no information about this), and the 2 tier 2 techs gave me different answers, with the last one saying it was Google's fault. I then called Google Play support, and they said it may be the phone or the app that limits being able to move it. I was about to go look for another phone, but then a friend said they were having the same problem on another brand phone through AT&T.

    In doing some searching, several forums on the Internet are saying that it is developers who are now choosing to make the apps not able to move. So how the heck can you expect to get an app if it fills up your internal memory? How do these developers expect to make any money like this?

    Some straight answers would be appreciated. Very very frustrated at the moment.

     

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  2. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member
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    Actually I think everything you've been told is true for some devices/OS versions. The question is what the answer is for your particular device.

    * When the "move to SD" function was added (in 2.1 or 2.2, I can't remember) the developer always had the option to specify whether an app could be moved or not. It is possible that the number of developers supporting that has decreased, in light of subsequent developments - I've no statistics on this, so could not say either way.

    * Google themselves stopped supporting "move to SD" some time early in Android 4, certainly by 4.1.2. So most phones running 4.1 or later won't have this option at all, though some manufacturers added it back themselves.

    There have been further changes to SD usage more recently, but as you are using 4.1.2 I think we can ignore that.

    So, where does that leave us? I infer from your post that there are some apps which you can move, which would imply that ZTE added this function back to the software (I'd check that they actually move to your removable sd card though, rather than to /sdcard which is just part of the internal storage!). Of course you could never move pre-installed apps, so if there are more of these then it will appear that a smaller number of apps are moveable even if nothing else has changed.

    So if you have a move to sd option and it actually works, but relatively few downloaded apps can be moved, it is possible that either fewer developers now support it or that you've just chosen a mix of apps where few do. But given that most phones no longer have this option at all there would be less incentive now for developers to support it now than a few years ago - I don't know whether this really means that fewer do, but I could imagine that being the case.
     
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  3. cmdruser

    cmdruser Member
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    Well...given this information, what is the sense of having the SD card in the first place? It's useless then...am I going to have to search for a phone that has 2-3GB of internal memory so that a few basic apps can be installed?

    It seems like Google is shooting themselves in the foot...
     
    Hari Seldon likes this.
  4. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member
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    Google's attitude to sd cards is gradually changing. For a couple of years they really didn't want to support them at all, but they seem to be realising that isn't what people want.

    However, I think their thinking was that manufacturers would drop SD support and put a decent amount of storage into the phone. I don't think they expected that manufacturers would keep skimping on internal storage and trust to the SD card to make up for this. Of course even if you had no move to SD option you could still use the card for music, videos, pictures etc, so it wasn't actually useless (and I'd prefer to have one even if that was all I could use it for).

    I should perhaps add that the move to SD only ever moved part of the app and none of the app data, so while it did give some breathing space it wasn't a perfect solution - it would prolong the time until you ran out of space, but you'd still run out long before the card filled up. But if your "move to SD" works with some apps then you actually still have the facility, for what good it is.

    The alternative to buying a phone with more storage is to root it and use either a custom ROM or an app like Link2SD to move more stuff to the card. That stuff is device-specific, so it's best to ask in the device forum if you want to find out more.

    When it comes to phone storage, the thing to remember is that specifications only tell you half the story. I googled the Majesty and found that it is supposed to have 4GB storage, but I'll bet that means no more than 2GB available to the user as the OS will use part of it. The key question is always the one you don't find in the spec sheet (but usually can in reviews): how much space is actually available to the user?
     
  5. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member
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    These days the SD card is mostly intended for music, photos, documents, etc. Actually, that's what it always was intended for from the beginning. Originally, Android didn't have a 'move to SD' option, it was added later. As internal storage capacities of devices increased, the move option lost value and Google (correctly, IMHO) eventually removed the option.

    A quick search revealed that your ZTE has 4GB total internal storage. Easy to fill up with the OS, apps, data, caches, etc. Obviously, the real solution is a phone with more internal storage. Moving apps to SD would be a poor and likely temporary fix at best.

    Sorry.
     
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  6. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    The ZTE 976 is really a budget phone, retails for equivalent of $120 here in China. And often it is the amount of internal storage that is skimped on with these things. However most Chinese from what I've seen don't go installing too many apps or huge multi-gigabyte Gameloft games.
     
  7. cmdruser

    cmdruser Member
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    Actually, this phone only has 1 GB internal...and I suspect it is because the carrier is Straight Talk. The microSD card it came with has 4 GB.
     
  8. cmdruser

    cmdruser Member
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    The settings say it has two types of internal storage, however how to use the extra storage is a mystery, and probably not solvable since Straight Talk's "support" is reading from the manual (which is available online to me) and doesn't extend past that...i think their techs are holed up in a secret fortress and they have to msg them everything to get an answer.

    As far as rooting the phone, or updating the OS, good luck. Take a look at the XDA Developers website, there is a 5 page forum post from attempts to root it...after rooting, and a subsequent restart, the root disappears. Updating the OS...not sure how.
     
  9. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member
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    What are the 2 types of internal storage called and what are their sizes? They may be the same thing.

    Generally the internal storage is partitioned into a system area, a system cache partition, and user space. That last is what usually appears as "internal storage", but may also appear as /sdcard or "emulated storage" (can't remember what has changed since 4.1). So it's possible that you are seeing the same space with 2 names.

    This is the distinction Mike and I made about *total* internal space. The spec sheet says 4GB, but that includes system and cache partitions, so the space available to the user is always less. 1GB out of 4GB (which is really 3.7GB in binary units) is a bit mean even so.
     
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  10. cmdruser

    cmdruser Member
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    Information from the Storage section of settings:

    Internal Storage 0.92GB 308MB used (the only app I have installed right now is Facebook, all the other stuff from Google installed (and updated) when I reset the phone)

    SD Card 3.68GB 1.61MB used

    Phone 1.64GB 0MB used
     
  11. panderon88

    panderon88 New Member
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    I too have a ZTE Savvy. Its preloaded with numerous apps I'll never use. Changed to a 16 GB SD card which now me to add 1 additional app for a grand total of 5 apps I can download. This my only complaint about this android but am looking to switch to IPhone. Such a shame because I've really enjoyed this phony as my first "smart" phone
     
  12. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    Bare in mind the ZTE Savvy is really a budget device with only 4GB storage, that retails for something like $100 bucks. There are plenty of Android phones with adequate internal storage like 32GB or more, but they can cost significantly more, as much as iPhones sometimes.
     
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  13. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member
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    Bear in mind also that pre-loaded apps live in a different storage partition, so they are not using space that would otherwise be free for your apps (their data will be, but if you clear data for those apps and disable them the the result is the same as if they weren't there at all).

    As Mike says, there are plenty of Android phones which have plenty of storage and allow expansion too (which no iPhone does), but like an iPhone they cost more than the Savvy.
     
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  14. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    Basically the premise here is that if you buy an Android that costs 1/7th the price of an iPhone, don't compare it to a friggin iPhone. An iPhone has at least 16GB of storage and costs at leas $500 for older models that are still supported. Then you are complaining that a $100 Android phone only has 1-3GB of internal storage and then say you'll shift to an iPhone because of this. How about buying a $500 Android and then comparing it a $500 iPhone?
     
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  15. MiaMiami

    MiaMiami New Member
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    I have the same phone and the same gripe. I just took the SD card out and use it for my camera or other things. Its useless since the phone wont let me store ANYTHING on it. Next time I get a new phone ill look for one with larger internal memory
     
  16. bcrichster

    bcrichster Well-Known Member
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    Lmfao.. I've smoked a $500 iPhone with just a ($40) single core ZTE Warp Sequent!!
     
  17. Lbecker

    Lbecker New Member
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    Here is the real answer. Google is doing it. The reason is they want to make it Impossible to bootleg their content. The problem for people like me with a 4G phone, and a 8G tablet is now the only thing these things are good for is streaming. This limits my devices to only being useful online. Kills the portability. Because of that I've decided to just use it around the house for free stuff.

    Google lies. They are the ones doing this because they don't want they're content being bootlegged. I'm sure this will be very effective. Seeing that I have a 4G phone, and an 8G tablet my devices are now useless away from home. Not enough room to download for offline movies so I don't buy them. Quit buying they're stuff and send them an e mail to let them know why.
     
  18. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    It's not Google's fault that your tablet manufacturer rigged your tablet with obly 8GB of storage. They make the OS, not the tablet. Tablets that Google themselves designed (Nexus line) have at least 16GB. Go buy a tablet with 32GB storage.
     
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  19. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    Actually it's your fault for buying cheapo devices. Probably why that particuar phone and tablet might only be $80 or whatever and not $200+. Google's Nexus range all have at least 16GB, so it's definitely not Google's fault. A smart-phone with only 4GB, honestly it does surprise me they actually still make things like that. But that's what some manufacturers do, nothing to do with Google.
     
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  20. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    Well, a Samsung Tab 4 4G 8GB can cost up to $150 so it's may not be a cheap no name brand. However, it is also mentioned right on the box that it will only have an 8GB memory on board and you'll have to use an expansion SD card.
    For the movies problem, these devices typically support up to 62GB SD cards so I don't see the problem there.
     
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  21. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    I bought a tablet a couple of months ago, has 32GB storage, it wasn't that much, equivalent of about $160.
     
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  22. Howdy Doody

    Howdy Doody New Member
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    I had the same problem, I have had this phone for over a year. I am not fortunate as other members on this form to own a high end phone nor can I just go out and buy one when it does not do what I want. I did reset the phone go to the play store turn off auto updates and then I installed all the software i wanted to move to the sd card freeing up space on my phone. Thne when I was all done I let Satan I mean Google update their crapware and it all runs great! Hope this helped also no sense in wiping the sd card as it does not matter its all Foolgle.
     
  23. Howdy Doody

    Howdy Doody New Member
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    Granted the move to sd option is not an option anymore but oh well it all works good!
     
  24. Brian Cook

    Brian Cook New Member
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    I have the ZTE zmax mobile and the digiland tablet and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 kids tablet and also to Alcatel mobile devices all of them you cannot move apps to the SD card. All of them but the ZTE zmax mobile provides eight gigabyte or less of device storage which is nowhere near enough if you cannot move to the SD card especially the kids tablet a 4 year old wants to download every game that pops up and then when she can't the tears start flowing. Does ZTE zmax has 16 gigabytes of device storage so for me who downloads a real lot of apps. With 16 gigabytes it has not yet been an issue and I have had the phone for 6 months therefore I believe that all devices should start at 16 gigabytes device storage and that would make it less of a problem. My ZTE zmax was only $120 US
     
  25. weberman12

    weberman12 Member
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    Android has completely reversed course with the release of Version 6 Marshmallow. I have a Moto X Pure 16 GB internal. I added a 64 GB external SD card and after the phone formatted, I got the question as to whether I wanted it to be internal or external. I chose internal and now have 56 GB free memory.
     
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  26. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member
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    Ach, search engine gave me the specs of a slightly older device. That one is still very limited in storage, and indeed being newer it's even worse that they included so little.

    Rooting is hacking the phone to gain administrator access (to use Windows terminology: root is the Linux admin account). Do be aware that many manufacturers/carriers will consider the warranty void if you modify the system software.

    If you are avoiding the Play Store, I will say to be a little careful which alternatives you use. There are legitimate and relatively safe ones, e.g. Amazon (if you want to go through a different big tax-dodging corporate) or F-Droid (if you prefer open source), but there are also download sites that are very careless about what they include and are a malware hazard.

    I've actually met plenty of other non-Google apps that won't transfer to SD, and plenty of others that store their data internally (which means it cannot be saved to SD). But since Google don't care about SD (no Nexus devices have one) it's perhaps not so surprising that their apps aren't good at supporting it. Annoyingly one of my most-used (and non-Google) apps on my tablet, which I use for annotating PDFs, does not allow me to change where it stores documents it is working on - I can of course export pdf copies to anywhere else, but unless I delete them they still keep eating my storage. Mind you, I was thankful of that when the SD card in my tablet died suddenly, because it meant I didn't lose any of my work; this is the downside of SD, they are less reliable than flash chips soldered to the motherboard, which is one reason that I don't intend to use the "adoptable storage" feature of Marshmallow myself.

    Good luck :)
     

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