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Move applications to SD card is very limited

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Wanda Manrara, Dec 8, 2020.

  1. Wanda Manrara

    Wanda Manrara Lurker
    Thread Starter

    My phone internal storage is full. I have only available 796MB or 16GB. For that reason I purchased for a while ago an external SD card with 62GB. But I can't move whatever I want, only very few applications. So far only three which take together 8.7GB. So I have whole 59.6GB free on the SD card. I would like to move more things there. I understand some applications belonging to the phone system are not allowed to be moved but I have a lot of others, for instance FaceBook and Whatsupp which take a lot of space. What to do to move these two applications to the SD card?

  2. Best Answer:
    Post #2 by Hadron, Dec 8, 2020 (2 points)

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  3. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Let me just say, for the record, that no reputable manufacturer should still have been releasing 16GB phones in 2018. Least of all Samsung, whose ROMs are the largest in the business and so leave least space for the user. I know it helps hit a budget, but it causes problems like this for anyone who buys them unless they are an extremely light user.

    OK, with that out of the way, there are 3 ways of moving apps to SD, but at most two of them are available on unrooted devices, sometimes just one, occasionally none. I'll describe them in the order in which I think they are most likely to be available to you. Since this has ended up longer than I intended I've highlighted the paragraph that I think is most likely to help you in red.

    1) The old "android 2 style" version, where you go into Settings > Apps (or "App Manager" on a Samsung), select an app and look for a "move to SD" button. This moves part of the app (not all of it) and does not move private app data. It sounds like this is what you have now.

    It was always up to the developer whether they allowed their apps to be moved this way, and not all do. That's why you cannot move some user-installed apps. In fact this option was officially deprecated in Android 4.something, and while most manufacturers added it back to many of their devices not all did, which doubtless contributes to fewer apps supporting it than used to be the case. (Samsung, ironically, didn't seem to realise this had been deprecated when they released the Galaxy S4, and spent weeks very loudly telling customers who complained about storage to move apps to SD, completely ignoring the customers who told them that the phone didn't have that option. In a move sadly typical of many corporations it was only when the mainstream press started reporting this, i.e. sales were threatened, that Samsung accepted that the option didn't exist and did something about it...).

    You may be able to increase the number of apps you can move by turning on USB debugging, installing ADB on a computer, connecting the phone to the computer via USB and using the command "adb shell pm set-install-location 2". That changes the default install location to SD, and as I recall may enable moving for some apps whose developers did not enable it.

    Please note: if you use a widget from an app, do not move the app to SD this way. It will look fine until you next reboot the phone, then the widget will not load.

    Also note that this may not help as much as you'd like because it won't generally move app data, which for some apps are larger than the app itself.

    2) Format the SD card as internal storage. This erases all data on the card, changes the filesystem to the one used by android internally, and encrypts the card. After that the card can be used as if it were part of the internal storage, so can store entire apps and their data. It can however no longer be used in other devices. It may slow the device down (fast cards are recommended), and it may reduce the lifetime of the card (card wear is increased if app data are on the card, i.e. things that are frequently written to).

    Officially introduced in Android 6, but not all manufacturers added it to all of their devices. I know that most Samsungs, especially flagships, do not support this (internal storage is faster and more reliable, and my theory is that they don't want people formatting microSD cards as internal storage, particularly cheap ones, and then complaining on social media that the phone is crap when it is their card usage slowing it down). I don't know whether low-end Samsungs do though.

    If you don't have this option there is nothing you can do to enable it, it's simply not part of the phone's software.

    3) Rooting the phone, adding a second ext3 or ext4 partition to the SD card, and using that as additional space for apps (via an app like Link2SD is probably the simplest way). Root is required for this, so if you can't root your phone of don't want to (because some apps won't work with rooted phones) then forget this one.

    This is actually the oldest solution of all, as it's what people did back before official ways of moving apps to SD existed.
    ocnbrze and MrJavi like this.
  4. Wanda Manrara

    Wanda Manrara Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thanks Hadron for taking your time to respond. In fact, the phone was a budgetary one, I use it mainly for calls. It was a pity to have invested in a 64GB SD card unneccessary.
    I'll see your suggestions what I can do
    Thanks again
    ocnbrze and MrJavi like this.
  5. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    An often overlooked way to save space on a budget device is to use your browser to access social media sites instead of using the apps for those sites.

    Facebook, for example, can grow to be quite large.
    On your browser, it could be mearly another bookmark.

    The browser is already there, why not use it?

    Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and whatever else social media site you can think of are all easilly accessed with a browser that takes up a fraction of the space.

    Youtube is another one.

    All of the individual apps can be uninstalled, and just use your browser- have a bookmark for each site that you wish.

    Also, any videos and pictures that you have on the device, along with music and documents should be stored onto the SD card.

    Basically, the card is there for you to store personal media on, and the device memory is there for apps that read this media and also allow for internet access.

Galaxy J7 Duo Forum

The Galaxy J7 Duo release date was April 2018. Features and Specs include a 5.5" inch screen, 13MP camera, 4GB RAM, Exynos 7885 processor, and 3000mAh battery.

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