How to move apps to SD to free up space on Android

If we have little internal storage space on our Android device, optimizing it becomes essential. First we can install an application such as Files by Google , a tool that can be great for deleting temporary files and doing some cleaning.

Unfortunately, we will still take up a large amount of space with all the apps that we have installed on the device. Solution? Move those applications to the SD card of the terminal .

How are we going to move those apps?

Basically we have 3 methods to transfer applications from the internal memory to the device’s micro SD memory :

  • From the Android settings menu.
  • Configuring the SD card as internal memory.
  • Using an application like Link2SD to move any application (requires root).

Moving apps to the SD from the Android settings menu

The easiest way to transfer apps to external memory is by using the tools offered by the Android application manager itself. It does not require administrator permissions and can be done with a couple of clicks.

Unfortunately, this is a feature that is only available on some phones and tablets (typically those with 16GB or 32GB of space). In addition, not all apps are compatible with this type of movement, so its level of usability can be quite limited in certain situations.

In any case, to move an app to the phone’s micro SD, we must follow these steps:

  • We enter « Settings -> Applications«.
  • We click on the app that we want to move and select « Storage«.
  • If the system allows to move the application to the SD, a button will appear to « Change» the storage unit. We click on it.
  • We select the SD card as the new storage unit for the app and click the “Move” button that will appear on the screen.

From here, a new window will be loaded where we can complete the process of transferring the application to external memory. The good news is that if at some point we want to go backwards we can always reverse the process by repeating these same steps but changing the location of the app to the memory of the device.

Configure an SD memory to use it as internal memory and be able to install apps

If our phone does not support this method to move applications and we do not have root permissions, we can still use a pass. The idea is quite basic, and it consists of configuring the micro SD memory so that it works as part of the internal memory of the device.

In this way we can save applications in the external SD memory without having to worry about space, since all the storage (internal memory + card) will be managed together as a single unit. However, there is also a very notable disadvantage and that is that the microSD card will only work with this Android device . This is so because the card is automatically encrypted when it is configured as part of the internal memory, and therefore it can only be read from the same terminal.

Follow these steps to configure the SD card as internal memory:

  • Let’s go to « Settings-> Storage «
  • We move to « Portable storage«, we select the SD card, and from the top drop-down menu we select “ Storage settings ”.
  • In this new window, click on «Format as internal -> Delete and format».

It is important to clarify that if we do this, the microSD card will be formatted and all previously stored files will be erased . Remember also that now the card will be encrypted and if you want to use it with other devices such as a PC or another mobile phone then you will have to reformat the card.

Formatting an SD card as internal on Samsung Galaxy (and other brands)

Some mobiles such as the Samsung Galaxy simply do not allow you to format a card as internal . In these terminals we can format the SD but it will continue to function as an external memory. In practice this means that it will not be encrypted and therefore we can use it with other phones, PCs and devices.

  • Open the settings of your Samsung Galaxy and enter “Maintenance and battery”.
  • Click on «Storage».
  • In the storage settings, click on the drop-down menu that you will see in the upper right area of ​​the screen and select “Advanced”.
  • Then select “SD Card”.
  • Finally, click on “Format”.
  • The memory card will then begin to format. This is a process that takes seconds, but it can take longer depending on the amount of information we have stored in the microSD.

How to transfer applications to the SD card using a management tool

At this point, if none of the 2 alternatives shown interest us, we can also use an advanced tool to carry out the management. The application is called Link2SD and it is  a free application , with a paid pro version that adds some extra features. If all we want is to move the app, with the free version we will probably have more than enough.



Developer: Bülent Akpinar

Price: Free

Previous requirements

One of the requirements to be able to use Link2SD (or any other app that does the same functions) is to have root permissions .

How to move apps to the terminal’s SD memory

Once we have installed and launched Link2SD we will see a list of all the applications installed in the internal memory of our Android phone or tablet. Before we start moving apps like crazy, we have to be very clear about which applications we can move and which ones we cannot .

Here everyone is free to do what they see fit, but if you don’t want to find yourself with a pretentious paperweight the next time you restart the phone, I would recommend not moving any of the system applications.

Many of these applications are critical for the proper functioning of the system, and we can differentiate them from the rest thanks to their location in the internal memory of the device .

Location of system and user apps on Android

Almost all Android apps are installed by default in the following internal routes of the terminal:

/ system / app / (System apps , here we can find applications such as the call interface or SIM services)

/ system / priv-app / (System apps , here we can find applications such as the interface that allows us to see the information of the contacts or the messaging service itself)

/ data / app / ( Apps installed by user )

With this in mind, we will only move those apps whose installation path is located in / data / app /.

Let’s get to the point! Moving apps to SD

Now that we have everything very clear, we will only have to select the app that we want to move and click on it. We will be shown a new screen in which we will see how much space the application occupies in total , and then a breakdown of the weight of the application files, the data and the cache .

We click on ” Move to SD ” and accept the confirmation message.

Once the process is finished, a message will appear indicating that the app has been successfully moved to the SD card of our terminal.

Create links to move the rest of the data

Once the transfer is done correctly we will see that there are some files that have not been moved to the SD. This is because we can only move the application’s .Apk and .Lib files from the start.

In order to move the remaining files, .dex, data and cache it is necessary to create a link.

To do this we will need to create a second partition on the SD card in Unix format (ie ext2, ext3, ext4 or f2fs ).

If we create this second partition we will only have to click on ” Create Link ” to move the rest of the remaining files.

Other Link2SD features

In addition to the aforementioned, Link2SD offers the possibility of recreating mounting scripts, cleaning the dalvik-cache, cleaning the second partition of the SD or cleaning the cache of all the apps simultaneously , among other functionalities.

In addition to this, there are other applications on Google Play capable of moving apps to the SD but today I believe that this is the one that works best and provides greater functionalities .

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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