How to Move Apps to An SD Card on the Different Versions of Android

If your Android phone comes with a small amount of internal storage and you keep receiving warnings that you do not have enough space, then you might need to move some things to a memory card. Here’s how to move apps to a microSD card and free up more space.

How To Move Apps To An SD Card

What Is an SD Card?

SD cards are small plastic cards for storing data. There are three different sizes of SD cards.

  • SD card: The original SD card format, which measures 24 x 32 mm in size. This is more commonly used in desktop computers and laptops.
  • MiniSD card: The miniSD card is smaller than the regular SD card, measuring 21 x 30 mm. This format is common in older smartphone and tablet models, but it was eventually replaced by the even smaller microSD card.
  • MicroSD card: The type of SD card usually used in modern smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and video game consoles such as the Nintendo Switch. MicroSD cards measure 15 x 11 mm in size.

All SD cards are available in a variety of storage sizes, and their prices will vary depending on the size, the brand, and the individual store selling them.

Most miniSD and microSD cards are sold with an adapter that allows them to be used on devices that require standard SD card sizes.

Using An SD Card On Android

Memory cards are slower than the internal storage, so you may notice slightly worse performance for more resource-intensive apps. When picking a card, go for the fastest and largest one your phone can support—check your phone’s specifications to see what cards it’s compatible with. (Be sure you know how to spot a fake microSD card to avoid getting scammed.)

It isn’t possible to move preinstalled apps without rooting, and even some third-party apps may not support it. Also, on older versions of Android, you might not be able to use widgets associated with apps you’ve moved to your memory card.

How To Move Apps To An SD Card On Android 9.0 Pie

If your phone doesn’t support adoptable storage, it’s quick and easy to transfer apps to an SD card on Android Pie manually. Just remember that you can’t do it for every app, and not at all for the pre-installed apps.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps & notifications > App info.
  2. Find the app you want to move in the list and tap it.
  3. Select Storage. If the app supports being moved to a card, you’ll see a button here labeled Change. Tap this.
  4. Select the SD Card in the Change storage dialog box. This brings up a confirmation screen. Tap Move to begin.

To move the app back to internal storage, repeat the steps above but select Internal shared storage in the final step. You should always do this when you want to change or remove your memory card.

How To Move Apps To An SD Card On Android 8.0 Oreo

The process for moving an app to the SD card on Android 8 is basically the same as for Android 9:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps & notifications > App info.
  2. Scroll down to find the app you want to move to the card and tap on it.
  3. Select Storage. If the app supports being moved to a card, you’ll see a section labeled Storage used. Hit the button marked Change.
  4. Select the card you want to move the app to, followed by Move.

How To Move Apps To An SD Card On Android 7.0 Nougat

You can move apps to a memory card on Android 7.0 Nougat through Settings. However, you can’t move all apps, and where they don’t support it, you won’t see the Change button in Step 3.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Locate the app you want to move to your microSD Card and tap on it.
  3. Go to Storage > Change and choose your card from the prompt box that opens.
  4. Tap Move to complete the process.

Depending on the size of the app, it may take a few moments to complete (especially in the case of large games), so don’t touch your phone until it’s done. To move the app back, repeat the steps and choose Internal shared storage in Step 3.

How To Move Apps To An SD Card On Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Moving apps to a microSD card is the same on Marshmallow as it is on Nougat.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps then tap on your chosen app.
  2. Tap Storage > Change then choose the card when prompted.
  3. Hit Move to complete the process.

How To Move Apps To An SD Card On Android 5.0 Lollipop

Lollipop has less robust support for memory cards than later versions of Android, but you can still move apps from within Settings.

You’re limited in which apps you can place in your external storage; it depends on the developer supporting the option. Also, the entire app doesn’t move across to the card either—only part of it does.

You can see which apps you’ve got on your card by swiping to the right hand tab in the App screen, labeled On SD Card. This makes it easy to identify any that you may wish to move back in the future.

To move apps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps and tap the app you want to move to your SD card.
  2. Next, under the Storage section, tap Move to SD Card. The button will be grayed out while the app moves, so don’t interfere until it’s done.
  3. If there’s no Move to SD Card option, the app cannot be moved.

Once it’s done, the Storage section will update to show how much of the app is now stored on the card (and how much is still in internal storage). The Move button will now read Move to Phone or Move to Device Storage. Tapping on this enables you to remove the app from the card.

How To Move Apps To An SD Card On Android 4.X And Earlier

Support for microSD cards was extremely limited in all Android 4.x versions (including KitKat, Jelly Bean, and Ice Cream Sandwich). Stock Android didn’t support the ability to move apps to an external card at all, as Google seemed intent on phasing cards out entirely. However, some manufacturers did opt to include the feature in their own versions of the operating system.

If your older device supports it, the process is straightforward:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Next, locate and tap the app you want to move to the card.
  3. Select Move to SD card. If this button isn’t available, you can’t move the app (or your phone doesn’t support doing so).

In the unlikely event that you’re still using an Android 2.x device, these steps are roughly the same ones you’ll encounter. Home screen widgets are not supported in these old versions—you’ll need to keep an app in internal storage if you want to use a widget.

If you don’t have the option on your phone, then you’ll need to look into a third-party app.


How to Use an SD Card as Internal Storage

After the introduction of the Android Marshmallow, everything changed especially in the way phones can handle memory cards.

Yes, the good news is you can set micro-SD cards to work as internal storage. Other than having internal and external storage existing as separate spaces, Android views the card as an extension of the built-in memory. Moreover, data and apps can write to either as needed and all this happens pretty seamlessly.

For this, you need to follow certain steps: –

  • Insert the card into your phone
  • Tap Set up
  • Select Phone Storage on Android 9, or Use as Internal Storage on older versions
  • You can directly select Storage Settings. Tap Format as internal.
  • In the next screen tap Format SD Card, or Erase & Format. This will wipe your card.
  • Hit Move Content to complete.

The entire process we are talking about is Adoptable Storage, which means you have to keep your card in your phone on a permanent basis. In addition to this, the card is also encrypted, so you cannot put it in another device to copy the data.

Can I Move All Android Apps to an SD Card?

Can I Move All Android Apps to an SD Card?

While most Android apps can be transferred to an SD card, some cannot. This restriction is usually placed on the apps by their developers due to them needing to access your Android device’s hardware directly.

Such apps could also be necessary for your smartphone or tablet to function properly, and putting them on an SD card would break your device when the card was removed. If an Android app is unable to be transferred to an SD card, the option to move it won’t show up, so you don’t have to worry about transferring the wrong apps.

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