In today’s digital landscape, the demand for expandable memory is skyrocketing, especially with the advent of 4K and 8K video recordings, alongside the hefty storage requirements of modern apps and games. Making the expandable storage super convenient so users can move apps to an SD card along with media files.
Back in the day, SD cards (headphone jacks, too) were available on most Android phones, both flagships and budget options. However, over time, most manufacturers completely abandoned this functionality on more expensive devices.
Luckily, if your smartphone supports an SD card, you can move some apps or data portions of apps. Not every app and not on every device but it’s still an option worth exploring. Especially if your Android is low on the storage space.
How to force apps to move to an SD card
You can’t exactly force apps to move to an SD card if their respective developers didn’t include this functionality. Some Android OEMs block the functionality themselves. There might be a way to do it if you rooted your device, but you must know what you are doing unless you want to brick your device.
Of course, if an app does support moving to external storage, the procedure is pretty straightforward.
Here’s how to move apps to an SD card on your Android phone or tablet:
- Open Settings.
- Select Apps.
- Open the app you would like to move to the SD card.
- Select Storage.
- Tap Change under Storage used.
- Select SD card. Tap Move to confirm.
Don’t be surprised if a good chunk of the app sticks to the internal storage. In that case, you’re moving just the app data to an SD card while the executable file still resides on the internal storage.
Why you can’t move apps to an SD card
If you’re positive that apps can move to an SD card on your device but there are problems in the process, try these steps:
- Restart your phone.
- Remove and re-insert the SD card.
- Format the SD card on your Android. Open Settings > Storage > SD Card and format the SD card as External or Internal Storage.
- Check the SD card health on your PC.
Some app developers dislike the idea of their apps running from a substantially slower storage. Also, there’s the question of permissions and system integration. For functional reasons, it’s necessary for some apps to be placed on the internal storage. Others allow exporting but the gross of the storage space that app takes still stays on the internal storage.
So, if you navigate to Settings > Apps > the app of choice and don’t see the “Storage used” section or the Change button is grayed out, move on. There’s no way to move that app to the external storage.
How to use an SD card as internal storage
If your Android supports Adaptable or Flex storage, you can format the SD card and use it as the extension of the internal storage.
Due to the large discrepancy between the write/read speeds between internal and external storages, most OEMs and software developers avoid including this option. Of course, those speed differences are not always the case considering that there are super-fast SD cards on the market these days.
If you are in the market for a fast SD card you can use on your Android, look for UHS – I and UHS – II Bus type SD in the V60 or V90 video speed class. They are a bit on the expensive side but, at least, won’t substantially throttle performance on your device.
Here’s how to use an SD card as internal storage on your Android phone or tablet:
- Insert the SD card into your device.
- Navigate to Settings > Storage > SD card.
- Tap Format as internal.
- Tap Erase and format.
- Restart your device.
You can’t remove the SD card unless you want to factory reset your phone. Also, you’ll need to format the SD card before you can use it in another device. With that in mind, know that this isn’t an ideal solution if you just want to store media files like photos or videos and frequently move the SD card between various devices.
Now that you know your options, you can either move some apps, use the SD card as the pure media storage, or format it as internal storage and keep it in.
We certainly hope this article shed some light on SD cards functionality in this day and age. Don’t forget to share your thoughts, questions, or suggestions in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you.