sim card slot on samsung phone

2 simple ways to move apps to an SD card on Android (without root)

Free up space on Android

Samsung Galaxy M31, Samsung Galaxy S21, Oppo A31, and Redmi 9 – do you know what these smartphones have in common? Let me tell you! All these phones sport at least 128 GB storage. Most Android flagship smartphones these days offer huge RAM and memory storage. 

By default, most of the space in an Android phone is occupied by the operating system and the in-built system software. For example, in a Nokia 5.2.3, a large chunk of space, close to 16GB of the overall 64 GB, is occupied by the system files used to run Android 10. 

Add to this the space occupied by the photos and videos, and installed apps on your Android phone. At some point in time, you run out of space and it gets on your nerves when the phone keeps reminding you to free up space. 

I’m sure you would have experienced a space shortage by now–when you desperately wanted to install an app on your phone but the space shortage didn’t let you. You are in luck, however, if you own a smartphone that sports a microSD card slot. An SD card allows you to expand your phone’s memory.

Expandable memory seemed to be dying a few years ago, obviously because smartphones came with huge memory space with up to 256 GB. Nevertheless, the slot is still around in some smartphones and it makes sense to have it in my opinion. 

In the times we are living in, no space is enough space. I’ve seen people crying over 256 GB storage and been demanding a 512 GB and 1 TB storage limit. I mean, what are they on about?

Well, an SD card might save your day if you are running out of space on your Android phone. You can move apps and app data to your SD card and free up your phone memory. 

But, what exactly can you store in an SD card? Do all apps support SD card storage? Let’s find out!


How to Transfer Phone Storage from Internal to External

How to Use an SD Card on Android

What can you move to an SD card?

Notably, not all apps can be moved to an SD card. Certain apps like Asphalt 9, store only a mere 64 MB on an SD card and a large chunk of 2.3 GB in the internal storage of your Android device. 

Even so, you can move the apps to an SD card and cut back on a new phone–instead, go for an inexpensive SD card ranging from $10 for 32 GB to $45 for 256 GB. Besides apps, you can store other files like photos, videos, music, and documents.

As Google Photos is ending is unlimited free storage in June 2021, you should surely consider switching to an SD card to safely backup your media files if you don’t wish to buy additional storage.

In the next section, you’ll learn how to move apps to an SD card on Android without root. Read on!

2 ways to move apps to an SD card on Android

  1. Move apps to an SD card from Settings
  2. Move apps to an SD card with a third-party app

1. Move apps to SD card from Settings

Before you start moving your apps to an SD card, make sure the SD card is properly placed in the SD card slot. To move the apps from internal storage to an SD card:

Step 1

Open the Settings app on your Android phone

Step 2

Tap on ‘Apps

Apps in settings

Step 3

Select the app you would like to move to the SD card

select an app

Step 4

Tap on ‘Storage

storage in app settings

Step 5

Look for the ‘Change’ option. If it is there, tap it. If the change option isn’t available, it means the app doesn’t support SD card storage. Check out other apps. If the option isn’t available for any app, then your Android phone probably doesn’t support this feature. 

change storage

Step 6

Select SD card

select SD card

Step 7

Tap on ‘Move’ to confirm moving the app to SD card

move button

The app will be moved to the SD card. Repeat the same for all the apps you would like to move to the SD card. 

2. Move app data to an SD card with a third-party app

If you aren’t a fan of doing stuff manually or just aren’t comfortable with the above method, you can try a third-party app to move apps to an SD card. I tested multiple apps but found the Link2SD app to be the best among all. The app works well on Android 2.0 and above.

link2sd app logo
Link2SD app

With this app, you can move the apps from internal storage to external storage and vice versa on a few taps. The app shows the storage data for each installed app with an option to move to SD card. 

To check if an app is movable or not, open the app in Link2SD and it will display movable or non-movable status. 

Here’s how to move apps to an SD card on Android with Link2SD:

Step 1

Install the Link2SD app from the Play Store

google play badge

Step 2

Open the app. You’ll see a list of installed apps on your Android device. 

Step 3

Tap on the app you would like to move to the SD card

list of apps in Link2SD app

Step 4

You’ll see all the storage details of the app. Tap on the Move to SD card button.

storage details of the app

Step 5

It will open the storage settings of the app. Tap on Change.

change storage

Step 6

Select SD card

select SD card

Step 7

Finally, tap on Move. the app will be moved to the SD card. 

move button

This app lets you easily navigate the app to change the storage location. All you need to do is, find the app you would like to move to the SD card and change the storage location in the settings. Easy, right?

Move an app back to internal storage

Now you may ask, what if I want to get the app back to the internal storage? Pretty simple, just go to the storage settings of the app and change the location to Internal shared storage following the above steps.

Adopt SD card to internal storage

Here’s another great feature some smartphones offer to their users. Android 6.0 introduced the adoptable storage or flex storage feature which allows the users to convert the SD card to internal storage. 

When an SD card is adopted to internal storage, it is formatted and encrypted to work with one Android device at any given time. Since the Android device stores all the files, the adopted SD card can safely store all your media files, apps, and other private data. 

Note that, once you unmount the SD card from your Android device, you’ll lose the functionality of the app stored in the SD card. Make sure to use the fastest SD card available for smooth performance. 

Here’s how to adapt an SD card to internal storage:

Step 1

Open the Settings app on your Android phone 

Step 2

Go to Storage

Step 3

Select your SD card 

Step 4

Tap the overflow button on top right corner and select Storage settings

Step 5

Now, tap Format as internal

Step 6

In the prompt, tap Erase & Format. Note the warning in the prompt if you are using a slow SD card. It may degrade the phone performance. Make sure you backup the data in your SD card prior to adopting as internal storage.

Step 7

Npw, select Move now and tap Next. The app transfer to SD card will start with the device giving a rough estimate of the time and data that will be moved to the SD card. 

Step 8

Finally, tap Done to complete. 

Your SD card will now be listed under the Internal shared storage to be used as additional internal storage on your Android device. 


How to move apps to an SD card on Android 7?

To move apps to an SD card on Android Nougat 7.0, go to Settings > Apps > Select the app you would like to move to SD card > Storage > Change > SD card > Move. The app will be moved to the SD card.

Why can’t I move apps to an SD card?

All the Android apps should be explicitly made available to move to an SD card by the app developers. If the app doesn’t support it, you won’t be able to move the app to the SD card. Some other apps only allow you to transfer a part of them to an SD card while the rest is stored in the internal storage location. Also, some smartphones don’t support this feature.

What is the best app mover from Android phone to an SD card?

You can make use of the Link2SD app to move the apps to an SD card. It also shows if the app is movable to the SD card or not along with the storage data. The app is one of the best app movers from phone to SD card with more than 10 million installs.

Suggested reads:

7 Best SD Card for Android Phones

How to Recover Corrupted SD Card

Store app data on an SD card

 Moving apps to an SD card is quick and easy. Be it from the settings app or a third-party app, it’s not tough to declare that moving apps to an SD card on Android is seamless.  

An SD card is a versatile memory card that can be used as portable memory storage. When you are running out of space on your Android phone, you can certainly lookup an SD card for the additional storage space to move your apps and app data to it, thus saving you tons of space on your device. 

Another advantage of having external storage like an SD card is, you can store all your media files on it. This can save you loads of money on additional storage in cloud apps like Google Photos

If you don’t own a memory card for your Android device yet, you can consider buying a Sandisk 256 GB memory card. I don’t think you’ll need any other memory device or premium cloud storage for years if you just want to safely store app data, media files, and other documents. 

buy at amazon button

I hope this article brought some value to your Android usage. Let me know in the comments section which memory card you use on your Android device to backup your files. Stay safe and take care! Cheers!

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