Why Can’t You Move an App to SD Card on Android?

Why Can’t You Move an App to SD Card on Android?

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If you want to free up space on your phone’s internal memory, transferring apps to the SD card is a great way to do so. Moving apps to the SD card is as simple as heading to Settings > Applications, selecting the app, and then hitting the “Move to SD card” option. However, you may see that for some apps, this choice is greyed out. Why is this the case?

Reason 1: Developer Choice

The “android:installLocation” parameter in the manifest> portion of an Android app must be used by developers to explicitly make their software moveable to the SD card. “Move to SD card” gets greyed out if they don’t. Many developers don’t enable this button for whatever reason. While the SD card is attached, Android apps will not be able to run.

To put it another way, if the app is responsible for something as crucial as an alarm to remind you of a dentist visit, you’d better not have your phone connected to your PC at all times. In this case, the developer may decide to disable the “Move to SD card” feature in order to avoid receiving an irate email from a user complaining that the software does not work as expected.

Reason 2: Widget Support

SD card programmes may be blocked from operating if they don’t support widgets. When a device is mounted and an app is loaded on the SD card, the widgets for that app are no longer available for selection in some versions of Android. For the widgets from the app to appear again, the device must be rebooted.

Reason 3: Syncing, Service, or Account Interface

An installed SD card will limit the functionality of an app if it does background synchronisation, runs as a service, or makes use of an account. In order to prevent this, the SD card transfer option has been deactivated.

Reason 4: Problems with the Device

If your device does not support moving apps to external storage, you may be unable to move them to SD card.

Many smartphone users are currently confronted with this issue due to the lack of support for moving apps to memory cards in newly released phones. And the Realme brand is one of the examples I’d like to give you. You can only move apps to an external storage device after formatting your SD card to make it internal storage on your phone.

Reason 5: Moving the Wrong Apps

Even minor apps and games can be moved to an external storage device or “memory card,” as everyone is aware. Isn’t it possible to relocate the camera app to internal memory? Is it possible to move the Play store to SD Card?

Many pre-installed apps necessitate the use of internal storage rather than an SD card on all devices. Because they don’t work well on SD cards, firms don’t allow us to transfer their default apps to external storage devices.


How to move an app from SD card to Android?

Is your memory running low? Using this guide, you’ll discover how to migrate apps to your SD card to free up space and maximise your storage capacity.

Cloud services, streaming, and larger smartphones’ internal capacity have all made it easier to manage storage space. If you’re like most people, eventually you’ll be seeking for apps to remove so that you can add additional files and applications.

Many of you are likely to have low-cost devices, which often come at the expense of storage capacity. It’s also possible that you enjoy playing games, and these apps are known to eat up a lot of space.

Good news if your device has expandable storage: moving apps to an SD card is an option. In addition, you can use your microSD card as internal memory. You’ll be able to move apps and any other data you have on your phone to your SD card this way. To get started, we’ll show you how to accomplish both.

Method 1: The Quick Fix

  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Navigate to Apps.
  • Navigate to the app you wish to save to the SD card.
  • Choose Storage.
  • If the programme supports the feature, you will see a Storage utilised option. Tap the Alter button right under to change the location of the app.
  • Choose the SD card.
  • Tap the Move button.
  • The files will be transferred through the phone.
  • This process is reversible, so if you decide you want the programme back on your internal storage, simply repeat the process.

Please keep in mind that these instructions were created on a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus running Android 11. Keep in mind that the instructions may alter somewhat based on your device and Android version.

Method 2: Using SD Card as an Internal Storage Device

If your applications or manufacturer don’t support the previous technique, there’s still another way to move Android apps to microSD. It’s possible that this is a more convenient choice for you than taking public transportation. Android has the ability to use your SD card’s internal storage as external storage. As a result, you won’t have to stress about where to save your programmes or files anymore. Your SD card and internal storage will merge into a single unit.

The disadvantages of using your microSD card as internal storage are numerous. If you use an SD card as internal storage in a phone, you can only use that storage device with that particular phone (unless you format it again). A microSD card is also required for the phone to function. Taking it out of the device will cause a factory reset to occur.

Additionally, you may have to worry about the performance of your phone and SD card. SD cards have a tendency to be sluggish. For optimal Android performance, choose a memory card that is as fast as possible. Finally, this feature isn’t supported by all phones, even if they have expandable storage.

Here is how you can do it:

  • As an example, here’s how to accomplish it:
  • Put the microSD card in the phone. Insert the phone.
  • If your device is capable of it, you’ll receive a notification asking you how you want to go about it.
  • External storage is an option. The MicroSD card will be formatted and encrypted.

How to adopt SD card from the settings:

  • Insert the microSD card into your Android device.
  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Choose Storage.
  • Tap the SD card you just inserted.
  • Select Storage settings by pressing the menu button.
  • Select Internal as the Format.
  • Erase and format the drive.
  • Click OK.
  • Transfer your data (or choose to do so later).

Method 3: Using Link2SD

Some third-party apps can help if your phone does not enable moving apps to the SD card or if you wish to move an app that does not support it individually. Apps2SD and FolderMount are two common options for storing apps on the SD card. It is necessary to have a rooted Android device for both.

Link2SD is another option that offers both root and non-root capabilities. You may “force-move” apps that don’t ordinarily allow it and dump data folders for larger apps and games to your external storage by using it to move apps in bulk to your card.

If your phone is rooted, open the app and allow root access. Tap the app you wish to relocate, then choose an option:

  • Link to SD Card: This requires root access and transfers the entire app and its data to your SD card.
  • Move to SD Card: This option does not require root and is only available if your phone allows moving apps to external storage. If you have root, you can also force-move apps that don’t support it otherwise.
  • Link to SD Card (Data and Cache): This command moves data files and requires root privileges.

Tap the menu button in the upper right corner and select Multi-select to transfer more than one app at a time. Now, tap all of the apps you wish to relocate, then press the menu button again and select either Link to SD card or Move to SD card. These are the same options as previously stated.

Link2SD is available for free with a purchased upgrade. It is compatible with Android versions 2.3 and higher.


How to move apps from device storage to SD Card on the following OS versions:

1.   Android 8, 9 and Above

If your phone does not support adoptable storage, you may still manually transfer apps to an SD card on Android 9 and later. Just keep in mind that you can’t do it for every programme, and you can’t change it at all for pre-installed apps:

  • Navigate to Settings > Apps & Notifications > App information.
  • Locate the app you wish to relocate in the list and touch it.
  • Choose Storage. If the programme allows shifting to a card, you’ll see a Change button here. Select this.
  • In the Change storage dialogue box, select the SD Card. This displays a confirmation screen. To begin, use the Move button.

To return the programme to internal storage, follow the instructions above again, but this time select Internal shared storage in the final step. This is something you should always do when changing or removing a memory card.

2.   Android 7 Nougat

On Android 7 Nougat, you can move apps to a memory card via Settings. However, you cannot move all apps at the same time.

  • Navigate to Settings > Apps.
  • Locate and touch on the app you wish to move to your microSD card.
  • Navigate to Storage > Change and select your card from the prompt box that appears.
  • To finish the process, tap Move.

Depending on the size of the app (especially major games), it may take a few moments to complete, so don’t touch your phone until it’s finished.

3.   Android 6 Marshmallow

Moving apps to a microSD card in Marshmallow is the same as it is in Nougat:

  • Go to Settings > Apps, then tap on the app you want to use.
  • Tap Storage > Change, then, when prompted, select the card.
  • To finish, use the Move button.

4.   Android 5 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 on 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 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, here is what you need to do:

  • Go to Settings > Apps and tap the app you want to move to your SD card.
  • 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.
  • 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 allows you to remove the app from the card.

5.   Android 4.x and Earlier

MicroSD card support was extremely limited in all Android 4.x versions (including KitKat, Jelly Bean, and Ice Cream Sandwich). Because Google appeared to be phasing out cards entirely, stock Android didn’t support the option to move apps to an external card at all.

Some manufacturers, however, choose to integrate the capability in their own versions of the operating system. If your older equipment supports it, the procedure is simple:

  • Navigate to Settings > Apps.
  • Then, find and tap the app you want to add to the card.
  • Choose Move to SD card. If this button isn’t available, you won’t be able to move the app (or your phone won’t allow you to).

In the odd event that you’re still utilising an Android 2.x device, here are the actions you’ll need to do. Home screen widgets are not supported in these older versions; if you wish to utilise a widget, you must maintain an app on internal storage.

If your phone doesn’t have the option, you’ll need to check into a third-party app.


How to Force Move Apps to SD Card on Android?

  • Launch your phone’s File Manager.
  • You will be presented with two options: internal storage and SD card. Navigate to your phone’s internal storage.
  • Select the Apps folder.
  • A list of all the apps installed on your phone will show.
  • Select the app to move to the SD card by clicking on it. The app’s information page will appear.
  • Click the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of your screen. A menu will appear.
  • From the newly opened menu, select the Change option.
  • From the change storage dialogue box, select the SD card.
  • Following the selection of the SD card, a confirmation pop up will display. When you click the Move button, your selected app will begin to move to the SD card.
  • Select the app to be moved to the SD card | Force Android Apps Can Be Moved to an SD Card
  • Wait a few moments for your app to entirely upload to the SD card.

Note: The above steps may differ depending on the kind of phone you’re using, but the general flow will be the same for almost all brands.

After completing the preceding steps, the app you choose will be moved to the SD card and will no longer be available on your phone’s internal storage. Similarly, relocate the other apps.

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