Many Android phones come with microSD card slots that you can use to expand your phone’s storage, allowing you to store more apps at once. How to move apps to an SD card isn’t immediately obvious, however.
Fortunately, the process is pretty straightforward, and you have a few different options as to how your apps will be moved and stored.
If you already have an SD card available, there are a few different strategies you can use to move your apps.
A note about storage
Not every Android device will allow you to store installed apps on a microSD card. While the process is generally straightforward if your phone allows microSD storage, many modern smartphones — especially those with more storage capacity — won’t provide any tools to help you move your apps.
Some apps may also not support Android’s microSD storage feature — or their support may be limited. A multi-gigabyte app, for example, may store just a few megabytes on the SD card, leaving the rest on your phone’s internal storage. However, even if an app only moves a little bit of its installed content to the SD card, you’re still saving some space.
How to move apps to SD card using the Settings menu
Before moving your apps, be sure you have your SD card inserted in your phone’s SD Card slot.
To begin moving your apps, first open the Settings menu on your Android phone. You can always access your phone’s Settings menu through the app drawer.
Next, tap the Apps button.
Select the app that you want to transfer to your SD card. Then, tap Storage. If you see a Change button, tap it, then select your SD card and tap Move. You can use this method to move many of the best Android apps to SD storage.
If the Change button is not available, it’s likely that the app cannot be moved. If none of your apps have a Change button available, your phone may not support moving apps to an SD card.
Use your SD card as additional storage
If your phone doesn’t support moving apps to an SD card, you have another option. Since the release of Android Marshmallow in late 2015, Android phones have offered the Adoptable or Flex Storage feature. This feature allows you to format your microSD card for use as extra internal storage.
Keep in mind, however, that app data on the card will be encrypted and can’t be used on other devices — meaning that you can’t use this feature to move apps from one phone to another, for example. Removing the SD card from your phone will also likely break any apps that are using the card for storage until you reinsert the card. You also won’t have access to any content or files stored on the card.
Slower SD cards can also impact app performance. Right now. a Class 10 SD card with UHS-III will provide the best possible performance.
As with moving apps to an SD card, not every Android device supports Adoptable Storage — most Samsung devices, for example, don’t have the feature enabled.
Before using an SD card as internal storage, make sure the card is inserted in your phone’s SD card slot.
Then, to use the Adoptable Storage feature, open your Settings menu. You can always access this menu through your phone’s app drawer.
Next, tap Storage. Then, select your SD card. Tap the Storage Settings option. Then, choose to format your SD card as internal storage. Tap Erase and format, then OK. Now, you can start migrating data from your phone’s internal storage to the SD card.
Using Adoptable Storage by inserting an SD card
You can also simply remove and reinsert your SD card. Upon inserting the card, your phone should prompt you with a notification asking how you want to use the card. Selecting the “adopt external storage” option will format your card and allow you to use it as internal storage.
Moving apps with a third-party app
If neither of the above options work for you, it may also be possible to use a third-party app to move your apps to an SD card. Be warned, however, that these apps are not officially supported, and can’t move apps that don’t support SD card storage.
However, using these apps can be helpful if your phone does not support moving apps to an SD card, but you use apps that do.
Other ways to move apps off of your phone
If you don’t need to use an app or certain data, you can also use your phone’s backup feature to store these apps on the cloud. With a backup, you can safely delete these apps from local storage, then restore from your cloud backup as needed when you want to use them again.
Keep in mind, however, that if you delete an app and then overwrite an existing backup, you will effectively delete that app from cloud storage, as well.
Many modern Android phones include dedicated OEM backup apps that you can use to quickly create backups of your phone’s apps, stored files and other content. These apps generally come preinstalled on your phone. For other phones, you may need to use a third-party app to create, store and access your backup. Both free and paid backup apps are available.
Many of these apps also allow you to choose which apps and files you want to backup, meaning you can store just a portion of the apps on your phone if necessary.
In most cases, using an OEM backup app will be faster and easier than using a paid app, but not every phone will come with one of these preinstalled apps available.
Three Options for How to Move Apps to an SD Card
If you are running out of valuable storage space, moving some of your apps to SD storage could be a solution. By taking advantage of your phone’s SD card slot, it’s possible to free up extra internal storage space for new files and apps.
You may be able to move entire apps to your SD card or use the Android Flex Storage feature, depending on your phone.
Some phones may not offer either of these features, however. In this case, the only way to move apps off of your phone may be to create a cloud backup.
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