How to: Move or Install Apps directly to SD card in Android

There are lot of Android mobiles available in market with different price range with different features and specifications. The one I am using for this tutorial is “LG Optimus One” which has got a very less internal storage/memory of about 200MB, but with decent 600MHz processor and 512MB of RAM and can extend your card slot up to 32 GB.

Move or Install Apps directly to SD Card External Storage in Android
Move or Install Apps directly to SD Card External Storage in Android

Since I am a Web Designer, Developer and being into the User Interface field, I do explore lot of applications mostly to check how the application has been built, their look and feel, navigation, typography, accessibility etc. So whenever I see a new Android APP in the market I do install them to check the things which I am interested in. During this process most of the times I do endup with “Low on space – Phone storage space is getting low” alert in my mobile and I go crazy by seeing this all time and which is not allowing me to install any other new apps in my mobile until I free-up some space in internal memory.

Due to this I have to search for APPs to uninstall which gives my mobile a little breathing space for new apps to get installed, but I don’t want to do this process on regularly. For few apps you will have an option to move your apps to SD card and for few it is disabled as shown in the below screenshot for Adobe Photoshop Express for Android.

There are many ways to free-up storage or space, the one which I found is easy, quick and without rooting your mobile by setting your app installation preferences to external SD Card Storage.

Wondering how to do that?

Yes this article will teach you how you can easily set app installation preferences in Android Mobiles to install apps directly either in SD Card (External Storage) or to move your existing apps to SD Card (External Storage).

Lets start the procedure to free up your Android’s Internal Storage:

We are assuming that you have already installed the latest Android SDK, if not go to Android SDK Developer site. Download and install the latest version of SDK based on the platform you choose. Once you are done with the installation make sure you have “Android Debug Bridge” adb.exe file in the “platform-tools” folder.

Let’s go ahead with the following procedure to run the adb.exe – There are different procedures to access ADB in different platforms like Windows, Max OS X and Linux. This procedure applies for Windows platform. So now lets try to access or run the adb.exe with command prompt.

***ALERT*** Make sure you took backup before you start with this. And we are not responsible if there are any loss of data. Don’t worry generally it won’t be.

Before we start with this make sure you have connected your mobile device to your system USB and Debug Mode is enabled.
Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications -> Developement -> Check USB debugging.

Then open the Command Prompt in windows.

Then go the specific folder where you have adb.exe – In our case we have adb.exe is in the following path:
C:Program FilesAndroidandroid-sdkplatform-tools

Run the adb.exe via command prompt by entering “adb shell”.

Then first find where is your default installation location is setup for your mobile, basically by default it will be “Auto”.

Type the follwing to find current installation location:

pm getInstallLocation

Then you will get something like this:

pm getInstallLocation

0 is Auto, 1 is for Internal Storage, 2 is for External Storage”

Now enter this to set your application install location to external sd card:

pm setInstallLocation 2

Once done – check again whether your install location is changed or not by typing the same command to find the install location as specified above.

Now access your mobile go to:
Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications

Yuppy now you can move applications to External SD card :)

Now we will have more free space left to install new applications. I have more than 150+ apps installed in my Android device and will add more – this procedure helped me a lot and thought to share the same with you all.

Here are the snapshots which are grabbed while doing the procedure mentioned above (Hope These Helps):

Android - ADB Shell - Commands
Android - ADB Shell - Commands
Android - Adobe Photoshop Express
Android - Adobe Photoshop Express
Android - Adobe Photoshop Express
Android - Adobe Photoshop Express

And please share your experience if you are followed this article to free-up your mobile space and let us know if there are any other easy and quick methods to achieve this.

Published by Sravan Kumar

A Creative Web Designer, Developer, User Interface and User Experience Expert.

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    1. Hi Abhishek – yes because basic files will remain on your device storage and the storage related to application data will move to your SD Card – so that saves lot of space in your device storage – glad you tried it :)

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