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How to Move/Install Android Apps to the SD Card [Non-root Method]

All the android apps are installed in the device storage by default, and it is not that easy to move those app to the SD card. Few developers allows to move their app to the SD card but not all. If you own a mid-range smartphone low on internal storage then you'll not be able to enjoy large games & apps on your phone.

Move Android Apps to the SD Card
Image source: Flickr
We will use Android Debug Bridge to change the default install location, without rooting your phone. ADB (Android Debug Bridge) is included in the Android SDK. It is very easy process and you don't any technical skills, just follow this tutorial step by step.

Getting your phone ready...
  1. First of all, enable USB Debugging on your Android device.
  2. Open Settings > Developer options > Tick USB Debugging. It will allow you to change your device settings from your Computer, you can also move file to your Computer and vice versa.
Move Android Apps to the SD Card

Tip: If you don't see Developer options then you'll need to enable it. To enable, go to Settings > About device > Tap five times simultaneously on the build number. See image below.

Move Android Apps to the SD Card

Android SDK
Now, when your phone is ready, you'll need to install Android SDK on your PC. Download this utility from this link and install it. Follow the following steps after installing Android SDK:
  • Launch the SDK manager. SDK manager is saved in C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk.
How to Move/Install Android Apps to the SD Card
  • Now you'll need to install Android Debug Bridge (ADB) utility. It is included in Android SDK platform-tools. Select the package and click install.
How to Move/Install Android Apps to the SD Card
  • Now, connect your Android phone to your Computer with a USB cable. Your computer will install proper driver for your device, wait until it finishes.
Tweaking Android device using ADB
Open Windows Explorer and locate to the platform-tools folder of android-sdk. This folder is located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools. If it isn't available on this folder then check C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools.
  • You'll need to open command window on this folder.
  • Right click anywhere in the folder while pressing the SHIFT key (SHIFT + Right Click).
Tip: Check list of keyboard shortcuts for Windows to see other shortcut keys.
  • Click on open command window here.
  • Run adb devices command to see the list of connected android devices.
  • Take note of your device name, you'll need it. In  my case it's 4d0097c8e0742200, it'll be different for your device. See image attached below.
How to Move/Install Android Apps to the SD Card
  • Now, run the following command:
adb -s [device name] shell pm set-install-location 2

Note: Replace [device name] with your device name, it's 4d0097c8e0742200 in my case. So I will run command "adb -s 4d0097c8e0742200 shell pm set-install-location 2".
  • Now run the following command to check if everything is done correctly. If it answers external then it's alright, move almost all the apps to your SD card.
adb -s [device name] shell pm get-install-location
  • From now, all the applications will be installed on the SD card. If you change your mind in the future and you would like to change the default location again to the device storage then run the following command.
adb -s [device name] shell pm set-install-location 0
  • Done.
Move your apps to SD Card
The applications which previously refused to move to SD card will now be moved to SD card. Go to Settings > Applications Manager > Click on the App > Click Move to SD Card, previously this option was greyed out.

It is advised not to move launchers, widgets or any other apps which keeps on working in background even when it is closed to the SD card. Enjoy.

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