How to transfer apps from Internal Storage to External Storage

Android devices are known for having removable/expandable storage, such as a micro SD card slot, and OTG Cable support, unlike Apple’s iPhone. When you install apps and download files, your device’s internal storage gets filled up rather quickly, especially devices that do not support a removable back cover, which usually means no removable battery or Micro SD Card slot. We often see Google’s Line-up of Nexus devices, which do not support Micro SD expansion, therefore it is limited to only internal storage, and OTG Support.

If your device supports Micro SD cards, great, if not, removable storage in the form of a USB connection is your next best friend, assuming you have an OTG cable, which plugs right into your device’s Micro USB slot, capable of reading removable media with low power usages.

When installing apps, the default directory for app installation is usually somewhere in the device’s internal storage. The more apps you download, the faster your device’s internal storage gets filled up, but you still want to have the apps accessible. Some more demanding games like racing and shooter games take upwards of 1 to 2 GB alone. That reason alone is why you would want to transfer the app data to removable storage.

The only method for solving this problem is by transferring the App’s files and data over to removable media, such as a Micro SD card, or a USB drive with the help of an OTG Cable. Micro SD cards, OTG Cables, and USB Flash drives are fairly cheap, only going up to amounts like $15-$20. (OTG Cables are dirt cheap, something lie $0.99 when I got mine.)

First things first, if your device has a Micro SD Card slot, insert your micro SD card. Make sure the card is being detected by your device. You can usually check by going into your device’s settings app and going to the storage option. At the very bottom, you should see something that shows another indication of free storage, other than your device’s internal memory.

Transfer apps to sd card

Some devices and its settings interface offer options to move apps to removable storage in the settings app alone, but most devices probably won’t have this option. Notably, most Touchwiz enabled devices do come with this option, so if you are running a Samsung device with Touchwiz settings, head over to your Application manager, and select the app that you want to migrate to another source of storage, and click move to SD card. So, with the help of third party apps, you can accomplish this quite easily.

How to move an app to SD card

Press move to SD card to save device storage

If for some reason, the app you wish to transfer to removable storage doesn’t include the option to move to SD card, then that just means the app cannot be moved, examples of this are system apps, like the default camera app, contacts, and SMS messenger.

If you wish to revert the process back, and move the app back from your removable media/SD card to your internal storage, just head over to the application manager once again, and select the app you moved previously. The click the “Move to device storage option” and the application along with all its files and data will be moved back into the default installation directory of your device.

As I mentioned previously, there are plenty of third party applications you can download from the Google Play Store that will automate this process for you. The app I find easiest to use is Apps 2 SD. Just install and follow simple on screen instructions for app migration.

For OTG removable media support, I’d recommend you head over to Forum Thread on the XDA Developers site, as it provides insight on how to transfer large files and apps that occupy a lot of space, over to any removable media that is compatible with an OTG Connection.

If you discover another method of app migration and file transfer and find that the method is very simple and easy to use, feel free to use that method, otherwise the methods mentioned in this article are the most effective.

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About Kenny Leung
Kenny currently lives in Buffalo, NY. Where he studies computer networking & programming. He has owned a number of Android phones including the Galaxy s3, Galaxy 3 mini, Galaxy s4 mini, LG optimus 3D, and the Oneplus one which he is currently using. Kenny will likely get the Oneplus two once it is released.

6 thoughts on “How to transfer apps from Internal Storage to External Storage

  1. It looks like apps have been moved to my external SD, but they keep migrated back. What am I missing?

  2. The samsung j invention has been a night mare to the samsung users! You are making our lives difficult. This doesnt work at all.

  3. I’ve tried this and yes, the apps seemed to be moved to the SD card since it fills up but I noticed that these apps still fills up the internal storage. I tried unmounting the SD card, the apps weren’t accessible but they still took space in the internal, but (insignificantly) less. Any explanations about this and solution to completely transfer it into the SD card? I’m also using Samsung J7 2016. Thank you very much.

  4. sorry but this doesn’t always work. I have manually moved my files thru file man- ager and my sd card shows almost empty while my internal storage continues to fill up. I don’t know what to do. This is the case with both my tablets and sd cards. Am I missing something? They are irulu 8G x10, 4.4.2 android quadcore And s10 kitkat 1G quadcore 16G Next step rooting? what do I do to get it to move to sd?

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