EDIT: Android OS has come a long way since my post. Things might have changed completely. You can read through provided you don’t blame me for breaking your phone and as long as you don’t comment that this is article is old :P
So now you bought your new Android-powered smartphone and started exploring its flexibility and frequently using the Play Store to download the much-hyped 1000000000000000000+ apps (crap!). There are only a handful of apps with good UI and hardware compatibility and feel like they can outrun the Apple apps. But, that’s none of the reason. At least some apps are really small in size and give us only what we really need and not anything else.
Now that you have installed your long-time-seeking apps on your droid, you find out that your phone’s internal memory went for a toss (mine have just 420Mb). Damn! What the hell. So you use your hardly-used mind and go to the application properties and check for an option of “Move to SD card” and to the most pathetic way you find the option is disabled. Damn! What the hell 2.
What to do in this case when you have to choose between your favourite music player and a smooth running home screen? The answer is obvious, BOTH.
There are many apps which get saved on the phone memory by default. You cannot move them even by using an apps2SD app. These apps are given the default install location as phone memory by the developer. So you need to override this setting in order to enable the option to move. I will explain the method in a very lucid manner so that a novice droid user (who thinks his phone is best among the rest) can understand and do it.
Step 1: Install the Android SDK.
- Android SDK or Software Development Kit contains the set of UI, IDE and commands through which you can debug and tweak your Android OS.
- You need to download the SDK from the Google Android developer website. You will also need Java to run the SDK.
- This is how the SDK looks. Select ‘Android SDK Platform-tools’ and hit Install packages.
Step 2: Setting up your phone.
- You need to set up your phone in the debugging mode. You can do it by going to Settings > Applications > Development and checkmark all the 3 options. Note that I use a Sony Ericsson phone so this path may/may not differ. I check marked all the 3 options just to be sure.
- Check the below screenshots to get an idea.
Step 3: The Actual Fun part…
- Open the Command Prompt on your Windows and drive through the following folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools. Use the command ‘cd’ and ‘cd\’ for this purpose.
- If your phone is not detected then probably you will need to install some drivers. Download the OEM USB Drivers. Do not worry. It will work in most of the cases. It should work, isn’t it? After all, you have the smartest and the most expensive droid.
- Next, run the below commands to get the things you want.
adb devices – Acknowledges the Android devices connected to the computer. Do this first to assure that the phone is being detected. You will see a serial ID number if detected.
adb shell pm get-install-location – This results in a numerical value which shows your phone’s default install location (0: Auto, 1: phone, 2: external).
adb shell pm set-install-location 2 – This sets the default install location to the external storage.
- Now you are done with the magic. You can type in adb shell pm get-install-location to verify if the default location is 2:external.
- Do not experiment with the commands unless you are very sure of the risk since it can harshly affect the system. In some cases, if you break the entire command into parts and try to run, you might get an Access Denied alert.
Step 4: Move your apps from phone memory to SD card.
- Disconnect your phone from your computer.
- Go to the properties of your app and you will find that the option to move the app to SD card has been enabled.
- What next? Simply move it to your SD card and you are done.
- Check the Before and After properties of the app.
- If you have too many apps to move, you should better use small apps like add2sd. This will show all the movable apps on your phone.
The magic has been done. Now you will have plenty of free phone space and your phone will be as smooth as butter.
A recommendation that you should revert the phone to its original settings. i.e. setting the default install location as 0: Auto using the command adb shell pm set-install-location 0. This way you may avoid any issues with the phone in future.
- Do not move the following apps:
- Widgets – they will not work if you move them to the SD card.
- System tools – Follow this instruction or crash your system.
- Important apps – Do not move such important apps which you use too frequent or which have sensitive information. You may never know when the SD card dies out or becomes inaccessible.
- Be sure to back up the apps when you are changing your SD card in the future. You will still need to use this tweak once you restore them back.
- Tried and tested on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, IceCream Sandwich and KitKat.
If you succeed in moving your apps to SD than probably I deserve a small treat from you.
For all you people who say I have copied this from the internet; Yes I have done this. But I took the pain to write it down in a lucid way.
Appreciations and comments are accepted, honoured. For the rest, do hell with ya. I do not give a damn.