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Install Apps to SD Card on Your Android Phone Without Rooting it

posted on: 23:51, August 1st , 2013

One inevitable problem faced by most Android users is the limitation set by their device's internal memory. You can make more space to install your apps by deleting the stock apps that came with the device when you purchased it (most of which will definitely be useless). But in most cases you will have to root your phone to uninstall these ‘bloatwares’ and in the process you will void the warranty of your device. An alternate option is to set the install location of the apps to your SD card. And it is simple process and does not require rooting your device.

Here’s how to do this:

Here’s what you will need:

1. An Android device, of course.

2. Android SDK (Download it here). It is quite a big file, so Relax!

3. Windows PC (You can also use Mac, but this guide is only for windows. Sorry!)


First of all it is recommended to install your device's/phone's windows software. You can find your Windows software on your vendor's website.
For example: I have a Samsung phone with Android 2.3 and I went to Samsung's website and downloaded KIES. That is the official Windows software for my phone.
In parallel to that software all necessary USB Windows drivers were installed, so my phone was successfully detected by the adb tool mentioned below!

1. Download Android SDK and unzip the contents to a folder.

2. Enable “USB debugging Mode” in your android device. To do this, go to Settings -> Applications -> Development and enable ‘USB debugging’

3. Connect your device to your computer in “charge only” or similar modes but NOT in ‘USB Storage’ mode.

4. Go to the folder where you have unzipped Android SDK. Go to ‘sdk’ folder and then to ‘platform-tools’ folder.

5. When you are in the ‘platform-tools’ folder, hold down SHIFT key and right-click anywhere in the folder

6. From the pop-up menu, select ‘Open command window here’. This will open up a command prompt screen.

7. Now, in the command prompt window, type: adb devices and press enter. You will see the name of the device connected at the moment.

8. Then type: adb shell and press enter
A $ sign should appear

9. Then type: pm setInstallLocation 2 and press enter. (If this command fails, use this: pm set-install-location 2)

10. Done!

11. To verify, type: pm getInstallLocation and press enter. If you see an output ” 2 [external] ” means that the process is successful.

Now, in your device, go to settings->Applications->Manage Applications->On SD card (in some devices it may be USB Storage), and check the apps that you would like to move to your SD card.

A Warning

Some apps shouldn’t be installed to your SD card and should remain installed on the internal storage. The external storage is unavailable when your Android device is mounted on your computer, so apps that remain running all the time should be left on your internal storage. Widgets, launchers, animated wallpapers, and anything you want to use while your Android’s SD card is mounted on your computer should be left on the internal storage.


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