How do I move all storage to SD card on Android?

What You’ll Need

To move your apps to an SD card, you’ll need:

  • An Android device that supports moving apps to SD card. Many newer Android devices allow you to transfer apps, but some budget models still restrict this feature. Check your device settings or device manual to confirm if yours supports it.
  • An SD card with enough storage space for your needs. The SD card capacity required depends on how many apps and associated data you want to move over. Aim for a card with at least 16GB or 32GB of space if you plan to move a lot of apps.

Before moving apps to the SD card, be sure to insert it into your device correctly into the card slot. You may need to reboot your device after inserting a new SD card for the first time.

Back Up Data First

Highly recommend backing up your data before moving storage. This ensures your data is preserved in case anything goes wrong during the migration process. Backing up your data provides an extra layer of protection and allows you to restore your information if needed.

There are a few options for backing up your data before moving storage:

  • Back up to your Google account – You can enable backup to your Google Drive account in your phone’s settings. This will save your contacts, apps, settings, etc.
  • Back up to your computer – Connect your phone to your computer and transfer important files, photos, videos, etc. to save them locally on your computer.
  • Back up to cloud storage – Services like Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud allow you to back up your phone’s data to the cloud.

Taking the time to fully back up your data before migrating storage guarantees you have copies of all your information. This way if anything happens during the process, your data is protected.

Enable Developer Options

To enable Developer Options on your Android device, you first need to access the Build Number option in Settings:

According to Android Developers, open the Settings app and select About Phone or About Device. Then, scroll to the bottom and tap Build Number 7 times. After tapping Build Number 7 times, you will see a message saying “You are now a developer!” Developer Options is now enabled.

As explained on Atmeta Community Forums, once Developer Options is enabled, you will see it appear in the Settings menu. You can now access the Developer Options to change settings that help with app development and debugging.

Allow Apps on External Storage

Before migrating data to the SD card, you’ll need to enable a setting in Developer options to allow apps to be installed on external storage. Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings and scroll down to locate Developer options. If you don’t see it, go to About phone and tap Build number 7 times to enable Developer options.
  2. In Developer options, find and enable the setting called ‘Force allow apps on external’. This will allow your apps to be moved to the SD card.

According to this source, enabling this setting overrides the default Android behavior, which restricts apps to internal storage for security reasons. With the setting enabled, you’ll be able to migrate apps and data to the SD card.

Insert the SD Card

The first step is to insert the SD card into your Android device. Make sure to power off your device completely before attempting to insert the card, as this will prevent any potential corruption or damage. Locate the SD card slot, which is often on the side or bottom edge of the phone depending on the model. Gently slide the SD card into the slot until it clicks into place and is firmly seated. Avoid forcing the card into the slot to prevent damage. Most modern Android devices use a tray mechanism that you slide out to access the SD card slot. Consult your device’s manual if you are unsure of the location.1

With the SD card inserted, you can power on your device again. You should receive a notification that the SD card has been detected. Do not attempt to use the card until it has been properly mounted and formatted within your device’s settings.

Format the SD Card

Before you can use your SD card for expanded internal storage, you need to format it on your Android device. This allows the SD card to use the appropriate file system for Android and prepares it to store apps and app data.

  • First, power off your device completely.
  • Then, boot into recovery mode by pressing and holding the Volume Up button, Home button, and Power button at the same time until you see the recovery screen. The key combination can vary depending on your Android device; refer to the manufacturer’s guide if you are unsure.
  • Once in recovery mode, use the volume keys to scroll to ‘Wipe’ and select it. Then select ‘Format Data’ and confirm to format the SD card.
  • After the formatting is complete, select ‘Reboot System Now’ to restart your device.

Formatting the SD card through recovery mode does a full format rather than a quick format, helping to prevent issues down the line. The SD card is now ready to be set as internal storage for your apps.[1]


Migrate Data to SD Card

The easiest way to move your apps, photos, videos and other data from the device’s internal storage to the SD card is by using your device’s settings. Here are the steps to migrate data to the external SD card:

1. Go to Settings > Apps.

2. Tap the menu button in the top right and choose ‘Sort by size’. This will show you the largest apps on your device.

3. Select any apps you want to move and tap ‘Storage’. Choose ‘Change’ and select the SD card.

4. The app and its associated data will now be moved over. Large apps like games will likely have some data stored internally still, but the bulk will be on the SD card.

5. For media files like photos and videos, go to Settings > Storage. Tap the SD card, then ‘Migrate data’.

6. Choose which media files to move – pictures, videos, audio etc. The transfer may take some time.

That covers the basics of using your device settings to migrate data over to the external SD card. Just keep in mind some apps do not support this and will need to be reinstalled to the SD card.

Change Default Storage Location

Once you have moved your apps and data to the SD card, you can change your default storage location to the SD card. This will ensure that any new apps you download and media you capture will be saved directly to the external storage rather than filling up your phone’s internal storage.

To change the default storage location in Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Storage.
  3. Select your SD card.
  4. Tap the three dot menu icon in the top right corner.
  5. Select Settings or Storage settings.
  6. Choose your SD card as the default location for Apps, Media, and other data.

This will set your SD card as the default install location for apps going forward. Some phones may allow you to migrate existing apps to the new location as well through the storage settings.

According to Minitool, making the SD card your default storage location allows you to expand the storage capacity of your phone conveniently and store more apps and media files.

Confirm the Change

After moving your data to the SD card, it’s important to confirm that the migration was successful. Here are some steps to verify that your storage location change worked:

Open the Settings app on your Android device and go to the Storage section. This is usually under a setting like “Device maintenance” or “Device care.”

In Storage settings, check if the SD card is now listed as the main storage location instead of Internal Shared Storage. The breakdown of used and available space should reflect the contents you moved over to your SD card.

Open your device’s File Manager or My Files app and browse through the folders and content. Things like photos, videos, downloaded files etc. should now be located in the SD card folder instead of internal storage.

Try saving some new photos/videos and files like downloads and make sure they get saved directly onto the external SD card. Also check that new apps get installed onto your SD card by default.

These steps will confirm that your Android device’s storage has successfully been moved over to the external SD card.

Tips for Managing SD Storage

When using an SD card for expanded storage, it’s important to keep your data safe and optimized. Here are some tips:

Periodically check for app updates. App developers may release updates to better support SD card usage. Keeping your apps up-to-date can prevent potential issues.

Back up your data regularly. SD cards can fail over time, so make sure your data is backed up to prevent losing photos, videos, and other files. You can back up to cloud storage or a computer periodically.

Monitor your SD card’s health. Watch for signs of corruption or failure – slow performance, crashing, or inability to access files. If you suspect issues, you may need to reformat the card or replace it entirely.

Format the SD card every so often. Over time, fragmentation can build up and slow down performance. Every few months, format the card within your device’s settings to wipe it clean.

With proper maintenance habits, you can enjoy the benefits of expanded storage via SD card. Just be sure to keep it updated, backed up, and formatted periodically.

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