How To Install Apps Onto Your SD Card (No Root)

Picture of How To Install Apps Onto Your SD Card (No Root)
        Have you ever ran low on memory space on your android and had to delete some apps? With a computer and a micro SD card you don't have to worry about running out of space on your phone any more! You don't even need to root your phone! After this, your phone will automatically install apps to your external memory.

note - this works on both Windows and Mac OS

Items needed
  1. Android Phone (duh)
  2. a micro usb cable
  3. a computer
Warning for galaxy users!
    This method of moving your apps to sd card is known for not working with the Galaxy series, you if own a galaxy/ are getting a galaxy and is thinking of moving your apps to an external storage, i recommend rooting your device, enabling further access to files and such. Here's a link to guide you to rooting your galaxy, Good Luck!

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Step 1: Getting Ready to Change Installation Location

1. Get the Google Android SDK
     - Unzip the file and place the folder onto your desktop or anywhere that can be easily accessed.
     - find the platform tools folder (default, it should be : adt-bundle/sdk)

2. Find cmd/terminal (for mac)
     - (for mac users) go to [System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Services]
        and then check the box [New Terminal At Folder]

3. Go onto your Android phone and select USB debugging
     - Go to [System settings > Developer Options] and select USB Debugging (if the option is grayed out, unplug your phone first)

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admsys9 days ago

I m using Lenovo mobile and when i m trying to change the my default location its giving error so pls go throught it and let me know how to do this................

tbalan31 month ago

HELP, i followed all the steps and did get the

2 [external] at the end ,and when i install any apps ,it show insufficient memory

How to undo this thing ,Please help.

Im using a Xperia T2 ultra

I suspect some apps needed to be in the internal storage only to work properly.

The way I undo the process is like this;

1. adb shell pm set-install-location 1
2. adb shell pm get-install-location
(I use this to check if the setting is back to default or not.)

Hope it works for you guy.

NDed19 days ago

So, I'm already at the command window, and when I type "adb shell pm set-install-location 2", it says "device not found"

Device is an Arc Mobile 401D Nitro. Uses Android 4.2.2

polarjim5151 month ago

Just used this successfully, or so it seems. Note to others, the location of the adb has moved. It is now in the directory,
Mac: sdk/platform-tools

Windows: sdk\platform-tools

Thanks for this!


msheikh91 month ago

after setting to external 2 when I install it says ERROR: insufficient storage available what should I do?

I have Xperia T2 Ultra

DEEPAKDRASH1 month ago

If i do this will my guarantee will lost anyone help me pls

anagpal21 month ago

ok this is how i did on my Micromax A117
I uninstalled all the applications first.

Then followed the procedure written above.

For those who are getting "No devices found" in the command prompt, make sure when you connect your phone, always chose the option "Media Device(MTP)" instead of "USB Storage". (It can be changed by pressing on 'TOUCH FOR OTHER USB OPTIONS' as soon as you conncect your device to your PC/Laptop)
Then let the drivers install and then try typing the command "adb devices"
Your device will be shown.

Type the other two commands and check if the output is correct.

Then try installing some apps from the playstore, most of them will install in the SD card automatically but will occupy a little space on phone memory too(1-4 mb, no other way out to avoid this).
Few of them will not get on SD card, try moving them to SD card from the Settings but make sure not to run these applications after installation.

I also tried it on Galaxy Tab 2 and it worked.

Thanks for all the help. :)

billibob1 month ago

I have followed all steps correctly and I keep getting Device Not ready. I have unplugged from computer and re-checked debugging. My phone is a LA7702. What am I doing wrong?

qifar3132 months ago

Thanks buddy, its working in Galaxy ACE3;

ggupta112 months ago

what to do now???

Macj-866 months ago

Hello, I have Sony Xperia M.... The instructions were pretty straight forward.. I followed them exactly the same way and the end result was as you mentioned -- "2 [external]". However, after that, I tried to install a new app and it seems to be going to my internal memory and not to my SD card. Futher, i cannot see "Move to" or "Move to SD card" option to any of the aps which are already installed... So i folllowed all these steps and end up at the same point I was before... Can you give me any better solutions or alternatie solutions to get rid of this memory problems...? Thank you in advance

ggupta11 Macj-862 months ago

Hello friend,i have sony xperia m.these

adb shell pm set-install-location 2

said device not found.can u help me .how did it worked for you.can u mail me the complete steps on

JohnyAllen2 months ago

I am an iPhone developer and according to me It's a really nice post..It will definitely helps all the iPhone developers. Checking the worth of the website:

ffernandes122 months ago

Mine said "error: device not found " What do i do ? Here's my e-mail:

hdanyal2 months ago

plz help me i have LG G pro lite and when i type adb devices it does not show anything....PS i have enabled usb debbuging

dkhương1 made it!2 months ago

Successfully implemented on Lenovo P770 phone, Thanks !

vriddle3 months ago

any one help plzz

when i typed this adb shell pm set-install-location 2

error:device not found message appears some one help plz

aquavolt3 months ago

Isn't this pretty much rooting the device? If not then can you update the device to a later android version and nothing will happen?

bthornburgh5 months ago

I have an LG Optimus Q. I get nearly all of the way through, but when I enter the code "adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2", this is what I get:

"[1] Killed pm setInstallLoc..."

What does this mean? Can anyone help?

You have to include the dash "-"
adb shell pm set-install-location 2

Also has to be all lowercase.

still the apps are not getting stored in the SD card. pl advice if any alternates

pfca4 months ago

2 [external]: Install on external media

asantosh1 year ago
can this without rooting process be applied on my xperia the phone hangs due to lack of internal memory.??

I also have an xperia E..(C1504)..I tried it but not working

Somya Nagar495 months ago

Does This work on android 4.1.1??

zainlinux19896 months ago


adb shell pm setInstallLocation 0 or

adb shell pm setInstallLocation 1 or

adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2

does it work on Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (GT P5100) ??!

spectere6 months ago

ok so I have a xperia m, and when I type adb shell pm set-install-location 2, it says no device found..... I had typed adb devices before this and it said list of attached devices....something like can someone help me plz???

jmarques66 months ago
I´ve done what you said and in the end I get 2[external] but the apps are installed again in phone memory. I own a BQ Aquaris 5
MrPureskill6 months ago
My computer can't find my phone even though it's connect to it, any help would be great thanks.
CaptainKirk586 months ago
Will this work on android 2.3.6? I am using a zte v795.
CaptainKirk586 months ago
Will this work for android 2.3.6?
Somya Nagar497 months ago
Hello, In the step 1, you mentioned to open 'cmd/terminal' in the platform-tools folder. But I cannot find it..!
Please Reply..
abhishekvspt7 months ago
Hello , I m abhishek ,i upgrade my android os from 4.1.2 to 4.2.2 but i have problem about when i install any app from anywhere it give mi error msg "Application cannot be installed in the default installation location".
RIU (author)  abhishekvspt7 months ago
If it worked before, you should undo it by using:
adb shell pm set-install-location 0

After that, try redoing it. If it doesn't work, they must've changed something in the new update

heidilee8 months ago
When I did this on my HTC EVO3D I had to set the charge mode to media sync for this to work. FYI.
jakobpoff9 months ago
For me the 'open command window here' option doesn't come up! I'm on Windows vista.
I am using Samasun Galaxy S duos it showed me 2[external] but when i am installing any new app from google play store it shows insufficient memory...kindly advice what needs to he done on this
I had that message too. I had to revert the install location back to 1, install that, then manually move to SD card.

My problem is, even after I set-install-location to 2, it STILL installs on the phone instead of the SD card. Does anyone know what else I have to force it to install on the SD card, or do apps always override the install-location and prefer location 1 (phone) instead?
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