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




Introduction: How to Install Apps Onto Your SD Card (No Root)

About: I like to make things!
        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!

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)


Step 2: Using Adb

1. Windows
    - Open the folder called " platform-tools"
    - shift+right-click anywhere inside the folder and choose [Open Command Window Here]
   - right-click the folder called "platform-tools" and choose [New Terminal At Folder]

2. Enter in the following

For Windows :
       adb devices
       adb shell pm set-install-location 2
       adb shell pm get-install-location

For Mac : (note - there is a period before the slashes)
       ./adb devices
       ./adb shell pm set-install-location 2
       ./adb shell pm get-install-location

3. Check if you did it right
   - if you did it right, the last output should say: 2 [external]

        If you did it right, CONGRATS! Your phone will now install your apps to your SD Card by default! Have fun now!

Step 3: More Info

    Some apps will not continue to function properly if located on your SD Card.

Moving Apps
    [System Settings > Applications > Manage Applications] and select the app your want to move and press move.

   The "Move to Usb Storage" option was only available on older android firmwares, sorry for the confusion.


8 People Made This Project!


  • Furniture Contest 2018

    Furniture Contest 2018
  • Fix It! Contest

    Fix It! Contest
  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest

367 Discussions

Thanks for breaking my phone i cant install small apps now

4 replies

This comes with the territory...every developer or weekend modder knows this by experience. So you can thank yourself.. Every good modder has broken at least one or two phones..You should have known you didn't know how to reverse it and stopped there. Every good forum even states a warning for noobs like you. No hate but come on modding a phone is no joke.P.S anyone reading this post make a ADB backup....

This was 2 years ago, why did you even comment? At the time I had reversed the process and gotten into to work again so yes I did know how to reverse it, you don't have to jump to con conclusions that quick. Really no need to call me a noob at the time I just wanted to get it working but my phone didn't seem to work with it. I've learned more about Android in the past few years. And with the comment all I wanted to do is warn other people that it might not work and get the same result as I had and no were does it state that . Also this whole process never even worked, I was unable to install smaller apps and apps still didn't install on my sd card directly.

this tutorial has no such warning. no need to get so judgemental of a 'noob'. such a comment is unhelpful.

Thank yourself then, cause you were the one who performed the procedure.

I followed all the instructions for mac and on the terminal screen i get an error on the second command

Error: java.lang.SecurityException: Package android does not belong to 2000

Bens-Mac-mini:platform-tools Ben$

5 replies

Or the "no root" title part is wrong, or just not all phones can run that option without sudo (indeed --> "Error: java.lang.SecurityException: Package android does not belong to 2000"). Didn't try more phones than LG-K8. Of course not yet rooted so no "sudo" binary will be found. I had other phones (like G526 that allowed my to just enter Settings->Storage->Set default sd card location) that didn't hurt me about sdcard settings. Seems is because the Android version.

Hey Ben,

"Error: java.lang.SecurityException: Package android does not belong to 2000" means your don't have root access. May you just need to enter "su" or you need to root your phone. On Cyanogen I have the option under the developer options to enable root access for adb.

after "adb devices" just type "adb shell" (enter) then type "su" (enter and accept on the phone display), This enables SuperUser. Now you can type "pm set-install-location 2"
Verify the new destination with "pm get-install-location"

/system/bin/sh: su: not found

127|shell@kltespr:/ $

That's what I get when I try to use "su". What do?

I followed your guide, and as i enter get-install-locaiton, I get 2 [external] - so everything should be fine. Thing though is that when I install, it installs on the internal memory.

My phone is running CM. What am I doing wrong?

1 reply

Same here, I always get 2 as a return but in practice it doesn't work.

Tried on android 4.2.1, did receive a 2, didn't work to send apps nor to download new ones... I'm not sure why.

I can't installs any app on my Samsung S7 Edge.

¿May you help me, please?


1 reply

Excuse me, the apps are installed on my Samsung S7 Edge, But the task takes too long, about half an hour

Thank you brother.. Plz watch !! Do this prior to doing any ADB shell command.... Preferably when you first get ur phone....Will study steps and report back with either a thumbs up or new tutorial.[/hide] XDA junior member-(Docturl)[/hide]