Get adoptable SD Card storage on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, no root

by: John DyeMarch 11, 2016
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Samsung’s devoted following has a saying among them: “Samsung giveth, and Samsung taketh away.” Lo, for it was with great joy that the people greeted the Samsung Galaxy S6, bedecked with glass and metal and splendor, but the Korean smartphone manufacturer frowned upon its followers saying, “Thou art no longer worthy of removeable batteries or microSD storage.” And so the people wept. But then, a new ray of hope in 2016: the Samsung Galaxy S7, alive with microSD returned and blessed with water resistance. “But no adoptable SD Card storage,” said Samsung, lest we forget our place.

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What we’re talking about here is the ability to have your smartphone consider expandable storage a partition of its internal storage. Although it’s nice to have this semi-permanent storage, the downside is that, once your SD card is formatted for this, you can’t just drop files, photos, and video onto it, then pop it out and move that data to another device with a card reader.

galaxy s7 vs lg g5 quick look aa-6See also: LG G5 and Galaxy S7 don’t support Marshmallow’s adoptable storage56

In spite of the playful image I portrayed above, Samsung disabled adoptable storage not to keep us humble, but rather because they believed their primary userbase would be more interested in portable SD cards. This decision has upset a few of the more hardcore members of the Android community, but behold a hero has risen. Modder Paul “MoDaCo” O’Brien has figured out a way to enable adoptable storage on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.

Although the method may confound casual smartphone users, it doesn’t look particularly complex. No rooting is required, and any careful user willing to read the relevant documentation should be able to pull off this ROM adjustment fairly easily. All you need is a PC and Android Debug Bridge.

Since this method doesn’t require rooting, what we can infer from this is that Samsung didn’t actually disable adoptive storage on a system level. They just took the option out of the UI. If you’re one of those who were disappointed with the S7 line for its lack of adoptable storage, this information might make you reconsider whether or not to make the purchase. To take a look at MoDaCo’s methods, head on over here. And, as always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge photos-16Next: Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge pre-orders have been stronger than Samsung expected49
  • GreaterLesser

    “But then, a new ray of hope in 2016: the Samsung Galaxy S7, alive with both of these long-missed features gratefully returned.”

    The S7 does not have both of these features back – Only MicroSD, the battery is still not removable.

    • cdm283813

      Maybe he meant big battery is > than removable battery.

      • Sean Koppie

        Then dont buy it, stop complaining. Its 2016 why do we need to remove a 3600mh battery? I glady give that up for a nice unibody. Who keeps a phone so long that the battery life noticeably depleats? With jump plans and iphone forever plans etc i have not had a phone for anymore then 6 months in a while.

        • Kekela Kekic

          Yes you need to remove it unless you have money to buy a new phone every year because the battery capacity dropped and you can’t go anywhere without a charger. Isn’t it cheaper to change the battery for 30$ then buy a new phone for 900$. Actually it’s 30 times cheaper.

          • AS118

            I agree, and it’s why I bought an LG G4 on clearance. A removable battery is great because you can just replace it when the charge starts dropping in a year or two. Plus, a removable back means you can get an aftermarket battery + back that allows for crazy 6000mah+ batteries.

            Also, keeping phones longer is better for the environment. We have WAY too much e-waste and it’s just not sustainable.

          • AndroidBrian

            Not like people are just throwing there phones away when they buy a new one.

          • Nikola Filipović

            Even non-removable batteries can be replaced. Once a year it will not present a problem to unsoldier and resoldier a new one. The problem is if you want to replace it every day with full one, but there is no need for that with 3600 mAh batteries. Also, I have Note 3 for two years, and I still have close to 6h SOT.

          • Fifth313ment

            I call BS! I have a Note 3 (3 of them in fact) and I have already changed the battery once and t needs to be done again. You lose approx 25% of the battery every year. So there is no way you have a 2013 phone still pulling 6hr of SoT! And I can’t hit 6SoT with the Note 3 since Lollipop. I used to get that easy with KitkAT though. I keep everything off during the day and brightness low. My Note makes it all day easy but no where near 6 hours of screen time (anymore).

            And I don’t want to have to buy a new phone more than once every two years or more. Plus once my old phone is done I reuse it as an MP3 player, gaming machine, etc.

          • Ohh

            I’m with you , change battery for the 3rd times on my note3. Battery is horrible. Original battery last 11 months, second Chinese knock off last less than 3 months, decided to go the Best Buy and bought original oem Samsung battery for $45, now after 9 months it started to loose charge. On average, Saturday & Sunday I got about 7-8 hours before charge. But workday if I’m lucky I get 5 hours the most, usually around 4 hours but I always have spare battery.

          • Nikola Filipović

            Phone is rooted, and I used almost every method to save power, but I got 6h SOT. I used kernel tweaking, Greenify, Power Nap, Amplify, Samsungs Smart Manager. Also I’m blocking every notification I don’t need (hoping it will stop app from running in background). Also, I don’t use built in Power Saving while I’m doing this calculation.
            These days I get little over 4h SOT, but I think that’s because my phone overheated one day because it was on charger and too close to heating source.

          • TKDWILSON

            Most people don’t want to break out a soder gun on their phone.

          • glasswolf

            You must own some really awful phones! I’ve used an iPhone 5 from near-release for the past 2+ years, and just replaced the battery because it was swollen, but even then it worked good as the day I got it, and lasted all day with moderate to heavy usage.

          • TKDWILSON

            When you have a phone that isn’t powerful and lacks RAM and processing power and the battery is low capacity, you have a longer battery life. The reason our batterys run down is because our phones are NOT awful. You think somehow battery technology is different for the Iphone?

          • Hoggles

            100% false statement to say that the phones battery will degrade so much in 1 year, that you “can’t go anywhere without a charger”. You obviously know nothing about lithium batteries these days.

            You are 100% wrong.

          • Ohh

            Your battery is great doesn’t mean all other is liar. I had moto G 2014 and the battery is good for only 7month and it started to loose charge rapidly. Same thing for my Note3 after 11month ( good thing that note3 has removable battery) . On the other hand all my iPhone 4s ,5s still hold charge very well also my current work phone Kyocera hydro wave has non-removable battery but it last almost 2 days. Love my Kyocera.

          • Lorenzo Tuletta

            Considering the timeline of when the Moto G and Note 3 received the lollipop update I wonder if that update might have ruined the battery life on your phone. I own a Oneplus One and although I always felt like reviewers overhyped the battery performance it was doing a decent job until I updated to 5.0.2, after that I was getting less than half the time with still no progress after 5.1

          • TKDWILSON

            Yeah, I owned many many devices and if you are a heavy user, yes they do. I have replaced the batter on all my phones from the Evo the Note 2 and the Note 4. My Nexus 10 tablet has much lower battery life than the day I bought it.

          • Doomsday

            Some of us have these things called jobs and can pay full price for the phone on purchase and not pay for it over 24-30 months.

        • Exare

          I can’t afford a new phone every six months. That’s just ridiculous to someone such as myself. To rebut your claim about not noticing battery drain, I’ve had my Nexus 5 for 2 years and there’s been a very, very noticeable drop in battery life. I barely get 1.5 hours of screen on time anymore and frequently have to recharge it halfway through my workday, which is just 5 hours since removing it from the charger at full capacity. The same thing happened with my Galaxy Nexus. It’s certainly a thing and happens more frequently that you’d imagine. Especially among power users. I and many others keep their phones until they stop receiving software updates, so we do notice this battery wear.

          I consider myself a very heavy user but I can’t justify dropping six-hundred bones on a new phone every 6 months. That’s one-hundred dollars a month! I could use that money to put towards a car payment or student loan debt. I mean if my phone still does everything I need and still has the cahones to push the latest software, why upgrade? Just so I could get away with one charge a day instead of two? Plus, Google supports their Nexus devices for years and years so people don’t have to keep investing in new phones just to have the latest and greatest in software features.

          I’d love a new phone for all the fancy bells and whistles like a 1440p screen, fingerprint reader, or water proofing. But the price isn’t justifiable given my needs and I’d argue there are many others out there that share this opinion. In fact I’d be so bold as to say it’s the majority.

          If you’ve got the scallions to shell out for a new phone every six months, more power to ya. Consider me jelly.

        • glasswolf

          Well, to be fair, I did just replace the battery in an iPhone 5 because it swelled up and pushed out the screen.. but that was a 30 minute job with a $5 battery, and the next day, my S7 Edge arrived.

        • Reed

          Some of us keep our tech around for a long time to give to others, to reuse, to have for backup, etc. I find it wasteful and idiotic to just throw away a perfectly good phone after a year or two in 2016. The mentality is cancerous. Just like I have watches that are 7-8 years old that still run fine. I have them serviced, and they run like new. It’s not a one to one comparison, but the point is that things don’t need to be trashed just because something newer came out, and I want my purchases to support that longevity.

        • AndroidBrian

          Honestly. you’re the reasons cell phone manufactures make there phones unpractical. SD card? Removable battery? Nice features to have sure…. But why have these features when we can make the phone prettier!? I’m sorry. Its annoys me when people talk about there phone as some kind of clothing accessory. Do I want my phone to look cool? Sure. The Note 4 looked nice IMHO (maybe not as nice as the S6 or S7) without losing any of these features. Sadly will we keep losing these features because people prefer beauty of functionality on there cell phones.

          I wish manufacturers would just make a phone as thin and light as possible while shoving the best hardware possible in there. I’ll find a case I think looks cool. Sean Koppie I’m smh at you.

          • Peanuthead22

            Many people are not so vain and conceited that they need to show off how skinny and pretty their phone is, it’s much better to have a phone that works when you need it.

        • Jessie Piss

          He;s not complaining u retard. He’s just stating that the article mentioned something that is false

          • Sean Koppie

            I may have replied to the wrong person I don’t remember but I reply to everyone I see bitching about a removable battery. If he was correcting the articale I replied to the wrong person.

    • Sean Koppie

      I did it does not really work that well. The space reads wrong. Though it does work.

    • John Dye

      Haha good catch! Thanks! I wrote the first sentence, then stepped away for a snack. My train of thought was on water resistance when I started writing again *facepalm* Fixed it!

      • GreaterLesser

        No harm done – Just happened to re-read the first few lines when I caught it. Great article still.

        • John Dye

          Thanks, man!

  • Bob F

    If I can still move (most) apps and media to the SD, I’m good to go as is.

    • Exare

      I’m agree with this. My problem is that – with my experience so far – there seems to be a disturbing lack of “Move to SD Card” support for apps nowadays.

      I purchased a 64GB SD card for my nVidia Shield Portable and it turned out none of the apps I had on it could be moved over, including Final Fantasy VI. I was so confused and disappointed. Why would I not be able to move my 600MB game over to the SD card? Darn you Square Enix…

      • Neeraj Kt

        Use Gl to Sd or FolderMount to move ANY APP to the sd card. Ofcourse root access is required. I have 34 games on my mobile which has a 16gb internal storage and 64 GB class 10 card :)

        • Exare

          Thanks for the tip!

  • jbruckus95

    I found the authors heavy use of “biblical” type writing in this article to be humorous and amusing. Well done!

  • Trailrunner454 (Mr. Voador)

    I recently went from the S4 Active to the S6 Active and that was those were the biggest drawbacks. I was so bummed! I would love the return of the removable battery. If I wanted an iPhone I would go back to a crappy Apple product.

    • James Ickes

      The problem with apple products is IOS it’s not the phone design I get bothered with its the software

  • Ken Atkinson

    Now if we could figure out how to enable that pesky microsd card in the Samsung Galaxy tablet 3 sm-t2105 but that might expand the memory?

  • Tom_Slaapstad

    Does anyone know how to tell which type of Samsung s7 you got – qualcomm or exynos?

    • Hoggles

      If your in the States, you have an 820.

    • Paul Young

      Look for the MPN
      Snapdragon 820:
      SM-G9350, SM-G935A, SM-G935P, SM-G935R4, SM-G935T, SM-G935V

      Exynos 8890
      SM-G935D, SM-G935F, SM-G935FD, SM-G935J, SM-G935K, SM-G935S

  • James Ickes

    Can someone do the same thing with the system UI tuner please?

  • kappatau808

    who uses a card reader anyway? i just use usb cable to move stuff around

  • Thomas Vos

    You can get adoptable storage activated on your s7 which makes the phone go to its full potential! Wow! On the Play Store I found Root Essentials which can do this trick on rooted phones and unrooted phones. This certainly helps make life easier.

  • Billy Joseph

    How the hell did this become a convo about removable batteries. Lol.

  • Daggett Beaver

    Since it isn’t officially supported, Samsung is going to save gobs of money they would have spent supporting all the problems people have using adoptable storage. IMO, that’s the real reason why it wasn’t included in the options.

    CONSUMER: “Why doesn’t my phone work right now? All I did was replace the microSD card with a bigger one!”
    SAMSUNG: “Call the waaaaambulance, idiot. What you did is not supported.”

    • Apathetic

      Adoptable storage isn’t an abomination, the lowest common denominator is.

  • Kody

    Lol, such a nicely written article.

  • warmonk

    Won’t this destroy the phone’s storage performance? SD card performance is terrible compared to the internal storage.

    • Daggett Beaver

      Adoptable storage is an abomination. I wouldn’t touch it with a 11.5′ pole, and I’m a geek who knows what I’m doing.

  • Jason Robert Austin

    The S7 also got rid of the IR Blaster which is the only reason I’m going to buy the LG G5. If the S7 had an IR Blaster, I would be buying it. DO YOU HEAR ME SAMSUNG???

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    how will it handle os updates?

  • J-mark Rodriguez

    I am having a problem with my burst mode after I did this adoptable SD card trick. The Burst mode in my camera has not functioned and made my phone stuck in camera. Does anyone have the same problem or is it just me? Does anyone has tips to fix it without Factory Resetting my phone?

    • Rubin Chen

      Its not just you. But I don’t think there is a fix. Short of Samsung stepping in I don’t see a fix in the foreseeable future. The sd cards are jsut not meant to handle that kind of speed. and by making it adopted storage, you are forcing the sd card to storage all those photos in a insanely small amount of time. Only way to fix this is for Samsung to update the camera app to give it a longer timeout period.

  • AndroidBrian

    It annoys the shit out of me that Samsung and Sony both eliminated the options to use adoptable storage. WTF! Why not make it a hidden settings option? So a user that wants this feature can easily do it with a little research. The people who aren’t aware about this feature and may not want it, wont stumble across it. Simple as that.

    • Brian Samuel

      Well, I guess the real reason is that they will not be able to sell you higher capacity devices for a higher price

  • Truism

    All I can say is fuck Samsung for actually removing this feature.

    • Apathetic

      I’m against them removing this feature, but I wouldn’t go so far as to fuck them over it. At-least the device internal memory is >16GBs, no matter the version.

  • Justin Reeves

    Has anyone else had an issue with their phone restarting on its own after enabling adoptable storage? I have experienced this twice now as I factory reset my phone after it started the first time, and had no restarts until I enabled it again after about a week.

    • Matt

      I have noticed the same issue. It has restarted 6 times today. Is there any fix for this?

  • David Salomon

    How to move files to adopted storage? OK, so I followed your very clear instruction and it worked great! I now have a 200GB card split into 50/50 – half for a “regular” SD card to hold files, etc. and half for added “internal” memory. I was able to put a lot of my files (DropBox, etc.) into the SD card. I also now have internal memory that is much bigger (woo hoo!!!) I was also able to move all movable applications to the adopted SD card space. Now I want to move some files from the SD card to the adopted portion of the SD card. I’ve actually almost filled up the SD card portion, so I want to move about 11GB of files (a single directory) into the adopted portion of the SD card. However, using “ES File Explorer PRO” (BTW, a GREAT app) the I can’t find the link to the location to move some files from the external SD card to the adopted portion of the SD card. Where do I find that?

    Best regards – David S.