How to Install Apps to SD Card Without Android Rooting

January 16, 2012
51 19 67

    For some users, rooting is the only way to go. It gives you root access to flash custom ROMs to your device and a number of other cool features. Unfortunately, rooting does void the warranty of your device and the only way to get it back is to restore your phone’s stock software. For those of you who want to try more apps, but aren’t willing to root your phone, there’s an alternative for you. It is possible to install apps on your device’s SD card without rooting your phone.

    Requirements

    Before you begin, you’ll need to have a few things:

    • You need to move all your applications from your SD card to your phone memory, so that your data will not be lost or corrupted in the process.
    • Download the Java Development Kit (JDK) onto your computer and install it.
    • Download the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) onto your computer and install it.
    • Make sure that your device’s PC Suite has been installed on your computer.
    • Enable USB Debugging on your device through the path “Settings> Applications > Development > USB Debugging”
    • Disable your firewall and antivirus tools on your computer, as they might interrupt the process.

    Instructions

    Once you’ve got all of these, you may now proceed to installing apps on your SD Card:

    1. After installing both the Java SDK and the Android SDK, run a tool called Android SDK Manager. To do that, you need to open a command prompt, switch to the directory where the Android SDK is installed, and issue the command “android” (without the quotes). Android SDK Manager will start.
    2. In Android SDK Manager, click the “Tools” tab and check whether both “Android SDK Tools” and “Android SDK Platform-tools” are installed. Both need to be installed.
    3. If both items are already installed, close Android SDK Manager.
    4. Connect your device to the computer with the USB Cable.
    5. On the command prompt, switch to the /platform-tools folder inside the folder where the Android SDK is installed.
    6. Issue the “adb devices” command (without the quotes) to check if your phone is properly connected and recognized by your computer. The command will show you the list of attached devices.
    7. If your phone has been properly recognized, issue the command “adb shell pm getInstallLocation” (without the quotes) to see the current install location. It will show one of the following three values:
      • 0 [auto]: Let the phone decide the best location for an app
      • 1 [internal]: It installs everything in the internal storage
      • 2 [external]: It installs everything in the memory card
    8. By default, the install location is set to 0 [auto]. We will need to change the value from 0 to 2, so that the installation happens on your SD card. On the command prompt, issue the command “adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2″ (without the quotes).
    9. If there are no error messages, unplug the phone and restart it. Once it restarts, you’ll be able to easily install applications to your SD card.

    Congratulations! You can now install apps to your phone’s SD card even if your phone is not rooted.

    Comments

    • Watts1971

      Or you could just download “apps 2 sd” from the market.

      • http://twitter.com/ChristianGirl_4 Sara Christopher

        does this work? I downloaded it so i’m hoping i dont get that phone memory full notification again

    • Tetrakhan

      Does this process move all of he apps to the SD card like would happen if one used a ROM that has APP2SD built in or does this just move the apps that are programmed to be moved. Since the Apps 2 SD apps that are available in the market only move the apps that already allow it for non-rooted phones I’m checking to to see if this does all of the apps and whether or not it requires a separate partition of EXT2/3/4 placed on the SD card?

    • Kendra Leigh Neese

      I cannot get the command prompt to open, is their anyway you could help me?

    • MUNLYT

      tnx …..it work on my phone :)

    • Manthan9311

      Great !!
      It works.

      • Aizawa

        When I go to program files and open the sdk folder and platform tools and try to run the adb.exe file it pop opens and scrolls so fast i cant see anything and it closes XD what did you do? I am stuck on step number 6 :-/ help!

      • Agent Sheikh

        which phone do u use

    • Mint

      What is the command prompt im lost XD

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ir-ArePiz-Sham/100002108667249 Ir ArePiz Sham

        Just do like this… click “Ctrl+r” on your keybord.. write “cmd”(without the quote).. then u will know what command prompt it’s…

    • Al

      Didn’t work for my Galaxy s2. Got the adb pm command to work, read the existing value and changed it to 2. After re-booting I installed an app from the market and nothing had changed. I was expecting a prompt, but nothing happened. Changed the setting back again.

    • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

      Android is a fucking fail why the fuck doesn’t it just do it automatically? And why the fuck isn’t there just an option in setting. Why do I need a PC? And what’s the fucking point in having an SD card slot if its this useless?

      • abid

        why don’t you fuck your mom?

      • lollo

        it is the developers fault,dude…

      • breadstix

        Dear troll…
        Android is an open source software. You wanna change?
        Do of yourself. If an elementary student can see that, then I don’t wan to know what you do for a life. Probably trolls about android

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ir-ArePiz-Sham/100002108667249 Ir ArePiz Sham

      Doesnt work for me… im using galaxy tab p1000 :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ayaan-Mohammed/100002886927525 Ayaan Mohammed

      is the any software for installing multple apk file at once

    • Varunbhudeka

      Please attach the SDK and JDK or please tell where can i find both these files

    • Pearsefinnerty2

      You have no idea the trouble and time this has caused me. This is the guide ive been looking for. every other one has pieces missing and the cmd didnt work. This did the trick thank you so much :)

    • Moeding

      Did everything, restarted and same as before…. =(

    • Marildo

      It doesn’t work for me too!
      Motorola XT317
      Android 2.3.7
      adb shell pm getInstallLocation
      adb: permission denied

    • Geek Squad

      initially I had an issue getting the driver to install, even after downloading the google usb driver from the sdk manager, and selecting it with my computer. I used PdaNet to force it to install the driver, then the rest worked. you can download PdaNet here http://www.junefabrics.com/android/download.php. No I’m not a spammer, just trying to help.

    • Anna

      Thank you sooooooo much! Works for huawei ascend 2

    • Febi

      Hi…I own Motorola Charm with Android 2.1 Eclair.
      I want to install apps directly to the SD Card due to low internal memory.
      I know a method of Installing apps directly to the SD Card. But that requires Rooting, Using Universal Androot App along with Astrofile amanager?

      But I’m looking for installing apps to SD Card without Rooting and I came to this page.
      So Does the above method you mentioned without Rooting works for Motorola Charm?
      Anyone successful !!!!
      Any help will be really appreciated :)

      Pls reply to my email id febi_online@yahoo.com

    • Febi

      Hi…I own Motorola Charm with Android 2.1 Eclair.
      I want to install apps directly to the SD Card due to low internal memory.
      I know a method of Installing apps directly to the SD Card. But that requires Rooting, Using Universal Androot App along with Astrofile manager?

      But I’m looking for installing apps to SD Card without Rooting and I came to this page.
      So Does the above method you mentioned without Rooting works for Motorola Charm?
      Anyone successful on Motorola Charm !!!!
      Any help will be really appreciated :)

      Pls reply to my email id febi_online@yahoo.com

    • mr_unknowns

      Not working with me; It can’t find my attached device. I’m using S3 4.0.4

      Any other way to do this????

    • lit

      can’t install Android SDK Platform-tools!

      Preparing to install archives
      Downloading Android SDK Platform-tools, revision 11
      Failed to create directory C:Program FilesAndroidandroid-sdktemp
      Done. Nothing was installed.
      Preparing to install archives
      Downloading Android SDK Platform-tools, revision 11
      File not found: C:Program FilesAndroidandroid-sdktempplatform-tools_r11-windows.zip (Access is denied)
      Done. Nothing was installed.
      Preparing to install archives
      Downloading Android SDK Platform-tools, revision 11
      File not found: C:Program FilesAndroidandroid-sdktempplatform-tools_r11-windows.zip (Access is denied)
      Done. Nothing was installed.

      • Tessa

        Before you open the SDK program right click and hit “Run as Administrator” it just needs the permissions to write to your HDD. :]

    • Nyakiz

      Followed instructions to the letter. Did not work for me after rebooting the phone. Using galaxy S3.

    • Vi

      Dear friend,
      I have 60GB of free space on my SDcard and it’s FAT-formatted.
      After performing this action, device is showing, that there is no space left, when trying to install applications. In my user manual (GT-i9300) they say, I cannot use any file system, other than FAT. I think, this might be the problem, because FAT is not a linux file system.
      Why does device states, that there is no space, when there is 60GB of free space in reality?

      Thank you.

    • Lunatikzx@hotmail.com

      I did the procedure onmy tablet and i set it back to 0 bsince then i cannot install any app on my tablet . It install but it says app not installed when i try to use it . Any hint on the issue

    • vignes karthic

      sir im planning to buy xperia neo which has low internal memory…..does this method works…pls tell me…:)

    • Traindriverrob

      Thanks for this, I’ve managed to more some of my apps, but Facebook, Youtube, Adobe Flash Player still reside on the phone memory. Can I move these onto the SD card? Thanks

    • tristam15

      I had to use get-install-location and set-install-location to make it work.

      Hope it helps.

      I use Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V.

    • x13man

      Muchas gracias… funciona perfecto

    • saqisaqi

      Worked for me thans a lot.My model: samsuns galaxt ace GT-S5830i android 2.3.6

    • JW

      Thanks a bunch, works well with my Acer Iconia A100 tablet. Saving me a lot of storage grief.

    • http://www.facebook.com/crazyswap Swapnil Shah

      stuck on step 5.. need help

    • janrei

      Any good news if this works on an ICS os?
      I need to install apps on my external sd card too!
      help us please :(

    • fancy_girl

      tnx a lot!!! works on my
      Samsung GT-S5570I

    • http://www.facebook.com/keshin.lee Keshin Lee

      Cannot do it in samsung galaxy note GT-N7000. i don’t found usb driver.. please help me.

    • flyingirl

      Worked for my Sony Xperia Ray, still some apps could not be moved, but I did with most of them

    • Alecc

      this trick can be applied in alcatel OT 918M?

      Because i want to set it to default the app installation in sd,

    • Blastoise444

      weak

    • Riel Lord

      I tried this method a few times and it works, but after I reset my phone yesterday and will use this method again, I’m stuck up. While in command prompt, I cannot find the adb devices folder so I cannot proceed.. Maybe anyone out there can help me? Thanks! Using HTC Explorer

    • kgk

      hi i have installed jdk & sdk both… i hv followed all the spteps u have asked for..
      but command prompt is neither responding to nor to command. pls guide me i have invested a lot of time to come upto this step……..

    • kgk

      hi
      even after installing all. cmd is not responding to “adb systems” “adb shell pm getInstallLocation” commands. pls help me. i hv invested a lot of time and efforts to come upto here.

    • Osama

      I followed all steps and it didn’t show any error message after changing the location at 2 . But still can’t install heavy apps due to insufficient storage on device :/
      I checked it again by giving command in cmd to check the current location it show “2 [external] .
      Please help me

    • superstudd

      my device cannot be detected….plzz help :(

    • gv888

      Some apps need to be installed on the internal memory, apps like Anivirus or widgets. otherwise they could crash or work not properly

    • ani

      followed all steps but still applications installing in internal memmory,,any way?

    • http://www.facebook.com/milordk Александр К

      Android 4.0.4 Samsung Tab 2 P3110 – parametr set but not work…

    • droid user

      What if i have htc one x withou card

    • arcade

      It works on samsung galaxy s3 mini?

      • Muhammad Anas

        without rooting??

      • Richard Galeteanu

        no

    • http://www.facebook.com/aids132 Adrian Ampong

      help.. how about if i didn’t install SDK, i downloaded a .zip file. i don’t know how to use command prompt to open the files but i can see SDK manager.exe, and the platform-tool folder, it’s included in my .zip file. i cant find the files using cmd.exe therefore i can’t issue the command.. please help..

      • http://www.facebook.com/aids132 Adrian Ampong

        i more question. is there any possibility that i will brick my phone if i did this??

    • Joshi

      it is giving an error message on step 7….though it is showing all the three option 0 1 2 the next step to change the default download location is also giving an error any suggestions

    • Richard Galeteanu

      This work on 4.1.1?

    • hotscafy

      dear fellows Android user, I tried the above instruction and didn’t work from step 7. This is what i did:

      when the instruction ask to input this command on cmd it give me an error saying unknow error:
      adb shell pm getInstallLocation

      so i use this command instead:

      adb shell pm get-install-location

      The same work with set:

      adb shell pm set-install-location 2

    • sunike
    • sunike
    • Buufff

      Hi!

      Tell me please how i can install apps in sdcard2(micro sd)?

      adb shell pm set-install-location 2 not working because my phone usb memory is sd card original.How i can install apps in micro sd(sdcard2)?

    • yuiyu

      this shit doesnt work

    • Satish Kumar

      Thanks for the info.Can I know if this works for android 4.x also?

    • Daniel

      Hello. I have followed every step and everything goes well, but when I check my phone I still can’t move apps to the sd card. I am using an LG Optimus L9 and this phone only has 4gb of memory. I really need help.

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