How to move apps to the microSD card, and why you shouldn't do it

Although it seemed a feature almost missing from the mobile landscape, support for microSD cards is back to stay. More and more manufacturers are betting on this system to offer users of their terminals the possibility of expanding the internal storage capacity.

One of the “advantages” offered by Android, in addition, is that it is possible to move applications to the SD card , thus freeing up mobile storage space and leaving enough space for the system, documents, music, movies or any type of file. But is it really an advantage to be able to install apps on the microSD? Yes and no.

Move applications to the microSD, why you shouldn’t do it

Let us start from the point that, today, a mid-high-end or high-end smartphone can have an internal flash memory UFS 2.0, 2.1 or eMMC 5.1 . These types of technologies offer writing speeds of more than 500 Mbps - up to 750 in the case of UFS 2.1 - and more than 150 Mbps of writing. This makes this type of memory perfect for installing applications and running them almost instantaneously, with hardly any load times - it will depend, of course, on how well optimized the software is, and on the other specifications of the phone in question.

What happens with microSD cards? While it is true that there are technologies such as UHS-III in external cards, which achieve transfer speeds of more than 600 Mbps, most users , without being willing to pay a third of the price of their mobile for such a card , end up opting for memories of Class 2, 4, 6 8 or 10, much more affordable ... and much slower .

Choosing a card not suitable for the installation of applications, therefore, would result in a disastrous user experience, with high loading times when installing, running or uninstalling applications , since the transfer speed will be much lower, in In most cases, you can get the internal flash memory.

If you want to use yes or yes an SD card to move applications on Android , the best thing to do is, in the case of low-end or mid-range smartphones, opt for a card with UHS-I technology and A1 technology. An interesting option would be the following:

On the other hand, in the case of a current high-performance smartphone, it would be advisable to choose a microSD card with UHS-II and A1 technology , so as not to provide too much speed loss when installing applications on it, and even UHS- III as soon as the first models begin to go on sale.

How to move apps to microSD on Android

Starting Android 6.0 Marshmallow

As of Android 6.0, Google introduced the possibility of installing applications natively on the microSD card , as a measure for those with reduced-performance terminals, with 8 or 16 GB of internal storage.

The recommended first step to move applications to the microSD is to format it to ensure optimal operation from minute one . It is possible to carry out this process from a computer, or directly from the mobile, through the application of settings, in the “Storage” section.

Once this is done, we can proceed to move applications to the SD card . To do this, follow these steps:

  • Access the System Settings application , and then the “Applications” section - from Android 8, under “Settings and notifications” -.
  • Select the desired application, and the “Change” button will appear at the top. Click on it and choose “microSD Card ”.
  • Once the app data has been transferred to the microSD card, “SD card” appears in the header of the main settings panel of the app, instead of “Internal storage”. It is necessary to comment, of course, that some apps do not offer the possibility of moving your data in external storage.

In a version before Marshmallow

If you want to move applications to the SD card in an older version than Marshmallow, such as Lollipop or KitKat **, the thing gets complicated. In order to transfer applications to external storage, it will be necessary to have superuser or root permissions . Each one, of course, will have to decide if it compensates to go through this process, and do so by following the corresponding steps for each device.

Once the rooting process is under way , the ease of the process does not improve, precisely. The second step is to create different partitions on the card , one of which will be used to store applications and their data. To do this, it will be necessary to connect the card to a computer, and use a program like MiniTool Partition Wizard , available to download for free.

With the SD card connected to the computer, if we run the previously downloaded and installed program, it will recognize it automatically. The next step will be to format the card - and therefore, delete all data. To do this, you must right click on the graphic bar that refers to the storage available on the card, and click on the “Delete” option , and once finished, perform the same steps but click on “Create” .

A new menu will appear in which to select the partition parameters. In this case, since we are creating the partition for data storage, we must choose the “Primary” option, to proceed to create the primary partition, and select “FAT32” in the file system section - “File System” - . The program will also ask us to give this partition a name, and finally, it is enough to choose the specific size of the partition through the sliding bar that appears at the bottom of the window.

Once the partition for data is created, it is time to do the same with the app partition. Simply repeat the previous process, right-clicking / Create on the space without occupying the card - in the app it will appear as “Unallocated” -. The difference with respect to the previous process, lies in the type of file system that we are going to choose, being Ext2 in case the device has a cooked ROM - that is, it is not based on “stock” -, and Ext3 or Ext4 if the ROM is the native one, or based on “stock” . After closing the window by clicking on “Ok”, we can click on “Apply” to apply all the changes made.

We have already completed all the necessary steps in the mentioned program, so we can return to the smartphone or tablet. Now, to be able to move the applications to the secondary partition that we have created previously, we must use an application that allows us, such as Link2SD - free on Google Play - , available for free on Google Play, although it requires superuser permissions.

Once downloaded and installed, when opening the app and granting the relevant permissions, we must select the secondary partition, destined for the applications, selecting the file system with which it has been formatted –Ext2, Ext3 or Ext4 as appropriate–. Once this is done, the application itself will show us a warning indicating that it is necessary to restart the phone. However, if you have chosen the wrong file system, you will have to format the card and repeat the process again.

Finally, once the device has been restarted, we must reopen the application, and select those apps that we want to move from the internal storage to the microSD card.

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