Quick tip: Moving non-moveable Android Apps onto your SD Card

Just came across this problem recently.  My phone’s internal memory is rapidly filling up and I’ve moved all the apps I could onto the SD Card.  But some, including the biggest, Adobe Air, are unable to be moved this way.

There is a way around this, but the instructions on this site – webkitchen.be – left me a bit confused.  A couple of important steps for the moderate user were left out.

So here’s my version of the same guide:

  • Download and install the Android SDK from here
  • Set your phone to USB Debugging by going to the Applications menu and choosing Development.
  • Connect your phone via USB to your Windows PC.
  • Open a ‘cmd’ window from your start menu –  (in the search box, type ‘cmd’)
  • Mine opened with the following: “C:\Users\GQuince>
  • You now have to ‘navigate’ to the SDK folder in DOS.
  • To do this, type “cd folderpath”  – don’t type folderpath, type the actual path to the folder, eg Downloads\android-sdk_r06-windows\android-sdk-windows\tools

UPDATE:   The latest version of Android sdk has moved the adb program from tools to platform-tools.  New address is Downloads\android-sdk_r06-windows\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools.

  • You need to end up in the tools folder of the Android SDK.
  • Once you’re in this folder, type the following, then hit return:

adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2

  • adb is the program you’re wanting to run.  The rest are the details telling the program what to do.  This is why you needed DOS to be in the same folder.  Personally, I think this is a crucial step that delayed me about 30 minutes trying to figure out.
  • Once you’ve done this, you can now move almost any App to your SD card.  So far, I’ve only moved Adobe Air, but that has freed up about 16 Mb.
  • I followed the original posters advice, and typed this into the cmd window to reset everything, “adb shell pm setInstallLocation 0“. 
  • And don’t move Adobe Flash, as the internet browsers do need quick access to that.

This is a problem that’s going to disappear quite quickly as newer phones are coming out with much larger internal memory.  But it’s been a huge benefit to me, as I have another year at least with my HTC Desire.

This has worked for me and looking at the original tutorial’s comments, it’s worked for a lot of other people too, but dont blindly do this without thinking first.  I can’t and won’t take responsibilty for you breaking your phone.  Ultimately, if my phone had stopped working, I wouldn’t have known how to fix it, but I know how to use the internet to find out how.  Do you?


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