How To Fix Installation Errors For Updates On Your Phone [Android]

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android installation errorAndroid lovers know how it goes. The phone works beautifully until one day it just….doesn’t. Errors pop up and you’re left scouring Internet forums trying to find a fix that will work for you. Today we’ve done that for you and pulled together a list of all the reliable fixes you can try.

You’re probably reading this because you’ve seen a niggling error message popping up when you’ve tried to install application updates, saying “Installation Error: Couldn’t install on USB Storage or SD Card” or possibly “Error -18 Unknown”. This error is apparently caused when you’ve started installing an application and then lost Internet access in the meantime. One temporary little file got left on your SD card in the process and never got deleted. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to fix.

Please note, you may get a similar message if your SD card is full, so check that this isn’t your problem before you continue reading.

android installation error

The Non-Technical Temporary Fix

If you don’t have any tech skills (or don’t have any time spare) this is a hack that will suffice for a while. All you do is move that application back to the phone before you try to update. Once it’s updated you can move it back to the SD card and use it as per usual.

The Rooted Phone Fix

This method will only work if you have a rooted phone. Using a file manager application like Astro or Root Explorer, navigate to either /sdcard/.android_secure or /mnt/secure/asec/ and delete the file called smdl2tmp1.asec from the folder. This will be invisible on non-rooted phones.

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android app install error

The Windows Fix

Set your phone to mount as a USB Disc Drive when connected to a PC. Alternatively, unmount your SD card from your phone and put the card into an SD card reader connected to your computer.

android app install error

Ensure that your file manager is set to view hidden files. On a Windows machine you should be able to press CTRL-H. Then navigate to your SD card and delete the file called smdl2tmp1.asec from either the /sdcard/.android_secure or /mnt/secure/asec/ folder.

The Mac Finder Fix

The steps for the Mac Finder fix are the same as for the Windows fix, however viewing hidden files is a little different.

To view hidden files, Mac users will need to use Terminal (found in Applications > Utilities) to run a quick command.

From anywhere in your file system, type this to view hidden files:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

Then you’ll need to restart finder. Press CMD-OPTION-ESC to bring up the “Force Quit Applications” dialogue, highlight Finder and click on Restart.

android installation error

To revert this and hide hidden files again, use this command in Terminal and restart Finder again:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles NO

The Unix / Mac Terminal Fix

The steps for the Unix command line (also Mac Terminal) fix are essentially the same as for the Windows fix, but you’ll either need to know the name of your SD card or be able to navigate your way to the file by following your nose in order to work out what the SD card is called.

If you haven’t changed it, your SD card is probably called “No Name“, but you might like to check a GUI file manager to check what it is called.

Given the two possible locations of the file, you should be able to get rid of it by using one of these commands:

 rm /Volumes/NO\ NAME/.android_secure/smdl2tmp1.asec
 rm /Volumes/NO\ NAME/mnt/secure/asec/smdl2tmp1.asec

Obviously, if your SD card is not called “No Name” you’ll need to replace that part of the command, ensuring the backslashes go before spaces.

More Android Reading

Here’s some more great posts you might like:

Have you fixed any similar errors on your Android? What did you do?

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