Can memory cards compensate for Android internal storage?

Drsunil V May 28, 2014

Can memory cards compensate for mediocre internal storage for a Android device?

  1. Dalsan M
    June 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    In order for an SD card to be used in place of or in conjunction with the internal storage (for Android devices running 4.0.4 and higher), the phone must be rooted, the SD card must have two primary partitions, and the read/write permission settings in the system files must be modified to allow external SD storage to be used for installing apps and data. This, unfortunately, does not always work; extra modifications must occur to make it work.

    This is a big part of the reason many more people decide to void their warranty and root their devices. The rise in people trying to root their device also created a rise in devices becoming bricked or sent in for repairs as users either chose the wrong methods to use, did not follow instructions, tried to update their device while being rooted, etc. Unless Google decides to allow external storage to be used as people were used to prior to Ice Cream Sandwich update, and/or the manufacturers stop using low amounts of internal user storage, things will not get any better.

    • Drsunil V
      June 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      thank you. i read your reply carefully and was absorbed reading the reply. Please tell , is 4.0.4 AND LESS allow apps to move to SD card? and having less internal storage in newer versions would mean less apps allowed to be installed?

    • Dalsan M
      June 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Some versions of 4.0.3 and most versions below were capable of moving and installing apps to an external SD card as the permission settings and setup were set up for doing so. Android 4.1 had several changes that broke the capability, at least natively.

      Having lower internal storage space without the capability to move apps to an external SD card, or even internal user storage (usually called internal SD storage and is separate from the system storage area where apps are installed) means that app installation is very limited. The number of apps deeply depends on the size of the application and any application data associated with it that cannot be stored on an external SD card. Lower storage space means lower amounts of applications that can be installed.

    • Drsunil V
      June 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      I understand. Do the higher versions in this discussion ( eg., jelly bean / kit kat ) , allow browser and app ( Dropbox , G.Drive ) downloads to be stored in sd card?

    • Dalsan M
      June 7, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      As far as I know, and if the app settings are setup to do so, the downloads and other data can be stored on external SD cards in Android 4.0.4 and up. However, some people mentioned that updating to Kit Kat (4.4) from a lower version without reinstalling certain apps (such as the camera or music apps) breaks the ability for these apps to store or see items on an external SD card. If this happens, one either has to uninstall and reinstall the apps, or factory reset the device after updating the Android version. Future updates may make further changes, either for the better or worse.

  2. Susendeep D
    May 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    For most part,NO.

    Recently updated apps for Kitkat OS will store data in internal memory so as to avoid data deletion when they would get uninstalled.There's also push from Google to use internal memory too.Big sized apps like GB sized games will take more space.In such scenarios,whatever size SD card you use,won't help you to gain space for your phone.

    So,in conclusion,priority must be given to internal memory space.

    • Drsunil V
      June 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      thanks. and internal memory takes approx how much space by itself before providing for apps? in percentage , or say 16 GB Dell Venue 7 tab with version 4.3 , how much free internal storage is available for user?

    • Susendeep D
      June 10, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Free space of internal memory depends upon manufacturer on how much additional features in the form of apps(referred to as bloatware) they install in the device.Generally for 16 GB device,you might get 12 GB space.

  3. Hovsep A
    May 29, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    yap you can move there some files (movies, pictures, docs...) in order to gain space,
    -Apps must not be allowed to write to secondary external storage devices, except in their package-specific directories as allowed by synthesized permissions. Restricting writes in this way ensures the system can clean up files when applications are uninstalled.

    • Drsunil V
      June 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks. Are you sure? I mean , the option of move app to sd card is there in kitkat or in versions higher than icecream

    • Hovsep A
      June 9, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      How KitKat 4.4 Killed Android — And Google Keeps Screwing Things

      KitKat and SD cards — what's fixed, what's broken and what's misunderstood
      That has all changed, and now third-party applications — as in ones you download from Google Play or elsewhere — can only write to files and folders that they have created or have taken ownership of.

      SDFix: KitKat Writable MicroSD
      [APP][4.4][ROOT] SDFix: Modify device permissions to allow apps to write to MicroSD

    • Dr.sunil V
      June 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks for reply. Please tell , do you mean media files and browser downloads can be stored on sd card , but not apps? If yes , is it true that feature of apps before upgrading to kitkat disabled for moving to external card and apps after upgrade to kitkat enabled to directly store on external card?

    • Hovsep A
      June 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      Since Android 4.4. (KitKat) Google limited the way for applications to write data to external SD cards. you have to use file manager to transfer files to external sd card like ES File Explorer

      What are the changes to SD card support in Android 4.4 (KitKat)?

      Beginning with Android 4.4, these permissions are not required if you're reading or writing only files that are private to your app
      If you are handling files that are not intended for other apps to use (such as graphic textures or sound effects used by only your app), you should use a private storage directory on the external storage by calling getExternalFilesDir().
      on KitKat third party applications are generally not allowed to write to the External SD card, but they are still allowed to write to a special, "application specific" folder on the External SD card. You can use this "application specific" folder, for downloading and storing episodes. The problem is if you download to this "application specific" folder on the External SD card and then decide to uninstall the main application then everything will be deleted, this is why it is recommended to download to the internal storage. Now if you decide to transfer your files to the internal storage using the application setting, the application will proceed the files transfer to the internal storage but will not be able to delete the old folder because it is READ ONLY, so you have to do it manually like attaching to pc or mac and deleting from there.
      External Storage Technical Information

      so after installing an application a specifically designated folder is created on the external sd card where you can download files there, android files managers can extract archives and move files there.

      some applications like TuneSync will detect external sd card if inserted and write there automatically

    • Dr.sunil V
      June 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm


  4. Oron J
    May 29, 2014 at 9:15 am
    • Drsunil V
      May 30, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Dear, thanks for endeavoring to weblink 'pretty same' query. Please note that though the earlier query is 'pretty similar' , it is 'subtlely different' , because advantage of internal storage over external card would not necessarily tell whether external card can compensate for the advantage.

  5. Rajaa C
    May 29, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Since Android IceCream Sandwich version, android has disabled the feature to move apps to the external SD card just like WP8 cannot. Earlier version could do that, just like the feature introduced in WP8.1 . So it seems Android and WP OS are just going the opposite direction with this feature in the progressive version of it's OS. :P However, if you Android version is before ICS, you would be able to move some apps also along with storing data (music, photos, documents, etc.) in the external SD, otherwise if the android version is ICS or higher, you would be able to use it for storing and acessing data only.

    • Drsunil V
      May 30, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Do you mean kitkat does not allow downloaded photos , audio , video , cam media , email attachments to external card?

    • Rajaa Chowdhury
      May 31, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Noy used KitKat, shifted to WP8 OS by that time. Though not supported in ICS or JellyBean. Was supported before ICS.

    • Drsunil V
      June 9, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      thanks. I voted your answer as plus 1

  6. Simo Z
    May 28, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    yeah you can

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