What are the distadvantages of using a memory card in an Android phone instead of relying on internal storage?

Drsunil V May 15, 2014

What is the disadvantage of using a memory card instead of internal storage in Android phone? These days sub-models come in variant of 8 GB , 16 GB. So , instead of picking 16 GB variant , if I choose 8 GB variant , then can I nullify the internal storage deficiency with memory card? If yes , are there disadvantages of memory card over default inbuilt internal storage of a android phone?

  1. Dalsan M
    May 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Most newer Android devices do not allow installation or movement of apps from internal storage to external storage. This is the fault of newer Android versions, not the devices. You can use external storage for your download location, store documents and media files, etc. in order to lessen the amount of used space on your internal storage.

    You can root the device in order to gain the functionality to install and move apps to the external SD card, but then the performance and speed of the apps would be lower and less stable. Either way, the internal storage would be used for most, if not all, apps in some way.

    • Drsunil V
      May 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Even on rooting , the read write speeds from sd card would slow app?

  2. Oron J
    May 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    It has to be said, this is not a bad plan. One disadvantage of relying on the SD card is to do with installation. Many apps will only install by default into the built-in memory. While it may be possible to move them to the external card later, if the app is large then even the initial instllation may not work properly.

    To be fair, if you get a phone with 8GB flash memory built-in and you make sure to keep that relatively clear by moving the contents to the micro-SD card, this probably won't be an issue, certainly not often.

    • Drsunil V
      May 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Please tell , that other than apps and externally downloaded media ( for eg., mp3 files ) which data can knowingly or unknowingly occupy internal storage and minimize it's space availability? In this context , if an app is moved to sd card , but the app data ( which can be in two figure MBs ) would continue occupy internal storage? and what other data?

  3. Hovsep A
    May 16, 2014 at 8:50 am

    the application developer has to allow this feature.

    The ability for your application to install on the external storage is a feature available only on devices running API Level 8 (Android 2.2) or greater. Existing applications that were built prior to API Level 8 will always install on the internal storage and cannot be moved to the external storage (even on devices with API Level 8).
    When the user enables USB mass storage to share files with their computer (or otherwise unmounts or removes the external storage), any application installed on the external storage and currently running is killed. The system effectively becomes unaware of the application until mass storage is disabled and the external storage is remounted on the device.

    • Drsunil V
      May 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      thanks for weblink. do read write speeds differ with both? Please also tell how to keep internal storage free of unnecessary data clutter? the second sub-question is especially to know how in file manager can one know which files point to internal storage and not to other storage. Is there a same folder name for internal storage data for any android device?

    • Hovsep A
      May 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      when you go to settings you should see storage there you can a view.

      Every Android-compatible device supports a shared "external storage" that you can use to save files. This can be a removable storage media (such as an SD card) or an internal (non-removable) storage. Files saved to the external storage are world-readable and can be modified by the user when they enable USB mass storage to transfer files on a computer.

      Internal Storage: Store private data on the device memory.
      External Storage: Store public data on the shared external storage.

      Files that are stored in the device’s memory are saved in the
      The APK itself is placed in the /data/app/ folder
      Android uses the same file construct found in a typical Java application
      On external storage
      /mnt/sdcard/Android/data//files/Pictures can be movies...
      This folder will also be deleted from the external storage when the application is removed from the device

      .apk files are downloaded and stored in subfolders under a location on your device called /data. In order to read/write in that location you have to root your device.

      To write to the SD location permission must be set in the AndroidManifest.xml file.

      there should be storage, sd card and storage, it can be mnt/extSdCard and mnt/SdCard, internal memory but perhaps the name changes with android hardware

      well you can use android cleaners to clean internal storage from clutters

      read/write will be different but not necessarily hindering running applications because developpers are aware they will warn to not install the application on external storage.

      Beginning with API Level 8, you can allow your application to be installed on the external storage (for example, the device's SD card). This is an optional feature you can declare for your application with the android:installLocation manifest attribute. If you do not declare this attribute, your application will be installed on the internal storage only and it cannot be moved to the external storage.

      Apps on SD Card: The Details
      The “Manage Applications” screen in the Settings app now has an “On SD Card” tab. The sizes listed in Manage Applications only include the space taken by the application on internal storage.

  4. Rajaa C
    May 15, 2014 at 11:10 am
    • Susendeep D
      May 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm


      Kindly mention the link to website,else MUO might receive DMCA notice or James Bruce or any other moderator will delete your comment.

    • Susendeep D
      May 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      If you've Kitkat OS,then the behaviors will be different as things have changed on how Android deals with SD cards.See the below article to know in depth about it -


    • Drsunil V
      May 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      @SD : Please specify does sd card read speeds slow apps moved to memory card?

    • Susendeep D
      May 20, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Yes,SD card read/write speed determines the app's performance and hence it's advised to use class 10 SD cards.

    • Drsunil V
      May 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks SD. Are class 10 SD cards read speeds equal to internal storage? Please give example for your ans

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