Android: How to force apps to SD card, without rooting

Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2012 by Admin in Labels: ,

 This post is not for the sake of one blog post or not to show that I am an android geek. As an android novice I have searched a lot to change the default installation location on my android to SD card. I found many links and spent around 2 hours to do the 2-3 mins task since I found a lot of errors when I tried the steps. So I just wanna share the steps with my friends.

This post is not for you android geeks, you may close this tab now itself. This post is for the laymen, who don't know how to root an android device or those who don't have the courage to root their phone.
Disclaimer: The steps mentioned below is what I got from different android forums and that worked on my android phone LG Optimus (ginger bread).

(Don't use the quotes in below mentioned commands, Download and install the device specific usb drivers before following the below steps)

1. Install Java sdk on your windows pc. (It worked on my Windows 7 without doing this step)

2. Download android sdk. (link: ) and extract the zip file to your pc.

3. Download platform tools zip file to android-sdk-winodows folder (move this folder to the android sdk folder extracted in step 2)

Check whether adb.exe is present inside the platform-tools folder.

4. Enable Usb debugging mode in your phone (goto "settings>applications>development>USB debugging )

5. Connect your phone using data cable. (check the status bar of your phone to see whether the phone is connected in debugging mode or not)

6. Open the command prompt in windows ( press windows +R key and type cmd in 'run' window. [In windows 7 , just search for cmd.exe n open it])

7. Open the platform-tools folder you extracted in step 3 and copy the path.

8. In command prompt type "cd" (without quotes) put a space and then paste the path and press enter

9. Now type adb devices and press enter.
   You can see the connected device info.

   If you couldn't find any device listed, just go to device manager (right click on my computer>manage) and see whether your phone is listed in the hardwares installed. Or if there is a yellow exclamatory mark present on your phones name, download the device specific USB driver. (in most of the cases, drivers get installed along with the pc suite software itself)

10. If you can find a device (denoted by some numerics), type
"adb shell pm getInstallLocation" and enter

 [I have read in some forum, the above command is not working in the case of devices like sony experia (ICS) , so just google for it and use the right one]

It will give you a result 0[auto] ; that means the phone is deciding the best install location.

1[internal] means internal memory being used as the default location, so as 2[external] for external memmory card.

11. Now run the command "adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2" to set the default install location as your SD card. 

If there is no error message restart the phone and use.


  1. If you find any problem to launch any of the apps installed in your SD card, just move it to the phone memmory using 'app2SD'app or using the default application manager in your device.

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