Android Guide: How To Force Apps to the SD Card Without Rooting!

With the Froyo 2.2 release of android, we also gained the ability to install some* apps to the sd card. This is something that many people wanted to enable us to install more apps and more games than previously possible. However one of the poor features of froyo a2sd is the fact that we can only move those apps to the sd card that the app developer has allowed us to, something many forget to code when releasing their app. There is also the fact that we have to manually click to move apps to the sdcard, when for most of us this is the required default behaviour.

Well, there is actually a way to force your android phone running 2.2 or above to install all apps to your sd card by default, regardless of whether the developer has allowed you to do it or not. Oh, and you do not need be rooted to do this (in fact, there is a much easier way if you are rooted)! Just follow the jump for instructions!



  1. Download the Android SDK from here.
  2. Unzip the contents of this folder somewhere convenient.
  3. Turn on usb debugging on your phone
    1. Settings > applications > Development > Tick USB Debugging

  4. Now plug in your phone to your PC.
  5. Your PC may install the required drivers itself.
  6. If your PC shows you the New Hardware Wizard window, then follow the instructions below:

    1. Download the drivers here:
    2. Unzip the drivers somewhere convenient.
    3. For XP:
      1. Select Install from a list or specific location and click Next
      2. Select Search for the best driver in these locations
      3. Un-check Search removable media
      4. Check Include this location in the search
      5. Click Browse... and locate the folder where you unzipped the drivers zip file
      6. Click Next to install.

    4. For Vista/Win7:

      1. Select Locate and install driver software
      2.  Select Don't search online
      3.  Select I don't have the disk. Show me other options
      4.  Select Browse my computer for driver software
      5. Click Browse... and locate the folder where you unzipped the drivers zip file
      6. Click Next
      7. Click Install to install

  7. Open the folder where you unzipped the android sdk to (the first file you downloaded) and go inside tools folder.
  8. Copy the address of this folder.
  9. Open a new command prompt window:

    1. Press the Windows key + r
    2. Type cmd
    3. Click OK

  10. In this command window type cd 
  11. Now paste in the address of the tools folder you copied in step 7 together with a preceding space

    1. It should look something like cd C:android-sdk-windowstools

  12. Press enter.
  13. Now type adb shell and press enter.
  14. There should now be a $ or a # sign.
  15. Type pm setInstallLocation 2
  16. Unplug your phone and restart it.
  17. From now on every app you install will be installed to the sd card by default!!

But... [READ ME]

There was actually a reason behind google not installing all apps to the sdcard by default. That reason is because some apps will not work properly if they are installed on the sd card. You need to be aware of this because if you don't know, then those apps will start to break and malfunction. Apps that fall into this category are those that require a background service running all times, and ALL widgets.

So, twitter, instant messages, any app with a widget and also launcher replacements hyave to be manually moved back to the internal memory, or they will break. So, just the same way as you used to move apps to the sd card, simply do the opposite and move the apps similar to what I have described back to the internal memory.

Any issues please leave a comment, good luck!