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Does moving an application to the SD card negatively influence I/O performance of the app or of Android in any way, in particular loading times?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Quoting from @Chahk's answer to another question:

Longer boot-up and shut-down times when the system mounts/un-mounts all of the apps stored on SD Card. Apps that were moved to SD Card are not stored in plain sight to prevent rampant piracy. Instead, Android sets aside some space and creates a virtual partition for each app that you move. This means that at the initial boot-up, all these virtual partitions need to be mounted before apps stored on them can be accessed. The same holds true when you turn the handset off - each virtual partition is un-mounted before other shutdown processes can happen. Depending on the number of installed apps this can take an extra minute or even longer for the system to "stabilize" upon boot-up (and about 20 extra seconds for shutting down.) Once this happens though, launching these apps doesn't take any longer than those on internal memory.

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Thanks, didn't know this. I wish @Chahk also had put a reference link there. –  roxan Apr 16 '12 at 3:53
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Security and Performance Implications

The application resources stored on external storage are read-only and hence there are no performance issues with loading or launching applications on SD card.

From: http://android-developers.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/apps-on-sd-card-details.html

The post is written by a 'Suchi Amalapurapu, an engineer who worked on this feature.' The feature being the ability to put apps onto the SD card.

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Why external storage being read-only the reason why launching an application isn't slower? I would have assumed that reading performance is more important for that. –  Erik Apr 14 '12 at 17:06
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In my experience there has been little or any perceptible performance problem. I was having a really annoying experience managing my memory with my Nexus One. I used S2E to migrate and have not looked back. Amazing to be able to not have to delete apps just to install new ones.

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I think that moving apps from internal to external does not affect the performance.

But it does add on an extra few milliseconds to open the app from external storage instead of in internal storage. mileage will vary from device to device, depending on speed, Android version etc

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