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I have an Acer Iconia One 7 tablet running Android 4.4.2. I've plugged an external SD card in it, and kind of expected that I could now "save" my data, such as my apps, pictures and videos, onto this SD card. The most easy solution I found was this button (which I don't have):

(Click the image to enlarge it)

IMG

After going through some forums, the most used solution I ran into is rooting your device and using some kind of app which makes the SD card writable.

My problem with that is, it's not user friendly at all, plus you might break the device (and lose your warranty).

Is there any user-friendly or one time setup way, to make it so that you can move your apps to the SD card or make the SD card the standard install location without having to root your device?

  • @Izzy Alright, thank you. And how do I install APP2SD? I haven't seen it in the app store. – Bas Jul 13 '15 at 8:48
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    See your own screenshot :) At the very bottom, there's a button labeled "Move to SD card" – that's App2SD. Apart from that, take a look into our app2sd tag-wiki. And see my answer below. Time to cleanup comments now (please delete the first 3, they're obsolete now). Good luck with your device and its storage! – Izzy Jul 13 '15 at 9:02
  • Thanks for this question. I actually do see that button for some apps on Android 4.4.2, such as OsmAnd, Snapchat and Telegram (but not WhatsApp, Google Play services, Chrome and others). I guess that, for security, each app has to decide what data to allow moving to the SD card (where it will be less protected by password, encryption and so on), and if they don't whitelist any data then you can't move the app at all. – Nemo Aug 11 '16 at 13:04
  • @Izzy you better read his question first. "The most easy solution I found was this button (WHICH I DON'T HAVE):" (caps are mine). – Fran Marzoa Mar 29 '18 at 17:12
  • @FranMarzoa Ooops – my bad, and my apologies. Screw the first line of that comment, but the remaining part stays valid, though ;) – Izzy Mar 29 '18 at 18:16
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With Kitkat your chances for a "complete solution" without rooting are pretty much zero: the Android project has definitely screwed up here. No apps get full access to the external SD card, which rendered a lot of them unusable:

  • file managers: you cannot use them to manage your external SD card. In most areas, they can only read but not write
  • media apps: you cannot retag/re-organize your media collection any longer, as those apps cannot write to it
  • office apps: pretty much the same

The only place 3rd party apps are allowed to write on your external card are "their own directories" (i.e. /sdcard/Android/data/<package_name_of_the_app>). The only ways to really fix that require either the manufacturer (some of them fixed it, e.g. Huawei with their Kitkat update for the P6) – or root (see my list of Other storage media tools for examples.

If you do not want to go the latter way (), and the former way (fix by manufacturer) is not available, you can only do minimal things on Kitkat:

  • use (which seems to be available on your device) to swap-out parts of your apps. This requires the corresponding apps to explicitly support App2SD, and only will "swap out" parts of the apps themselves; other parts of the app, including all its data, will remain in internal storage
  • set your "default install location" to your SD card (see: Installing to SDCard by default). This will automate App2SD for all your new installations.

Apart from that, you could only hope and wait for a Lollipop update – which will not completely fix the issue, but at least slightly defuse it.

As long as you don't hit any storage limits, you might be mostly fine. Nevertheless, I recommend you already familiarize yourself with potential solutions for the day your data "hit the roof", so you won't be forced to "act in a hurry" then.

Further readings:

Other Questions with answers on "kitkat sd-card write" on our site, especially: Workaround for Android 4.4 not being able to write to SD cards?

  • I haven't seen APP2SD on the play store though, is this normal when i dont have my device rooted? – Bas Jul 13 '15 at 9:10
  • There are "App2SD helper apps" (see my list of Other app helpers), but App2SD must be supported by the system (or again will require root). As pointed out in my comment on your question: the button "Move to SD card" indicates it is supported by your device, and pushing that button will do what it says – using the built-in App2SD mechanism. Again, please see our app2sd tag-wiki for details. – Izzy Jul 13 '15 at 9:14
  • Alright, so i have currently no use of that app if my device isn't rooted (or doesnt have the button) – Bas Jul 13 '15 at 9:15
  • If you have that button (i.e. your device supports App2SD natively), you can use that (for apps supporting it), and set the "default install location" – but that's it. Additional things require root. – Izzy Jul 13 '15 at 10:22
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I would contact the manufacturer. Because Google's decision to drop app-to-SD support constituted a significant departure from OS's both before and since, tablet manufacturers really ought to release a courtesy OS update for Android devices that sold with their microSD functionality crippled from the get-go.

If the manufacturer indicates that your tablet physically can't support an update, that's one thing. But if they respond with the "We don't know" and "There are no plans", you may wish to inform them that you will not repurchase their products.

Because of the widespread confusion this lost functionality caused, devices that can support a more current OS ought to receive an update for the express purpose of restoring app-to-SD functionality. (With Lollipop there are added benefits, too, including improved battery usage and more efficient processor utilization.)

Short of rooting devices that shipped with this "impaired" version of the Android OS, there is no solution aside from a manufacturer update. Manufacturers, in turn, are more likely to consider software updates if they receive direct consumer feedback.

  • I would certaintly have done this, too bad the tablet wasn't mine... (it was a assignment I got at my previous job). How I understand it, this would be a case of warranty? – Bas Jan 7 '16 at 9:36
  • The app-to-SD limitation was imposed by Google so it's not a warranty issue. The problem is that KitKat users have been left with few options: abandon unsupported devices, root them or delete apps to free up internal memory. Because older & newer Android OS's support this feature, it has been a rude awakening for consumers to find that their KitKat devices can't make full use of microSD. Complaints prompted Google to reverse their decision to nix app-to-SD support. Consumers, similarly, should reach out to device manufacturers to request a courtesy update as a means to obtain app-to-SD support – NewsView Jan 7 '16 at 22:20
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I was able to transfer my photos and videos by plugging the tablet to the pc and transferring files from the tablets internal storage to the tablets sd card through the laptop. Then to save more memory space in the internal storage, i went to the camera apps settings and set the default storage to the sd card.

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there is an app on google play for exactly this problem and there is no need to do anything to your android phone that will void your warranty, google 'nextapp sdfix google play' the app is specifically designed for kitkat and works great in just a few clicks, specifically SDfixx kitkat writeable MicroSD

  • This app requires root; OP asked for a non-root solution. – Silas S. Brown Feb 3 at 15:32

protected by Community Aug 27 '16 at 2:12

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