When I try to install an app from the Play Store I am getting the "insufficient storage" message but I have 20 GB free on my SD card that is formatted for internal storage. I am using a Moto G 2nd generation. Why can't I install new apps?

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    – Izzy
    Mar 3, 2016 at 20:00
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    I think I got it working, will mark it as an answer tomorrow after I am sure. I call Motorola support line, and they told me to reformat the SD , but this time making sure the phone had plenty of free space. It seems to be working now. Mar 3, 2016 at 21:25
  • Ah! I vaguely remember having read about issues adopting a card while your "real" internal storage has only little free space, so it could be that indeed. Looking forward to your answer, crossing fingers ;)
    – Izzy
    Mar 3, 2016 at 21:36
  • So.. this is what happened. I was able to install some apps directly to SD card, some of the apps were installed in the phone memory and some went to the SD. Now, I have 19GB free on my SD and 500 mb free in my phone memory and I cannot install ANY application because "insufficient storage". I just don't understand. Is this how the new "Internal Storage" SD formatting is supposed to work ?... this kinda sucks. Mar 5, 2016 at 15:43
  • A little, I guess. Thing is, the system needs a but of storage, and all apps are going to take some internal space up. It only really delays the inevitable
    – Dan Brown
    Mar 5, 2016 at 23:50

4 Answers 4


I have the same phone & same SD card setup. David Coleman has good advice, but here are some additional points.

  1. Many apps will not even show the word "Change." That means they cannot be moved to the SD card. Keep looking for ones that do have that word showing.
  2. At least on my phone, every time I tapped on "Change" it came back with an error message. Ignore that & try it a 2nd time, right away. Nearly every app I tried to move to the SD card "failed" the 1st time, but succeeded the 2nd time.
  3. Clearing cache can also give back some space. 3rd party apps like App Cache Cleaner don't work with Marshmallow, but clear caches one by one, or clear them all by getting to "Internal storage" again & then choosing "Cached data."
  4. Apps like AppMgr III do not fully automate the move/change to SD card process, but they do semi-automate it. This is important because I've discovered that every time an app updates, if the older version of the app was on the SD card, the updated version still goes to internal storage!! Very frustrating. I believe I noticed this happening with Lollipop, too. It means we can't assume "once moved, always moved." AppMgr III or such can reduce the frustration.
  • Awesome advice, thanks so much to both David Coleman and Jadek. In case it's of assistance, here's a brief list of the larger apps that were able I was able to move by this method on my Moto G 2nd Gen running Marshmallow. - Amazon Kindle - Audible - Evernote - Facebook - Instagram - Messenger (Facebook) - RunKeeper (I was not able to move Lumosity, Google Play Services, Chrome, Google App, Maps, Google Keyboard, Android System Webview, Photos, Translate)
    – user166838
    May 22, 2016 at 6:52
  • To free up more space, uninstall and reinstall app's, then those will get installed in the adopted storage. Seems Android manages internally what and where, and the install process is the only able to get benefit of the adopted storage. Seems a bit shit process, because it is.
    – m3nda
    Dec 1, 2019 at 19:04

I had the same problem because, although adopted storage is supposed to merge the internal storage with the SD card there is still a distinction between the two and Google Play still seems to want to install apps into the internal storage. When this becomes full we get an "insufficient storage" message. However, it is still possible to move some apps from internal to SD storage. If you go to "Settings" and then to "Storage and USB" then you get information concerning internal storage and SD usage. If you tap on "Internal storage" and then on "Apps" you get a list of all the apps in internal storage. If you tap on an app you can then tap on "Change" to move the app from internal storage to SD card. This does not work for all apps but it worked on enough for me to be able to clear up enough space to be able to install new apps.


This is an old question, but here is another solution that worked on a Moto G3:

I had swapped SD cards and the old SD card was still showing in the list under settings > storage & USB

I clicked that card and then forget (I had to do it twice) and after that the insufficient storage error vanished.

So it appears the phone was still trying to use an SD card that wasn't even inserted,

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    Thank you, you saved my day. :clap: :clap: :clap: Mar 13, 2021 at 9:33

I did adoptable storage on Samsung J5 8GB after rooting..i faced such issues, but as my phone was rooted...i simply install Root essentials and delete all Microsoft bugus apps which are preinstalled with the device and free up 500 MB. After migration, i have 1 GB of free space. Also, I installed App to SD and transfer some of the apps to SD card. Though its an adoptable storage its not a clear merger. Its a partition with internal storage means data files are managed by the system. The user does not have any control in it.

Other apps which ll be installed in internal storage only are facebook,whats app, Messanger, all banking apps etc.. You can also free up space by going to Whats app-->Media---> Cut some of your old photos to computer or in SD card explorer.

Even after I force to install apps on SD card via root essentials, not all apps installed in Internal memory. But the advantage is when the apps installing in SD card, all of its datas are only on SD card. Nothing on Internal memory.

If you donot have warranty existing, i will suggest to root the device. It ll give you better flexibility to use the apps as per your wish

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