I have a phone with Android 4.4 kitkat and a 32GB SD card on which I had noticed the .android_secure folder was taking up 1.5GB of storage so I decided to free up some storage. There were apps in the folder that I didn't have installed on my phone anymore so I thought it'd be safe to delete them as they were not used by my phone anymore. Many apps also had their creation and modification dates set to a couple days ago instead of the date they were actually installed which I thought was odd.
I didn't expect anything to go wrong, but after deleting some asec files and putting the sd card back in the phone, I noticed not a single app from my sdcard loaded. I waited a bit but even after it was mounted my apps weren't there. To my horror when I went in settings and looked under the apps, all my apps were gone. I tried recovering the deleted asec files and putting them back but the apps don't appear anymore. Luckily the asec files only contain the apk files of the app, and the data is stored on the phones internal memory right?
How can I get the phone to read the asec files again? Or if I can't get it to load the asec files, can I reinstall the apps and will the data still be kept or is the app data deleted? Lastly I want to know if it's safe to put an sdcard with apps from one phone onto another phone and be able to swap the sd card between the two phones or if that might also cause the phones to reject the asec files?