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I find that every time I start to update an application using Google Play, my phone's internal memory starts to run out (i.e. the Play app downloads temporary files to internal memory). In a number of cases, the size of the update is quite large and I end up with less than 10% free space left which corrupts the installers and I end up with no update. :(

Is it possible to in any way instruct Google Play to use my SD card (which has over 10GB free space) as the temporary location instead of the space-constrained internal memory? As much as possible, I'd like to do this without having to root my device.

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Unfortunately, there is (currently) no way to do so on a non-rooted device, at least not to my knowledge.

The Play Store app always downloads to /data/local as far as I know. So if your device is rooted, you could create a directory wherever you like, and symlink it here. This could be done either from a terminal app, via a file explorer supporting the creation of symlinks (and root), or via adb shell. For the terminal/adb-shell variant it could look like that, assuming your sdcard being mounted at /sdcard:

$ su
# mkdir /sdcard/playstore-temp
# cp -r /data/local/* /sdcard/playstore-temp
# rm -rf /data/local
# ln -s /sdcard/playstore-temp /data/local

Explaining the commands:

  1. get root access
  2. create the new "temporary storage directory"
  3. copy all current content (recursively) to the new location
  4. remove the old location
  5. create a symlink from the new location to "fake" the original

I didn't try this, but it should work. Like with Link2SD (which uses the same principle for installing apps on SDCards), for the Playstore app this should be "transparent", i.e. it should be fooled into thinking it still works the same way as before :)

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  • Symlink works, but when i was updating Cuth the Rope 2 and checking internal memory size while Play Store was downloading the apk - it was getting lower. So maybe now Play Store doesn't donwload temporary files to /data/local?
    – user58458
    Apr 13, 2014 at 20:51
  • @Cyr4x I didn't investigate this lately. You might try monitoring the directory next time to see if stuff still goes there.
    – Izzy
    Apr 15, 2014 at 17:48
  • I revisited this recently with my rooted phone and I found that the temporary files aren't downloaded to the /data/local directory any more. This was was probably the temporary path for older versions however, as of version 5.8.8 (which I tested with), the files aren't stored in the /data/local directory. Sep 9, 2015 at 11:17
  • Thanx for the hint, @AlexEssilfie – if you ever figure out where they're going to now (wild guess: /tmp or /data/tmp), would you let us know?
    – Izzy
    Sep 9, 2015 at 11:34

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