Android and apps on SD cards


My 950XL is still limping along and my wife is using an iPhone so I know very little about Android.

I need to purchase some (ideally) cheap Android handsets for a family business – these will be running a few PowerApps applications and managing the business FaceBook page.

A lot of cheap devices have limited memory but expandable storage – however, reading reviews of some of these devices it seems that you cannot install apps on the SD Card. At best you can ‘move’ an installed app, but whenever it is updated, it’ll go back to the main storage. The users have very limited tech skills, so constantly managing app locations is not realistic.

Is this problem limited only to certain manafucter’s Android customizations? Do new versions of Android work ‘properly’ with SD Cards (i.e. allow you to once specify the SD card as the storage location for apps)?

Any advice on which manufacturers and Android versions I should stick to?


Comments (9)

9 responses to “Android and apps on SD cards”

  1. Tiny

    With Android 6.0 and later, you can choose to format your SD card as either portable or internal storage. Choosing internal storage makes the SD card part of the system storage. Apps can then be installed to the SD whether or not the developer has disabled the function or not.

    One of the problems with doing this is you cannot remove the card. If you do it will not be readable on any other device.

    • Paul O'Flaherty

      In reply to Tiny:
      thanks. Will be sure to look for Android 6 or newer then.

    • Lauren Glenn

      In reply to Tiny:

      But even that's not available to all devices. My old ASUS Padfone S had Marshmallow (6.0) and that was not an option made available to us. But if there's anything I learned from using Android is that you can sometimes install apps to your SD card but sometimes on a reboot, it doesn't mount properly and then the app is no longer accessible. That forces you to uninstall and reinstall the app and just isn't worth it to me.

  2. Lauren Glenn

    Some Android devices I had would let you install to SD cards but sometimes on a reboot, the app wouldn't be available. It wouldn't happen often, but it sometimes would and would get annoying. The best thing to do is to get 32GB minimum on Android and use SD cards for storage where applicable. If you can get 64GB for an extra $20, I would do it. From there, an SD card is best used for storing documents, videos, audio files, etc. But I wouldn't put any apps on it because on a reset, it would sometimes just not be there.

  3. wunderbar

    I would personally not install apps to SD cards. SD cards are more failure prone, are much slower than internal storage, especially the cheaper cards. It's actually a big issue. Google tried to kill SD card support a few years ago because their biggest problem with apps on SD cards was that people would move apps there, the apps would run slowly becuase the card was often cheap/slow, and then it would make the phone lag, which is a bad experience, and people would blame google when the actual problem is that they moved an app to a slow storage medium.

    • Paul O'Flaherty

      In reply to wunderbar:

      Thanks - from your comments and Alissa's, it looks better to spend extra and get a device with 32Gb then I don't have to worry about the version of Android, manufacturer and what sounds like an unreliable experience with SD Cards. Never had a problem with SD cards with Windows Phone/Mobile (though I never bought cheap cards) so a little surprised it seems to be such an issue on Android.

      • wunderbar

        In reply to PD_OF: IT's better than it used to be, and honestly if you tried a cheap card in a windows phone you'd probably experience some issues.

        But in my opinion a proper amount of built in storage is better than using an SD card.

  4. RWilson

    I recently moved (finally) from a Windows Phone Lumia to Android. Since it was my first experience I deliberately picked an inexpensive device - in my case the T-Mobile REVVL. It's running Nougat 7 with 32GB internal storage and a 56GB SanDisk SD card. I only have about a dozen apps loaded at this point but, so far, performance has been acceptable - certainly above my expectations for a a $125 device!

  5. Stephenmerchant

    A great deal of modest gadgets have constrained memory yet expandable capacity – nonetheless, perusing audits of some of these gadgets it appears that you can't introduce applications on the SD Card. Best case scenario you can 'move' an introduced application, Can i Pay Someone to Do my Essay however at whatever point it is refreshed, it'll backpedal to the fundamental stockpiling. The clients have extremely restricted tech abilities, so always overseeing application areas isn't practical.