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Question on the S4 removable SD card

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  • SD Card
  • Android
Last response: in Android Smartphones
June 2, 2013 9:07:08 PM

So I've been looking to get the S4 for a while now and was considering getting the 16GB model with an extra SD card (maybe a 32gb one...). In looking for cards, I read that you can't put apps onto the SD cards cause of the Android OS, but they recently put a patch to change that, but it is not working... Haven't been able to find much on this, so can someone with an S4 shed some light?

More about : question removable card

June 3, 2013 5:36:14 PM

Not being able to install apps to a memory card is Google's call, and is the same for all Jelly Bean Android devices. For now, you cannot saved apps, games and any purchased media to an external source, and I don't think that will ever change.
June 3, 2013 6:40:19 PM

So what exactly can the extra storage be used for? cause if I get the 16GB S4, a good 8GB of that is going to be the OS and 8GB to use for whatever... right now my iPhone has 10GB of music alone...

Also, due to DMCA, rooting a phone is illegal now, right?
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a b Ë Android
June 4, 2013 3:51:52 AM

Actually rooting is 100% legal, and will be for the foreseeable future. Think of rooting as being to Android, what jailbreaking is to iOS. All it does is let you run third party apps and code not approved by the manufacturer.

Besides, Android is open source. You can do anything you want with it, so long as you are willing to absolve any risk you put your device in by testing your mods/tweaks to the OS.

Rooting is one of those risky situations. There's no rule saying you can't do it, but it's recommended you don't try unless you know what you're doing. Cause if you don't, you'll end up with a paperweight with a battery.



Once a device is rooted however, you have many more options and possibilities than you did before. Moving apps to the SD card is one of those possibilities, though with JellyBean this gets a little more tricky.

Once your device is rooted, download a file browser app from PlayStore - I use ES File Explorer.

Open the app and browse to /system/app. In this folder you will see a .apk file for every app you have installed.

Use the copy command to copy the .apk file for any app to the SD card.

Once the file has been copied to the SD card, go to settings > manage applications and uninstall the copied app from the device.

Note that there are other ways to acquire the .apk file, and can be researched on your own time. This is just the simplest method, IMO.

Now's where it get's a little complicated. You'll need the Android Developers Kit to go any further, snag it from here.

Once downloaded and installed, open the SDK Manager, and select the following packages;
Android SDK Tools
Android SDK Platform-Tools
Extras Folder > Google USB Driver

After installing the packages from the SDK Manager, we can continue.

The next step is to copy the .apk file from your SD card to somewhere on your computer where you will be able to find it later, like the desktop for example.

Once the file is copied, disable USB storage mode from your phone and go to settings > applications > development, and enable USB debugging.

Now we open the ADB shell by going to the platform tools folder inside of the sdk folder, wherever you installed it. Once inside the platform tools folder, hold shift and right click an empty area - there should be an option that says "open command window here" select it.

In the black box, to verify that ADB can see your phone, type the following without the quotes and press enter. "adb devices"

It should give you a heading that reads "list of devices attached" followed by a very long alphanumeric string of digits. This would be your phone.

Now, finally, to install the .apk file to the SD card. Still in the black box, type the following, again without quotes and pressing enter after. "adb install -s c:\apklocation" < Substitute "apklocation" for the actual location of the .apk file on your PC.

Let it do it's thing, it should say "success" when it's done.

When it is done, you can close the black box and eject the phone from the PC using the USB icon in the taskbar. The app should now be installed to your SD card.




There are apps that simplify this process greatly, but they don't work with JellyBean for some reason. Anyways, once all is said and done, this should free up a lot of free space on the phone itself.
June 4, 2013 8:33:18 AM

Wow, thanks for the post and instructions. Ill use it should I choose to root later. I know rooting voids the warranty, but you sure it's not illegal? Also, read in a post elsewhere that media can be stored and played on the extra card, just not apps.
a b Ë Android
June 4, 2013 8:50:29 AM

Pretty sure rooting is legal. Unlocking on the other hand isn't.

Unlocking would be removing the network restriction on the device and changing your carrier. Companies put these locks in place to force you to stay with them for the duration of your contract, after which they will typically unlock it for a fee.

Rooting is just gaining access to the phones administrator account. Think of it like a computer. You have an admin account, and a couple regular accounts. Kids, guests, etc can use the regular accounts - but they don't have any of the required permissions to change any system settings. You need the admin account for that. That's all root is; the equivalent of a computers administrator account.

And yeah; media like videos, music, and pictures, can all be kept on the external card. That's what most people use it for instead of apps. The S4 supports up to a 64Gb SD card though, so there's not much limitation there. An average app is about 150Mb, there's 1024Mb/Gb, so that works out to just under 450 apps you can install if you really wanted to - though a large portion is likely better used by music and the like.

Apps can still be stored and ran from the SD card, it just requires root. And in the case of JellyBean, a bit of a work around. I am not aware of whether or not it's a glitch and Google plans to patch it, or if they are moving to remove the option altogether.
June 4, 2013 2:45:27 PM

Rooting is perfectly legal. But it will, in most instances, void your manufacturer's warranty.
June 9, 2013 8:02:20 AM

Did you see the update? Now you should be able to put Apps on miniSD. Finally! Thank God!Google.
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