Android — Why is the “Move to SD card” Option Grayed Out On Some Apps?

If you wish to save space in your phone’s internal memory, moving apps to the SD card is an excellent way to free some space. You can move apps to the SD card by going to Settings > Applications, selecting the application, then tapping the “Move to SD card” button. You may notice that for some apps, this option is grayed out though. Why is that?

1. Developer Choice

Developers of Android apps need to explicitly make their apps available to move to the SD card using the “android:installLocation” attribute in the <manifest> element of their app. If they don’t, the option to “Move to SD card” is grayed out.¬†Why would many developers not enable this button? Well, Android apps cannot run from the SD card while the card is mounted. So if the app handles something like an alarm to remind you of your dentist appointment, that’s pretty important, and the app would not be able to sound the alarm if you happen to have your device connected to your PC. So the developer may choose to lock the “Move to SD card” capability down so they never get an angry email from somebody claiming the app doesn’t work.

2. Widget Support

Widget support is another big reason apps may be prevented from running on the SD card. If an app is installed on the SD card, the widgets from that app become unavailable to select once the device is mounted. The device must be restarted for the widgets from the app to show up as an option again.

3. Syncing, Service, or Account Interface

If the app handles background syncing, runs as a service, or utilizes an account, the app will not fully function from an SD card while it is mounted. You can read more about how apps run from SD cards on the Android Developers – App Install Location page.

What Can You Move?

Look at moving any gaming apps to the SD card. Games typically don’t have to run in the background or handle any important tasks on the device throughout your day. They also typically take up the most space, making them perfect candidates for an SD card install.

Now you know why the “Move to SD card” button is grayed out for many of your Android apps. Still have questions? Comments? Leave one in the comments section below.


  1. Zachary Clak says

    My question is this.. Now Ihave noticed several applications that have the option grayed out and I am wondering if there is any way around it so that I am able to still save them over to the Sd Card bevause I either A. Don’t use them and they are taking space that I could use for something else. Or B. Is an app that i downloaded but still does not have that option possibky because it runs in the background or has a widget option. Either way I would still like to be able to move it over to the Sd card so that it isnt taking up space on my Tablet. Thanks in advance for your help!!!

  2. Eduardo says

    Nice article

    But what’s the reason for the “move to phone storage” also being grayed?

    I can’t free my internal space, because a great number of apps do not allow this move, some of them with no widget.


  3. Saurabh says

    How Can I Enable Move to SD card Button in my Android 4.4.2 or is it possible to move apps to SD card from internal Storage using any app or something in my Android 4.4.2

  4. Rayne says

    I have Rhapsody,and want to move my downloaded songs to my sd card.and cant do it….Also,is there a way to get back lost pictures on a sd card?! Please say YES?!!!!
    Thank you!:)

  5. jessica says

    I have a samsung galaxy s4 mini all my phone memory has ran out and I bought an 8 GB sd card its in my phone now but have no way of transfering all my files and apps to it as its greyed out on all my apps the “move to sd button” every time I try to download something it says insufficient memory do you know why please

  6. ameen says

    I cnt move anything to add on sd card its fully greyish and i cnt download anything though i hv space in internal memory and does i can change the downloading option to directly on sd card

  7. T says

    Make sure SD card clicks into place. I thought mine was in the whole way and it wasn’t. SD option is now black and usable.

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