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?
Reason 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.
Reason 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.
Reason 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.
How do I make apps download directly to the SD Card?
You will need to have root access on your device, then set your home directory to the SD card using the Android SDK Tools. There used to be a way to enable the option on older versions of Android without root access. But now you must have root access on newer Android versions to be able to set the home directory.
What apps can I 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.
How do I enable the “Move to SD Card” option on any app?
There used to be a way for non-rooted users to enable the “Move to SD card” option. This is no longer the case. You will need to gain root access to your device to be able to move any app to the SD card.. If you’re not sure how to do this, you may want to have a look over at XDA Developers or CyanogenMod for suggestions.