Android: force apps to install to SD card without root

The android apps can be installed/moved to sd card if the application supports it. However, not all the applications support this. And the default install location for the apps is internal storage which is most likely insufficient. The following approach can change the default install location for the apps to sd card (external storage). which means the all the apps will be installed to sd card. (and it does not require rooting the phone):
  1. Install android sdk and connect your phone to your computer.
  2. Run the following adb commands:
    cd /path/to/android-sdk-macosx/platform-tools
    ./adb devices
    ./adb shell pm getInstallLocation
    ./adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2
  3. To check the install location:
    ./adb shell pm getInstallLocation
    it should return


In Android, Install Location has 3 values:
  • 0[auto] – Let the system decide the best location
  • 1[internal] – Install the application on internal device storage. This means any internal storage provided with your device
  • 2[external] – Install the application on external media. This means any SD, microSD cards attached to your device.
The default value is 0[auto]. You can revert back to the default using the following adb command:
./adb shell pm setInstallLocation 0
On Windows, you might need to install the USB driver to connect your phone to your computer to run the adb commands.

See also


  1. The command you have written is wrong.It is adb shell pm get-install-location 2

    1. I have tested those commands.

      adb shell pm getInstallLocation

      is to show the current install location.

      adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2

      is to set/change the install locatoin.

      Detail about shell pm command see:

    2. I have tested my commands on Mac OS X. They all worked. And they should also work on Windows: see

    3. How do you run the commands (sorry i'm not very technical. I've installed, can find the adb folder, if i select it opens up a 'Terminal' that has a load of info with process complete at the bottom, but i cant type commands in it. HELP! I need to make my SD Card default storage and be able to move items to it as have moved/deleted everything possible so far but still says internal storage is full. Many thanks...

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