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Guide: How to effectively increase internal memory using Link2SD (w/ pros & cons vs. Data2EXT).
04-28-2014 01:33 PM
- About this guide:
This is a step-by-step, spoon-fed guide for implementing Link2SD on your Optimus S in order to effectively increase your internal memory so that you can install more apps and get rid of that "low storage space" warning. I prefer the Link2SD method over the Data2EXT method of expanding memory but this guide explains the pros & cons of both (below). If you prefer to use the Data2EXT method, check out the_Maplebar's excellent Data2EXT instructions here. Note that in order to implement Link2SD or Data2EXT, you need to be rooted with an appropriate custom ROM installed, and with the ability to grant Superuser permission. This will not work with the stock Sprint ROMs. Instructions for rooting and installing a custom ROM are linked below.
The Optimus S is a great bargain (especially for those of us who were grandfathered-into Sprint's $10/month-cheaper data plan). But the Optimus S is a relatively low-end smartphone and the lack of internal memory for apps can be frustrating. However, if you (1) install an appropriate custom ROM and (2) you implement a memory-expanding utility like Link2SD or Data2EXT, you'll find that the Optimus S performs quite well and will have enough memory to install about as many apps as you could possibly want-- making this relatively low-end phone a very nice, cost-effective solution for those who don't need higher-end functionality like 4G, 3D-gaming, big screen, etc. The Link2SD and Data2EXT methods essentially let you move (at least some of) your apps and/or data from your phone's internal storage to your phone's SD card, thereby providing you with more storage space for apps, email, and other data. Note that both of these methods of moving apps & data to your SD card create much more space than if you were to just use Android's built-in "Apps2SD" functionality (whereby you move parts of some apps using the Setting/Applications/Manage-Applications menu).
Pros & Cons of Link2SD & Data2EXT:
The advantage of the Data2EXT method is that it moves all of your apps & app-data to an SD card-partition thereby potentially giving you more useable space than you would have with the Link2SD method. (But see caveat below.) The disadvantage of the Data2EXT method is that if anything goes wrong with your SD card or you remove it, the phone may become unusable. The other disadvantage of Data2EXT is that it's a bit more complicated to implement. The advantage of Link2SD is that (with the exception of some critical Android system apps) you can choose which apps & app-data to move to the SD-card, so if your SD card fails or is removed, the phone will still work-- just not the apps on the SD card. (For that reason, in addition to keeping critical system apps on the phone, like the web browser and phone dialer, I also keep some of my recovery and safety apps in the phone's internal memory, like Titanium Backup, Where's My Droid, and LookOut so that I can always use, restore, and find my phone even if the SD card fails or is removed.) The disadvantage of Link2SD is that it doesn't create as much space as the Data2SD method. Both methods have a caveat in that the phone needs a certain amount of cache memory (which is in a different storage area of the phone) to support installed apps, regardless of whether those apps are in the phone's internal data partition or on an SD-card data partition. Therefore your phone will likely run out of cache memory long before you fill up a large data-partition on an SD card. For that reason, there's probably no reason to create an external data partition which is greater than 512MB (or maybe 1GB). I have not tried the Data2EXT method, but for my needs, the Link2SD method creates more than enough space to install every app that I want (about 30 of them, so far), no problem. (Prior to implementing Link2SD, I was constantly getting "low on storage space" notifications, which caused lots of problems, like not being able to receive text messages. Now I never have a problem.) I guess that most people will find that the Link2SD method solves all of their "low memory" issues, so I recommend it. Besides, if you implement Link2SD and run out of space, you can always implement Data2EXT to gain more space. Both methods have the common steps of giving your phone EXT4 file system capability and implementing an EXT4 partition on a fast SD card, so it would be a small amount of incremental work to implement Data2EXT if you've already implemented Link2SD.
Installing a custom ROM will technically void your warranty (which I think is only like 30 days anyway). And installing a custom ROM could destroy your phone. But I think the chances of you having a problem are very small, and the results are very worthwhile. This stuff isn't hard to do if you just follow the instructions at the following links. And you can always restore a stock Sprint ROM if you really want to do so for some reason.
1) Buy a good, fast (Class 4 or faster) microSD card-- preferably a fairly big one since you'll use about 512MB to 1GB of it as internal memory, thereby decreasing the amount of memory on your SD card for things like music, photos, videos, documents, etc. It is very likely that the stock card that came with your phone is too slow to use as "internal memory" (and perhaps too small anyway). There is information about speed grades and pictures of the speed grade logos here. If you don't see a speed grade "Class X" logo on your microSD card, then it's a slower speed card.
2) Install a custom ROM (if you haven't already done so). There are several guides on Android Central. I posted step-by-step instructions for rooting and installing custom ROMs here.
3) To implement Link2SD or Data2EXT it's best to use the EXT4 file system. Your custom ROM may or may not support the EXT4 file system. If it doesn't support the EXT4 file system, you may need to download (onto the top level of your SD card) and flash-install the appropriate zip file onto your custom ROM. (Depending on your custom recovery, typically you'll use the custom-recovery option that reads something like "Install zip file from SD card"). Following is list of solutions for some popular custom ROMs. Let me know if you know about solutions for other ROMS.
* Picasticks based ROMs like Reborn ROM & gROM: Download and flash the data2ext-V4-modified.zip.
* CM7 based ROMs like theKraven's CM7 flash the data2ext4-V4.zip.
* HydroROM & DanteROM has EXT4 support built-in (as do, I think, other Hydrokernel-based ROMs) so no need to add/flash EXT4 support.
* OptiROM has DarkTremor's Apps2SD built-in so I think that there is no need to implement Link2SD.
* ICS based ROMs vary and some have the functionality built-in or can be harmed by "2SD" apps, so be careful and check with your ROM maker.
4) Copy everything on your SD card to a folder on your PC or Mac so that you can move it back onto your (new Class 4 or higher) SD card later.
5) On your fast SD card, create two partions; an EXT4 file-system partition for your apps & app-data, and a FAT32 file-system partition for your photos, music, etc. (Your FAT32 partion will be accessible from your PC. Your EXT4 partition will only be accessible to your phone's operating system.) You may be able to partition your SD card using the custom recovery on your phone (depending on your custom recovery) but I'm not going to cover that here because I think it's easier to use a free PC tool like Mini Tool Partition Wizard to partition and format your SD card. There's a Mini Tool partitioning guide here. Per the cache-limitation caveat mentioned in the previous paragraph, a 512MB EXT4 partition should be more than big enough (especially for the Link2SD method because you'll also still have access to your phone's 160MB of internal memory for a total of 672MB). Anything more than 512MB would likely be unusable as a practical matter, but you could create a larger EXT4 partition (say 1GB) if you like.
6) Once you've created the two partitions, you should copy all the stuff from your old SD card (from your PC/Mac) to the FAT32 partition of your new SD card. Next you'll move your apps & app-data to your SD card's EXT4 partition using the Link2SD method or Data2SD method as explained below.
7) Install Link2SD (free) from the PlayStore in order to link (move) your apps to your SD card. Once installed, give Link2SD Superuser "root" permission when it asks and tell it to link to your "EXT4" partition. You may need to restart the phone about twice. Then launch Link2SD and "link" your desired apps & data to your SD's card's EXT4 partition. Note that you can even move relatively high performance media apps to the SD card (like Sprint TV, YouTube, WinAmp, Pandora, etc.)
You're done! Enjoy!12-19-2012 11:43 AMLike 6
- See Mounts2SD [App/Script] Mounts2SD - An All-in-one sd-ext solution (1.0.2/5.0.10 - Dec 20, 2012) - xda-developers which can remount the cache partition (among other mount points) to the SD and allow even more apps to be installed on the Optimus S.12-20-2012 04:10 PMLike 1
- this was really helpful. i have one question. there was an app that was listed as "on SD card." Wanted to change it to "linked" which would move it to the 2nd parition and create a symbolic link. I hit the "create link" button. it took a few seconds but seemed to be successful. afterwards I checked the "storage info" page afterwards and the internal memory became more full. if i'm just moving it from the main partition to the 2nd one, why does that affect the internal memory?04-09-2013 11:30 PM
- See Mounts2SD [App/Script] Mounts2SD - An All-in-one sd-ext solution (1.0.2/5.0.10 - Dec 20, 2012) - xda-developers which can remount the cache partition (among other mount points) to the SD and allow even more apps to be installed on the Optimus S.
** these are just words **04-13-2013 02:50 AM
- See Mounts2SD [App/Script] Mounts2SD - An All-in-one sd-ext solution (1.0.2/5.0.10 - Dec 20, 2012) - xda-developers which can remount the cache partition (among other mount points) to the SD and allow even more apps to be installed on the Optimus S.04-16-2013 08:02 AM
- This seems to work great! I just followed all the instructions, using the partitioning magic of Cannibal Open Touch custom recovery, and apps now get symbolic links by default, when they install. Because I told them to.
I'll report back if anything gets screwy, but it's working great so far. Thanks a million!04-17-2013 04:18 PM
- Great guide. I wish I'd seen this a week ago when i went through the whole process. I found some guides, but they left a lot out, stuff that's covered here in detail. Oh, well. Better late than never. Link2sd has quickly become one of my favorite apps, right up there with Titanium Backup. I have an Optimus V with the Harmonia 2 rom and space is always an issue. The "package file invalid" message has been driving me nuts. Couldn't update apps or install new ones. Did the partition/link2sd as a sort of Hail Mary and I'm glad I did. All space issues have vanished. Plus link2SD has some nice features on top of the ability to link apps to the SD card. Really nice. As to garybeckvt's question, I think if you have an app that's already on the SD card, you actually have to move it back to your phone before you can successfully link it. It's a little whacky, but it's pretty quick and easy. Move the app back to your internal space, then use link2sd to link it. Slick as snot on a chicken's lip, as they say.05-09-2013 12:54 AM
- this was really helpful. i have one question. there was an app that was listed as "on SD card." Wanted to change it to "linked" which would move it to the 2nd parition and create a symbolic link. I hit the "create link" button. it took a few seconds but seemed to be successful. afterwards I checked the "storage info" page afterwards and the internal memory became more full. if i'm just moving it from the main partition to the 2nd one, why does that affect the internal memory?
im not smarter than a 4th grader. can someone please explain this to me at a third grade level. the optimus v is a great phone for the money and i have a great plan from virgin moble. but they are going to jack up my rates if i switch phones. if i can figure out this link2sd procedure i will be able to keep my phone and plan for at least another year. thanx for any help.08-21-2013 09:37 AM
- you are exactly correct in your observation and i would like an answer for this as well. i will even take in one step further. my stock internal memory is 187 mb. i added an sd-ext4 partition of 512 mb. so why am i not showing an internal memory of 699 mb? im running harmonia rom, zengarden recovery and am currently using link2sd.
im not smarter than a 4th grader. can someone please explain this to me at a third grade level. the optimus v is a great phone for the money and i have a great plan from virgin moble. but they are going to jack up my rates if i switch phones. if i can figure out this link2sd procedure i will be able to keep my phone and plan for at least another year. thanx for any help.
It's analogous to having, in the first case, a folder on your pc full of shortcuts to files on a flash drive. The second case is more like having a folder on your pc that is a shortcut to the flash drive itself. They both accomplish the same thing, but in a different way.08-21-2013 10:11 AM
- Link2SD and scripts like app2SD won't increase the size of your data partition. They create links on your internal partition to the ext partition. This means that the data partition will still read the original size, even though you will be able to install more apps. Scripts like int2ext or data2ext mount the ext partition such that your entire data partition gets moved to the ext partition. In these cases your phone will show that your data partition is 0.7gb, or whatever your ext partition is.
It's analogous to having, in the first case, a folder on your pc full of shortcuts to files on a flash drive. The second case is more like having a folder on your pc that is a shortcut to the flash drive itself. They both accomplish the same thing, but in a different way.
but now i have more questions.
i download an app and link the app via link2sd. the link2sd app tells me my app "is linked to sd". but my internal memory has been reduced by the size of the app. so following your logic, shouldnt the internal memory show having decreased only by the size of the link, which should be very minimal, instead of by the size of the app?
or to ask another way: how can i tell if the app was really linked and not actually installed in the internal memory? is there some type of app that will allow me to view the contents of the sd-ext? ive tried several file manager apps but they only show the mnt/sd. is there a way to visually verify apps are actually being installed on internal memory, or do i have to just trust that it is working?
i think my next question is answered above but im going to re-ask anyway. it seems like an equal if not greater culprit for apps not installing/updating (is that the reason for the dreaded "invalid package file" message?) is the cashe filling up. seems like there would be a work-around for this issue. would that be what post #4 above is referring to? if so, do you have any hands-on experience with mount2sd?
thanx again for any input.08-21-2013 02:18 PM
I've never used mount2sd, but clearing cache has helped me when using link2sd and int2ext scripts.08-21-2013 04:59 PM
- I've tried using link2sd on my kyocera milano and it has helped me transfer apps to my sd. But when I try to add more apps, some of that memory is added to the internal storage and then the rest goes to my memory card. So, as I add more apps, my internal storage is getting filled up. Plus, I'm also getting that "low storage" notification. FYI: my phone is rooted and I have an 8gb memory card with 3 gb remaining. But I have about 10mb internal storage left. Please help me, thanks!12-31-2013 05:20 PM
- Make sure that you use Link2SD to "link" each of the apps that you install otherwise Link2SD won't do you any good.
Read the caveat in the "Pros & Cons" section in the original post. A portion of each app remains in the internal memory so you can't just fill up your SD-card with apps using Link2SD because you'll eventually hit the limit of your internal memory.01-02-2014 01:05 PM
- So I'm new to this SD-ext game for my old 512mb Optimus S. Used Link2SD for the first time yesterday and so far so good. I realize that there are a lot of similar scripts/apps around that accomplish similar thing, app2sd, data2sd, mount2sd etc. Can anyone give me a brief comparison?
This is my wife's phone, and she's not a savvy user, so the requirement is actually fast response and stable system (she does not play games on the phone, mostly just browsing, and occasionally map/gps). Would mount2SD do any good on top of link2sd? Should I uninstall link2SD first?
Thanks a lot.01-06-2014 10:10 AM
- The pros and cons of Link2SD vs Data2SD are in my original post. Since I wrote that, Mounts2SD has come along and seems to be quite nice-- maybe better than Link2SD with more space-saving options. Mounts2SD seems to preserve the core functionality in the event that the SD card fails or is removed. (That's why I prefer Link2SD over Data2SD.) Since I have all the memory that I need thanks to Link2SD, I haven't tried Mounts2SD. If you get it to work, please post a guide. I don't think you'd want to run both Link2SD and Mounts2SD-- and I'm not sure it's even possible.01-15-2014 02:37 PMLike 1
- The pros and cons of Link2SD vs Data2SD are in my original post. Since I wrote that, Mounts2SD has come along and seems to be quite nice-- maybe better than Link2SD with more space-saving options. Mounts2SD seems to preserve the core functionality in the event that the SD card fails or is removed. (That's why I prefer Link2SD over Data2SD.) Since I have all the memory that I need thanks to Link2SD, I haven't tried Mounts2SD. If you get it to work, please post a guide. I don't think you'd want to run both Link2SD and Mounts2SD-- and I'm not sure it's even possible.
Before reading your post, I've had Link2SD on my Android and used it to try to free as much space on my internal memory. But there's only 50 MB free of the 200 MB capacity. I want to free up more space. So, I'd like to give MountsSD a try.
Since your Jan15-2014 post, have you tried MountsSD and found it to be in better than Links2SD?
How important is backing up? Why can't I just reinstall the apps one by one from the Google Play store (and it's easy when I can perform the install from my laptop) without doing a backup?
I understand that Titanium Backup can also move apps to SD card. Does Titanium Backup do the job better than Links2SD or Mounts2SD? In other words, does Ti Backup move more data out of internal memory to external (SD) storage, and does Ti Backup do it in an automatic way?04-21-2014 02:11 AM
- I understand that Titanium Backup can also move apps to SD card. Does Titanium Backup do the job better than Links2SD or Mounts2SD? In other words, does Ti Backup move more data out of internal memory to external (SD) storage, and does Ti Backup do it in an automatic way?04-22-2014 01:09 AM
- You can create a 2GB EXT4 partition but, due to the limitation explained in my original post, under "Pros & Cons of Link2SD & Data2EXT" you probably won't be able to utilize more than about 512MB with Link2SD before your phone's internal cache fills up (at least not with the Optimus).04-28-2014 01:33 PM
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