Wife's Galaxy S5 won't keep apps on SD card

wynand32

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Okay, so, my wife's T-Mobile Galaxy S5 16GB (I know, bad choice from the beginning) is constantly running out of space and won't update apps. I've set every app to the SD card that will allow it, but the system keeps moving them back to the phone after every system and app update.

Is there a way to stop this from happening? Honestly, I'm not even sure if this is a Samsung thing or an Android thing. If anyone can point me in the right direction, that would be great. Thanks!
 

SpookDroid

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That's totally normal and, unfortunately, the way it is. In Android now, apps will only run their main file from Internal Memory, period (unless your phone supports adoptable storage, which basically 'bends the rules' in the phone and making it think the SD card is part of the internal memory, securely, of course). When you move an app to SD in phones that support that, you're actually only moving a part of the app, if at all. It's up to the dev to decide which parts, if any, are movable, and these are usually game saves, external downloads, media, etc.

OK, so what does that have to do with the stuff coming back to Internal Memory? Well, it's the way Android updates work in your version (a bit has changed on Nougat, but not a ton): Just like apps' main files must reside in internal memory, so must all application installation operations. So, every time you install a new app or an app gets updated, the phone has to carry out these operations in internal memory (which is also why it usually asks you to have 2.5 times the size of an app in free memory, so that it has room to expand the files, install, move, copy,etc.), and so, when you update an app that's got some of it in SD card, the system moves it back to internal memory for the update operation. Unfortunately, for security reasons (or so they claim), they're not moved back to SD card automatically.
 

wynand32

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Dec 18, 2010
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That's totally normal and, unfortunately, the way it is. In Android now, apps will only run their main file from Internal Memory, period (unless your phone supports adoptable storage, which basically 'bends the rules' in the phone and making it think the SD card is part of the internal memory, securely, of course). When you move an app to SD in phones that support that, you're actually only moving a part of the app, if at all. It's up to the dev to decide which parts, if any, are movable, and these are usually game saves, external downloads, media, etc.

OK, so what does that have to do with the stuff coming back to Internal Memory? Well, it's the way Android updates work in your version (a bit has changed on Nougat, but not a ton): Just like apps' main files must reside in internal memory, so must all application installation operations. So, every time you install a new app or an app gets updated, the phone has to carry out these operations in internal memory (which is also why it usually asks you to have 2.5 times the size of an app in free memory, so that it has room to expand the files, install, move, copy,etc.), and so, when you update an app that's got some of it in SD card, the system moves it back to internal memory for the update operation. Unfortunately, for security reasons (or so they claim), they're not moved back to SD card automatically.

Thanks so much for the quick reply! Not only does it explain a lot to me, but it gives me the ability to go to my wife now and let her know there's nothing I can do about it. :)

So, looks like it's a new phone with more internal memory then. Again, thanks, much appreciated!
 

SpookDroid

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If you're tech-savvy, you can try to root your phone and apply a 'hack' to trick your phone into using the SD card as internal (basically, adoptable storage minus the encryption and security layer). BUT since SD cards are finicky and can often fail (and with Samsung devices they seem to do so more often), I strongly recommend against using SD card for anything other than media storage (and media you've already backed up elsewhere, for that matter).
 

wynand32

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If you're tech-savvy, you can try to root your phone and apply a 'hack' to trick your phone into using the SD card as internal (basically, adoptable storage minus the encryption and security layer). BUT since SD cards are finicky and can often fail (and with Samsung devices they seem to do so more often), I strongly recommend against using SD card for anything other than media storage (and media you've already backed up elsewhere, for that matter).

Yep, thanks. Sound advice against doing anything, since this is my wife's phone. She's understandably less forgiving of gadget problems than I am, particularly since mine are mostly self-inflicted. Far easier and safer to just upgrade her to something with more internal memory and that I can convince her offers other advantages as well. :)
 

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