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How to use a MicroSD as internal storage on your smartphone

How to use a MicroSD as internal storage on your smartphone

Do you want to use your MicroSD card as a real memory extension and install apps on it? Then you need to format it as internal memory. Easy enough on most phones, but unfortunately, some manufacturers such as Sony, LG or Samsung, can't do this by default. However, if your smartphone's OS is Android Marshmallow, a command-line prompt will help. Avoid grief from system updates by following the new tips at the beginning of this article.

Jump to:

The easy way

If you're lucky, your smartphone will allow you to do this without having to connect it to a PC. This method is likely your only hope, if you run a newer version of Android (7.0 Nougat or 8.0 Oreo). Here's how to check:

  • Put the SD card on your Android phone and wait for it to be recognized
  • Open Settings > Storage
  • Tap the name of your SD card.
  • Tap the three vertical dots on the top right corner of the screen.
  • Tap Storage Settings.
  • Select format as internal option.
  • Tap Erase & Format at the prompt
  • Android will then offer to migrate your data

If your smartphone doesn't allow you to do this, then it gets somewhat more complicated. We'll get to this in the method outlined below.

What to do if your phone doesn't allow you to format microSD as internal memory

Some unhelpful smartphone manufacturers disable Android's default function to format microSD as internal memory by hiding the option from your phone. However, it's still possible to activate this using a PC, no root or special privileges required.

The exact steps vary depending on the Android version of your phone. This technique worked well with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Android 8.0 Oreo, however, we encountered difficulties working with Android Nougat.

For phones using Android 6.0 Marshmallow

When a MicroSD card is formatted as internal memory, apps can be fully stored on it. This means that if you download applications with a total size of 2 GB, then there should be 2 GB of space taken up on the SD card. If, however, the MicroSD card is only formatted as a backup memory, this is not the case, as PLATYPUS_DIARRHEA writes on Reddit.

Just because the menu option is invisible doesn't mean that it doesn't work. A few days after the Reddit post, a command-line prompt became known, with which you could also format MicroSD cards as internal memory on the Galaxy S7. We have successfully tested the instructions with the Samsung Galaxy S7, the Sony Xperia Z5 and the LG G4, while running Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

All three smartphones run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and have a slot for MicroSD cards. In addition, the menu option for formatting the MicroSD card as internal memory is missing. The entry is only available on HTC One A9 and on Motorola in all Moto smartphones.

Darth Vader micro SD ANDROIDPIT
Come to the dark side of memory expansion. / © AndroidPIT

Why Samsung, LG and Sony do not show us this menu option escapes me. I connected each of the three smartphones to the computer, and each had one MicroSD card inside.

Then I typed into the ADB tools the command-line commands that Paul O'Brien described in his blog post. As soon as you have the command line window open and the smartphone connected, you can enter the first command:

  • adb shell

Now the command line is ready for you to issue system commands to your smartphone. In this case, we want to format the SD card or a part of its memory as internal memory. Even if Sony, Samsung and LG deny us the possibility via the UI, we can still transfer the command to the smartphone as a console command. First, however, we need the ID of the SD card. You will find it with the following command:

  • sm list-disks

In my case, the disk is called 179.64. For you, perhaps, it is different. Note the exact identifier. In the next command, we will format and partition the MicroSD card. Your content will be deleted. If important files are on the card, copy them to another disk. If you want to keep the MicroSD card permanently in the smartphone, you can now partition all of your memory. To do this, type:

  • sm partition disk: 179,64 private

The operation takes several seconds or minutes, depending on the capacity of the memory card. If you want to use a certain percentage so that it can be read by other devices, you must exclude it from the private partition. The 50:50 partitioning command looks like this:

  • sm partition disk: 179,64 mixed 50

This is the end of Paul O'Brien's guide, but not the end of the work. If you now want to use the adopted memory as such, you must also migrate apps and data. This can be done through the storage section of your Android settings menu. Tap the MicroSD card, then move to the top right of the menu and click on Move data. You cannot select this menu item before partitioning.

internal sd move data 1
Migrate the data after partitioning the SD card. / © AndroidPIT

Now, and in the future, downloaded apps are fully written to the MicroSD card. Only system apps and updates use the internal memory. This means that you should never again get error messages due to lack of space if an app update is pending.

internal sd move data 2
With the Sony Xperia Z5, the total memory is strangely displayed. The memory of the SD card is the one you must keep in mind. / © AndroidPIT

Problems with system updates and Nougat

Some readers have reported difficulties when installing system updates from Android 6 after using the methods above. The update to Android 7.0 Nougat specifically doesn't seem possible with the manually partitioned MicroSD cards, as described below. Our test devices with Android 7.0 Nougat do not even respond to the console commands shown below.

In the absence of documentation on the net, we can therefore only advise you to reverse the steps described below before a system update. Back up photos or music on your computer or in the cloud and free up as much memory on the SD card and smartphone as you can.

Uninstall unnecessary apps and migrate your data back into the internal memory. Then format the MicroSD card as removable media. Only then is it safe to install an Android update.

What's the catch?

MicroSD cards are not as fast as the internal memory of the smartphone. So don't waste money on the cheaper ones, and instead get yourself memory cards with a reasonable read throughput. The Extreme Pros and the Extreme Plus MicroSD cards by Sandisk have proved to be the best value for the money, in our opinion. With 74 MB/s write throughput, you should not experience any delays in everyday life and benefit from considerably more memory.

Interestingly, only the LG G4 was able to correctly read the acquired memory. Samsung showed unnaturally high amounts of occupied memory and Sony's value was even negative. Nevertheless, we did not have any complications, and even when we were connected to a computer, we were able to access all of our data properly. However, we could only see the shared, and not private, portion of the memory there. Difficulties arose only when it came to system updates (see above).

Storage space gain: a complete success

We have subjected the manually partitioned devices to a uniform endurance test. We have installed Final Fantasy IX on all devices. The game is 1.8 GB in size. After installation, it's easy to see which of the two memories, internal or SD card, had its memory space used. In all cases, after the installation on the SD card, 1.8 GB less space was available. A success of this extent cannot be achieved with SD cards formatted as interchangeable memory, since complete data migration is not possible.

Compare the values of the internal memory and the SD card memory in the screenshot for proof.

internal sd move data 3
Here's the picture proof: only the memory of the SD card is affected by the game. / © AndroidPIT

What happens if the microSD card is removed?

Of course, the question is what happens when the MicroSD card is removed from the system. Actually, it creates a serious problem for your apps. After all, they can no longer access their data. Since the partitions with your operating system and the information for a factory reset are still stored in the internal memory, a removed or broken SD card can't do any harm. When we removed the MicroSD card, app icons were quickly replaced by a placeholder, which were immediately restored when reinstalled.

If you lose the SD card or it has a defect, your data is lost. Since these are encrypted as the internal memory, you should not hope for a data recovery. Instead, regular backups are appropriate. But this rule applies anyway. So have fun with the cheap memory expansion on your Marshmallow smartphone.

Safely remove an internally partitioned SD card

To safely remove the SD card from the smartphone, you must reverse the above process. Since your storage space on the internal memory is probably not sufficient, you first have to transfer pictures to another form of storage and uninstall apps.

Then you go back to the Memory & USB settings and tap Move data under Internal memory in the menu. Then you go to the SD card and format it as mobile memory. Perform both steps (backing up and formatting) so that your data cannot be lost and you can use the SD card on other devices.

Has this process worked for you? Which MicroSD card do you use? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • My lg pnone does not add the space as internal memory to the internal storage but creates two sd carfs one internal and one external sd card. I foget exacly what card it is but its a 32 g sandisk ultra high speed. Can I get it to add to the internal storage.


  • why some manufactures disable this option? to let the internal flash memory wear fast and so they can sell more


  • I seem to have followed all of the steps correctly but cannot migrate data. I have an lg x power 3, android 8.1. I am showing internal 16gb, sd card 65 of 128gb (its a 64). I'm not concerned about the size being wrong as that's a common error. when I try to migrate the data the system app crashes. I can individually move apps back and forth fine. I have tried with the private and a mixed 50 option. Should I factory reset and do it first? could it be any updates that block this now? Thanks for any help.


  • update , my storage shows as internal, internal sd, and portable storage. File manager no longer works, but ofther managers such as cx explorer do. Any apps i try to download default to the internal storage so not enough space. ( incidentally had to use the -s serial option to get adb shell to work) I have tried the adb set-installation command but gets the 2000 error and apparently as is not rooted cant use su.


  • I have done this on my LG K4 (model m151) using a sandiskextreme pro 32 g sd and it seams to be working okay. Notice a little bit of a lag but only a few seconds


  • Galaxy J7 V running Android 9: after running sm partition (...), sm list-volumes says that the newly created private volume is unmountable. Tried again with same results. Restarted phone several times. Card no longer appears in settings app. Any suggestions?


  • immikhan 10 months ago Link to comment

    guys if u root ur device then there's no issues with the storage and moving data


  • Billqs I get the same kind of problem with the Migrate Data selection (which I assume is the same as the "move data" they referred to. I get "settings has crashed" as well. Mine is Oreo as well.


  • On a KEY2 running 8.1, no matter what I do seems to generate: Error: java.lang.IllegalStateException: command '111 volume partition disk:179,64 private' failed with '400 111 Command failed'


  • billqs May 11, 2019 Link to comment

    I just tried this with an LG V30 I just picked up to use as a DAP. I put in a 128G SD Card and the phone has 128G internal. After doing the above, the internal storage reads as 256G, but when I go to "Migrate Data" I keep getting an error message telling me that "Settings has crashed". Does anyone know why? I am using Oreo. I don't know if it's some sort of protection LG put in or what?


  • Hi I have a 32 gb sd chip and my phone is a cheap prestige 2 zte with little to no space to handle much access outside of the basic call text and repeat. My question is of much importance to me and if any tech or android sauva/knowledgeable person could kindly break this down for me or dumb it down, I installed my chip 32 gb the device recognizes it so I now and faced with "just having it in my phone" or "formatting as internal" < kinda scares me. I just wanna throw my photos from from the deivce on it so not to lose any. Also gives me an option to just formatting it. I want to be able to move my photos, documents from my phone to the card and from the card to my harddrive etc. IF I FORMAT AS INTERNAL,? A. what does that incline. B. will I be able to do what I want? and C.If so or not Once Formatted to my device / phone can I clean or reset it to be able to use the SD one perhaps a newer phone later on when I upgrade my device? Please guide me to my answer oh and I dont wanna break this chip so any other advice would rule thanks and please help


  • Umm what about Android 8.1 I'm using my Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 and can't move internal applications to external (Update plss)


  • My SD card is nomore shown... and the device internal memory still shows the same 16 gmb. note that i dont see the sd card on the pc as well .... please help.
    Specifics.; Realme C1
    16 GB internal , 32 Gb card . Android 8.1 , ColorOS.


  • Error: java.lang.IllegalStateException: command ' volume partition disk:179,12
    8 mixed 80' failed with '400 41 Command failed'


  • joost Jan 8, 2019 Link to comment

    Great ! it worked!
    I had my Asus zenfone 2 (Android ver 6.0.1) equiped with a SANDISK Ultra MicroSDHC/microSDXC 16 GB 98 MB/s Class 10. Then I formatted it 100 % as system memory. All went fine.
    only thing.. Google off line maps cant find an external memory and therefore it is not possible to store offline maps. I might go for a 50/50 format to fix this.
    thanks for the article!


  • You said it worked well on all the phones, but then you said "Interestingly, only the LG G4 was able to correctly read the acquired memory. Samsung showed unnaturally high amounts of occupied memory and Sony's value was even negative." So did it work as intended or not?


  • When I got to the partition part, it was instant and didn't do anything. I'm using the Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S-Pen (16GB internal & 32GB external)


  • Sorin Dec 21, 2018 Link to comment

    For phones that have a relatively small internal memory, the ability to move applications to the microSD card is welcome. And as extra memory can not be added (!), It remains that the move is the only solution. Obviously, except for changing the phone!


  • to be honest new phones come with enough storage now so using the external sd card is.... well... external 🤔


  • So I tried to do this on my XCover 3 but it says Unsupported partition type 179,40
    What do?


  • Hi every one,
    I have a J7 2016 with android 7, and i have followed all the instructions but it dosen't work, i don't know if there is something else to do to make this work

    Ty for your answers


  • I am realy curious how to do it with USB Drive, it would be great if it could work.


  • Greets- I have a Moto Z2 Force w/Oreo Android 8.0.0 and it does not allow formatting SD card as internal. It also does not allow moving apps to the SD card unlike the above document indicates. Page needs to be updated.


  • Nougat 7.1 seems to work similar to Marshmallow and Oreo but there's still problems.
    It times out and disappears during the converting to 'internal storage' process.
    When I restart it shows but then when I click on some apps only a few give the option to "move to sd". I'm confused by it having a "move to SD" option at all when it's supposed to be reading/downloading everything to the SD card now and that the SD is supposed to be the internal storage now. Is it really reading my sd card as internal storage or just kind of backup storage? I worry the updates for all my apps I couldn't technically move to the SD card will go to the phone's "built-in" storage.


  • ikost Sep 7, 2018 Link to comment

    Hallo there. Very explicit and well explained article, indeed.
    I tried it with Huawei P9 lite and Android 6.0.
    $ ./adb shell
    $ sm list-disks
    disk:179:144
    $ sm partition disk:179:144 mixed 50

    I tried some times as I had got some errors:
    Error: java.lang.IllegalStateException: java.util.concurrent.TimeoutException: Thread Binder_3 gave up waiting for partitionMixed after 180000ms

    Error: java.lang.IllegalStateException: command '54 volume partition disk:179:144 mixed 50' failed with 'null'

    but in the end I managed to have my SD card partitioned to half.

    However, now I can see:
    - My internal storage
    - 50% of my SD card labelled as 'destroyed' or 'unusable'
    - 50% of my SD card as external storage

    When I click on the 'destroyed' internal storage, a popup menu prompts me to 'configure' the SD card. It then prompts me to format the SD card, and when I do it merges it with the external SD card!

    So I just made a hole in the water.

    Huawei has the option to use the SD card as internal storage; using it I didn't see any improvement. There is no button or menu to migrate data to the SD card.

    Any similar experience or advice?


    • I used the same method as you mentioned above with partitioning only half of the SD card with my P9 Lite. It worked fine for me, all apps and games I install now are mounted on the SD card. Maybe format the entire SD card and repeat the same steps you mentioned above but this time with only "mixed 50". It should work then. And then the "migrate data" option should be there and working as it should thereafter.


  • Katy Aug 27, 2018 Link to comment

    Hi!
    I've finally been able to connect with my phone after figuring out that the Windows Powershell uses slightly different commands (adb shell does nothing, only ./adb shell worked).

    I've connected my PC to my Samsung S7 on Android 6.1 successfully, but I dont seem to be able to get the 'sm list-disks' command to work (and I've tried .sm and ./sm - none are correct commands)

    Thanks in advance!


  • Thanks! I Managed to do it with my ASUS Zenfone Live L1 (Android Ver 8.0).

    BTW I'm using Sandisk Extreme 32GB A1 as my Micro-SD Card.

    In my case It is better to Partition the disk as private (sm partition disk: [your disk number] private) than mixed because if you choose mixed, the System memory will take A LOT OF YOUR MICRO-SD CARD SPACE!

    I've done the mixed 50..... in the end, my System memory Takes 15GB of my Micro-SD Card space...... AAAAAND I GOTTA FORMAT AS PORTABLE FROM MY PHONE (Thanks to that, I gotta restart the whole ADB Shell Command again~).

    And due to over-excitement of trying this~ I forgot to backup my photos & data before I Formatted my Micro-SD Card~ LoL (at least most of the data were less-important)


  • Thanks! been trying to do this the whole day with different methods. Your method is the only one that worked.


  • I love you! It works! you saved my day and my money!


  • I know it's a very old article, but can you confirm that Samsung has somewhat disabled the possibility to format SD via adb, too?

    I am on Oreo on a S7 herolte, followed all steps, tried with both mounted and unmounted card, but it doesn't seem to have any effect :(


    • I just tried this on my Note 8 running oreo and I had no success either so although I cant confirm it looks like they might have just removed the command ability. :(


  • Any chance that a workaround for Nougat is coming anytime soon?


  • This is what I get when trying to setup external SD card as internal storage:

    Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.17134.112]
    (c) 2018 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:\Users\migob>adb shell
    * daemon not running. starting it now on port 5037 *
    * daemon started successfully *
    error: device unauthorized.
    This adbd's $ADB_VENDOR_KEYS is not set; try 'adb kill-server' if that seems wrong.
    Otherwise check for a confirmation dialog on your device.


  • Hi guys,
    I had my S7 Edge with 128GB original Samsung 80mb/s read write working as an oil. I merged by adb with internal sd.
    A week ago I updated to original Android Oreo 8.0. Nothing worked for a Samsung smartphone after the update if you had adoptable storage, a lot of popup error on any app.
    So I made a backup of my internal and external sd and I launched a reset factory.
    I restored the data and all now works fine.
    But and this is the problem, now I don't see the memory as internal I see my internal memory and my sd card memory. I remember that in storage show the sum internal and external sd.
    I don't remember how I did it.
    Is it needed to format as FAT32 the external sd with pc program? Because I can't see format command as adoptable storage in Oreo Samsung S7 Edge.
    Because I remember it but I don't sure.
    I enabled the adb by adb shell .... the same boring command line and not see as adoptable.

    Somebody have used ext4 format? I remember that I tried but without success...

    Please help me to find the correct step to allow to join external sd with internal.

    Thanks a lot for your support...


  • HI, very good article! It was helpful!
    I tried the "complicated" method using ADB with my LG XPower2 running on Android Nougat. It worked very easily for me. But there was an additional step to do. Under the developper options menu in the phone, you have to activate USB Debugging, and when you plug in the phone, you have to wait a bit longer for the driver to get installed. After this, my phone responded very well to every commands in the shell. Also, in the second command you wrote in your article, there is no space between the ":" and the beginning of the SD card ID. This will prevent the command from running and will just give you back a list of every supported commands.

    Thanks, again, hope this will be helpful to someone!


  • I have a ZTE phone running marshmallow and this did not work. I get error: unsupported partition type. Any suggestions before I root device and install a custom ROM?


  • Will try it on my Samsung Note 4, but if I want to split the SD card memory 80% internal / 20% external (SD card type) should I enter mixed 80 or mixed 20? Thanks


  • On Oreo developers options you can enable it to be able to move all apps to sd card. I have it on my Galaxy S8 and everything on my sd card. I haven't noticed any slow down in performance, but I do have one of the super fast Samsung ones.


  • I wish you guys would say storage, instead of memory. You can't increase memory, unless the phone's software is set up to make a swap file, so this article should change from "memory" to "storage".


  • Thanks for the information, I was able to perform these steps on my Samsung Galaxy s5 Sport that is running Android version 6.0.1 and convert my 32GB SD card to internal storage. At first I thought that it did not work because my internal memory was too full to allow apps to be moved to the SD card. After I figured that out and uninstalled several apps then I could move the other movable other apps to the SD card.
    I hope that I have been able to move a sufficient number of apps to the SD card that I will not be constantly notified that I do not have insufficient storage space.
    Unfortunately even after moving all of the moveable apps to the SD card I still have 13.77 GB of 16 GB used in my internal storage. This leads me to the opinion that too many developers, including Google, are too lazy, too uninformed or to filled with their own sense of self importance to develop apps that can be moved to and run from an SD card. That along with the propensity of Google and Samsung to load bloatware on my phone which I cannot remove makes me sorely inclined to take the leap and root my phone. The warranty is not a concern as the phone has long been out of warranty. Nor is the lack of the ability to get OS updates automatically as Samsung and my carrier have lost interest in providing them.


  • samsung, lg, Sony and other losers are not about offering flexibility, but nice, bloated, comfortable toys for average Joe imbecile consumer (who knows about nothing about everything). even google, why don't they offer micro sd cards with their development phones and tablets?!?


  • Sorin Jan 5, 2018 Link to comment

    I use a formatted microSD FAT32, or FAT, or I do not know for sure exactly. I moved the applications to the card, the ones that could move, and I moved the Photo Gallery to the card. I'm happy to go. But I did not know until now that the "as internal memory" card can be formatted. After I unpack the card, I will format the card. It will be a great thing. Thanks.


  • Well It worked for me but when I download games in play store it says "insufficient storage"
    can you please help me


  • You write that there is shown the wrong amount of used storage. Same at my wife's phone Samsung. The problem now is that the o phone thinks it is full. So no more downloads. Even there is more than 40 GB of unused storage. Any advice?


  • I managed to carry this out okay with my new Sony Xperia XA since the miniscule 16Gb memory was filled in the first week with Bloatware! This was while it was still on Marshmallow. I was a bit anxious what would happen when the Nougat update came along. However, I shouldn't have been concerned. The upgrade didn't affect my partitioned micro SD card!!

    My main issue now is with a new Nougat Kodak 7 inch tablet! It will only allow a 64Gb micro SD card to be used as portable, or fully adopted. Which is annoying, since all I need is to be able to split it 40/60 or thereabouts! Although the tablet will read a 128Gb as portable. Which I attempted to split using the adb commands! The portable section carried out was accessible but the tablet did not like the "internal" sector! The tablet prefers to format the external memory itself and does not take too kindly to be played about with by external interference! My next step is to use a different tablet to partition the SD card memory, or partition the card using a windows PC facility prior to putting into my tablet as an experiment. If I can figure out how to do that!


    • Good luck. I don't hold out much hope for solutions along those lines — the adopted side MUST be formatted in the device it's to be used on (because of the encryption key), and if it isn't willing to partition the card itself then it isn't likely to respect external partitioning while formatting, unfortunately.


  • So I did all the steps but then when I went to my storage nothing changed the sd card was still formatted as protable storage


    • Hmm. This is becoming a trend. A few questions:
      1. Are you also on a Samsung device running Android 7, like the previous commenter?
      2. If not, what device, what version of Android, is it rooted, etc?
      3. Were there any messages output by the `sm partition` command (or any other command), or did it just silently fail?


      • 1. No
        2. on a Samsung on5 With android 6.0.1 not rooted
        3. After entering the command to partition it went to the next command line like it had done it however nothing changed on the phone.


      • Apparently, on the On5 there's just no way to use adoptable storage, unfortunately.

        See the "Galaxy On5 not compatible with Adoptable Storage" question on StackExchange's 'Android Enthusiasts' site.


  • I am attempting to use adoptive memory on my Samsung Tab A 10.1, Android 7. I have been able to get to entering the command (sm partition disk:179,32 private) but after 2 seconds it drops back to the command line. After rebooting there is no change, the memory card has not been formatted as private. The tablet is not rooted, I don't want to root it yet, but from what I have read it doesn't have to be. I would be appreciative for any help.


    • I have found some references indicating that the card has to be UNMOUNTED in order to successfully partition it as adoptable, on Samsung's Android 7. So if you haven't tried this already, it might be worth making sure you first explicitly "EJECT" the removable-storage card. (Software-eject, meaning unmount, from the Settings > Storage interface. Obviously you should leave it in the slot after unmounting it.) Then once you're sure it's not mounted, go into the shell and run the `sm partition` command. That might make the difference. And I wouldn't put it past Samsung to make the formatting failure a silent error, when it fails due to a mounted card.


      • Tried unmounting the card but no go. It still won't format the card as private.


      • Hm, that's too bad. Samsung have apparently played around with a LOT of ill-advised trickery in their stock Android builds, at various times. I've seen some people claim that the only way they've been able to make use of adoptable storage on a Samsung device is to set it up under Android 6.0 and only upgrade to Nougat _after_ it's set up.

        Perhaps someone with that specific device will comment, and can speak authoritatively. (My only Samsung device is a Galaxy S4, but t it's running CyanogenMod 13 / Android 6 and has never run the stock build.) But it sounds like Samsung may have "protected" the microSD device so that it's not modifiable using the `sm partition` commands as an unprivileged user (an illogically-logical extension of their decision to remove the adoptable-storage interface from the Settings app), in which case rooting and then running the command as root would probably be the only option.


      • Apparently Samsung have blocked the sm partition method. On my J5 (Android 7.0), "sm list-disks" shows the SD device whereas "sm list-disks adoptable" does not :-(


    • Oh, also, just because you mentioned it: A reboot "shouldn't" be necessary to activate any of these changes, if they're going to work at all they should take effect immediately. (With the caveat that I can't speak for how things work on every possible device, and there may very well be one that requires a reboot in order to pick up the adoptable storage. But, that would be an unusual situation, as that's not how things work on any standard/common Android build.)

      In fact, just the opposite, I would AVOID rebooting until you've completed the process of getting the adoptable storage activated and your data migrated over. A reboot anywhere in the middle of that process would only complicate matters.


  • Just for the record, since neither this post nor Paul O'Brien's actually spells this out:

    When partitioning a card using `sm partition <disk> mixed <ratio>`, the ratio parameter is the percentage (0-100) of space to allocate PORTABLE. The rest of the card will be the adoptable private storage.

    So `sm partition <disk> mixed 25` on a 16GB card will create 12GB of adoptable storage and a 4GB FAT32 partition.

    (The example used on both pages is `sm partition <disk> mixed 50`, which of course doesn't make it any clearer exactly what "ratio" means,)


  • I do not have SD ID after typing in:

    sm list-disks

    Please help. TIA!


    • That's not very helpful, as problem reports go. You say you "do not have SD ID" after typing the command, well why not? Did the command not work? If it didn't, what was the error? If it did work, what did it output?

      On my Galaxy S4 running CM13, I get the following:

      u0_a63@jfltecdma:/ $ sm list-disks
      disk:179_32

      So I know the removable is identified as disk:179_32 by the system.

      If it returns NOTHING, then that likely means there's no SD card present. (If I eject the card from my phone, typing `sm list-disks` will produce no output.) So, if you're getting no response, go into Settings and check the Storage manager to make sure the phone is really seeing the card, first. Don't bother with any shell commands until you know that the card is correctly inserted and has been detected by the device.

      But most importantly, tell us exactly what happens when you run that command. Help us help you.


      • SD card is being detected. It just that whenever I type "sm list-disks" there is no number like yours "disk:179_32".
        i gives me other command line


      • Hm, then it sounds like however your device interfaces with the microSD card, it isn't through the standard storage manager. You could try the command `sm list-volumes` to see what it recognizes as a storage location, but honestly it doesn't really matter. To make the card adoptable you need to be able to repartition it, and to be able to partition it you need a disk identifier for the `sm partition` command. If there are no disks showing up in `sm list-disks` then there's simply no way you can use `sm partition` to set the card up as adoptable storage.


      • One other test you can run is the command `sm has-adoptable`. Presumably it will return "false", indicating that there are no storage devices present that can be used for adoptable storage. If it happpens to return "true", then it's worth invesitigating the issue further, but that's highly unlikely.


  • Actually one may not need Android 6. I have done it on even Android Gingerbread 2.3. Only problem was that the Samsung phone - Galaxy Pop - had a bit of a problem with the card reader. Randomly it would disconnect requiring me to reinsert the card and rebooting the phone. I am not sure if it was limited to my particular device or others too faced similar problems. It was my first smartphone I could afford. It was done through ADB and that too without rooting the phone. I am now looking for something for my phone with Android 5.1.1.

    Basically USB-OTG has solved the internal storage problem on most recent devices. On top of that RavPower RP-WD01 gives me very easy access to all kinds of external portable storage.


  • "sm partition disk:179,64 private" doesn't seem to work for me. What am I missing? I have a Samsung Galaxy Luna (S120VL) with Android 6.0. The SD card is "mounted" and has no data of my own. By the way, the phone comes with only 8 GB of internal storage, which is more than half used already.

    The SD card I used is SanDisk Ultra PLUS microSDXC UHS-1. It claims up to 80GB/s read speed.

    I did the list-disks, and the only number displayed was disk:179,64. When I entered the partition command, the shell prompt returned within 1-2 seconds, and my SD card still shows as Portable - even after a reboot.

    I also tried another command suggested on a different site: "sm set-force-adoptable true" before or after the partition command. Nothing seems to work. Any ideas?


  • I guess i am confused. With Nougat 7.0, on moto g5 plus amazon version 64gb phone, should i format microsd card as internal storage. I am running into multiple errors, from being unable to download or install certain apps, to not being able to move apps to card, to not being able to move photos to it, etc. Also when set up as external storage. I have tried uninstalling/reinstalling problem apps, resetting phone to factory, multiple reboots, clearing caches, uninstalling updates of google play, services, etc. thanks


  • Hey guys i know this is a old article but it seems like the only ray of hope for the deep shit i'm in
    I use Lenovo K3 note and I've formatted my sand disk SD card as internal and got greedy with new custom Rom and i forgot to backup and format my SD card instead i cleaned the system now all my important files are on the memory card and i don't wanna loose them please help..!!!!


  • Great info, thanks! Can't wait to give it a try as soon as I receive the new phone I ordered online.


  • When I partition the card it only formats the card correct? Not the phone?


    • Yes. It only formats the card to be used as internal memory instead of external storage. If you are using an sd card that has data already on it make sure you back the data up to a different location. If not the data will be lost in the process. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that the system will be using the new adoptable storage as enternal memory to write and install to. This means your sd card will no longer be hot swappable. Once the card has been formatted as adoptable storage, data migrated and then new apps installed removing the card can cause apps not to work due to missing data or the fact they installed to the sd card and without it present they simply aren't there.

      This is basically a way for individuals with limited physical storage to gain some needed space on their system.


  • Zamwa Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    can the same set up used for note 4??


    • Here is the bulk from the XDA article explaining the process although I thought the article explained it well enough. Basically the only way you will know if it works is to give it a try. It does not require the device to be rooted. Probably the best answer to your question is to read and follow the instructions in order below. The end result will be you either have expanded internal storage or you won't. This solution should work on all Samsung devices running Android 6 with an SD card installed.

      ADB Installer

      Some entry level ADB modding is going to be needed for this to work. Start by downloading this ADB installer if you don’t already have ADB set up on your PC.

      SD Card

      Now get an SD Card that you want to use with your device. Since you’ll be treating this as internal storage, a faster card is preferred. Backup any of the files that you need off of it before continuing. This card is going to be formatted and wiped of all of it’s data during this mod.

      USB Debugging

      Now it’s time to enable USB debugging on your Galaxy.

      ADB Command Window

      Now let’s open up a command prompt for ADB. Navigate to the folder where your ADB file is located > hold down the shift key > Right click on ADB > Click on Open Command Window or terminal depending on computer OS.

      Now connect your phone to your PC VIA a USB cable.

      Enter the following commands into your ADB window:

      adb shell

      sm list-disks

      Take note of your device ID (disk: xxx,x)

      To partition the entire SD card space as internal storage use these commands.

      sm partition disk:xxx,x private

      Check Your Storage Settings

      Now go take a look at your storage settings to confirm that it has worked properly. You should see that your internal storage is much larger now. Now you may notice that the numbers for your SD card or Internal storage display incorrectly.

      Migrate Data

      For the last step, you’ll need to head into Settings > Storage > SD card. Tap on the more option and select Migrate data. Now export your data and you’re all done.


      • thanks alot gonna do the steps as you described and gonna get back to you when i get results....


      • i just finished and i think according to your post it was a success on galaxy note 4 DUOS sm-n9100 variant...so now am i able to install apps up to sd card capacity???


      • If you have gone through the whole process and went into Settings>Storage> and migrated data the system will now treat all storage as one and use that storage as needed. If you search File Manager in the PlayStore and download the one by Asus it will show the total usable storage you have now. This will be minus from the total some due to amounts reserved when formatting by the system. I started with the original 16 GB built into the system, added 128 GB and after enabling adoptable storage I have 119 GB usable space. With everything I have installed I'm currently showing 2.11 GB of 119 used.


      • I wanted to post a simple how to video from YouTube that gives a quick how to guide on how to do this mod. Unfortunately this site restricts links due to spam and bot activity. A search for Samsung Adoptable Storage on YouTube will bring up several videos with short walk throughs on the process. Most are aimed at the Galaxy S7 series, but should work on most Android devices running Marshmallow or higher. The feature is there but hidden by some OEMs. The misreporting of storage after enabling is due to older system files that are still being used by OEMs instead of the current updated ones.


      • I love the Asus file manager app. Used it on my Asus phone, afterwards installed it on my other Android devices. Thanks for the detailed instructions.


  • Is it possible to use the microsd as adoptable memory on my Galaxy S5 running 6.01, or I do need s7 as minimum?
    And if yes, what is the suggested microsd to use on s5 (performance and capacity) ?


    • The original fix was put out for the Galaxy S7 series but should work on all Samsung devices running 6.01 that have a micro sd card slot. I have currently used it on a Galaxy Tap Pro, Galaxy Tab 8, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 wifi. All work fine.


  • I use expandable/adoptable storage. As stated above the devices themselves will report the storage incorrectly. Third party apps such as File Manager by Asus will report the new storage correctly. My personal daily driver is a Samsung SM-T580 2016 wifi. It has decent specs for the price but only has 16 GB of internal storage. The simple fix was to buy a Samsung Evo 128 GB micro sd and configure it as adoptable storage. Now the system has 119 GB of usable internal memory. With 2 GB of RAM, an octa core processor, along with the high speed micro sd there is no noticeable latency.

    At this time the tablet has Kodi 17 with the No Limits Magic firestick build on it. it also has all 3 versions of The Room by Fireproof as well as Microsoft office and several customizations including Gboard, SD Maid Pro, Kapersky anti virus, Nova Launcher Prime. Photos are stored on a combination of Google Photos and a 3 TB HD set up with Readyshare on our Netgear router. The same set up is used for on the go mobile data stored between 15 free GB of Google Drive and our network/cloud HD.

    Movies in any container packaging take up a considerable amount of space and make micro SD as well as internal storage options inefficient. So here is my simple solution to a pretty effective portable solution. I purchased the following a cheap Insignia folio to house the tablet making it usable in landscape mode in a A style position. I purchased an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker with an audio port on it. I also purchased a soft pistol case that is setup ideally for carrying the tablet as well as excesories. This gives me the ability to carry my tablet as well as the above mentioned along with power cables, an OTG cable, micro USB hub, 1 TB Western Digital My Passport HD, and an assortment of 128 GB flash drives. This combination provides a small package that lets me have at present 440 movies, over 1000 songs, and all of my work related material with me in a small portable package that the total investment is less than a mid low end laptop and can be thrown on the dash of my truck, easily carried into a meeting, as well as setup to provide needed distractions when all work is done and the day is dragging on.

    I think it all boils down to how you use your device and what you are comfortable doing. Using adb is not for everyone. Experience will teach you that missed steps or improperly implemented ones can cause loss of data along with other headaches.


  • I purchased a Sony Z5 premium, 32GB internal storage and a SanDisk extreme 128 GB card. I attempted to format the card as internal storage as it could not be used as a separate storage in Marshmallow, as witnessed when I tried to use my card to SD card app, and the app's which are usually seen in the Lollipop platform are not in Marshmallow.
    Other devices which I have like the Nvidia tablet and Google pixel format the card no problem, but having searched for information on my Z5 without success till now, I came to the wrong conclusion that it was a fault with my device or card.
    At the moment the way Sony has unfortunately set this up on these makes and models, renders the cards un-seeable so useless, and with the upgrade to Nougat thought it might have been solved, but unfortunately not according to this editorial.
    Having read this I feel I still need some more information to solve this problem, however, very happy it has been an issue someone has remedied and also been written about.
    If I could be contacted via my comment by the writer or person who solved this problem, with any helpful link's or further information on this matter, I would be very grateful.


  • thanks for info


  •   46
    Deactivated Account Feb 8, 2017 Link to comment

    To me this would defeat the purpose why I want a Micro SD slot. I want to be able to swap out cards so I can carry more information, music, books, and movies without having to worry about internet connections. I will not use the "Cloud" which is nothing but an insecure money making scheme. In my opinion.


    • I kind of agree Mark but being able to expand internal storage without having to replace the RAM chips is a nice alternative.

      SorinDeactivated Account


      •   46
        Deactivated Account Feb 8, 2017 Link to comment

        It is all in how you use your phone. I am not a heavy App user so onboard storage is not the real issue with me. I like to be able to move photos and videos to the card, and all I mentioned above for entertainment when I am off the beaten track.


      • You're right, I think the utility depends on how you use the MicroSD card. Some people have very, very little internal storage and need to store apps on MicroSD, but there are plenty of people who only need it for movies, music, photos, etc. on the go.


      • Yeah, I install my SD card and never remove it unless my device flops.


    • I like the IDEA of the card being removable, and being able to use it as a data-transport device, but in these days of LTE and 802.11n wifi and cloud storage services like Dropbox I'm forced to admit that I really don't make use of that ability very much.

      Since my Galaxy S4 has under 10GB of internal storage available, which a couple of large apps have left 95% full now that 6.0 no longer allows me to move apps to the removable microSD card, installing the new 16GB card I just ordered as Internal Storage and more than doubling the app-data capacity is definitely a higher priority for me than having a removable card.

      In fact, the last time I took the card out of my phone and put it into my computer:

      (a) I had to hunt for 10 minutes before I located the adapter, because I hadn't used it in over a year;
      (b) it was for a stupid reason: I used the Dropbox app to download the Cyanogenmod image I was planning to flash, but like an idiot I didn't make sure the download had *completed* before I rebooted into recovery and wiped the old OS. So, the flash failed because the image on the card was incomplete, and I had to put a new, complete copy of the CM13 .zip on the card in order to revive my phone.


  • Thanks. I was wondering about this since I had heard that it was a one way street. I heard that once you made an SD card as internal memory that that was all it could be used for. Yeah I actually didn't think of formatting the card (feeling kind of dumb right now). Can't wait to try this out if my G4 comes back fixed from the bootloop issue.

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