How to use Link2SD to expand Android internal memory

So, you are installing a new application on your Android. But the moment you hit the install button, there is an “out of memory” error. Now, you can always go back and make space, uninstalling less used apps. But there is a better alternative.

You can convert part of the free space on the SD card to internal memory. And then use that space, to install applications.

From Android KitKat onwards, you cannot install apps on your SD card. You can only use to save images, videos and application data. However, with root access and apps like link2SD, you can change that. The process isn’t entirely obvious, but once you set it up, everything works perfectly.

What I need?

Before you begin, make sure you have …

  1. A rooted Android with an SD card slot
  2. An SD card (obviously)
  3. Internet access to install applications (such as link2sd and AParted)

How are we going to do it

Now, we will do this in 4 steps:

Step 1: Root your device
Step 2: backup your SD card data
Step 3: create a partition on your SD card
Step 4: Install and configure Link2SD

Then let’s get started;


# 1 Root your Android

Linking apps to the SD card requires root-level permission. So make sure to root your device, if you haven’t already.

Now how do I do that? Well, unfortunately, there is no single way to root every Android. Every device is different and so is its rooting process.

The best way to find out how to root your Android is by simply Googling your device’s name. Also, check if your device supports Kingo root– a popular one-click root app.

Once you have a rooted smartphone, proceed to the next step.

# 2 Make a data backup

Before installing applications on your SD card, you will need to format it first. And that ‘format your memory card‘will erase everything you have. So yes, make sure you have created a copy of your content.

You can back up by connecting your phone to the computer via USB cable and then copying the files to your hard drive. Or, if you have a Wifi network, use Airdroid. It is fast and does not require cables.

Once you have done the backup, proceed to the next step.

# 3 Partition your SD card:

Each operating system has its own preference for the file system.

Most memory cards are in FAT32 format, which is good when you want to use it with Windows and MAC. But since we also want to use this sd card As internal storage, we will have to format a part to ext2, a popular filesystem for Linux.

So, in a nutshell, we will create two partitions on the SD card:

Half will be in ext2 format, which will be used as our internal memory
The other half will be in fat32 format so that we can use it as a normal SD card to store photos and videos etc.

To simplify this tutorial, I’ll take a 2GB card and format 1GB to FAT32 and the other half to ext2.

So follow the steps

1. Before making changes to your SD card, first go to settings and unmount it.

2. Then install AParted and open it. It will ask for root permission, grant it.

Why AParted?

Well, there are some tutorials on the web that suggest using a desktop tool (like mini partition tool ) to partition your SD card. But, that’s just a tedious process: remove the card from your phone, insert it into the computer, and then repeat the same process again. It’s a waste of time.

Instead, if you use AParted, you can get the same result in less time and with minimal effort. The application works fine. However, if you have any problems, you can always use the minipartition tool.

3. Now, to create a partition, tap on part 1, in format select fat32 and for the size specify the storage you want to give to your memory card.

I will allocate half, that is, 1GB, but you can choose what you want.

4. Then touch the green plus sign‘and the window in part 2 will appear. For format, select ext2 (you can also select ext3 or ext4, but if you don’t know what they are, stick with ext2 only). And again, allocate the remaining space to part 2.

Once done, tap on apply changes and then confirm it. In seconds, it will format your SD card into two different partitions.

To confirm partition was successful or not, go to storage settings. You will see that the size of your SD card is cut in half. However, you will not be able to see the ext2 partition.

# 4 Install and configure link2sd

Finally, it is time to move all the bulky apps to the SD card.

To do this, we will use a free application called link2sd. Now, there are other alternatives to this app (like apps2sd) but it doesn’t move all files to SD.

Furthermore, there is also a pro version of link2SD in the play store. And the only difference between the free one and the paid one is that the latter is ad-free and you can also move app data to SD card.

Now, in most situations, the data in this app is not going to be a big problem. Usually it is around 10% of the total storage that you are moving. However, if you want, go ahead and get the paid version. It is also a good way to help the developer.

In this case, I will go for the free version of the link2SD card.

1. Start by installing link2SD from Play Store. Then open it and give it root access.

2. Select the file system for your Internet memory. If you remember, we have established ext2 format for that, select it and reboot the device.

3. Now once you have restarted your Android, open the link2SD app again. You will see all the applications that you have installed on your device.

To move applications to your SD card, you can filter the applications that are in your internet memory and then search for them based on their size.

4. Now to move them, tap on the 3 vertical dots on the top right and select multiple selection and select the apps you want to move.

I would avoid moving system applications to the SD card, because if you accidentally uninstall them or remove the card, other dependent applications may not work properly. Therefore, avoid system applications if you can.

5. Once you have finished selecting applications, touch three vertical dots again and from the menu select> move to SD card> make sure each type of file is checked> OK. And that’s it, all the apps you selected will be moved to the SD card.

6. To ensure that all future applications are automatically installed on the SD card> go to settings> check the automatic link.

To uninstall applications, you can differentiate the applications from the SD card and then uninstall them. Also from now on, think twice before removing your SD card as you are now storing your apps on it as well.

Generally, link2sd is one of those apps that you set up once and forgot about it.

Related: 6 Helpful Tips To Free Up Space On Your Android Device

#Top Image from Pixabay

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