How to use a MicroSD as internal storage on your smartphone

Update: Heavily revised for 2021!
How to use a MicroSD as internal storage on your smartphone

Remember the time where you had to constantly battle between the dwindling internal storage on your Android smartphone and available storage? This used to be a major issue with low-end Android smartphones from a few years ago. To counter this issue, Google in 2015 introduced a feature known as adoptable storage. This feature allowed users to add a MicroSD card to the phone and format it in a way that it augments the internal memory.

In this article, we attempt to learn more about the adoptable storage feature and see why the feature failed to catch on. You will also learn if you can still use the feature on a smartphone running Android 10/ Android 11 and, if it can be done, what exactly do you need to do to activate it.

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What is adoptable storage?

First things first, adoptable storage lets you use microSD cards as internal storage on Android smartphones. But what was the need for this feature, and is it even relevant today? That's what we intend to find out. Let's start with a bit of history to really get to the crux of the matter.

Around 2013-14, as Android smartphones exploded in popularity - especially in emerging markets like India, South East Asia, and China - there was a surge in demand for lower-priced, entry-level smartphones. Consumers who purchased these phones soon had to contend with a major irritant: low internal storage.

If you recall, entry-level smartphones of the time only came with 4GB or 8GB of storage. With apps getting increasingly bigger in terms of file sizes, and most of these apps being installable only on the internal storage, these phones were notorious for throwing up low internal storage warning messages. 

This prompted Google to introduce a feature called adoptable storage with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The idea seemed ingenious at the time. With a majority of these low-end phones featuring a MicroSD card slot, adoptable storage did exactly what it said. It "adopts" the external storage and formats it in a way that behaves like internal storage.

What are the advantages of adoptable storage?

The adoptable storage feature did come as a sigh of relief for users of low-end smartphones who were frustrated with constant "low internal storage" warnings. It allowed them to quite easily expand the internal storage without spending too much money.

All that was needed was to format the card in a special way, and voila! They had tons of fresh, new internal storage at their disposal. The process of formatting the SD card as internal storage too wasn't very daunting for users as several low-end smartphones from this era automatically prompted users to format the card in easy steps.

Upon formatting the card as internal storage, the process also migrated shared storage contents (typically mounted at /sdcard) to the newly adopted media. This step helped users free a lot of valuable space on the internal storage - thereby marking an end to those annoying internal storage message warnings. All in all, adoptable storage seemed like a godsend for people with smartphones that had low internal storage, right?

Well, there was a catch! Several catches, actually.

What are the disadvantages of adoptable storage?

Lack of support from major brands

While adoptable storage did solve the issue of low internal storage for several users, some smartphone brands chose not to include this feature even on their low-end phones. One key example was that of Samsung, which right from the start chose not to implement the feature on their devices.

Samsung's explanation was that using microSD cards as adoptable storage affected the overall performance of the device. They also explicitly said that the feature was only intended for use on low-end smartphones while also disabling the feature on their own low-end devices! Samsung's compatriot LG was not too keen on joining the adoptable storage party.

Brands that did support Adoptable storage on their devices included HTC (which named the feature Flex Storage), Blackberry, and Motorola. Backing from major smartphone vendors notwithstanding, the feature itself did come with inherent issues.

Performance issues

While Samsung might have had other reasons to disable the adoptable storage feature on their devices, the company wasn't lying when it said it came with inherent performance issues.

Most SD cards of the time were much slower (in terms of their read/write speed) when compared to the internal flash module. This meant that every single task that involved the adopted MicroSD card took longer to execute. And with most of the devices that had this feature already falling into the low-end category, it only made the phones slower than they already were.

In essence, a solution that was intended to solve a major irritant (that of low internal storage) only ended up creating another problem (that of slower performance).

Not every app supported adoptable storage

The adoptable feature came with a major caveat.

App developers were required to manually enable this feature on their apps using the android:installLocation attribute. And many app developers chose not to do it - mainly because of the aforementioned performance issues. WhatsApp, for example, which was notorious for clogging the internal storage on phones with its large database files and multimedia folders, never came down to supporting adoptable storage.

Disabling adoptable storage is a pain

The very reason for the popularity of microSD cards is their portability. You can simply remove the cards and toss them around (just kidding), and put them inside another smartphone or device with ease. This was no longer possible with MicroSD cards that were formatted to behave like internal storage.

To disassociate the MicroSD card to be used on another device, it had to be reformatted as a portable storage device. This meant you would need to backup all the data stored on this card elsewhere. Even worse was the fact that all the apps that were installed on the card would have to be uninstalled and reinstalled again.

Darth Vader micro SD ANDROIDPIT
Welcome to the dark side of  memory expansion/ © NextPit

Then there is the question of what happens when the MicroSD card is removed from the system without doing all these steps.  Turns out 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 placeholders, 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 data recovery. 

How to use a MicroSD card as internal storage on Android

As of 2021, adoptable storage is not a very sought-after feature even on low-end Android smartphones because most of them have a decent amount of internal storage already.  For the purpose of this article, I tried several handsets running Android 10/Android 11 - only to come out disappointed.

In fact, I was almost convinced that newer versions of Android do not support this feature in 2021. That was until I got hold of a smartphone from a close friend made by Indian smartphone maker Micromax. The handset, known as Micromax IN Note 1, is fairly new and was released in late 2020. It runs Android 10 and, surprisingly, supports the adoptable storage feature - in 2021!

When I inserted a MicroSD card into the slot, the phone immediately prompted me to ask how I wanted to use this card. And this is what you should expect to happen when you insert a card into a phone that supports adoptable storage.

use SD card as internal storage
Follow the simple on-screen steps to use a MicroSD card on Android / © NextPit

As seen in the image above, the phone will warn you about the read/write speed of the card being slow once you format it accordingly. 

In case your phone does not prompt you automatically, try these steps

  • 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.

How to stop using MicroSD card as internal storage on Android

As mentioned earlier in this article, if you want to stop using a MicroSD card that has been formatted as internal storage, it is not a simple process as removing it directly. To do this, you will need to reformat the card as portable. Here's how you can do it on Android 10.

  • Open Settings > Storage
  • Tap on the name of the SD card
  • Tap the three vertical dots on the top right corner of the screen and tap Format as portable
  • You will see a warning screen that tells you what happens next. Make sure all the data on the SD card is backed up elsewhere.
  • Tap Format
format SD card as portable
This is how you format microSD card as portable on Android 10/ © NextPit

Now that you have learnt how to format and reformat your MicroSD card to use as internal storage, I am sure most of your queries regarding this topic have been answered. And you might as well stop reading by this point.

But what if you have an old smartphone lying around?  And what if it does not support adoptable storage natively? Well, in such a situation, there are some workarounds. However, these are very outdated and may not work well as they used to half a decade ago.

The steps below are applicable for really outdated Android versions. 


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.

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. / © NextPit

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. / © NextPit

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.

We have finally come to the end of this article. Do let us know what you think of adoptable storage. Have you managed to use this feature on your phone? 


This article was heavily revised in May 2021 to reflect fresh changes. Older comments and some older steps have been retained.

99 comments

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  • mt_turk30 3 days ago Link to comment

    "Format as internal" is not an option on the Samsung A01 using Android 11.


    • Rahul Srinivas
      • Admin
      • Staff
      2 days ago Link to comment

      As mentioned in the article, Samsung never supported adoptable storage even when the feature was new. So what you found was not surprising.


  • Christopher Coonan 7 months ago Link to comment

    The manufacturer's that disabled the internal storage option did so for a few reasons. For Samsung it was a weak card reader. It was older and slow. It was never meant to be used as a full speed interface to storage. Just backup and transfer and because of this, many units that bypassed and ran even a good SD card would eventually overheat and occasionally burn the reader.
    I know LG did it due to issues with having to explain to consumers needing a specific rated card speed. It wasn't worth the aggravation.
    As for Sony, cheap reader once again, and from a company that makes fast SD cards it's better to avoid that entire situation.


  • jimandroidp Jul 5, 2020 Link to comment

    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.


  • João José Jun 30, 2020 Link to comment

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


  • Rob Weir Apr 16, 2020 Link to comment

    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.


  • jimandroidp Jan 30, 2020 Link to comment

    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.


  • jimandroidp Jan 29, 2020 Link to comment

    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


  • DepressedHuman Dec 16, 2019 Link to comment

    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 Aug 15, 2019 Link to comment

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


  • addertooth1 Jun 1, 2019 Link to comment

    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.


  • YYBENEDB May 24, 2019 Link to comment

    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?


    • immikhan Aug 15, 2019 Link to comment

      mobile should need to be rooted


  • YoUnoMiiC Apr 19, 2019 Link to comment

    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


  • AtomMeth Apr 4, 2019 Link to comment

    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)


  • Tejas Kannampuzha Feb 9, 2019 Link to comment

    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.


  • Benji V Jan 15, 2019 Link to comment

    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!


  • Elizabeth Jan 5, 2019 Link to comment

    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?


  • David Morrison Jan 5, 2019 Link to comment

    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!


  • Brian Carr Nov 19, 2018 Link to comment

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


    • jimandroidp Jul 5, 2020 Link to comment

      a lot of phones still only have 8megs wgich is not leaving much afyer operating system.


  • ADsAreGreat Oct 12, 2018 Link to comment

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


  • Valaike Oct 9, 2018 Link to comment

    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


  • Przemysław Oct 2, 2018 Link to comment

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


  • Quisizyx Sep 24, 2018 Link to comment

    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.


  • ECfromDC Sep 13, 2018 Link to comment

    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?


    • ThePman Jan 24, 2019 Link to comment

      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!


  • Angga Manggala Aug 19, 2018 Link to comment

    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)


  • Nate Shirar Aug 15, 2018 Link to comment

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


  • Miguel Cruz Aug 11, 2018 Link to comment

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


  • Andrea Pandolfo Damiani Jul 11, 2018 Link to comment

    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 :(


    • Daniel Chaves Aug 10, 2018 Link to comment

      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. :(


  • Khronus Jul 11, 2018 Link to comment

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


  • migoblu Jul 6, 2018 Link to comment

    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.


    • Angga Manggala Aug 19, 2018 Link to comment

      ahh~ did you already activated the USB Debugging mode on your smartphone (inside the developer options)?


  • Vincenzo Mazzotta Jul 1, 2018 Link to comment

    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...


  • Philippe-André Luneau Jun 19, 2018 Link to comment

    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!


  • Jaime Gribble Apr 25, 2018 Link to comment

    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?


    • Jaime Gribble Apr 25, 2018 Link to comment

      well never mind, I rebooted the phone and started over, it worked!


  • Doris Thomassin Apr 2, 2018 Link to comment

    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


  • Doh Nuts Apr 1, 2018 Link to comment

    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.


  • Reg Joo Mar 7, 2018 Link to comment

    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".


  • Jay B. Mar 1, 2018 Link to comment

    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.


    • ECfromDC Sep 13, 2018 Link to comment

      I noticed that too....A LOT of my apps won't allow me to move them to the SD card :/.


  • Dan Marinescu Jan 7, 2018 Link to comment

    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.


  • John Mark Omadto Dec 24, 2017 Link to comment

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


  • Georg Infanger Nov 15, 2017 Link to comment

    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?


  • George Wilson Oct 30, 2017 Link to comment

    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!


    • FeRDNYC Oct 30, 2017 Link to comment

      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.


  • Jared Duncan Sep 22, 2017 Link to comment

    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


    • FeRDNYC Sep 22, 2017 Link to comment

      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?


      • Jared Duncan Sep 22, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


      • FeRDNYC Sep 22, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


  • Dan McFarland Sep 18, 2017 Link to comment

    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.


    • FeRDNYC Sep 19, 2017 Link to comment

      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.


      • Dan McFarland Sep 19, 2017 Link to comment

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


      • FeRDNYC Sep 19, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


      • Heinz Ochsner May 7, 2018 Link to comment

        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 :-(


    • FeRDNYC Sep 19, 2017 Link to comment

      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.


  • FeRDNYC Aug 16, 2017 Link to comment

    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,)


    • MAx1234 Ita Mar 28, 2018 Link to comment

      Thanks for your post, think this is a quite precious "detail" :-)


  • Kevin Dale Aug 13, 2017 Link to comment

    I do not have SD ID after typing in:

    sm list-disks

    Please help. TIA!


    • FeRDNYC Aug 14, 2017 Link to comment

      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.


      • Kevin Dale Aug 14, 2017 Link to comment

        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


      • FeRDNYC Aug 14, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


      • FeRDNYC Aug 14, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


  • Pradip Shah Jul 3, 2017 Link to comment

    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.


  • Odell Damon May 14, 2017 Link to comment

    "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?


  • mitchellbrian fox Apr 21, 2017 Link to comment

    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


  • Aravind Ayyagari Mar 24, 2017 Link to comment

    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..!!!!


    • Eric Ferrari-Herrmann Mar 24, 2017 Link to comment

      They're encrypted with a key you will not be able to retrieve, I'm afraid. In that case, tough luck, bro.


  • Vikki J. Feb 17, 2017 Link to comment

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


  • Mark Hansen Feb 14, 2017 Link to comment

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


    • Barry Buchanan Feb 15, 2017 Link to comment

      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??


    • Barry Buchanan Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

      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.


      • Zamwa Ahmed Feb 12, 2017 Link to comment

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


      • Zamwa Ahmed Feb 12, 2017 Link to comment

        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???


      • Barry Buchanan Feb 12, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


      • Barry Buchanan Feb 12, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


      • Vikki J. Feb 17, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


  • Yoel Barkan Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    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) ?


    • Barry Buchanan Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

      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.


  • Barry Buchanan Feb 9, 2017 Link to comment

    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.


  • DEATHPROOFBUM Feb 9, 2017 Link to comment

    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.


  • Nelson Feb 8, 2017 Link to comment

    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.


    • Dean L. Feb 8, 2017 Link to comment

      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.


      • Brittany McGhee Feb 8, 2017 Link to comment

        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.


      • Vikki J. Feb 17, 2017 Link to comment

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


    • FeRDNYC Jul 15, 2017 Link to comment

      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.


  • Dean L. Feb 8, 2017 Link to comment

    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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