How To Transfer Apps from Galaxy S3 Memory to External SD Card [NO ROOT REQUIRED]

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We have written one article on how to transfer apps from Samsung Galaxy S3 internal memory to its external microSD card last month. Sadly, we had to recommend rooting the device then but we never stopped asking questions from developers and people who have vast knowledge in this kind of thing.

Now, for those who doesn’t want to root their Galaxy S3 but still w ants to transfer their apps to an external storage, we have found a way but it comes with a price–it’s not really the kind of thing average users want to do each day.

As you all know, after the Jelly Bean update, the Galaxy S3 cannot transfer installed apps into the external memory. The “Move to SD Card” button in application’s menu is greyed out. This tutorial will walk you through enabling it back.


This tutorial will let you download around 400MB+ file (406MB to be exact) so depending on your connection it may take several minutes to complete.

This workaround works for all ROMs may it be custom or stock. In theory, it may work to all devices that have their “Move to SD Card” disabled but that’s yet to be proven. What’s sure for now is that it works on the Galaxy S3.

Step-by-step Tutorial

Step 1: You will need to download the latest version of Android SDK. The ADB executable is already included in the package and that’s what we need for this tutorial. You can download the package by following this link. Information on how to install it is also provided on the page.

Note: If you are installing this on a Windows machine, you will also need to download the drivers. Otherwise, you’ll be getting some permission errors.  Google made a very good tutorial on how to download those drivers, follow this link.

Step 2: Once everything is download and setup in your computer, connect the Samsung Galaxy S3 to your computer using the original USB cable. Do this without enabling the USB storage mode.

Here’s how you do it: go to Settings, then tap Applications. Find and tap Development option and Enable USB Debugging. You also need to check Install from Unknown Sources.

Step 3: For non-Windows computers, start the terminal window and point it to this directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools.

Step 4: For Windows users, navigate to the following directory (using the typical method): C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools. While holding the shift key, right inside the folder and choose “Open command window here” to launch the CMD window.

Step 5: In the command window, type in: adb devices
You should see connected Android device, in this case it’s the Galaxy S3, upon doing so.

Step 6: Now, here’s the trick. Enter the following command in the CMD window: adb shell pm set-install-location 2

There is the chance, depending on the version of SDK you downloaded, that the above command won’t work, here’s the alternative: pm setInstallLocation 2

Step 7: The default install location on Galaxy S3 is the internal memory represented by the number 0, the command in the previous step sets the default to either external SD card or USB storage and thus represented by number 2.

Step 8: You should be getting a new prompt after that. Close everything and disconnect the device from the computer.

Step 9: Reboot your phone and wait ’til it becomes fully active.

Step 10: Now, move apps from your Galaxy S3′s internal memory to the external microSD card.

To do that, go to Settings => Applications Manager =>tap the app you want to move=> tap Move to SD Card button.

But just so you know, not all apps need to be moved to the SD card especially those that are needed during boot up like Google Services and other system apps.

If you have questions, you can either post a comment below or send us email at help@sebertech.com.

6 comments

This is not working. I do not get an error on my s3, but a "Move to SD" button does not appear either.

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Same here not working niether working nor error ...

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Neither does ít work on my S3.
I guess we need to root the phone to gain admin access priviledges.

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Is there an external app to move them, like a file manager that does this on its own without going to the application manager of the phone?

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There is no 'move to sd' option available on an S3 and any apps, such as 'app2sd' do not support the S3... Any ideas???

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Does this works on s3 mini?

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