Solved! Apps and all downloads saved to Internal storage and not across shared (formatted) SD card


Mar 31, 2015

I recently got a budget phone running Android 8.1 Oreo Go edition. It has 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. I didn't mind the limited storage because I intend to expand it using an 16GB SD card.

I formatted the SD card as shared internal storage because it was a lot easier to have "one" larger storage unit vs SD card + Internal storage and having to move data between the two. Also, I hate the storage full error message.

However, all my files, everything I downloade is now being stored in internal storage. In settings, the system recognises both SD card and internal storage, but even after formatting, for some reason sees internal shared storage as the phone's 8GB and the SD card. Apps that are capable of being stored on the SD card are automatically stored there but otherwise, the system (including files Go) and other 3rd party apps only see the 8GB of internal storage.

Is anyone, by any chance, aware of a way of rectifying this or of a reason why the OS would behave this way. Is it misguided feature that Google has added?

Thanks in advance for your help.
If you chose the phone's version of making the card "Internal" storage (the option in settings) then it likely didn't make it actual "Internal" storage. If it had, then you could put apps on it. Try the instructions below and see if it will work for you.

First, you need to be using a phone that is running at least Android "Marshmallow" (6.0) or newer, or be able to upgrade to it. Second, you will need the instructions I am including below. And third, you need a phone that has not been restricted by the manufacturer from making this change. Which does happen.

NOTE: If any of the steps are missing on your phone, or they don't work for you, then you have a phone that either has an older Android version or has been restricted by the manufacturer. If that is the case, you will not be able to use this information.

How to turn the "External" SD card into "Internal" storage - Option A

NOTE: Please be sure you start with a blank SD card. It needs to be blank because when the card is converted to "Internal" storage, it will be formatted (wiped) and encoded (making the cards data only readable by that device).

1. Go to device “Settings”, then select “Storage”.
2. Select your "SD Card", then tap the “three-dot menu“ (top-right), now select “Settings” from in there.
3. Now select “Format as internal”, and then “Erase & Format”.
4. Your SD Card will now be formatted as internal storage.
5. Reboot your phone.

NOTE: If you don't reboot the phone, many things may not work correctly, so make sure you do.

How to turn the "External" SD card into "Internal" storage - Option B

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure you start with a blank SD card. When the card is converted to "Internal" storage, it will be formatted (wiped) and encoded (making the cards data only readable by that device), so anything on it prior would be gone.

1. Go to "Settings", and then select "Storage & USB".
2. At the bottom of the list you should see the SD card's details, including the option to format it and make it "Internal" storage.
3. Once this is done, reboot the device and you can start running things from the card.

NOTE: If you don't reboot the phone, some things may not work correctly, so make sure you do the reboot.

A Final Note: If you set up the card as "Internal" storage, then the data on it will not be readable by any other device. To access the data you would have to connect he phone to say a computer and copy it over to the computer from the phone/card. Otherwise only phone can read the data. Also, be sure you do not reset (hard or factory) the phone. If you do, then all the data on the card will no longer be readable, even by the phone itself.



Mar 31, 2015
Hi, thanks for the response.

It seems the manufacturer has indeed restricted it. I tried all the steps, including rebooting the phone eacg time.

What I do find strange though is that in the settings it detects the full 24GB. But first party app (play store, Files Go) and third party apps (Astro file manager) do not detect the other 16GB of the SD card. So they store everything in the 8 GB only.

Android 8.1 Go also gives the option of moving files over from Internal to the "internal" SD card and all that does is use up the same amount of storage on the SD card as on internal storage, but the internal storage is still full and isn't reduced, essentially duplicating those files.

As stated before, the phone's saying it is making the card or part of it) "Internal" storage likely isn't. They really need to not list it that way, as it isn't doing what they are saying it is. Alas, I am not them so I can't change it. :)

You are left with moving things like files, photos, videos, etc. over to the card to free up space on the phone. Then I would look into removing any apps you really don't use. If they are preinstalled apps that are not removable, you can usually downgrade them to their original version, which will remove the updates and the space they take up, and then disable them to keep them from using up resources.
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