How to move apps or games to an SD card in Windows Phone 8.1

Running out of storage space on your Windows Phone? You've probably filled it up with games, apps, photos, music and more. If your Windows Phone has support for a SD card you're in luck. With a few taps you can move things from to your SD card from your phone's internal storage. In the process freeing up your phone's internal memory. You can also set it up so that new music, videos, podcasts, photos, apps and downloads automatically get stored in either your phone or SD card.

How to move items from your phone to your SD card

The following instructions are for Windows Phone 8.1 handsets and work regardless of your phone maker.

  • In Windows Phone 8.1 go to the application list
  • Scroll to and open Storage sense
  • Tap phone
  • Select a category (apps + games, music, videos, podcasts, photos)
  • Select the app
  • Tap 'move to SD'
  • Your app will now be moved from the phone to the SD card

Another way to quickly move stuff to your SD card is by tapping the select button in the app+games page. This will allow you to select more than one app or game and move them to the SD card all at once. Saving you steps and taps.

Automatically install apps, games and more to the SD card

Whew. You just moved a handful of apps and games to the SD card. Can we make future apps install there automatically? Of course. Here's how you do just that using Storage sense on Windows Phone 8.1.

  • In Windows Phone 8.1 go to the application list
  • Scroll to and open Storage sense
  • You'll see four categories on the bottom of the page (photos, apps, downloads and media)
  • Tap phone for the category you want to change and then select SD card

Congratulations. You just changed the default storage for your apps from your phone to your SD card. Now you don't have to micromanage your apps when they come in.

You've started to master Storage sense on Windows Phone 8.1. Don't forget you can do more with Storage sense like uninstall multiple apps at once!

Have any questions about SD cards and apps on Windows Phone 8.1? Ask below in the comments, hit up the Windows Phone Central forums or reach out to me on Twitter (@samsabri).

Sam Sabri
  • Nice one! Hope this will be helpful to those who owns Windows Phones with expandable memory!
  • Yes, a helpful article for those looking forward to getting WP8.1 soon... & maybe Cortana too! Have WPC published & article about Cortana, I'll have to search.
  • said the Android ABM shill sh1teater
  • Remember, Devs has to enable this feature on their own app. Not all apps can be moved or automatically installed to SD.
  • Wrong. This setting works the other way around, the developer may prohibit installation/move to SD. Not "allow" it. This means nearly all current apps are movable by default, unless the developer chose to prohibit it.
  • What micro SD card do you use guys? Im planning to buy kingston 32gb class 10. Is that compatible with lumia 1320?
  • 16 GB Sandisk Ultra microSDHC Class-10 here.  I bought for my L720.  It came with an SD adaptor.  (~ 30 dolars here in Brazil)
  • I wish they would give the ability back in 8.1rt!
  • Seriously, can't believe W8.1 can't do this.
  • Like, duuuhhhhh.....
    Just joking... But, it would be nice to be able to use apps on the SD card after a factory reset... How dumb can a smartphone be to say "can't use these apps they're from another device""".. MS needs to fix that.
  • This^ I've faced similar problem. Had to re-install around 150 apps. Thanks to "purchase history" for keeping my download list!
  • Yes.. Agreed
  • That's odd. I can see that it's a kind of DRM encryption, but surely it makes sense to encrypt by your user ID and not the phone's serial number.
  • 3ds/dsi users have been living with this for a long time
  • Agreed...and this will happen in 2017
  • 2017❔
  • #IAgree +920
  • Just today (July 23) I did a reset to my 1520 because i forgot my password and i had about 10 GB of apps in the SD card... imagine that! It's so frustrating that they were from "another phone"! Are they kiding me? It's the same phone!!!!!!!! AAAAhhhhhhh!!!!!
  • Even if we use the same user id and password, it gives the same message,"you need to format the sd card as it has apps on it"
  • That's stupid!!
  • If only the 930 had SD card slot.
  • If only my wife had a SD slot..... Think about it.
  •  (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
  • Bro these are the best replies I ever saw hahaha! :D +920
  • I think that's your best reply yet lmao
  • :) :)
  • Had I realized the 925 didn't have an SD slot, I might have stayed with my 521....maybe.....probably not though.
  • That's why I'm probably going to get a 635 when it comes to Metro PCS. Extra space is always good to have!
  • Luckily Vodafone in NZ ranged the 32GB 925, so I've never felt the need for an SD card. ;-)
  • If only tmobile us had done that. Luckily out of the 14.5 or so that I get to use, I still have 6.6gb.
  • I felt that way with my 32GB Lumia 920, but I do *not* feel that way with my Lumia 1020 with all those super high-res photos. I've been struggling against the 32GB limit recently. So next stop: Lumia 1520. High-res photos and an SD card. It should arrive later today. And it's the good one (the Latin American version, the RM-938, which supports more frequencies than any other), which makes me happy. :-) Finally I can use "BRS" and get "LTE Max". :D
  • That is why I got the 635 instead of the 925. I download alot of podcasts and storage was more important than a flash or RAM. I'm loving my 635! T-Mobile.
  • Ever heard of a thing called information before buying,it's been around for a long time !
  • At the time, i knew it had twice what my 521 had.
  • Very helpful.
  • While most of us know this already, I'm sure people who don't know will find link to this article when they Google / Bing (especially after Cyan is out everywhere). I've been asked few times the same question by my friends too. The fact that this option is little *inside* the settings confuses those who're new to WP8.1
  • BING!
  • BINGOOOO!!!!
  • Wow, so people didn't know this before? I should've tipped WPCentral about this before. Damn. :/
  • I discovered the feature just yesterday. :P gj self
  • Good morning !
  • Most people dont have a clue that their low end phone has a sd slot
  • Ref farstrider,
    May I ask, what is your point? What are you trying to say?
  • Would there be any performance hit particularly intensive games if played from the SD card?
  • If you mean in-game performance, in my case, yes. I've a Class 10 64GB SanDisk microSD in my 520. If I play Minion Rush / Asphalt 8 / Asphalt 7/ Six Guns / Halo:SA / from phone memory, they perform better as compared against when they're put in SD. I could hear small cuttings and lagging in background music during Asphalt gameplay.
  • @mfosa: That depends on your phone's processor and your SD Card's class. Class 10 is enough for gaming with not much performance decrease, depending on which game you play.
    @Gautam: Of all the games you listed above, I've only had issues with Minion Rush (incredibly lags) and Six-Guns (a little)... Asphalt 7 & 8 and Halo: SA are softly smooth.. What gives me questions is that Minion Rush though less laggy on phone memory than SD Card, it is still unplayable, I don't know why though my phone is a Quad-core Lumia 630?
  • Minion rush lagged on my 521 on internal memory, at first. Few updates later it was smoother.
  • Agree, Minion rush gives poor frame rates as compared to others. But its a graphics intensive game, I can compromise some lags on a device like 520 :) Yeah, Lumia 630 has a quad-core processor, better than the Dual-core's of 520, obviously. But the RAM, they're still the same. That MIGHT limit the complete potential of a Quad-core processor (My guesses). I've also noticed, Minion Rush works better if you play it more often. On the other hand, if its opened once in a week or month, it may not work good enough. Not sure if its the game cache or what, but its like that in my device, I'm sure about that.
  • Oh helpful advice there, but a little late :) because I deleted it a few days ago, and re-installing it will takes a few centuries :p So I thinks I should.... Wait for my Holy Lumia 930, yeah! :cool: ;)
  • Ah thanks! But what did you reply in the "Carrier:" column? Phones in India doesn't come up with Carrier contracts so I said we don't have carriers and moreover 930 hasn't yet launched in India. I'm unsure if they can really deliver it :/ How about you?
  • I didn't know either, since in my country there are no carriers, just like India, so I told that in my reply, and asked if they can help or something in a reply, but...err...strange silence.. :/
    "There is no carriers like AT&T or Verizon in my country. All phone is somehow like unlocked, so I'm not sure about this. Hope you can help in a reply?"
    I'm wondering if they can understand that :/ I just didn't know how to explain :|
  • Almost same to what I replied! Here's a part of my message: "....the phones we use here doesn't come up under carrier contracts. I mean, we're free to use any GSM SIM card (i.e., Airtel, Vodafone, Docomo, !dea etc) we want without any contract. I don't know how to explain :/ but we don't have carriers. Can I be helped with that?..." I think it were much easier for them if we had chosen the tablet but I really want the phone over the tab :(
  • Yeah. I'm really afraid that they didn't understand what I replied (above) :| However switching now is still not too late lol, just kidding :)
  • Lets wait for their response first :) I'm sure they'll find some solution. And if by any chance they can't have the off-carrier phones delivered, we can ask for the tablet at last ;)
  • Yeah :) *waiting is happiness*
    Sent from would-be-my Lumia 930 :cool:
  • Yeah *_* But I'm feeling sleep now -_-! I'll check for mail tomorrow again, you do check yours! ;)
  • Yeah ~_~ it's exactly 3:27 a.m at my place already... Nice dream :)
  • Hey Toan, I finally got a reply from them, did you? They told me they'll talk to Daniel regarding this. I also mentioned them your name that you're having the same issue as mine. I hope they'll find a solution for both of us :)
  • Yeah me too, just received their reply about half an hour ago. But thanks for mentioning my name :) Nice guy you are :)
    "Don't worry, we will be sure to send a phone that will work in your country. :) ...."
    That's enough to relieve me :)
  • No problem! And thanks for telling me that, I'm feeling relaxed too ;)
  • Yeah, let's wait. I will pm you later when I receive my shiny 930 ;)
  • Right. I'll also PM you for further messages :)
    P.S: Sorry everyone! We've probably crossed the height of off-topic conversation!!!
  • +520
  • On a similar note, apps stored on the SD card that generate tile images locally (ie, don't load them from a web service) also store these tile images on the SD card, so sometimes the tiles can be blank for a second while WP reloads them. Especially if you're low on RAM at the time.
  • Yeah that's true.
  • Right, I've noticed that too.
  • I can only speak for a +720 which has an SanDisk 8GB card in it, the red & gold high speed one. Apps, not that I've found, games, a bit, but only having 512MB I've hardly got a gaming device, so it might act up anyway. Although playing Fruit Frenzy is no issue...
  • What I've noticed on my 1520 isn't any kinda lag but serious heat and battery drain even like 30-60 mins after watching a video. Dunno if others have experienced this but its terrible. Even a reboot doesn't fix it. Feels like it's constantly reading/writing to the card...
  • Well ... I haven't found any performance degradation... It works same...
    Temple Run 2 on Lumia 620.. Lags no matter where it is stored...
    Same goes Mion Rush...
    But ya Rail Rush hadn't showed lags before WP8.1 DP... idk it is because of update or bcz app is in card..
    But I am glad.. I can move apps.. Completely.. Unlike Android.. That uses old Windows model of keeping some part in phone memory and partly in sd card.
  • Helpfully. But like WhatsApp app no way to that converts it into way.
    Hope I can .
    Any help mr @samsabri ?
  • Why no way? I'm sure I've got it on SD card.. I'll check & get back...
  • Sure u can check.take ur time . but u won't do me.
    I had 8.1 HTC 8X.waiting ur respond .
  • HTC 8X doesn't have SD Card slot, so you can't put apps there obviously.
  • Thanks bro. u right .
    I meant HTC 8S .i had two HTC's devices .
    I'm talking about HTC 8S.
  • Install TELEGRAM !
  • This is the reason why I'm holding off from buying 930 - expandable memory. 935, 830, 1030 should better have it
  • Some Apps can be moved but don't work after, should fire a warning before miving
  • The sound o:
  • I think after install many lot apps to sd card my windows phone running so slowly and laggy
  • It's your SD card that's slow,buy a faster one.
  • Can we, non-SD slot phone users, get access to store our games,apps, etc to the cloud aka OneDrive, since our phones don't have the slots? Just sayin'
  • Wait, you want to be able to stream mobile games? That's an interesting proposition....
  • Stream everything...
  • 'mobile first . cloud first' - ???
    choose app online store, install it to online cloud storage, play it through stream it from cloud storage on phone ???? -cloud app
  • Great, so you can use your phone as a torch and paperweight when you go for hiking, trekking or move out of network anytime.
  • i dont think thats reliable enough to be worth having lol
  • Interesting... Maybe have the game save in the cloud... When it starts out checks and picks up right where you were at. At end resave to cloud... Could work if you have good service signal
  • Ref JayMike Willingham,
    I am usually quick to tell the rich and cloistered that the internet is not everywhere, all the time, consistent, fast, or even exist at all in most places in the world. But, you really do have a great idea, for when the internet exists fast consistently. Good job. Nice thought.
  • I just think it's common sense...
  • Discovered it, awhile back on my 1520
  • Now,that would be nice,
  • My Lumia 635 now has close to 40 gigs of memory thanks to my SD card and the ability to put apps on an SD card. I love it!
  • Does installing apps on the SD card makes it run slower?
  • No,if you have a fast data SD card
  • I have had issues with this process. Yes, it does free up room. However, on multiple occasions I've been hit with SD card errors that needed a scan to fix. ********** After the scan I would find out that the apps no longer open. I would then have to uninstall/reinstall each app located on the SD. It's task that was required so often that forced me to just leave my apps stored on phone. ************** So now I download everything else to my SD and only apps to my phone.
  • I had this problem with my Lumia 810 when I had Audible on my SD card. Moving that back to the phone seems to have stopped the problem. Maybe something similar is happening to you?
  • I've had the same problem on my 1520 putting apps like Audible, Podcast Lounge, etc. on the SD card.  I don't know if it's specific to apps that frequently download files to the SD card or related to playing music, but those apps seem to frequently have problems corrupting files when running on the SD card.
  • Cheap SD cards give bad results
  • Oh yes please do tell me how cheap my 64 GB class 10 good-brand, good-Amazon-reviews SD card is.  I would tell you the brand, but I don't feel like turning off my phone right now to pop it out, but I believe it is a SanDisk.  My word, people on the Internet love to assume that everyone else is stupid.  It may in fact be a bad SD card, but don't assume that just because someone else is having problems, they must have bought a cheap card because you just look like a jerk.
  • Well once scanning is over... Just restart your phone.. Problem is solved... No need to reinstall apps... That's all how I am doing.
  • Just be careful if your SD card takes a crap you have to factory reset your phone. I had to do this on my 1520 it was a great feature until then.
  • I have a bunch of apps on my SD card that I moved there on my 1520. I'm running Windows Phone 8.1 Dev Preview. I understand that when Cyan is released, I'm going to have to revert the phone back to 8.0 in order to upgrade. Will it know about the apps on my SD card, or will I have to download them all again?
  • No.. You have to download it over again..
  • You don't have to revert to 8.0 if you're happy to wait for the BitLocker fix from Microsoft.
  • Us regular people that don't use bitlocker shouldn't have to wait for using dev preview.
  • Shouldn't, but you still will because Microsoft had to put the whole Cyan update on hold (as I understand it) for anyone on the Dev Preview. I assume this is because the update system, when deciding if an update is available, can't specify whether BitLocker is enabled or not.
  • Hour do you even enable bitlocker in the first place?
  • On Windows Phone it must be enabled via an Active Sync Exchange policy. On Windows it can be enabled in the same way, or you can activated it for a non-boot drive from File Explorer yourself. There's a way to encrypt the boot drive yourself too but I don't know it off the top of my head.
  • Why not wait until MS solves the problem for the Cyan update with 8.1 installed ?can't you sleep at night if you don't get Cyan now and get it next month?
  • Nice reply :D
  • I already move some apps from phone to my 32GB SD card last week.
  • After the last WP8.1 update my SD card (64gb class 10) stoped to work on my Lumia 820. It had some apps installed on it, maybe that is the problem, even this, I think it is bug, after all, it was an update of the OS, and the apps I have installed on this SD was of the same phone, but before the update.
    My PC also do not see it when I plug my phone using USB. Now I don't have how to format the SD card. :'( PS.: Using the Files app I can see the SD card.
  • You can format your SD card in the phones settings :)
  • On storage sense it says it can't find the SD card, but if I use the Files app it finds :( 
  • Do you have an adapter so u can connect the micro SD card to the PC and format it from there?  
  • No, I don't have any adapter, My old computer had slots fot it, but it had some problems with the video adapter, so now I will need to find some adapter to it. :( It would be better if some app was able to do it for me.
  • For all the things people go on about things that Android can do, this isn't one of them. This feature was actually removed Kit Kat to the annoyance of quite a lot of people. We're going backwards, not forward. In 2009 the Nokia N97 had 32 gigs of storage in addition to a sc slot. 5 years later, 32 isn't even the standard.
  • It makes sense for android as further as it goes there will be less open APIs.
    As for onboard storage & sd slot because of people wanting thinner devices specs like lte there are tradeoffs lte instead of higher storage/sd card support vs. Higher storage specs/ sd card support instead of lte you get quad hspa+
  • It's a great addition to WP8.1, but due to our good friends at Xbox Music, we can't move albums (or edit track metadata) to SD. We have to go through the files app and move tracks (can't move folders) and then create the folders again. Or something like that, it's terribly complicated.
  • Yes, you can edit metadata.
  • I guess these fixture is for 8.1 only.....
  • WhatsApp can't be moved by publishers I want to save my chat history in my SD card any solution for that
  • Easily my top reason I'm waiting to hear from Samsung about 8.1 for the ATIV SE.
  • My lumia 520 running wp 8.0 black. Im change artist background in music hub by use mpa tool. If i grab nokia cyan, is my artist background still there and appear when using the new music hub in wp 8.1 cyan ?
  • At least on WP you can move apps, but you can't install or move apps on windows 8.1, or windows rt to an SD card what gives.
  •  After trying many MicroSD cards in my old phone (Lumia 820) I ran into many problems especially with high capacity cards. 64GB SanDisk cards were the worst for me. The most anoying issues were duplicated songs and stuttering videos.  My solution was a 64GB Samsung Class 10 MicroSD XC i (all black card with silver & white lettering, 70MB/s read & 20MB/s write). That thing worked flawlessly (and fast) in my Lumia 820.  Unfortunately back then I couldn't install apps or games to the SD card so the phone soon became useless to me with it's meagre internal memory....... so I bought a 64GB Lumia 1020 and haven't looked back !!!  So if you're having performance issues with your SD card try the Samsung, it's great.  Please, please, please Nokia (Microsoft) give us more memory options with new Lumia phones. I love the new 930 and would buy one in a heartbeat if there was a 64GB variant. 32GB just isn't enough for all my music, apps, games, photo's & videos.
  • Ref bobcat,
    Don't confuse the problems of the novice fledgling Xbox music app duplicating and crapping music, as a problem of the Sandisk 64GB card problem. My card works fine and if you read up on many forum comments, I think you will agree, the problem is likely, not the card. I dream of the mature full featured beautiful Zune. It never had any of the problems we see with Xbox music.
  • How to access a website. 
    1. Open Internet Explorer 
    2. Enter the web address.
  • Wtf .. Thanks for telling us. We will regularly do it from now.
  • Fantastic explained,thank you.
  • In the name of Allah It's so impressive that I couldn't find such function correctly in Android until Froyo, And iOS until now! I saw this nessesary function in BADA 2.0 and now windows Phone after 3 minor and 1 Major Update in its WP8 ecosystem. This is a must have thanks to storage limitation. If  OTG rolls out to WP8.1, the problem of storage and moving from here to there, swap the Micro SD, Limited Storage in High end handsets(16 to 64GB fixed internal) will be vanished.   
  • Try and make phone call to Allah,ask him,I am sure he will solve all your queries,he is an expert in dealing with dummies.
  • such comment isn't necessary and useless.
  • Yes,same to you mate!
  • Repost??
  • Too bad I can't clear Other Storage on my 928. What a joke. /rant
  • Good information... Thx!
  • Is there a way to select apps that area already installed on your phone and have it migrated to the SD card for future access? Please let me know. Thank you.
  • Unfortunately for me when swapping an old 1gb to a new 8gb card while waiting for my 32gb (sd cards are expensive where I live) I ran into trouble. I deleted Asphalt8 so I could transfer alot of smaller apps to my phone before moving them to the larger card but now none of the apps that I moved from the initial card work. The app start screen loads before the app crashes. I am confused as to why this is happening because i reformatted my card before loading any apps to it and now im getting error messages when I boot the phone saying I should scan the card for errors.
  • Had any one else has a problem syncing their phones to Mac after installing an SD card?
  • No,my Iphone 5 works well with my mac :)
  • So is there a way to store/move maps to the SD card?
  • Here you go!
  • Install the app Lumia Storage Check and you can then install maps on your SD card. It is very useful.
  • Hopefully for those who are new to windows phone
  • Yup, I did this as soon as I got 8.1 on my Lumia 810. It was SO nice to get my apps and games on my SD card. A bit later, I ended up upgrading my original 32GB card to a new 64GB card!
  • It does not make any difference if you are going to update your phone soon, once you transfer the apps to SD card, on your new phone this SD card does not work, you need to format the SD card and load apps again, this takes good 2 days, good luck with that
  • It worked for me
  • What does work for me is attaching documents when replying to an email. Attach option only takes u to photo gallery. Anyone with another trick other than share? Coz with its ok if its new mail message.
  • Now, this needs a post? If one can't figure out something as easy as this, they better go back to Nokia 1100.
  • Microsoft al know this,you just tell important things not these common one. Tell why your update is so late . When you ll reach where Android is now?
  • This is one of the best features of windows mobile,I have moved mostly all my apps and maps to a 32gb fast speed SD card leaving only a few apps and the OS on the phone so getting 4gb free space on my 820.
  • Any tip what memory card to use? mine lags when i install games on it
  • Prova ad usare Una Samsung ultra !
  • Wow that's great
  • Good
  • I found a lot of difference when I installed an app in micro SD card and the same onne in phone memory. When installed in the SD card, the app was laggy..when the same app was installed in the phone memory, it was fine..once, it was mentioned the above class 6 SDHC cards will work fine with windows phone 8.1...
  • Release a 6 in MM phone With a removable battery and SD card. 1530!
  • Nice tutorial and still waitingh for windows 8.1 update for Lumia 520. Micorsoft, please release as soon as possible. Thanks
    Saravanan B - Latest Online Deals and Discounts in India. 
  • My memory automatically increases when wifi is turned on feeling retard Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Woo-hoo! Using this to install an SD card slot on my phone right now!.... Hey!...
  • The only thing i regret about my L925!! :(
  • Has anyone seen the lag of running games after installing it in the SD card?
  • sam! I wanna know that some apps e.g. Mixradio shows 125mb but not even a penny space is shown in data meaning to all in hapeen with all it normal
  • Hi Everyone, Today i got the cyan update in india and moved my whatsapp to Sd card. Its a class 4 SD card. Now i am unable to access whatsapp on my phn. as soon as i click on the tile it open for a moment and background image appears and then it shunts itself off. also i am unable to locate the whatsapp in my SD card. Can any one help me with this.
  • thanks this article was helpful 
  • How to replace the music file from phone storage to SD Card in the Nokia Lumia 1520?.Because i am already set downloading music to SD Card.But it is store directly to phone momery.
  • App-to sd does NOT work on my Nokia Lumia 530! I can't download apps directly to sd card (error message), nor can I move them once they are installed on the phone. But the thing is, they are still listed under phone in storage sense, but I can't access or use them any more. Why? Can somebody help? 
  •  No apps or game download complete. After starting download Attention required , Tape here message appeared. But after remove SDcard no problem to download and installation at all. Plz help me to solve this.
  • How to move apps  from SD to another SD. Mine is now almost full, and i;m planning upgrade. Solution to move to phone storage will not work as it is full too.
  • Thanks for the helpful post about moving apps to the SD card.
    I would like to request any information you have regarding recent issues I have been experiencing with my Nokia Lumia 530 8.1 Windows Phone (Cyan) and the storage of Apps on my SD card. Recently when I have moved Apps to my SD card using Storage Sense other apps installed on my phone have become unstable. Particularly my navigation app and the preinstalled map app. They refuse to open. Even though they were not moved to the SD card. Other installed apps fade almost disappear from the applications list in Settings list and can not be uninstalled or reinstalled. Causing me to have to reset my phone and erase my SD card. What's your take on this issue and do you have any suggestions? Would greatly appreciate your assistance.
  • i hardly reset my nokia lumia and before reseting i move all apps to sd card and remove it and then reseting is done i put my card into phone i cant find my apps on card , storage sense so what can i do for getting back my apss
  • Why does my apps keep saying pending and wont transfer to my SD card.