Samsung Galaxy S4 update enables moving app to the microSD card

Samsung Galaxy S4 update enables moving app to the microSD card

Summary: The Galaxy S4 is a fantastic smartphone, but I can't recommend the 16GB version with such limited memory. Samsung is fixing the situation by rolling out an update to allow you to optimize your microSD card use.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 update enables moving app to the microSD card
(Image: Matthew Miller/ZDNet)

I previously pointed out that the there were major limitations with the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4 since less than 10GB was available for apps and the microSD was irrelevant for apps. Thankfully, Samsung took it upon themselves to fix something Google broke and is reportedly issuing an update that enables moving apps to the microSD card.

Previous versions of Android had this capability, but that was changed in later versions (I believe it started with Ice Cream Sandwich). People who root and customize their phones can get this capability back, but the majority of people do not do this, so the number of apps they could install was restricted.

Some games today run 1 to 1.5GB in size so gamers were really feeling the pinch on the Galaxy S4. There are 32GB versions of the S4, but they are limited by carrier.

In addition to microSD card management, Samsung is enabling HDR video recording and more fixes with this update. It is rolling out now in Germany and there is no word when US variations will get the update. I would also love to see this update appear on my Galaxy Note II.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Samsung, Smartphones

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10 comments
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  • US Update

    It will be months before a carrier like Verizon rolls out this update, if they even do at all. So in addition to the OS fragmentation, you still have the same exact phone running different versions of the firmware. Can't wait for the Motorola/Google phone.
    NickA55
  • "fix something Google broke"?

    Google didn't break this, they removed it. They made it so intelligent user (able to root) or manufacturers have to add this feature back. The reason why is simple, would you rip the hdd out of your computer while a program was running (on that hdd). Manufacturers can make it difficult to remove the microsd while the device is running. If the app is suspended (like switched to another app) and not removed from memory (which is harder if it does notifications) then removing the microsd would be bad and allow possible serious hacking.

    Very very good idea to remove the security and stability nightmare.
    alex_darkness
    • A non-issue for most

      Many people don't ever change the microSD card. For them - no issue at all. Others have a phone where you have to remove the battery to change the card - my S2 is like that. I don't know if the S4 has the same setup, but if it does, again, it makes it a non-issue (well, apart from occasional confusion when you do in fact take the card out).
      Master668
  • This is very bad news...

    ...for my wallet. I just checked and the Cricket version of this phone is going for $475.00 at the moment. The biggest thing that was keeping me from buying it was concerns over app space.

    Well... not so much now.
    dsf3g
    • Still not a solution!

      You can move apps, but not their data. Example: if you have a game and it's app is 14 mb, but the data 1.8GB (which most of time it's happening), the phone will move only the app (14mb), leaving the data on the phone.

      Samsung is a piece of junk and one of the worst companies ever. I was a big fan and I have the S3, but I'm sick of waiting the 32gb. I don't understand what is so hard to release those versions (also 64gb). They could win more money releasing those versions.

      Better wait instead buying the 16gb.
      Also, sign this petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/release-the-samsung-galaxy-s4-with-32-and-64-gb-internal-memory
      demlasjr
      • Sure?

        Are you sure about this? That's the first is heard.
        dsf3g
      • Reply: Still not a solution!

        @demlasjr

        I think you are a bit confused. Samsung is not the reason you don't have a 32gb version. The carriers are the problem. They place their initial pre-orders for each model and memory configuration and Samsung builds to those orders first. Once the product is released and the carriers get a better idea of what they can get rid of quickly, they start ordering based on sales and feedback. I have had my 32gb S4 (AT&T) for almost a month now and had no trouble finding it at my local AT&T store.
        drichter12
        • yep

          You're right and putting two-and-two together, I really don't think the 32 GB version of ANY phone will be headed to Verizon because the company is supposed to be starting up a cloud service so, for the same reason Google's Nexus line omits SD storage from it's devices, it would work against profits generated from people who would pay for the online storage. Think about it: the HTC Droid DNA for Verizon lacks a microSD slot even the same model everywhere else has it and came out first. Why? And being that the 32 GB version of the Galaxy S4 is with AT&T, wouldn't it be a no-brainer for Verizon to have ALREADY officially announced it just for the competitive purpose of keeping people from choosing AT&T over it's network, being that the Galaxy line is THE most popular smartphone next to iPhone?...think about it.
          trob6969
  • Almost perfect timing....

    My S4 is 3 days old [as of as couple of hours ago]. But I really don't expect to fill up the remaining 9GB with apps any time soon. Now if only Dlink can fix their router issues....
    Gisabun
  • 2gb/64gb s4 via verizon

    2 months ago wn i got the galaxy s3 for a friend at verizon i was told wn i get ready to upgrade my cell i cud get the s4 in 32 or 64 gb. hope they were not blowing smoke up my AXX! i been with them 8 years. they do their job with service and equipment and i do my job as in pay the bill..but nothing makes me jump ship faster than to be mislead. and a cloud does not pacify me. the 32 or 64 gig options will be what i want to choose from at verizon. if they dont have those options.. i will just change carriers and they can have the one time contract cancellation fee and no more monthly payments.
    obomabenlyin