All Moto E phones support a micro SD card to alleviate the impact of low storage. You can use the micro SD card to save your media files, or use it for apps.
Depending on the generation of the Moto E phones, you have slightly different choices.
- For Moto E 1st gen and Moto E 2nd Gen with Android Lollipop, you can only move apps to the micro SD card as detailed in this guide.
- For Moto G 2nd Gen with Android Marshmallow, and all later Moto E phones (from Moto E3 to Moto E 2020), you have the choice to use it as portable storage or as adoptable storage. You can also switch them at any time.
So, if you are using Moto E 1st Gen, or Moto E 2nd Gen with Android Lollipop, you can continue this guide if you want to free up some internal storage.
If you are using Moto E 2nd Gen with Android Marshmallow, or Moto E3, or Moto E4, or Moto E5, or Moto E6, or Moto E 2020, you should follow this guide to decide whether you want to use the micro SD card as portable storage or adoptable storage.
The following sections of this guide apply to Moto E 1st Gen, and Moto E 2nd Gen with Android Lollipop.
Why do you need to move apps to SD card in Moto E?
Because your Moto E only has 4GB internal storage (about 2.2GB usable for users), Motorola added external SD card support in Moto E. In other words, you can move some contents to SD card.
In addition to media files, Moto E also allows you to move some apps to the SD card so that you can install more apps.
The purpose of this guide is illustrating how to move apps from internal storage to SD card. This will free up some precious internal storage for the system.
In addition, this guide also shows you how to set the SD card as the default location for photos and videos taken by Moto E camera.
You cannot move all apps to SD card
Please note, some apps cannot be moved to SD card. These include:
- Any pre-installed apps. Motorola installed some essential apps on Moto E. Your carrier or local distributor may “bundle” some apps. You cannot uninstall these apps, and you cannot move them to SD card either. You can only disable them if you don’t want to use them.
- System apps. For apps that perform some system management functions, e.g., Motorola Alert, Google Maps, you cannot move them to SD card. This is due to reliability considerations.
- Some apps that failed to follow the Android installation location guidelines.
Some apps, e,g., camera, Google Play Music, Google Play Movies, cannot be moved to SD card, but the media files corresponding to these apps can be saved in SD card by default. You can find the corresponding settings inside individual apps.
How to move apps to SD card on Moto E?
Step 1: Find apps that can be moved to SD card
You can go to Settings–Apps. Then flick right to switch to On SD card tab as shown below.
Alternatively, you can tap apps individually to find out whether there is a moving app to SD card option.
In the “ON SD CARD” tab, all apps that can be moved to SD card are listed. In other words, you can only move these apps to the SD card. Other apps cannot be moved to SD card (but for some of them, you can use SD card as the default storage location).
Step 2: Move the apps to SD card
In the list of apps that can be moved to SD card, you check any of them to start to move the apps to SD card if it is not checked.
For example, as shown in the screenshot below, 3 of my apps can be moved to SD card. None of them is checked. This means I haven’t moved them to SD card yet. If you already moved the apps to SD card, it will be shown as checked (read on).
So, in this tutorial, tap ES File Explorer or tap the checkbox. The app info of this app is shown.
Tap Move to SD card to move the app to SD card immediately. It may take from a few seconds to a few mins depending on the size of the app data.
Step 3: Verify apps are moved to SD card
Once Moto E finishes moving apps to SD card, the app info will be shown as “Move to phone” as shown below.
In the ON SD CARD tab, if the app is checked, it means the app was moved to SD card already.
How to save all Moto E photos and videos to SD card, not phone storage?
Moto E also allows you to save all photos and videos to SD card automatically.
Start the camera app. Swipe from the left side of the screen to the right side to get the options window. Tap the SD card (storage) icon, and you can choose the storage location to the SD card.
Once you set the camera app storage location as SD card, all new photos and videos taken from your Moto E camera will be automatically saved to SD card, not in phone storage.
For more details on Moto E camera settings, using Moto E camera, please check our Moto E camera guide (coming soon!).
Do you have any questions or problems in moving apps to SD card in Moto E, or save photos to SD card?
Please leave your questions or problems in the comment box below.
More how-to guides, tips and tricks for using Moto E are available at Moto E how-to guides page.