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Android - Extend Application Memory of your Device

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dropcap-android-link2sd

With CyanogenMod and other custom ROM is is possible to give a new life to our old phones like HTC Wildfire, HTC Chacha, ... Running modern OS like ICS or Jelly Bean, they can go back to service.

But, other than their weak processor, the main drawback of these old phones is their very limited main memory. Because of that limitation, it's almost impossible to install all needed applications.

Hopefully, with the help of Link2SD and a specific partitioning of your SD Card, all your applications can be moved to your SD card quite easily. This allows you to install as many applications as you want, straight on your SD Card, leaving your main memory untouched.

This articles explains how to partition your SD Card and how to configure Link2SD to allow you to install as many applications as you want on your old Android smartphone, even if it has a very limited amount of main memory. With Link2SD approach, instead of linking /data/app folder (you move all applications), you can select whichever application you want to move (in case of compatibility problem). You'll manage where to install your applications (main memory or SD Card) with just a few clicks.

As a pre-requisite, your phone needs to be rooted. As you will need to partition your SD Card, the best is to have a modern version of ClockWorkMod Recovery installed as it will do the partitioning job straight from your phone. Otherwise, a Linux computer will be needed to to the partitioning job.

1. Example of Memory Usage

As an example, you'll see below the internal memory of a HTC Chacha with only few applications (QuickOffice, GMail, Twitter, Whatsapp & MX Player).

 Fresh CM 10.1 with updates
(73 Mb available)
Minimal apps installed
(16 Mb available)
 Same, after using Link2SD
(111 Mb available)
htc-chacha-storage-empty  htc-chacha-storage-full  htc-chacha-storage-link2sd 

As you can see, without Link2SD memory is so low that it becomes impossible to install any other application. It becomes obvious that main memory is not enought for today's usage ...

With Link2SD, you recover even more memory than with a fresh install and only system updates !

2. Partition SD Card

It's now time to partition the SD Card to create the partition that will be used by Link2SD to transfer all applications.

2.1. Using CWM Recovery

If your phone is having ClockWorkMod Recovery installed, partitioning can be done directly from the phone.

Boot under recovery and select menu Advanced / Partition SD Card.

You will be asked the size of different partitions :

  • Ext : 512 Mb minimum (this is the partition that will be used by Link2SD)
  • Swap : 0 Mb (should not be created)

Partitioning should start. When it over, you just need to reboot.

2.2. Using a Linux PC

If you don't have a CWM Recovery, you can partition your SD Card directly from any Linux PC using a tool like GParted.

Your SD card partitioning should be similar to this :

android-link2sd-partition

Important things are :

  • fat32 partition should be the first one
  • ext3 partition should have sd-ext label
  • both partitions should be primary

3. Install & Configure Link2SD

You can now install Link2SD from Play Store.

Every time you launch Link2SD, it checks that its running environment is well configured.

So, during first launch, you may be asked to select a filesystem type for the sd-ext partition.

Select Ext4 and confirm restart of your device when formatting is done.

htc-chacha-link2sd-init htc-chacha-link2sd-reboot

4. Move your Applications to SD Card

Everything is now ready to move your applications to your SD Card.

Launch Link2SD again and select the application you want to move to SD.

You should only move applications installed under /data/app/....

All applications installed under /system/app/... are on the ROM. They don't need to be moved.

For every selected application, select Create Link and confirm on next screen.

htc-chacha-link2sd-createlink htc-chacha-link2sd-confirm

5. Automatically Move your Applications

Link2SD can be configured to move to your SD card any application installed from Play Store.

This can be done from menu Settings in the Auto link section.

  • Auto link should be selected
  • You should not need to modify Auto link settings (all 3 entries should be selected)

You can now installed as many applications as you want from Play Store.

The only limit will be your SD card partition size.

 

Hope it helps.

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