Google Play: How to Change Download Location

By default, Google Play uses your phone’s internal storage to store your apps. However, what happens when you want to change the download location or run out of space? You can simply change the download location.

Google Play: How to Change Download Location

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of changing your Google Play download location. You’ll be an expert after reading our guide. We’ll also answer some relevant questions.

How to Change the Default Download Location in Google Play?

You can change the default download location for your apps when you install them via Google Play. However, Google Play itself doesn’t allow you to do it. You’ll have to go to your phone’s settings.

We’ll give you some simple steps, as every phone has a different path. This basic path should be enough to guide you through the process. Here’s how you change the default download location.

  1. Go to your phone’s settings.
  2. Locate the “Storage” option.
  3. Go to “Preferred Storage Location” or a similar option.
  4. Select your preferred install location.

This will allow you to either switch from internal storage to SD card or vice versa. Some phones also have a “Let the System Decide” option. However, the exact process differs from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Not all phones can do this either. You’ll have to check if there’s an option for you to automatically install your apps elsewhere.

How to Change the Google Play Store Download Location to an SD card?

The same method above can be used to switch the default download location to an SD card. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your phone’s settings.
  2. Locate the “Storage” option.
  3. Go to “Preferred Storage Location” or a similar option.
  4. Select the MicroSD Card option.
  5. You should now be able to install your apps on your SD card.

However, some phones won’t allow you to do this. Don’t worry, there are other ways you can install apps by default to your SD card. One of them is to “adopt” your SD card as internal storage.

The steps for adopting an SD card are as follows:

  1. Insert an SD card into your phone.
  2. Select “Set Up” or go to “Storage & USB” and then select the SD card before formatting as internal if the former option doesn’t appear.
  3. Select “Use as Internal Storage” if the option appears.
  4. Select “Erase and Format” to wipe the SD card clean.
  5. You have to either move the apps on the SD card to internal storage or delete them anyway.
  6. Wait for the formatting process to complete.
  7. Your apps should be downloaded to the SD card from now on.

This method works with Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later. You should also not remove the card from the phone unless absolutely necessary. After the formatting process, you won’t be able to use it on any other devices unless you format it again.

When adopted as internal storage, the MicroSD card is formatted as an EXT4 drive and encrypted with 128-bit AES encryption. This works to prevent security breaches and adapt the card to its new function. However, as mentioned above, you’ll only be able to use it on your current phone.

You also can’t unplug the SD card and transfer files into it as you normally might do.

You should back up your data before attempting this, just in case something goes wrong. Unless you’re using a completely blank SD card, we recommend this.

The type of SD card you’re going to use also affects loading speeds. You should get a MicroSD card that’s at least Class 10 and UHS. This will cost you more but it’s important for loading speeds.

Your phone will analyze the card before you can format it. If it’s a cheaper model, you’ll be warned that your apps will stutter or data transfer will take longer. You can ignore the warning, but it’s not recommended that you do so.

How to Change App Location Manually?

Some phones don’t have a way to change the download location manually, so you’ll have to move the apps yourself. This can be done only on some phones. The exact steps may differ according to your phone model and manufacturer.

Let’s take a look at how you can do this:

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Go to the “Apps” menu.
  3. Select the app you want to move.
  4. If there’s an option to “Move to SD card” you can select it.
  5. If not, some phones require to reach the option via an app manager.
  6. Select the option to move.
  7. Your app should be transferred.

This method won’t look the same on every device. Some devices won’t even let you do this by default.

How to Save Space for Internal Storage?

Because some phones are programmed to prevent moving the Google Play default download location, you have no other choice. You should save internal storage space for your apps.

Here are some ways you can save space:

  • Remove unwanted files.

A lot of large files don’t have to stay on your phone or in internal storage. You can either delete them or move them to your SD card to save space. Many Android phones have functions to help delete unwanted files.

  • Transfer photos and videos to a cloud service.

Instead of an external card, you can also transfer these files to a cloud service. The downside is that you’ll need an internet connection to access them. However, you free up a lot of space on your phone and your external card.

  • Uninstall unnecessary apps.

Some apps aren’t as important to you or are obsolete. You can simply uninstall them and save space.

  • Clearing caches.

Some apps have a lot of cached data which you can delete. While some apps will open slower the next time you use them, you free up a lot of space. Your phone also becomes slightly faster overall.

  • Use an optimizer.

Some phone brands such as Samsung have optimizer apps on their devices. You can use these to find anything hogging up memory. From duplicates to cache data, these optimizer apps are handy to help maintain a healthy and speedy device.

Google Play FAQs

Let’s take a look at some Google Play questions people commonly ask:

Are Google Play Store and Google Play Services the Same?

No, they’re not the same app. The former is how you download apps to use on your phone. The latter is used to connect apps to other Google products such as Maps and Google Sign In.

You also can’t uninstall Google Play Services. However, it won’t drain your battery very much, so best to leave it alone.

Is Google Play Store Free to Use?

If you’re only using the Play Store to download apps for your phone, you don’t have to pay anything for free apps. If you want to upload an app, it’s a different story.

Should you wish to distribute apps on the Play Store, you’ll have to pay a $25 one-time fee. This will allow you to access Google Play Developer Console. Once you pay, you can upload an app of your own.

Otherwise, Google Play Store is free to use and comes with almost all modern smartphones by default.

Can You Install Google Play on iPhones?

No, you can’t, at least not normally. iOS does have its versions of certain Google apps such as Google Play Books and Google Play Music, but there’s no way to install Google Play Store on your iPhone by default.

Where Do Google Play Downloads Go?

Normally, Google Play downloads go to internal storage. The files will go to a file called “data” but you won’t be able to access it without rooting your phone.

Can You Uninstall Google Play Store?

Yes, and no. Google Play Store is a system app, so you can’t remove it from your phone without some rooting. However, you can uninstall and reinstall its updates to solve errors.

The steps for uninstalling Google Play Store updates are:

1. Go to “Settings.”

2. Locate the “Apps” option.

3. Search for “Google Play Store.”

4. Select it and go into the menu.

5. Select “Uninstall Updates” and confirm if asked to.

6. After a moment, the updates should be uninstalled.

This is done to give Google Play Store a clean reboot. Sometimes errors can be solved this way. All you need to do is update the app again.

Google Play Makes It Hard to Change Download Location

Sadly, some phones make changing download location difficult or even impossible. Don’t worry, there are still ways to move your apps around. If your phone can allow it, then you should be able to free up some internal storage.

Do you like using Google Play Store? How many apps do you have on your phone? Tell us in the comments section below.

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