Does Moving Apps to SD Card Improve Phone Performance?

Usually, moving apps from your hard drive to an SD card won’t give any performance benefit. Much of the time, it can actually have the opposite effect! That’s because your SD card’s read and write speed can become a major bottleneck when running apps from it.

I’m Caleb, and I have five years of photography experience. I’ve worked plenty with SD cards myself as the main way of getting pictures from my camera to other devices.

In this article, I’ll cover moving apps to an SD card to improve performance and some alternative methods to consider instead. If your phone has been lagging, and you want to get it running at peak speed again, keep reading for the full explanation.

Why Moving Apps to SD Card Won’t Improve Phone Performance

Running apps from an SD card usually has the opposite effect and leads to worse performance on your phone.

It essentially adds an extra step to running the app. Instead of running the app from your internal hard drive, your phone must first fetch the data from the SD card. This will be slower if your SD card has a slow read and write speed.

There is one scenario where moving apps to an SD card actually can improve performance, however. That scenario is when your internal storage is almost full, and you move your apps to save space.

A full hard drive can lead to more sluggish performance, but running apps from an SD card can help with this specific problem. It’s not a good idea in most other contexts.

Other Ways to Improve Your Phone’s Performance

You’re in luck if you’re looking for other ways to improve performance. There are other easy ways to accomplish that goal without doing something that will slow down your app performance.

1. Stay Updated

Installing routine updates when they become available is one of the easier ways to keep your phone’s performance high. These updates contain a variety of fixes and improvements and can address bugs in your operating system that may contribute to poor performance.

Also, many apps update routinely to keep up with the latest operating system version. When you keep your phone’s OS up to date, you may get better performance from these apps thanks to being on the same version.

2. Clear Your Caches

Most apps store cache files of some kind, letting them load content faster. However, these cache files can pile up over time and take up quite a bit of space. These caches can even grow to be gigabytes large if an app doesn’t clear them automatically.

You don’t actually need old cache files, so heading into the settings and clearing the caches for your frequently used apps can provide performance benefits. It can also save you plenty of space, which itself can boost your performance if your phone storage is almost full.

Watch this video to learn how to clean your phone cache:

3. Delete What You Don’t Use

If you don’t use an app, you might benefit from uninstalling it. As I said before, having a storage close to full can lead to some performance problems. Deleting unused apps is one way to save space and avoid that.

Also, apps you don’t use may still run background processes to manage notifications. This eats into the resources of your phone, hurting its performance.

Widgets also cut into your phone’s resources. The more they update, the more resource-intensive they are. Just like deleting unused apps is a good idea, you may also want to eliminate unnecessary widgets.

4. Try Restarting

It’s a cliché at this point to recommend restarting a device to improve its performance. However, this cliché is at least partly based in reality. Sometimes, restarting your phone does make it run faster and smoother.

A restart doubles as a reset for your phone’s RAM, which can help with things like loading times and performance in intensive apps.


These are some other questions regarding SD cards and phone performance.

Do Apps Run Slower on an SD Card?

Most apps do run slower on an SD card because the read and write speed of the card becomes a bottleneck for performance.

What is the Difference Between Move And Copy to SD Card?

If you move something to your SD card, you’re moving it entirely and not leaving behind a copy on the original hard drive. If you copy something, on the other hand, you’re creating a brand new duplicate file on the SD card. The original file remains where you copied it from.

What is the Benefit of Moving Apps to an SD Card?

The main benefit is saving storage space on your phone’s internal hard drive. Apps tend to run slower from an SD card, so moving them to one usually isn’t a great idea unless you need to save space on your main drive.


Most apps will run slower from an SD card, so moving apps there isn’t exactly a performance upgrade. However, moving apps to an SD card can alleviate some of that problem if your phone is running sluggish from having a full hard drive.

Do you run apps from an SD card, and have you noticed any performance differences? Let us know in the comments!

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