How do I use an SD card for internal storage?


I just got a Moto X4. I am going to purchase a micro SD card, and I am wondering which is better - to just use it as internal storage (what I am leaning towards) or to use it as external storage…

When it is used as internal storage - do you have to let the phone know that’s what you want it to do? If so, how?

When it is used as internal storage, does that mean apps and photos and videos all get put on the sd card?

Do you require a specific kind of SD card (what specs should I look for beyond just how much data it can hold?)

Thank you! Steep learning curve here, lol!!


Moto X4 is 300 at their site 400 at yours. Will their phone work and what network will it use?

I don’t have an X4, but all the other Moto’s have featured a very helpful :motohelp: (Moto Help) section that can be found in the :appsicon: (App Drawer) … hopefully you can find some help there

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Adoptable storage is not available on the X4 as Motorola has chosen to instead support File Based Encryption and the phone can either do one, or the other.


here a Lenovo forum post dealing with the lack of adaptive storage


portable but not adoptable


All phones can do portable storage. That is the default.


Thanks everyone, that helps.

Very disappointing, I bought the phone because I thought I could augment the measly 32 GB system with an extra SD card, now it seems that extra SD card can only hold photos and videos and music - I was hoping it would hold apps as well. I do see that some apps can be put on the card, so maybe I’ll get lucky. Disappointing nonetheless.

Is there any chance this issue could be resolved in some future software upgrade? Or is this pretty much just the way it’s going to be… :frowning:


Highly doubt that will change. You can’t offer file based encryption and adoptable storage at the same time.

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Anything is possible but I think it’s unlikely as only Motorola can say for sure, they usually don’t change filesystems on a phone [from the encryption base to a non encryption]


Regardless of use Moto and most others recommend a Class 10 with UHS-1 or UHS-3 Speed Class for best experience. If the X4 supports (?) the higher data speeds of the UHS-3 it may be a better choice if planning to shot 4K videos. I’ve used Samsung and G.SKILL SDs with no issues in the past.



Does that mean that you are not able to move apps to the SD card? I haven’t tried it with a phone, but with my android Lenovo tablet, I have moved many apps to the SD card that I installed and they work just fine.


Adoptable storage (not available on the X4) makes the SD card and the internal card in to one giant storage pool. You don’t have to think about where anything is and don’t have to worry about where apps are installing, where photos are being stored, etc.

Regular, or portable storage (named this because you can take the sd card out and use it in a computer or another phone, as compared to adoptable storage that will only ever be readable in the phone it is adopted in) is like two different disk drives. You have manually choose where things are stored. In addition, many apps will NOT allow themselves to be installed on external storage (this is up to the developer). So, while you can put apps on external storage, many apps won’t allow you to install them in.


That makes sense that it works that way. And I do understand that not all apps can be moved or work from the SD card. Nevertheless, it does free up space in the internal memory.

The OP said “now it seems that extra SD card can only hold photos and videos and music - I was hoping it would hold apps as well.” So, I wasn’t sure the OP understood that.


That’s a good point. There are some apps that can be moved.


I, too, only found out about the lack of adoptable storage after ordering the Moto X4. Honestly, I never knew it was a thing until now. I did notice after updating to Oreo that the Podcast Addict app made me kick any podcasts (and their respective thumbnails) saved to the 64GB microsSD card back onto the internal drive. The message read something like “From KitKat forward adoptable storage not supported.” No big deal, since I have it programmed to delete after played, and to delete after 30 days, played or not.

I do think Motorola should be upfront about this, though. The specs on the Motorola website say this:

Storage (ROM)
32 GB with microSD Card support (up to 2 TB)‡

BUT try to find the legend for ANY of these marks indicating further notes, on the RW or the Motorola site and it’s nowhere to be found. Am I missing something?

Anyway, after dumping any photos and music files onto the SD card, I still have 14GB free, which is about a dozen more than I had on the Moto X1 which is a ton of space for someone like me. Not a gamer, don’t have a need for lots of apps at this point.

It took me a couple years with the Moto X 1st gen to figure out I needed an app to clear cache and junk files, etc., which made a huge difference LOL. I use Droid Optimizer currently for this. Seems to work fine.

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FWIW, we have two X4’s with Oreo on Fi, and while we don’t have many apps, I’ve had no trouble moving app data (the only sizable things for me are picts, podcasts, ebooks, and music) to the SD card. While I have encountered apps before (I don’t remember which ones now) that aren’t smart enough to use data on a portable SD card, I’m having a hard time thinking of why you would need to move any apps on an encrypted X4 to an SD card. That is, if you are using an app that doesn’t support using content/media (i.e. large files) on a portable-format card, you may want to reconsider using that app – as that’s just bad coding juju in this day and age. Even the Google apps behave smarter than that.


My wife uses here phone as a a portal gaming unit and those games can take up space (she using about 28 GB of 64 GB internal storage her phone ) the Moto X4 just was not an option for her anymore)


Okey dokey…

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