How to Install Windows Phone 8 Apps from the SD Card to Save Space

The simple and common way to install apps in Windows Phone is to use the Store. However, this is not the only way. If you have a phone with an SD card slot and a micro SD memory card inside, you can install apps from the micro SD memory card. But why would you do this? Well, if you have a cheap Windows Phone 8 device, with little storage space, this can help you save some space. Here's how everything works.

What's Required in Order for the Procedure to Work

There are a couple of things to check before going ahead with the steps presented in this tutorial:

  • Installing apps from the SD card can be done only in Windows Phone 8.
  • Your phone must have an SD card slot and you must purchase a micro SD memory card, which must be plugged into the SD card slot. Not all Windows Phone 8 devices have an SD card slot. Cheaper models like the HTC 8S or Nokia Lumia 620 have a slot included, that complements the small storage space found on the phone. Out of all the higher-end models, only the Samsung Ativ S has an SD card slot.
  • When purchasing a micro SD memory card, you should pay attention to the High-Speed Class Rating. The higher this rating is, the faster the data is transferred to the memory card and the faster everything works. Very cheap memory cards generally have a very slow rating. We recommend that you look for memory cards that have a speed rating of at least 6 (6MB/s).

Next, you need to understand the process for installing Windows Phone 8 apps. When you download and install an app from the Store, Windows Phone 8 stores the installation file for the app on the phone's storage memory. Then, the app is installed on the phone's storage memory. After the app is installed, its installation file is not deleted.

This is not exactly great as it means an app can occupy almost twice the space it needs in order to function. The phone's storage space fills up quite fast, especially if you have a cheap phone with little storage space available.

If you install apps from the micro SD memory card, the installation files remain on the memory card. However, the apps are still be installed on the phone's storage memory. This means you can save some precious space.

How to Manually Download Windows Phone 8 Apps Using Your Computer

The first step is to download the app(s) you want to install from the micro SD memory card, to your computer.

Open your favorite web browser and go to Then, search for and select the app you want to download.

On the app's page, scroll downwards until you see on the left side column, a link named "Download and install manually".

Click or tap on it. This action starts the download of a ".XAP" file. This is the app's installation file. Save it somewhere on your computer.

Repeat the procedure for every app you want to install from the micro SD memory card.

How to Move Windows Phone 8 Apps to the Phone's Micro SD Memory Card

The second step is to move the ".XAP" files from your computer to the phone's micro SD memory card:

First, connect your Windows Phone 8 to your Windows computer. If this is the first time you connect it the to the computer, you might have to wait a while, in order for Windows to install the appropriate drivers.

Open File Explorer in Windows 8 (or Windows Explorer in Windows 7). Browse your Windows Phone 8 device and open the SD card drive.

Copy and paste all the .XAP files directly to the micro SD memory card. You can place them in the root of the drive or create a folder just for them.

Name it something descriptive, like Apps.

How to Install Apps From a Micro SD Memory Card in Windows Phone 8

Lastly, you need to install the apps you previously copied to the phone's micro SD memory card.

Open the Store app on your Windows Phone 8 device. You will notice a new category of apps being listed alongside the usual categories: apps, games, music or podcasts . This category of apps is named SD card.

NOTE: After copying the .XAP files to your phone, it will take a few moments for Windows Phone 8 to display this category in the Store. If it seems to take too long to detect the apps you just copied, restart the phone and unplug the Windows Phone from your computer. The SD card category will then appear when you access the Store.

Tap SD card and a screen with the same name opens. Windows Phone 8 shows a list with the apps found on the micro SD memory card.

Select the apps you want to install. If you want to install all apps, tap select all .

If any app requires special permissions, you will have to provide your approval.

When you have selected the apps you want to install, tap install . The apps are installed.

When the installation is over, you will find them in the Apps list.


As you can see, installing Windows Phone 8 apps from your micro SD memory card, can help save some space. Also, the process involved is not that complex and anyone can do it with a bit of attention. We hope you found this tutorial useful. If you are looking for other interesting tutorials and articles about Windows Phone, don't hesitate to check our recommendations below.