Storing whatsapp media (video, photo, etc) to SD card.

To have android treat an SD card like internal storage, you will need to format it as internal storage, a feature of android disabled by most manufacturers, so here is how to do it even when the button is missing.

After you get a RELIABLE big SD card, let us get the procedure out of the way, Read below about reliability and dangers etc.. before you decide on getting a cheaper SD card

This feature of android is called Adoptable Storage.

1- On your windows PC (Or mac): Download adb.exe, there are many places to download it on the internet, but for convenience, here is a 64 bit download of the adb.exe file, in my case, it came with Android Stdio, and i found it in C:\Users\yazeed\AppData\Local\Android\Sdk\platform-tools, obviously you will have your username in place of yazeed in the path above

2- On your phone: Open your phone, Go to Settings, About, Software information, And tap repeatedly on Build Number until it informs you that you are now a developer

3- On your phone: A new developer options Menu should appear, Open it and enable USB debugging

4- Connect the phone to the computer via USB cable

5- On your windows PC (Or mac): Open the command prompt (CMD/Shell), I ran it as administrator to avoid any surprises, and run the following commands, obviously, you will need to change the directory to wherever you put the adb.exe file

cd C:\Users\yazeed\AppData\Local\Android\Sdk\platform-tools
adb shell
sm list-disks
** disk:179,64 <= as you can see, this handle/identifier is our SD card inside the phone
sm partition disk:179,64 private

6- Disconnect the wire.

7- Go to settings => storage => sd card (where yo normally format an SD card), then from the three button menu on the top right, select Migrate data, this will move the existing data from internal to SD card.

So right now, We have formatted the SD card as internal storage, the way this works is that the SD card is overlayed over the existing storage, so whatever you already have on your internal memory is not masked by mounting a new SD card in it’s place, but whatever you save from this point on will be saved to the SD card.

* The SD card size is added to the internal phone storage so you can install apps on the SD card and have apps store data on SD card when they don’t offer the option to do that natively

* The internal phone flash memory is not consumed as fast due to flash wear, even though phones usually fail for other reasons before the flash failiure occures, it is mentioned here for completeness

* You can not plug this SD card into your computer, in fact, you are expected to never ever remove it from your phone, this is to avoid catastrophic failiure and data loss

* If your SD card fails or otherwise goes bad, data loss will not only affect the data, but also afects your applications and settings, making the damage much worse

* A slow SD card might affect your phone’s performance.

There are a few things to keep in mind, I ordered them by importance, most important first.

  • ADB.EXE is a file from google, part of the development tools, and not a third party tool, it’s for android debugging by the people who make android
  • *RELIABLE: The SD card you chose must be super reliable as failure of the card will result in loss of your data, applications, settings, and your phone’s functionality in general, making it much worse than when using the SD card as external storage, Get an SD card with wear leveling, as the ext2/ext4 file system that android uses is not too good with flash memory, I personally use sandisk, some sandisk models explicitly state that they have wear leveling, get those, and beware, there are many many fake SD cards on the market, so get it from a reliable source.
  • *FAST: The SD card you chose needs to be fast, the faster the better, even though at some point, the speed of the SD card hits the phone’s limit (the speed the phone can access the SD card), having a very fast SD card will ensure fastest possible operation of your favorite apps
  • *One partition: I have seen people online split the SD card into some internal storage, and some external, but they provide no justification to the benefits of this, as windows will only read the first partition of the disk, My advice is to use the whole SD card as internal, as ther benefit of having part of it as external storage is debatable at best.In case you are wondering how that is done, in place of the line where it says
    sm partition disk:179,64 private

    You will need to use

    sm partition disk:179,64 mixed 20

    The alternative line you see above will create an internal storage partition of 80% and leave 20% as external SD storage

  • *WHATSAPP: The main reason i did this to my phone is that my whatsapp messenger is bombarded with gigabytes of video all the time, and whatsapp does not natively allow for storing media files such as video to external SD cards, in this solution, there is no compromise as the solution is invisible to whatsapp, whatsapp now stores media to the SD card with no real compromise.
  • Why is it disabled in most phones: This is a good question, The official reason, which is a valid, legitimate reason, why companies like samsung asus and others disable this feature is reliability, manufacturers can’t guarantee that yo did your homework and got a reliable and fast SD card, they also can not guarantee you will not accidentally switch the phone on after removing the card, or even remove the card while the phone is running, so in short, leaving this feature in is unwise for the average user, a great side effect (To them) from this legitimate reason is that they can sell larger capacity phones at a higher price and a higher profit margin, but that is irrelevant as the first reason is very legitimate.
  • *Learn: To learn more about the technology, you can visit the Adoptable tech page on the official android website,
  • * Temporarily taking it out: Most phones these days come with Dual SIM, and in most cases, an SD card slot that takes the place of the second SIM card, the issue here is that if you ever need to use the second SIM card slot for a SIM card, you can not just temporarily pull the SD card out without causing massive damage to your apps and data, god knows how the system and it’s sb systems will react to missing data and applications, probably by recreating them blank again, and when you insert the SD card again, there will be a clash of file names.

2 thoughts on “Storing whatsapp media (video, photo, etc) to SD card.

  1. “I have seen people online split the SD card into some internal storage, and some external, but they provide no justification to the benefits of this”
    This is because they can use SDCard on PCs if they want a large file from smartphone, they move to that partition and after move to pc, and vice versa.

    1. I am under the impression that Windows will only allow you to read or write or see the first partition of a USB/Micro-SD stick, the other partitions will not appear automatically in windows explorer for some reason, I don’t remember the exact details but i remember there was such an issue.

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