Enabling Adoptable Storage on MIUI Devices

This is a dirty little trick to move apps from internal storage to MicroSD card without unlocking bootloader and no root. Compatible devices include Redmi Note 5 Pro/AI, Redmi 5/5Plus, Mi 8/EE/Lite/SE/Pro, Poco F1, Redmi 5A, and any other Xiaomi phones running latest MIUI ROM based on Android 6.x or above.

The old school way to move installed apps on the SD card was so yesterday. The complicated procedure involving bootloader unlocking, flashing a custom recovery, and finally rooting, is just too much for most users.

Despite rooting allows its users to do almost anything with their phones, the fact of painful tasks beyond its process is indispensable.

Fun fact! Apparently, Google has managed to embed an in-built system since Android 6.x Marshmallow. This system is called Adoptable Storage technology. This technology has the ability to adopt external storage media to act like internal storage (source: Android.com).

When external storage media is adopted, it’s formatted and encrypted to only work with a single Android device at a time. Because the media is strongly tied to the Android device that adopted it, it can safely store both apps and private data for all users.

Android.com

That means, in short, all devices running the latest MIUI version capable to make use of the technology. This is such great news for you, for me, for us.

You can now use your external MicroSD storage as internal storage. Even better! You can utilize it as both external and internal storage although the fact it is an external one – literally.

The only obstacle here is the method. MIUI does not include the feature activated by default yet. Even worst, most of the available apps allow you to do such things only if your phone was rooted. Again, rooting Android is still not a piece of cake for half of Android users population.

This tutorial guides you on how to enable Adoptable Storage (AS) on any Xiaomi phones running MIUI 9 or MIUI 10 built upon Android 7.x Nougat or Android 8.x Oreo. As for example, this trick was applicable on Redmi Note 5 Pro/AI codename Whyred. Undoubtedly, this works perfectly on Android 9.x Pie as well.

The output of this tutorial is Adoptable Storage is enabled. The outcome is many things. For instance, you can then use your SD Card to install Apps and their data. You can also move several system apps on it.

The best part, it requires no root and no unlocked bootloader.

How to Enable AS and Move Apps to SD Card

AS = Adoptable Storage

Before you proceed, please be aware that all data stored in your SD Card will be lost. Additionally, we hold no responsibility over any damage that might happen of following this guide. Please proceed with caution.

Step 1. Download SD Card Auto-formatting Tool here.

Step 2. Extract the tool on your computer. You will need either WinRAR or 7Zip.

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Step 3. Grab your Xiaomi phone. Enable Developer Options by going to Settings >> About Phone >> Tap the MIUI Version several times until you see “You are now a developer”.

Step 4. Now enable USB Debugging by going to Settings >> Additional Settings >> Developer Options >> find the USB Debugging and toggle it on.

Enabling Adoptable Storage on MIUI Devices 1

Step 5. Now connect your phone to computer using its USB cable.

Step 6. On your computer, go to the folder of where you’ve extracted the SD Card Auto-formatting Tool. Double-click the aftiss.cmd to run the script.

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Step 7. You will see 4 options you can choose.

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Here’s the explanation of each option:

  1. 10% from SD go to internal, and last 90% stays as normal SD card, to this 90% you can move photo video and other files.
  2. 50% from SD go to internal, and last 50% stays as normal SD card, to this 50% you can move photo video and other files.
  3. 90% from SD go to internal, and last 10% stays as normal SD card, to this 10% you can move photo video and other files.
  4. You define any custom proportion between the external and internal proportion

Step 8. Type in the option that you want. For instance, option number 2, and hit Enter key on the keyboard.

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Step 9. The script will do its magic. Wait for it until it’s fully done. You will see something like this.

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Step 10. At this point, it safe to disconnect your phone from your computer.

Step 11. Download Activity Launcher app from Play Store. Install it.

Step 12. Open the app by tapping on its icon.

Step 13. From the drop-down menu, set to All Activities.

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Step 14. Find and tap on Settings.

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Step 15. Find and tap on “Manage Apps“.

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Step 16. Find and tap on the app that you wish to move to SD card.

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Step 17. Tap on the Storage option.

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Step 18. You will see in which storage the app currently installed. Tap on the “Change” button.

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Step 19. Finally, choose the SD Card as the storage.

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Step 20. Wait till the system moving the app to SD Card. It may take some time. It depends on how big is the size of the app’s file.

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Step 21. Voila! Once done, the app shall be now installed on SD Card.

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Piece of cake isn’t it? You should try it. It’s awesome and it helps you save the limited Internal storage.

We recommend you to move apps that you use rarely.

On top of that, use a fast SD card (Class 10 at least).

The alternative method:
How to enable Adoptable Storage on MIUI 11 without root without tool.

Do not hesitate to leave comments below. Tell us how does it go with your device.

Credits and thanks to tomhenson.

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45 thoughts on “Enabling Adoptable Storage on MIUI Devices”

  1. Have you successfully updated MIUI after doing this process. I ask because I used in a Redmi 4A another process to enable adoptable storage (the one using ADB cmd commands) and I am stuck on MIUI 9 since then.

    Thanks.
    Mauro

  2. Yes, I mean update via OTA. An error message shows up everytime I try. I never tried the recovery room after the process I did. I wondered if I could keep updating via OTA with your process.

  3. Hi,
    I tried this on xiaomi Redmi 6a MiUI 10.2 and it worked partially – the settings of the sdcard were defined correctly, and I moved some apps to the new external storage,
    but all apps reported they have no disk space to write – meening it wasn’t useful for them.

    had to go back

  4. Hi! Thanks for the article.
    My problem is : in step 8, the computer can’t find the phone. Practically it says that the connection is not established! what can I do?
    Thanks.

  5. I’ve made it to the last step, I’ve managed to move some of my applications. But when I check the storage settings, the internal storage is still written as 8GB as before. Nothing has changed, why? please explain

  6. Can someone confirm if this method still work on Android 9 MIU 10.3.1? I have 32GB model and I’m running out free space, meanwhile 64GB SD card is mostly empty 🙁

  7. [Error] device not found…idk what to do
    Device is redmi 5a
    Drivers updated,if i type adb devices in cmd,it finds device
    Help?

      1. I’m having the same problem with Redmi note 8, [Error] device not found. Where can I get the latest version of ADB Fastboot files? What Android Platform Tools do you mean?

  8. It did work thank you, I can move application to this virtual memory but the system stil reports 16 Go: got a 32 Go SD card with 50/50 I should see 32 Go no ?
    The external storage is still available with 16 Go so no problem on this side.

    Best regards

  9. ok, so I did it, and it worked. The very first time I tried using a computer running windows 7 but it didn’t detect the phone properly, later on, I tried using a Windows 10 machine and it runs like a charm. However, it’s a hustle, the procedure basically is: download the app to your internal storage, then open the activity launcher, and move it to your designated partition. the problems with this are:
    -You still need enough free space on your internal storage in order to download the app you want to move. so if you want to download one of those games that take more than 2g you need more than 2g in your internal storage.
    -if the app refuses to be moved, there is nothing you can do about it. you can’t force it into your sd. this includes heavy games that occupy a good chunk of your internal storage.
    -the partition you create in your sd cannot be used or accessed, you can only put apps there by means of the app, but you can’t use the space for anything else, like storing files or anything. this problem is relatively trivial if you have a big sd though.

    All in all, it gets the job done, but it’s pretty far from an optimal solution, I wish Xiaomi just let us move the f*ck*ng apps. The next thing I’ll probably try is rooting the phone.

  10. It does not work on my Redmi 6A. it does move apps to sd but it won’t free space on internal memory for some reason. When i moved gta san andreas to sd it started crashing for some reason.

    Valerio the reason why you can’t find move button is either because you are not using the correct activity launcher or because something got wrong when installing.
    There is an app called miui hidden settings or something like that. in that app you have app manager and there is button to move apps to sd card.

  11. Hello, I did it on Redmi 8 and I found my device space became 1 GB out of 1 GB!!! instead of 32 GB, and the memory card isn’t readable and corrupted!
    I want to reverse this process please and return the phone to its original status.
    Help ASAP Please!

  12. When I took the memory card out, everything returned to normal, but the sd card is unreadable!
    I need to fix it, it’s brand new card!
    Please help!

  13. I’m trying to move apps to my SD but it just keeps saying not enough space available unless the app is small enough to fit in my internal storage. What should i do?

  14. I’m only able to move certain apps such instagram and few apps, but unable to move most of the apps (ex. firefox). In instagram, the “change” option is available but on the others apps there is not “change” option at all.
    Please help me bro.

  15. Hi, Redmi 7 with MIUI Global 11.0.4 here.
    On step 18, no “Storage Used” or “Change Button” 🙁
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks

  16. After doing so I am experiencing not being able to remove any files from the SD with the phone’s own means (including ‘rm -rf ‘ from the phone’s terminal and Total Commander) getting the Permission denied error, even though new files can be written to it just fine.

  17. With this method i susessfull move whatssapp to SD but i want move all relationed files like photos and videos of this apk,how i can do this?

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