Solve ”Couldn’t install on USB storage or SD card” error in android 2.2

May 31, 2011 in Android, How To by Jyothisankar

Solution: Unmount the SD Card from Settings >> SD card and Phone Storage . Install the apps you need from the Android store.After the successful installation re mount your SD card to move the app to SD card. For that go to Settings >> Applications >> Manage Applications and click (touch) on the application you want to be moved. The details of the selected app will be shown. Select Move to SD card option. Your app will be moved to SD card.

Note: If the app vendor did not enable app2SD while programming the app , you will not be able to move it to SD card or install to it in the first place.

This error occurs in phones running on android 2.2, most notably samsung galaxy ace, samsung galaxy pop and motorola droid x. When you try to download and install an app from the android market, the app will be downloaded completely but installation will fail showing “Installation error Couldn’t install in USB storage or SD card”.

As the download is completed everytime when you try to install something, and nothing gets installed, its a complete waste of time and bandwidth.

Update : Found a permanent solution for the installation error in samsung galaxy ace – do the update to Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread. After I updated my samsung galaxy ace there was no further occurrence of this installation error.

The following solution worked for me for some time but again came back and got increased to a point where none of the apps were getting installed without unmounting SD card first. Anyway its better to be able to install apps than not hence here is the solution.


Step 1 Unmount the SD Card from Settings >> SD card and Phone Storage .

Step 2 Install the app you need from the Android Market. As the SD card is unmounted, the installation will complete without errors.

Step 3  Now re-mount your SD card to move the app to SD card. See the tutorial to move an app to SD card.

The moving to SD card will work only if the developer of the app enabled moving to SD card while coding it.

Further installations can be done with the SD card mounted.

Story of my samsung galaxy ace

Samsung galaxy ace comes with a nice set of pre-installed apps but just the variety of apps in android market always lure you to it. So I straight away started downloading apps once I got my phone. Apps began downloading with out any hint of an approaching glitch.

Upon completion, an error popped up saying the installation is unsuccessful because the phone “Couldn’t install on USB storage or SD card”. I tried two or three times, but every time after the phone completed the download, same error showed up.

I searched internet for a possible solution, to my surprise, found several. Most of them were asking to delete a temp file smdl2temp1. I checked for the file with my file manager but couldn’t locate it. So my search continued and somewhere in internet I found a suggestion to unmount the SD card and then to try an installation. I followed it and the app installed successfully.

After installation I moved the app to SD card and the process was completed successfully. Now after two successful installations I re mounted my SD card and tried another install. This time installation completed successfully and the app installed to SD card without showing any errors.

This method worked for some weeks at first and then the “Couldn’t install on USB storage or SD card error” started to come back in a seemingly random fashion. It gradually increased in frequency to a point where none of the apps were getting installed with the SD card mounted, until I got the ultimate solution, an upgrade to gingerbread.

Note: The installation might be unsuccessful also if the memory available in the phone is too low.