New and improved Apps to SD(more stable, more powerful, etc) Tutorial

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[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
Well, some of you may have heard my ramblings around here that I've been working with some of the devs here(JF and MartinFick deserve major praise, probably more than me) on getting a better way to do the whole apps to sd thing.

After 3 days of talking/discussing/working on it, I've finally reached the fruits of that investigation and thought I'd share. This new method uses the filesystem unionfs to essentially meld the /data directory with the /system/sd directory, so that they appear to be one. This has the potential to allow users to move specific apps to or from the sd card, is far more stable than the normal symlink method(will still boot, etc even if there's no SD card) and should be easier to set up. Now, onto the tutorial of setting this up.

BIG DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is a major hack of the phone and it is fully possible that it will break your phone(I've seen no permanently bricked phones but that doesn't make it impossible). Use this method, and my app along with it at your own risk.

REQUIREMENTS:
1: This only works on JF(possibly only on 1.5, not sure about the others) and The Dude's v.1.0 or greater. The Dude's 1.0 or greater actually does the steps in this tutorial for you so you can just run appstosd2 and set it all up from there if you're using his ROM.
2: This still requires you to have 2 partitions set up, first FAT32 and second ext2. Although you can use the appstosd2 app attached to this post and available in the market for $0.99 which will partition the card for you.
3: If you want your apps to go to the sd card, you must have a directory "/system/sd/app" If you didn't have apps to sd before on the ext2 partition do the following in terminal emulator or run my appstosd2 app after finishing the tutorial:
Code:
su
mkdir /system/sd/app
If you want the private-apps, or dalvik-cache moved you can replace "app" in that code with ""app-private", or "dalvik-cache" respectively. Do not copy "data" to the sd card. My script will delete it on the next reboot.

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Alright, first there's some files you need.
1: init.rc in .zip attached to this thread
2: a2sd.sh in .zip attached to this thread

All the above listed files should be put on your sd card(my tutorial will assume they are in the root directory of the sdcard(the topmost folder)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you need to undo the normal apps to SD first do the following in the recovery terminal(it's not strictly necessary but I'd recommend it):
Code:
mount data
rm /data/app
mkdir /data/app
if you moved the dalvik cache, repeat steps 2-3 with "dalvik-cache" instead of app. Ditto with "data" for the data cache.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Then go to terminal emulator and type the following:
Code:
su
cp /sdcard/init.rc /data/
cp /sdcard/a2sd.sh /data/

Then reboot and you're set. By default all future apps are installed to the sd card. In order to move an app to the internal memory do the following in terminal emulator:

Code:
su
cp /system/sd/app/[the app you want to move] /system/intmem/app/
rm /system/sd/app/[the app you want to move]

I will be incorporating this into my appstosd app soon(probably as a JF and TheDude-only version until the rest of the devs get on board).

I have included a copy of appstosd 2, which will copy all apps from internal memory to the sd card with an option to remove them from the internal memory. This will only work if you have followed this tutorial.

If you don't have partitions set up, appstosd2 will now do that for you with user-set partition sizes.

NOTE: If you're using The Dude's ROM and find yourself with an outdated version of this since he doesn't always update his ROMs at the same time I update this, do the following in terminal emulator to update(after putting a2sd.sh from the attached a2sd.zip on your sdcard):

Code:
su
mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
rm /system/bin/a2sd.sh
cp /sdcard/a2sd.sh /system/bin/
reboot

For JF1.5, do the following to update:

Code:
su
rm /system/intmem/a2sd.sh
rm /system/intmem/init.rc
cp /sdcard/a2sd.sh /system/intmem/
cp /sdcard/init.rc /system/intmem/
reboot

NOTE FOR UPDATERS: If you had your data on the sdcard(/system/sd/data), it WILL GET DELETED with the new version. This is a necessity in order to get both wallpaper and protected apps working. I recommend moving it back to the phone.

EDIT: And here's another tutorial from ThatsBS(might be easier for the less tech savvy to follow?):
I am still learning a lot everyday from this forum. So for people new to this process let me noobify it, if I can, as I am one too.
Start by reading the first page!! Get all the stuff you need from page 1. (apps2sd2.zip and a2sd.zip )

I started from a fresh wipe and flash of jf1.51 adp.
A newly formatted fat32, non partitioned sd.
Put the init.rc and app2sd.sh on the sd (the files NOT the zip)

Then go to the terminal emulator and typed:
su
cp /sdcard/init.rc /data/
cp /sdcard/a2sd.sh /data/

Then reboot

Next I ran the apps2sd 2 app. It will ask you how much to you want to partition. I did 3000mb the first successful time and the dreaded low mem notice would not leave the status bar. I have read not to make it more then 1500mb. Have a good connection, dont force close it. It will reboot.

Next, after the reboot, I ran the apps2sd 2 app again and pressed "copy apps to sd" (let it do its thing)
Reboot.

Next I went back to the emulator and typed:
su
mkdir /system/sd/app-private
mkdir /system/sd/dalvik-cache
Reboot.

Go back to the apps2sd 2 app and hit move dalvik-cache.
Reboot for good measure and your done.

I did this in about 10 mins. Worked flawlessly.
 

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Dimath

Senior Member
Nov 5, 2008
77
1
Los Angeles
Good job, thanks!

will still boot, etc even if there's no sim card
You mean SD card?

Alright, first there's some files you need.
1: unionfs.ko from here:
JF1.5 build has already unionfs.ko in it, doesn't it? Is there any difference between this unionfs.ko and the one included?

1. I hear unionfs is not really stable at this point, is it true?
2. Why do you want to move the whole /data folder to sd, instead of just /data/app, /data/app-private?
3. You might want to add a command to remove previous app2sd changes (i.e. delete symlinks, create folders.)
4. How do you put selected apps to internal memory after this? Copying to /data will copy to sd card again.

The whole idea is really interesting! Thank you for your work!
 

[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
I have a ?, if i have been using your app what dod i do diferent or what should i change?
Thanks

You don't have to do anything different. It will find all the apps you put on the sd card. If you want to set the phone back to normal(so the phone memory apps can still be there), you can do the following in the recovery terminal:

Code:
mount data
rm /data/app
rm /data/dalvik-cache (only if you moved the dalvik-cache)
mkdir /data/app
mkdir /data/dalvik-cache

@Dimath: yes, I did mean SD card, good catch
1:JF didn't mention it and from a little bit of using it, it seems stable to me. Plus, no matter how much I've screwed up, I haven't managed to boot loop my phone yet.
2: You could just mount those independently. I might end up doing that eventually but for now the way it is works for reasons I'll get to.
3: True, although it's not strictly necessary. If apps2sd already works, this won't break it. I'll put in a guide on undoing the symlink method
4: Actually, no. My script sets the internal memory as the main file system in the union, so apps automatically go there. Moving apps to the sd card just involves copying them to /system/sd.
 
Last edited:

larrygates

Member
Oct 13, 2008
49
0
Ok, just a little confusing.

I didn't use the apps2sd to move apps over to my SD card. What I did was set it with the busybox ls command. I guess that's the symlink.

My question is, if I didn't use apps2sd, can I still use your method? I also moved the dalvik cache also, everything works fine for me now, my apps go directly to the SD card when installing since my memory stays at around 65 MB no matter what I do.

Just need some laymen terms to help me understand that if I'm NOT using apps2sd, and I just linked them with the recovery method, what's my pitfalls / advantages?

Thanks.
 

[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
Ok, just a little confusing.

I didn't use the apps2sd to move apps over to my SD card. What I did was set it with the busybox ls command. I guess that's the symlink.

My question is, if I didn't use apps2sd, can I still use your method? I also moved the dalvik cache also, everything works fine for me now, my apps go directly to the SD card when installing since my memory stays at around 65 MB no matter what I do.

Just need some laymen terms to help me understand that if I'm NOT using apps2sd, and I just linked them with the recovery method, what's my pitfalls / advantages?

Thanks.

Yes, any other method of apps to sd currently uses the same symlink method, so following the directions as if you installed my app will work. A note though is that all future apps will install to the internal memory by default. I did that because it's MUCH easier to move apps from the memory to the sd card than vice versa. You can use the code I posted if you want it the other way around.
 

andonnguyen

Senior Member
Nov 12, 2008
842
3
would this also work for /data/data and app-private?

or is this particular setup only for dalvik-cache and app?

oh and before I do this, just wondering, so in theory, since I have a 1.5GB ext2 partition, my free memory will be 1.573GB (1.5GB + 73Mb internal)? The internal memory will just run down and switch over to the sdcard when needed (but be seen as one filesystem)?
 
Last edited:

[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
would this also work for /data/data and app-private?

or is this particular setup only for dalvik-cache and app?

This works for the whole /data folder and everything under it. Everything is automatically installed to the phone memory right now so you can just move over anything you don't want on it(will be making an app to do this automatically)

EDIT: oh and anything you already moved over to the sd card will still show up.
 

larrygates

Member
Oct 13, 2008
49
0
Code:
su
mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
cp /sdcard/unionfs.ko /system/
cp /sdcard/init.rc /data/
cp /runme.sh /data/
cp /sdcard/a2sd.sh /data/

I see, when I run these lines of code (I can do this from adb also right using adb remount) this IS the new symlink method. It's just all at one time without me having to manually link anything.

Right?
 

[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
Code:
su
mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
cp /sdcard/unionfs.ko /system/
cp /sdcard/init.rc /data/
cp /runme.sh /data/
cp /sdcard/a2sd.sh /data/

I see, when I run these lines of code (I can do this from adb also right using adb remount) this IS the new symlink method. It's just all at one time without me having to manually link anything.

Right?

Wrong, no symlinks here. Pure unionfs goodness. Basically it convinces the operating system that /data and /system/sd are the same thing. So anything that's on /system/sd shows up under /data but everything that's normally under /data is still there. Think of it like what happens in windows when you merge folders with the same name, but in this case in actuality everything stays exactly where it was.
 
Last edited:

[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
New news: If you haven't seen it, I updated this tutorial(and the scripts with it) quite a bit and would now consider it to be completely fully functional.

Also The Dude will be sending me an advance copy of his next ROM tomorrow to verify it works. In his build the apps to sd will be automatic, with no user setup(although if you want apps on the sd card you'll have to make an app directory under /system/sd(mkdir /system/sd/app), ditto for dalvik-cache and data).

Finally, I will attempt to add this into my apps to sd app tonight, thus rounding out everything I can do.

After all this, the only thing left is for Haykuro to build it into his ROM and me to make an app to move specific apps to/from the sd card automatically.
 

[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
If anyone dl'd the latest version(that fixed the race condition, etc), please download the one I just put up. I made that one in windows and I believe the funky carraige return(that indicates a new line) that windows uses screwed it up
 

GTASouthPark

Senior Member
Jul 14, 2006
127
3
So I got some kind of error, and I don't know what is going on.

I put in all the lines in the terminal emulator app..
but after line cp /runme.sh /data/ it gives me an error

it says "cp: cannot stat '/runme.sh': No such file or directory

Any help? I rooted my phone just so I could run my apps off of my SD card.. and now I can't figure out how to get it to work. Somebody help me please.
 

[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
So I got some kind of error, and I don't know what is going on.

I put in all the lines in the terminal emulator app..
but after line cp /runme.sh /data/ it gives me an error

it says "cp: cannot stat '/runme.sh': No such file or directory

Any help? I rooted my phone just so I could run my apps off of my SD card.. and now I can't figure out how to get it to work. Somebody help me please.

Which ROM is this? JF1.5 should have runme.sh there...
 

dwang

Senior Member
Nov 23, 2008
2,453
318
Just tried it, one issue I'm seeing is android seems to install [email protected]@[email protected] into /system/intmem/dalvik-cache at boot. Is there anyway to have that only in my dalvik-cache on the sdcard?

Its a fairly large file at 3megs so I want it to reside solely on the sdcard and even if I delete it from intmem, whenever I reboot it gets added again.

Now when I display the internal phone storage from the settings menu, it shows up at 835 megs. :)

I wonder if this is possible to use unionfs and make an ext2 fs object as a file on the FAT fs. That way no 2nd partition is necessary. Plus, if you remove the sdcard, everything will still work.

Maybe we could combine unionfs and this method that uses an ext2 image on the fat32 for apps to sd.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=3402947&postcount=687

mkefs can be downloaded here:

http://sites.google.com/site/juanjosec/android
 
Last edited:

[email protected]

Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
1,091
9
I wonder if this is possible to use unionfs and make an ext2 fs object as a file on the FAT fs. That way no 2nd partition is necessary. Plus, if you remove the sdcard, everything will still work.

Maybe we could combine unionfs and this method that uses an ext2 image on the fat32 for apps to sd.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=3402947&postcount=687

mkefs can be downloaded here:

http://sites.google.com/site/juanjosec/android

I've been looking at that possibility with JF and MartinFick as well, seems like it could be a good plan but I wanted to get this bit done first. It's a good point about the dalvik-cache, but in order to fix it JF(in this case) would have to change /init.rc to make sure to do this bit before building the dalvik-cache.
 

aloa64

Member
May 7, 2009
15
3
Can't download apps from market

hmm so I didn't hit any errors when doing this, but afterwards I am unable to download any apps from the market. It just continually says "Starting Download..." Everything else seems to work well.

I had this same issue when I tried to manually setup apps to sd using the symbolic links. I narrowed the issue down and figured out this only occurred after I moved the dalvik-cache over to the sd card. I'm assuming I'm doing something wrong, but can't seem to figure it out. Any pointers in a general direction would be most helpful :)

I'm using JFv1.50 ADP1.5, not the modded version by LucidREM. For some reason the bootloader couldn't pickup his version on my phone and --edit-- I'm pretty sure I have the SD card partitioned correctly... everything else seemed to work ok. The ext2 partition shows up as the correct size

*EDIT* So apparently my issue was the SD card as well. Just did a format of the sd card and it fixed it. I also formatted data and cache (alt+w in recovery mode). Thanks MarcusMaximus!
 
Last edited:

BSDADON

Senior Member
Mar 23, 2009
593
12
New news: If you haven't seen it, I updated this tutorial(and the scripts with it) quite a bit and would now consider it to be completely fully functional.

Also The Dude will be sending me an advance copy of his next ROM tomorrow to verify it works. In his build the apps to sd will be automatic, with no user setup(although if you want apps on the sd card you'll have to make an app directory under /system/sd(mkdir /system/sd/app), ditto for dalvik-cache and data).

Finally, I will attempt to add this into my apps to sd app tonight, thus rounding out everything I can do.

After all this, the only thing left is for Haykuro to build it into his ROM and me to make an app to move specific apps to/from the sd card automatically.

If I have apps2SD and the dalvik-cache both moved on the dudes builds already, do I still have to create those directories or will my existing setup still work fine? I would like to know what kind of issues I may run into when the dude releases .95 with this (hopefully, not getting my hopes up just in case).
 

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    umm when i run appstosd it says it formats but then when i push reboot now nothing happens.. also, when i type reboot at the terminal it tells me i dont have permission even tho im already running su