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Installing apps from the SD card in Windows Phone 8

Microsoft has previously mentioned that Windows Phone 8 will allow users to install apps from SD cards. The claim's pretty funny. Who needs to install apps from a SD card anyway? We've got the Marketplace, or whatever it's renamed now, and that makes a fine enough source of applications. If anything, we will need the ability to install apps to the SD card, to better utilize the expanded storage property.

But it looks like Microsoft has been serious about it. Here in the company's online Windows Phone 8 FAQ, there's a little chapter instructing you on how to just to that, installing an app in the form of a .xap package from your SD card to the phone.

For what's its worth, the guys at WPDang just gave the new feature a test run on a HTC 8S, probably the only known Windows Phone 8 device that definitely has a SD slots right now. And they found the feature to be working all right. It goes like this:

  1. Copy your .xap install files into your SD card.
  2. Shove your SD card into your HTC 8S.
  3. Go to the Marketplace.
  4. Now besides "HTC Apps", "Applications" and "Games", there would be one extra option called "SD Card".
  5. The OS will scan for .xap files on the card, and verify them with the Marketplace server.
  6. If the .xap is a free app in the Marketplace, it will be installed right from the SD card without a fuss.
  7. If it's a trial version of a paid app in the Marketplace, it will be installed as a trial version.
  8. If the .xap file maps to a paid app in the Marketplace that DOES NOT have a trial offering, the installation will be terminated.
  9. If the .xap file does not map to anything already in the Marketplace, the installation will be terminated too.

That's about it, it simply works.

 

Now you might want to ask "But what is that for? What's the point?" Well, your guess is as good as mine. Looks pretty useless to me... If the stuff is available right inside the Marketplace, why should I bother acquiring its .xap file from god knows where? And if I've developed a pet app of my own (without App Hub account), then I simply can't deploy it on my own phone, because the app doesn't exist in the Marketplace therefore can't be verified.

Thanks, Microsoft, for adding this feature. Could you enlighten us a bit on its purpose now?

Source: WPDang

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Comments

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gfunk84 says:

It would be useful for people who don't have Wi-Fi and a limited data plan.

why would someone who buy a smartphone not have wi-fi? That's silly too. Perhaps u mean wifi to not be available at a certain time, e.g. while he is on the move. But is installing any app so urgent that he cannot wait to get home/work to install it?

on a second thought it cannot work without an internet connection whatsoever!. Remember the device needs to communicate with the server to validate the xap!

zfarooq says:

Your all lucky to be in Western countries where data is cheap. The same reason DATA SENSE EXISTS, there are people that cannot download 300MB games. 
 
In addition, there WIFI is slow. Why should we redownload? Cmon realize that people are poor in Africa etc. data is slow and not cheap. 

schlubadub says:

Poor people in Africa wouldn't have smart phones :P I don't download almost anything on my data plan - it's all WiFi either at work, at home or friends houses. Even 3rd world countries have WiFi :P

McVitas says:

I am not poor but it does not really matter because I would not fit a 300MB game into my Huawei Ascend W1 with "only" 4GB memory anyway :-\

AznRaven says:

1. Say u r close to your data cap and have a bunch of apps u want to install??? U can download them at home... On WiFi... Wether u install at home or on the go... I doubt the verify process would waste as much data as actually downloading the game

2. U have all the apps on the sd card... A friend wants those apps... Give him the sd card to install all those apps!!! Again... Saves data usage for ur friend... If u guys were out and about not having WiFi...

3... Large apps that require WiFi to download and install... U can download all these large apps and install them on the go because if verified... And u have the file already... It will install... Again... If u out with your friends... Even though they have plenty data left... They can't install that large app tight away... they want that large app and not near a WiFi... Give ur friend the sd card and they can install that app right away...

TonyDedrick says:

If it weren't for me, my mother in law would still be without a wireless router and she has an iPhone.

pressstart says:

After reading another fellow comment, it would make sense for those with data caps on their landlines too.

jcagga says:

The real question you should be asking is who is going to benefit from this rather than when should we use it.

pbroy says:

A. Not everyone can afford a wireless router. The economy these days sucks.  Third world countries lack monies also. Their cell phones are the closest thing they have to computers. Bandwith is money. Public wifi isn't safe. Downloading to SD card is safer.. No need to open your phone to hotspots.
B. Some phones will come with less internal memory than others. As far as I know, you can only install programs to the internal memory. Storing fat programs on the SD card will help free up space for other programs or games that you may want to run at the moment. Instead of using more bandwith to download the app/game again, it's right there. I think there is a 25MB limit to downloads over the air. Not everyone has access to wifi all the time. Like if you are on a plane or once again poor with no monies.

schlubadub says:

A) WiFi routers are cheap (under $40). The economy is only bad in some countries (still booming in Australia), and that is only recently - WiFi has been around for 10+ years so it's very common. Free WiFi is possible to find, even in 3rd world countries. But if you can download from a PC it's a good alternative.
B) The installation is FROM the SD card - you still have to install it on internal memory. I would like to have backups of all my purchased xap's though.
BTW it's "money" not "monies"

venetasoft says:

Good for oem too, they can pre install them on SD, and let the user install them using a small amount if their data plan.

kwajr says:

Are a beta version of an app like an update

jjMustang says:

Businesses who provision their phones, allowing apps to be installed once the end user is signed in with their Microsoft account, without opening WiFi to unknown networks and exceeding the 10(?) MB limit for cellular downloads.

NIST says:

Yup. For corporation rollouts of apps from their own app store.

zealout says:

Except, this is already covered by setting up a company HUB that doesn't use the marketplace.

TrentTech says:

My guess? It's probably to allow people to download the apps on a PC and install them on multiple devices without having to waste bandwidth on them. I assume it would be mostly good for corporate environments where a private App Store for a company is being used.

Did they try deploying an XAP for an app which has already been bought on their MS Account? If not, shouldn't that deploy the full version instead of the trial?

Capsloc says:

How about for restoring a bunch of apps without having to scavenge for them? But I guess that would defeat the purpose of the new backup system. Also the Lumia 810/820/822 has SD alot too...

Isn't it to bypass the fact that SD cards do not expand the primary storage as it did with Windows Phone 7.x?
I do agree the audience is small - that is some geeks. Not for the general public.
They should spend more time developing a notification center and other missing platform goddies than useless stuff like this.

Alaera says:

The Lumia 820 also has a microSD card slot :)

tsrblke says:

Perhaps this is for corperations? They could hand out cloned SD cards with all the apps they need on them to their employees with the phones.  No need to make the employees find all the apps.  And possibly easier than setting up a company hub (if you don't have any custom apps.)
Alternatively I could see a company like Garmin selling map apps on SD card (like they do their map upgrades now for the GPS.)  Granted your market would be cut down to the 8S and maybe the 820 (doesn't that have an SD slot?)

kwajr says:

Speaking of which when using offlne maps like on Nokia drive why does it not store on the sdcard

kunwar_91 says:

Becasue in wp apps can only read the data from sd card and can not write data to the sd card

addicusbrown says:

Also comes in handy when the app is in the Store but not showing in your purchase history due to their system being messed up, i.e. The last 2 weeks.

zealout says:

I would say the purpose of this, is currently if you use an SD card and install an app it only goes to the internal memory, so if you're wanting to conserve the phones memory, you would load it like this so that it would be on the SD memory and free up your phones memory. That would be my best logical guess, otherwise it seems pointless.

sdreamer says:

They should expand this to local storage so all phones can reinstall apps easily without having to redownload them. This is a nice touch though to back up your apps incase they're ever taken down without notice.

pbroy says:

The app needs to reside in the marketplace and be the most recent version in order for the xap to install. If it's taken down, it is not residing, therefor no install. Might as well delete it when it comes to this point.

jmshub says:

I wonder about dev unlocked phones, if it will allow devs to deploy apps to the phone.

futurix says:

That would be a bit pointless as we can deploy using SDK already without any need to fiddle with SD cards.

schlubadub says:

I thought this was for corporations to deploy private apps. They are still verified against the marketplace, but they aren't publicly available for purchase or download and won't appear in any searches. I'm still not sure why you can't download with private, individual URL's as I thought beta apps were sent in this way to specific users

suraj.das says:

Btw.. Whatsapp just got updated to 2.8.8.. Feels better

1101x10 says:

I hope this doesn't make apps more piratable.

jocus says:

Not bad because not all apps available in all marketplace

tmjwid says:

If the version isn't checked when installing then it could be used to provide instant bug fixes to apps when needed. Also could provide beta testing of new versions of an app or provide downgrading from broken/beta apps? Just my thoughts.

inteller says:

stupid feature that Microsoft could throw out there just to confuse people.  I can think of one single reason to have this...to keep previous versions of an app handy in case the morons break the current version.  However, if Marketplace insists on the app being the latest version that won't work either.

AznRaven says:

1. Say u r close to your data cap and have a bunch of apps u want to install??? U can download them at home... On WiFi... Wether u install at home or on the go... I doubt the verify process would waste as much data as actually downloading the game

2. U have all the apps on the sd card... A friend wants those apps... Give him the sd card to install all those apps!!! Again... Saves data usage for ur friend... If u guys were out and about not having WiFi...

3... Large apps that require WiFi to download and install... U can download all these large apps and install them on the go because if verified... And u have the file already... It will install... Again... If u out with your friends... Even though they have plenty data left... They can't install that large app tight away... they want that large app and not near a WiFi... Give ur friend the sd card and they can install that app right away...

PHPDev12 says:

There is new stuff in the market place, now in the web there is a link where we can download the XAPs and install manually.
See here http://i.imgbox.com/adj6JiSZ.png
 

ioannisgk says:

This is going to be HUGE. Just wait for a custom WP8 ROM with a few registry hacks that will allow installing ANY .xap WITHOUT the Marketplace verification process. Then download the .xap files that are available in various wp8 hack forums and you get everything for free. I see it happening in the next 6-10 months.

Ticomfreak says:

They already have this with WP7 roms

ioannisgk says:

I am talking about installing xaps through SD cards. No wp7 rom/device can do that.

Appelflap says:

So this is a quasi side load feature?

It would be great to have full side load functionality. Software developers could use it for beta programs. Also, side loading would help the distribution of apps via developers forums (like xda). It could boost the dev support for the OS.

Dome85 says:

I thought that the xap could be used as backup for apps that are removed from the store and that maybe we bought. you do not need even that!! Microsoft wake up!

zigzagr63 says:

One reason that I can think of someone wanting to install an app from an SD card would be a business that has developed their own app and put it on a card to install on select phones.

MajickmanW says:

This will cone in handy my gf is tearing through space on her 810 so being able to put her apps on the SD and free up phone space will be handy though I do see how it's kind of useless. One thought I had though, could you use this feature to put Nokia specific apps on the 8s? (ie Nokia city lense, Nokia music etc.)

Racxie says:

I don't know if it's just me but it kind of seems like they're trying to bait pirates with this...

TimN_FL says:

My thought was that this feature is to allow enterprises to distribute apps that are published to thier private marketplaces. Since WP8 employees won't be able to find the app in the store they could distribute the xap file and allow the employees to install at thier convienence. Just a thought.

hoonigandad says:

File this under awesome but useless features! With the focus it would've been nice

AznRaven says:

1. Say u r close to your data cap and have a bunch of apps u want to install??? U can download them at home... On WiFi... Wether u install at home or on the go... I doubt the verify process would waste as much data as actually downloading the game

2. U have all the apps on the sd card... A friend wants those apps... Give him the sd card to install all those apps!!! Again... Saves data usage for ur friend... If u guys were out and about not having WiFi...

3... Large apps that require WiFi to download and install... U can download all these large apps and install them on the go because if verified... And u have the file already... It will install... Again... If u out with your friends... Even though they have plenty data left... They can't install that large app tight away... they want that large app and not near a WiFi... Give ur friend the sd card and they can install that app right away...

davidtayo says:

Can this work on lumia 920?

schlubadub says:

Does it have an SD card? No.

420mbps says:

Why is everyone so confused about this? Isn't it obvious that it's for those of us who pirate apps. It's easy to install the xap (or apk on android) from the sdcard. Duh.

schlubadub says:

I hope you're being sarcastic. MS didn't wake up one morning and say "Hey, what we need is more piracy! Let's make it easier for everyone!". There are many legit uses for this - verifying against the marketplace still makes it difficult for piracy.

ioannisgk says:

That is exactly what MS wants. Piracy will truly boost the ecosystem. That's what happened with iPhone. Their pirated marketplace was the reason for their success. And Apple wanted this.

This is a great feature. It give you access to the community apps such as from xda. Community apps is very unique and free! This will sure boost the WP app ecosystem.

McVitas says:

And how exactly do you think that will boost anything? When you install an app from XAP it connects to store and checks if it is there. So don't dream about some alternative community apps not approved by MS :-\

Blau34 says:

Works onl with SD Cards. I have found no way to install inside lumia 920.

fraddy says:

emulating Android? Why would customers get a copy of something great (Windows "abandon customers ASAP" Phone) if they can get the real thing - Android JB. Looking at the Surface ridiculous price of one grand for a toy which spec-wise will age within weeks and a shiny new Nexus for 1/5 of the price, all I want to say is Jelly Bean all the way!

richdav says:

The lack of ability to install an app from sd card has been one of the deal breakers that has stopped me making the transition from Android to WP. There is one VERY good reason why this is a great idea. When I've downloaded an app update from the Android Market (Google Play as it is now), sometimes the updated app doesn't work properly on my device, sometimes it's a cr@p update, or I simply preferred the previous version. Having the .apk file on my sd card effectively allows me to roll my phone back to a previous version of the app. Without this facility, once you've updated an app, you're stuck with it.

fraddy says:

Don't leave Android for Windows - do you know what happened to HTC HD2 users and then again to Lumia 900 users? If you get Lumia 920 now in about a year your device/OS will be phased out and you will be forced to splash the cash on Lumia 1000 or sth similar!

DavidinCT says:

I wonder if the PC software will make an option so install side apps ?
 
It's a reason why the Luima 920 or a HTC 9x might not be the best choice for people who like to play with sideloading apps...

Rick Spears says:

This feature is most likely geared towards business needs. They have said that for windows 8 IT professionals will be able to install there own apps bypassing the store. This sounds like that same thing. I will bet though the phone will need to be connected to the company network to call home to the corperate server for a certificate and authorization.

Duffau says:

There is no way to install apps aside from the marketplace (or triggering it from windowsphone.com). If there is a large app, you absolutely cannot install it without WiFi, not even by connecting your phone with Zune, even if you have the cell data to use (at least on my carrier). You don't realize that there are no alternative methods of install until your 2 year old HD7's WiFi and Bluetooth stop working. I know I don't have a slot on my hd7, but this is hope for the future. We need some sort of alternative install methods.

When a app is installed from sd card does the app saves to phone or sd card :-)
 

hey guys i have a serious problem as my HTC 8s is not recogonising my sd card in the marketpace . i have a cracked version of fruit ninja on the sd card does it make it a problem