Galaxy Note 2 : Swapping external SD Card as Internal memory

Posted on October 25, 2012

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One can easily use the external SD card as internal memory. This is especially useful for those who has the 16 GB model, whose available memory left is just 10.5 GB. If you are a serious gamer, just a few Gameloft games installation will take up 4-5 GB of memory space

To do this your phone needs to be :

1. Rooted and have ClockworkMod recovery installed. Refer my post HERE on how to do this

2. A kernel that is init.d enabled – suggest to use Perseus kernel. Download this kernel and copy the kernel zip file to either phone internal memory or external SDcard. You can also download the tar file – in such a case you flash this kernel using Mobile Odin. In this guide , I will use the kernel zip file.
Most customs roms will have this feature ( init.d enabled ) but not stock official rom.

What is init.d ? It is basically a directory which contains a number of start/stop scripts for various services on your system. It is located at /etc folder. I quote from XDA :

Init.d has a special place in Android. With it, users can install scripts and mods to run at boot, and thus modify almost any aspect of the phone that they want. There are battery tweaks, performance tweaks, GPS tweaks, signal tweaks, and the list goes on and on. However for these scripts to work, the phone must first have init.dsupport. Typically, Ramdisks provide init.d support, but sometimes it is possible to gain init.d support without flashing a new Ramdisk, or even without altering the Ramdisk at all.

For more information, do refer to this link:
http://www.ghacks.net/2009/04/04/get-to-know-linux-the-etcinitd-directory/

3. Download the appropriate swap zip file matching to your external SDcard format : it is either Fat32 ( common for 32 GB and below ) or exFAT ( for 64 GB class 6/10 cards). If you are unsure of your external SDcard format, just check its properties/details in your PC or Mac – just right click the SDcard and you can see the file format

Fat32
https://www.box.com/shared/1r8mrqnhjr2g02s3qpe3

Exfat
https://www.box.com/shared/iqtkuvlxobfzbp9wc1o0

This tool is developed for the Galaxy S3 but it works very well too in the Galaxy Note 2. The actual XDA link is here:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1849861

I have used my exFat formatted Sandisk 64 GB Class 10 card for this and now my internal phone memory is 59.4 GB while my original internal memory of 10.5 GB is now classified as external SD card

This tweak can works in any stock official rom and all the custom roms. I would like to say you do this at your own risk. I have tested it in 2 official stock roms ( XXALJI, XXALJ3 ) and custom rosm Wannamlite, Omega and Android HD. All work flawlessly without any issues.
This is how to do it :

1. Boot phone to RECOVERY mode by pressing simultaneoulsy Home+Power+Vol UP buttons. Once you see the second splash screen of Samsung logo, release all the 3 buttons simultaneously. You will see the Recovery menu

Select ” Install zip from Sdcard” and choose where you have copy your Perseus Kernel zip file . Choose it and flashing will just take few seconds. The phone will go back to the recovery menu after complete. Select the appropriate swap zip file , example 11extsd2internalsd_gs3_extfat.zip and flash it. Phone will go back to recovery mode. Select Reboot System
After rebooting, your external SDcard will now be the internal memory while the original internal memory will be external SDcard

This is AnTuTu benchmarks comparing the phone on original status verus swap status. For the swap phones, in general the write speeds is lower but read speeds is higher than 50 Mb/s . I see this same trend in reading speeds in all the roms I have tested. As phone will basically be reading from memory most of the time, there is is virtually no lag. Unless you have higher than above average senses, it is probably unlikely you can detect any significant differences

Before :

After :

What are the disadvantages using this tweak. To date this is what I’d observed :

1. Burst mode in camera now saves to the external SDcard. Burst mode works but you cannot have selection of best shot. All shots are saved. Once a while, launching the camera will slight freeze phone. Stop the app and just try gain to relaunch it
2. Flashing any modem needs to have the swap removed. If not phone will hang at reboot. Removing the swap mode is freaking easy. Just use any root explorer app, navigate to /etc/init.d folder and just delete the swap file. Remember to press “Mount R/W” at the top first before deleting the file. Restart phone and phone will goes back to original status
Flashing any custom roms through recovery or official rom using Odin in PC, you need not change the swapped status. The rom will overwrite it back to default status

One common question posed to me is : What happen if I suddenly remove the ext sdcard – will the phone soft brick or hard brick, The answer is simple NO
If your phone is switch on, you can safely remove the external SDcard. As all your stuffs are in memory already, you can still swipe among home screens, launched your commonly used apps but for apps that need to write to internal memory , of course you will not be able to do it as the external SD card is now taken out. Definitely no freeze. However if phone is in lockscreen mode, taking out the external Sdcard will freeze phone. Reinsert back the card and it will take about a minute for the phone to scan back the external sdcard and phone will be back to normal

Posted in: Android