How To Install Windows Phone 8 App From SD Card (.XAP Files)

One of the new features in Windows Phone 8 is an added support for SD card. It’s a welcome feature for budget phones that don’t have large enough storage size build in. However, here is the catch, you cannot install apps onto the SD itself. It’s the other way around. You can only download the application (in .XAP format) onto the SD card, and transfer it to the Windows Phone to install the application from SD card rather than from the Windows Phone store. Though, it’s only useful when you would like to install a new app onto your phone while you don’t have an internet connection that allows you access to the app store. Or, a backup solution for all your third party apps.

I recently got a new HTC Windows Phone 8S. One of the “features” it has is the SD card slot, that’s mainly because, well, this phone only has 4GB of internal storage space. The OS alone is taking over 2GB of space, plus other storages, the phone basically has only 1.27 GB of useful space for you to use. Having the SD card slot is encouraging, but only if you can install apps onto it, though It’s still able to hold music, photos and videos.

Here is How to Install Windows Phone apps from SD card to your Phone

Go to Windows Phone apps web page, pick any apps you wish to install.

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 3.07.27 PM

Don’t click “Get app”. Instead, scroll down to the page, find the label “Download and install manually”.

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 3.11.56 PM

This will download an .xap format file to your Windows machine. Now insert the SD card to your computer (you need to have a SD card reader). Copy this file to any where on the SD card. Eject it when it’s done.

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 3.12.10 PM

Now insert the SD card back to the Windows Phone. Go launch the store app. Now, on the very bottom of the main menu, you should see “SD card” added to the list.


Click SD card, this will list all the application from the SD card. You can pick and install the application from there.


Again, this install doesn’t install any apps onto the SD card itself on the Windows Phone. Instead, it installs the app from the SD card to the phone’s internal storage space. This method works for both paid and free apps, if you are going to install a paid app, but have not purchased, you can still have the option to “try” the app before purchasing the app.

Jonathan Hu

Programming by day, Web Development, Canucks & Movies for spare time!
Co-founder of Next of Windows and a cool geek 🙂

Last updated: 08/04/2014

Posted in: How to , Windows Phone
Discover more: ,