The idea behind a Chromebook is an always-connected, always-online super lightweight computer that doesn't need a bunch of storage or local apps to accomplish what you need to get done on the go. The reality is that you still very likely do need expandable storage from time to time for things like downloading TV shows, books, or other media you need to access without Wi-Fi or on a slow (or metered) network. Fortunately, downloading Netflix and Plex content directly to your Chromebook's SD card storage is a snap, and we'll show you how to do it.

How to get Chromebook Android apps to see your SD card

To get started, you first need to open your Chromebook's settings, click "Device", select "Storage Management," then "External Storage Preferences," and finally identify and enable your SD card, as shown below. To speed things up, you can also just search for "External Storage Preferences" in settings or in the Chrome OS launcher and enter the menu right away. Once you've enabled your external storage, you need to restart your device before proceeding.

How to set up Android apps to use your SD card for downloads

After restarting, open the Chrome OS settings again and navigate to the Google Play Store option and select "Manage Android preferences." If you don't want to scroll through all the settings options, simply type "Android preferences" into the search bar or the Chrome OS launcher to jump straight to the needed entry. A new window with the Android preferences should open.

In the Android preferences, select the "Apps & notifications" entry, and you'll find a list of your installed Android apps. Scroll through until you find the app you wish to use with SD storage and tap on it. To speed things up, you can alternatively search the Android settings for the respective app, as shown a bit further below for Plex. If you want to enable SD card support for multiple apps, you will need to do so one at a time by repeating the following steps.

Tap the desired application to enter its "App info" screen, select the "Permission" entry, and enable "Storage," if it isn't already. You then need to open the app in question and proceed in its settings.

In the case of the Plex app, you will need to update the "sync" option to move data to the expanded storage. For Netflix, you will be changing the "Download Location" from internal to external storage. You may have to restart the app or even your device before the new download location shows up.

Configuring SD storage settings for Plex (top) Netflix (bottom).

Finally, to force these changes to take effect, completely shut down any apps you adjusted and restart them again. Your apps, like Netflix and Plex, will now be able to use your external SD card to store downloads.

We've updated the screenshots in this post to match the current Chrome OS look and we were able to simplify the instructions thanks to the introduction of settings search in the Chrome OS launcher.