When you get a new phone out of the box, it always delivers top performance. But it may not last long if photos, apps, files, and updates accumulate and take up system resources.
One of the best ways to deal with an Android phone that becomes sluggish over time is to expand its storage with an SD card. This small device, the size of a miniature, has been around for over two decades and can store large amounts of data depending on its capacity.
Their capacities range from 128MB to 1TB depending on the type of SD card. Be sure to check the maximum microSD card capacity your device supports before receiving it.
While we’d love to see all phones come with unlimited storage, this probably won’t happen anytime soon. Plus, your phone won’t be able to magically move all your files and images to the SD card after you insert it. You need to configure it to store your files, applications, and media. This will free up precious space on your phone’s internal memory.
However, not all Android phones support microSD cards. Some also need to set up the SD card as internal storage before transferring data.
- Transfer files from Android internal storage to SD card.
- Transfer images from Android internal storage to SD card.
- Change the default camera storage to SD card.
- Transfer apps from Android internal storage to SD card.
- Storage alternatives.
How to transfer files to SD card on Android phone
- Transfer files from Android internal storage to SD card
- Transfer photos from Android internal storage to Android card SD
- Change default camera storage to an SD card
- Move apps from Android internal storage to an SD card
- Storage alternatives
Note. We used the Samsung My Files app to follow the instructions below on a Samsung Galaxy S8 + (running Android Pie), but they should be similar for most Android phones
Transfer files from Android internal storage to SD card
Transfer files from Android internal storage to SD Card
The advantage of saving files to an SD card or other external storage is that you can swap them out for another device. This is especially useful when you want to share data with another device, efficiently upgrade your own device, or move files to a long-term backup or storage system.
To move files from your phone’s internal memory to your SD card, use the phone’s File Manager app (in our case, it’s My Files).
Using the File Manager
- Open the File Manager or My Files on your phone.
- You will see a list of the different file categories and storage options available on your phone. Tap the Documents folder.
- In the upper right corner of the screen, click Menu (three vertical dots) to open a drop-down list of actions.
- Click Modify and select All Files or select individual files to move.
- Click Move.
- Go back to My Files using the Home icon and click SD Card. Tap the desired location on the SD card and select Move Here. If you are unsure, you can always click Cancel to start over.
- Your phone will start moving files to the SD card. Do this for any other files you want to move to the SD card.
Note. If your phone does not have a preinstalled file management application such as the Samsung My Files app, you can download and install a third-party app to help you with this.
Transfer Pictures from Android Internal Storage to SD Card
Need to make room for your precious memories? You can move all images from your phone’s internal storage to your SD card.
- Open My Files (or the File Manager app) and click Internal Storage.
- Click DCIM to open it.
- Find the camera and press and hold it.
- Tap the menu icon (three vertical dots) at the top and tap the Edit icon.
- Click “Move” in the lower left corner of the screen (the position of this menu depends on your device). Go back to My Files using the Home icon and click SD Card.
- Tap DCIM. If you don’t have a folder labeled DCIM on your SD card, click New Folder and name it DCIM, then click Finish to start transferring.
Note. While you can assign your images to transfer to SD card, not all phones allow you to assign screenshots to capture and save to SD. In this case, you will have to constantly copy and move screenshots to the SD card so that they do not fill up your phone.
Change the default camera storage to SD card
Instead of moving images and videos to the SD card every time, you can change directories in the Camera app so that the SD card becomes the default storage location.
It will save the media in the DCIM folder, but first you need to make sure your camera app offers this option. Otherwise, you can always download another camera app from the Google Play Store.
- Open the camera app on your phone. Tap the gear menu icon in the upper left corner to open the settings.
- Click Storage Location.
- Tap the SD card (depending on your device, it can be labeled as external storage or memory card)
From now on, all the photos and videos you take will be saved directly to your SD card.
Transfer apps from Android internal storage to SD card
- Open Settings on your phone and select Apps> App Info.
- Click Storage, and then click Edit next to the default storage. Select your SD card.
Note. If the Move to SD Card option is greyed out, it means that the specific app you are trying to move cannot be moved because not all apps can be moved.
Also, not all phones can transfer apps. Some don’t allow moving apps to the SD card at all. This is entirely at the discretion of the app developer or device manufacturer.
If your phone allows you to move apps, please note that apps will not be available on your phone if you remove the SD card.
If your SD card fills up and you’re running out of space, you can use a memory card reader to move files or pictures to your computer. From there, you can back up your files or pictures to a larger external drive, or upload them to an online cloud storage like Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox for long term.