How to Move Pictures and Other Data to an SD Card on Android

Clear out internal storage to improve performance on your Android

What to Know

  • Go to My Files > Internal Storage > folder > Menu > Edit > pick files > Move > SD Card > Create Folder > Done.
  • To move an app, go to Settings > Apps > select app > Storage > Change > SD Card.
  • To set default camera storage to SD card, go to Camera Settings > Storage Location > SD Card.

This article explains how to move data to an SD card on Android 7.0 and higher.

What You Need to Save Data to an SD Card on Android

Starting with Android 4.0 (released in 2011), you can save your Android smartphone or tablet data to an SD card. High-capacity SD cards ranging up to 2 TB aren't expensive. Double-check the maximum capacity of the MicroSD card that your device supports before you buy one.

If your Android tablet has a USB port, transfer files using an external SD card reader.

Aside from clearing storage space, the other benefit of saving files (mainly music, videos, and photos) to an SD card is that you can swap the files to another smartphone or tablet.

How to Move Files From an Android Device to an SD Card

The accumulation of apps, files, photos, and updates on smartphones and tablets consumes system resources, which results in slower operation. One way to free up space and improve the performance of your Android device is to transfer files to an SD card.

If you see a notification after you insert the microSD card, tap it to start transferring files. Otherwise:

  1. Open the My Files app. You may have to search for it.

    If you can't find a file manager app on your device, download one from the Google Play Store.

  2. Tap Internal Storage (or tap one of the options listed under Categories) and navigate to the files or folders you wish to move.

  3. Once inside the folder containing the files you want to transfer, tap the three dots in the upper-right corner.

    Locate the files you wish to transfer to the SD card in the My Files app.
  4. Tap Edit.

  5. Select the files you wish to transfer or tap All in the upper-left corner.

  6. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner again and select Move.

    Select the files you wish to transfer in the My Files app.
  7. Tap SD card.

  8. Choose the desired destination folder, or tap Create folder.

  9. Tap Done to complete the transfer.

    Choose the destination folder on your SD card and select Done.

How to Move Apps to an SD Card

Android OS allows you to move apps to and from the SD card:

Some applications, such as preloaded system apps, cannot be stored externally.

  1. Open the device's Settings and tap Apps (or Apps and notifications on Android 8.0 and 9.0).

  2. Tap the app you want to move.

    Go to Settings > App and tap the app you want to transfer to the SD card.
  3. Tap Storage.

  4. Tap Change.

    If you do not see Change listed as an option, the app cannot be moved.

  5. Tap SD Card.

    Select Storage > Change and tap SD card.

How to Set Default Camera Storage to the SD Card

You can change your camera's default storage location so that all photos and videos you take are saved to the DCIM folder on the SD card:

Most stock camera apps offer this option but download a different camera app from the Google Play Store if yours doesn't.

  1. Open the camera app and tap the gear to open Camera Settings.

  2. Tap Storage Location.

  3. Tap SD card.

    Open your camera settings and tap Storage Location to start saving photos and videos to the SD card.

How to Transfer Files to Long-Term Storage

Eventually, the SD card will fill up and run out of space. Move files from the SD card to a laptop or desktop using a memory card reader to remedy that. Then transfer the files to a high-capacity external hard drive or upload them to an online storage site like Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive.

If you want to back up all your files, save everything on your Android device to the cloud.

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