How do I move things to my SD card?

Using an SD card is a great way to expand the storage capacity of your Android device. Whether you want to free up space on your phone’s internal storage or need more room for photos, videos, music and other files, moving items to a removable SD card can provide extra breathing room. This guide will walk you through the steps for moving photos, apps and other data to an SD card inserted in an Android phone or tablet.

What You’ll Need

Before getting started, make sure you have the following:

  • An Android device that supports SD card storage
  • An SD card inserted into your device
  • Apps and files you want to move saved on your device’s internal storage

Check SD Card Compatibility

Not all Android devices support removable SD card storage. Check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to verify your model works with SD cards. Some newer phones only accept microSD cards, so double-check which SD card type your phone uses before purchasing one.

Most Android devices that accept SD cards allow you to insert the card in the SIM card slot. Some phones may require removing the back cover to access the microSD slot. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper way to insert the SD card in your specific model.

How to Move Photos to an SD Card

One of the biggest consumers of internal storage on smartphones is photos. Moving your picture library to an SD card can free up a significant amount of space:

  1. Open the Photos app on your Android device.
  2. Tap on the three horizontal lines in the top left corner to open the slide-out menu.
  3. Select Device Folders.
  4. Choose any folders containing photos stored on the device’s internal storage.
  5. Tap the three dot menu icon in the top right corner.
  6. Select Move to SD card from the menu.
  7. Confirm the transfer by tapping Move.

The photos will start copying to the SD card. A notification will display when the transfer finishes. To move your entire photo library:

  1. Go to Device Folders in the Photos app.
  2. Select Camera.
  3. Tap the three dot menu icon.
  4. Choose Move to SD card.

Moving Apps to an SD Card

Apps can quickly consume GBs of internal storage, especially large games and multimedia programs. Moving installed apps to an SD card can free up space on your phone or tablet. Here is how to transfer existing apps to an SD card:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Android device.
  2. Select Storage or Storage & USB depending on your Android OS version.
  3. Tap the name of your SD card.
  4. Toggle on the setting for Move apps to SD card.

Enabling this option will allow your device to automatically transfer apps to the SD card. You can also choose to manually move apps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps & notifications.
  2. Tap the name of the app you want to move.
  3. Select Storage.
  4. Tap CHANGE under Storage used.
  5. Select your SD card.
  6. Confirm by tapping Move.

Transferring Files to an SD Card

Beyond photos and apps, you can move a variety of files and folders to an SD card from your device’s internal storage, such as:

  • Music
  • Movies and videos
  • Ebooks
  • Documents
  • Downloaded files

To move individual files to your SD card:

  1. Open the My Files or Files app on your Android device.
  2. Navigate to the folder containing the files you want to move.
  3. Long press on a file.
  4. Select any other files you want to move.
  5. Tap the three dot menu icon in the top right corner.
  6. Choose Move from the menu.
  7. Select your SD card as the destination.
  8. Tap Move to confirm transferring the files.

For moving entire folders:

  1. In My Files / Files, open the folder you want to move.
  2. Tap the three dot menu icon.
  3. Select Move.
  4. Choose your SD card.
  5. Confirm by tapping Move.

Making the SD Card the Default Storage

After moving apps and files to your SD card, you may want to set the SD card as the default storage location. This will automatically save new apps, photos, videos and other data directly to your SD card without having to manually move each item.

To make the SD card your default storage:

  1. Go to Settings > Storage.
  2. Select your SD card.
  3. Tap the three dot menu icon.
  4. Choose Set as default location.

Any new apps, photos, downloads and other data will now save directly to your SD card. Just make sure you don’t remove or reformat the card without first moving those items back to internal storage.

Freeing up Space After Moving to SD Card

After transferring your photos, apps, music and other files to your SD card, you may still see items remaining in the corresponding folders on your device’s internal storage. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. The folders remain in place as virtual pointers to content now located on your SD card.

To actually free up internal space after moving items to the SD card, you will need to:

  1. Uninstall any apps moved to the SD card.
  2. Clear the cache and data for apps moved to the SD card.
  3. Delete original photos and videos from internal storage.
  4. Remove any music, movies or other files no longer needed on the device.

This process permanently erases the redundant apps and files from internal storage, while keeping the content safely stored on your SD card. You can reinstall apps from Google Play at any time to restore them.

Troubleshooting SD Card Issues

While SD cards provide a helpful storage boost, you may occasionally encounter issues when trying to move data:

  • Unable to move apps – Some apps do not support installation on SD cards. Games and apps that require constant high-speed access are often restricted to internal storage.
  • Corrupted SD card – Extremely slow transfers or inability to access files may indicate a corrupted SD card. You may need to reformat the card.
  • Insufficient storage space – Make sure your SD card has enough free space for the items you want to move.
  • Incompatible SD card – Use a compatible SD card type for your device – microSD vs SDHC vs SDXC.
  • SD card not detected – Check that the SD card is properly inserted. There may be dirt in the slot. Restart your device.
  • SD card suddenly missing – Sudden loss of SD card access usually means it was unmounted. Don’t remove cards without unmounting first.


Using an SD card with your Android device provides expanded storage for apps, photos, music, videos and other data. Carefully moving items from internal storage to a removable SD card can free up internal space on your phone or tablet. Make sure to properly unmount and eject the SD card before removing it from your device to avoid corruption issues. With some maintenance and troubleshooting, SD cards are an easy way to overcome limited internal storage on Android phones and tablets.