Having the right SD card for your Android phone is important to be able to store photos, videos, music and other files. With so many types and brands of SD cards on the market, it can be confusing to know which one to choose. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to select the best SD card for your Android device.
What is an SD Card?
An SD card, or Secure Digital card, is a small removable flash memory card that is used for storing data. SD cards are commonly used in digital cameras, phones, tablets and other mobile devices. The cards come in different storage capacities and speeds to suit different needs and budgets.
SD cards use flash memory, which means they retain data even when power is turned off. They are small, portable and easy to swap between devices. The cards slide into a slot in the device where they act as additional storage space. SD cards are more affordable than other flash storage options.
Types of SD Cards
There are several types of SD cards to choose from:
- SD (Secure Digital) – The original SD card format goes up to 2GB in capacity.
- SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) – Introduced storage from 4GB up to 32GB.
- SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) – Allows capacities from 64GB to 2TB.
- microSD – A smaller form factor SD card used in many phones.
- microSDHC and microSDXC – High capacity and extended capacity microSD cards.
Most new Android phones use microSD cards. Make sure to get a microSD card if your phone has a microSD slot. Check your phone’s manual to confirm which type it supports.
Speed Class Ratings
SD cards are given speed class ratings that indicate the minimum guaranteed speeds they support when reading and writing data. Higher speed classes can transfer data faster so apps, games and files load quicker. Look for these class ratings when shopping for an SD card:
- Class 2 – Minimum write speed of 2 MB/s
- Class 4 – Minimum write speed of 4 MB/s
- Class 6 – Minimum write speed of 6 MB/s
- Class 10 – Minimum write speed of 10 MB/s
- UHS Speed Class 1 – Minimum write speed of 10 MB/s
- UHS Speed Class 3 – Minimum write speed of 30 MB/s
A Class 10 or UHS Class 1 card is recommended for most Android phones. A faster UHS Class 3 card will provide better performance but is more expensive. Always check your phone’s requirements.
SD Card Capacities
SD cards come in these common storage capacities:
Higher capacity cards can store more photos, videos, apps and files. But they are more expensive. Consider how much storage you need when selecting a capacity:
- 16GB – Good for light use like apps, some photos and music
- 32GB – Enough for apps plus more photos and music
- 64GB – Suitable for lots of apps, photos, videos and music
- 128GB+ – For heavy media use and games, 4K video recording
Also check how much total storage your Android phone has internally. Getting a smaller SD card makes sense if you have 64GB or 128GB built into your phone already.
Major SD Card Brands
There are many brands of SD cards to choose from. Some popular and reputable options include:
Stick with major brands like these and read reviews to find reliable cards that deliver the expected speeds and performance without issues. Avoid cheap generic cards that may have quality problems.
Counterfeit SD Cards
Beware that there are many counterfeit and fake SD cards being sold, especially by some online third party sellers. These cards often mislabel their real capacity or speed class ratings. They can end up corrupting data or damaging your device.
To avoid fake cards:
- Only buy from reputable retailers and the brand’s official store
- Check reviews for reports of counterfeits
- Be suspicious of prices that seem too good to be true
- Confirm the card’s authenticity and capacity with software
SD Card Considerations
Keep these tips in mind when selecting and using an SD card for your Android phone:
- Confirm your phone’s supported card types and specs before buying
- A Class 10 or UHS Class 1 card is best for performance
- Get a reputable brand from a reliable seller
- Avoid the lowest priced generic cards
- Bigger capacity means storing more files
- Regularly back up irreplaceable data as SD cards can fail
- Don’t remove the card when apps are using it
- Format a new SD card in your phone for optimal performance
Choosing the Right SD Card for Your Android Phone
Follow these steps when picking out the right SD card to use with your Android phone:
- Check your phone’s manual to see which SD card types it supports, e.g. microSD, and the maximum capacity.
- Decide how much storage capacity you need – 32GB is good for most users.
- Look for a card with fast speeds of at least Class 10 or UHS Class 1.
- Select a reputable brand like SanDisk, Samsung or Kingston.
- Buy from a trustworthy retailer to avoid counterfeits.
- Compare prices online to find the best deal.
- Be wary of prices that seem too cheap as they may indicate a fake card.
- Avoid used or refurbished SD cards.
- Purchase an SD card suited for security cameras if using in a security camera system.
- Make sure to format the new card in your phone.
Following these guidelines will help you select a high-quality SD card that provides reliable performance and enough storage for your Android device.
SD Card Uses in Android Phones
Here are some of the main uses for SD cards in Android smartphones:
- Store photos and videos – Offload shots from your phone’s internal storage.
- Download and install apps – Free up internal memory by moving apps.
- Add music – Expand beyond built-in storage for playlists.
- Store documents – Keep files like PDFs, spreadsheets and ebooks.
- Watch movies – Load your phone with films to watch offline.
- Transfer files – Quickly move data between devices.
- Back up data – Protect important info in case disaster strikes.
- Record 4K video – Capture sharp, high-resolution footage.
- Play games – Download and run large high-end games.
- Use in dash cams and home security cameras – Reliably store continuous recording.
Using a fast, high capacity SD card enables you to get the most from your Android phone. You avoid running out of internal storage when saving photos, downloading apps and files or recording video.
How to Insert an SD Card in an Android Phone
Inserting an SD card into your Android phone is a quick and simple process:
- Locate the SD card slot on your phone. It is often on the top or side edge.
- Gently insert the SD card with the label side facing up and the metal contacts going in first.
- Slide the card into the slot until it clicks into place and is seated firmly.
- Do not force the card or insert it backwards as this can damage the card and slot.
Once seated, the phone will detect the SD card and you may get a prompt to set it up. Follow any on-screen instructions shown by your phone.
To remove the SD card, press on it gently until it ejects from the slot. Then you can slide it out. Be sure to unmount the SD card properly through your phone’s storage settings before removing it.
Setting Up a New SD Card
After physically inserting an SD card into your Android device, you need to set it up properly for use. Follow these steps:
- Open Settings > Storage on your phone.
- Your SD card name and capacity will be shown here once inserted.
- Tap on your SD card’s name in Storage settings.
- Tap Format to confirm and format the new card.
- Choose a name for your SD card if you wish to change it.
- Tap Erase & Format. This will quickly format the card.
- Your card will now show as ready to use under Storage settings.
Formatting properly sets up your SD card to work optimally with your specific phone and Android version. Some phones may offer to format the card for you once inserted. Be sure to backup any data on the card before formatting as it will be erased.
Moving Apps to SD Card
One great use for SD cards in Android phones is to offload some apps from internal storage. Here is how to move apps to your SD card:
- Open Settings > Apps.
- Select the app you want to move.
- Tap Storage.
- Select Change > SD card.
- The app and its data will now be moved over.
Not all apps can be transferred to SD cards. System apps and pre-installed apps usually cannot be moved. Check if the Change option appears for an app to see if it can be moved.
Moving apps over frees up valuable internal storage on your phone. Just be sure not to remove the SD card while apps stored on it are running.
Adoptable Storage in Android
Some Android phones support a feature called adoptable storage that more tightly integrates the SD card. This allows your phone to treat it like internal storage for apps and files.
Enabling adoptable storage formats and encrypts the SD card so it can only be used by your phone. You cannot remove the card without disabling adoptable storage.
Here is how to enable adoptable storage:
- Open Settings > Storage.
- Tap your SD card name.
- Tap the 3 dots menu in the top right.
- Choose Storage settings.
- Toggle on Use as internal storage.
- Read the on-screen warning and tap Next.
- Tap Format as internal storage to confirm.
Adoptable storage merges the card with internal storage. Apps and files will automatically be stored on it as needed. You cannot manually move apps over.
Keep in mind performance may slow down if using a slower SD card for adoptable storage. And you lose flexibility to swap and remove the card freely.
Troubleshooting SD Card Issues
If you experience issues with reading, writing or accessing files on your SD card, try these troubleshooting steps:
- Reinsert the SD card to ensure it is seated properly.
- Inspect the card for dirt, dust or damage to the contacts.
- Use a soft, dry cloth to gently clean the contacts if dirty.
- Format the SD card on your phone.
- Try a different high quality SD card as the current one may be defective.
- Check online or contact the manufacturer if card errors persist.
Avoid forcing the card into the slot and be gentle when inserting to prevent damaging the card or phone. Contact the manufacturer if issues continue after trying several good SD cards.
Choosing the right SD card enables you to store more photos, videos, apps and files on your Android phone. Look for cards that match your phone’s specification and have sufficient capacity and speed class rating. Brand, price, seller reputation and avoiding counterfeits are also important considerations when purchasing SD cards. With an optimized SD card installed and set up properly, you can use it seamlessly for expanding your phone’s storage.