Which Galaxy phones have micro SD?

Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones is one of the most popular and well-known brands of Android phones. Many Galaxy models over the years have included support for micro SD cards to expand storage capacity. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look at which Galaxy phones support micro SD cards and which models do not.

TLDR Summary

Here’s a quick TLDR rundown of which Galaxy models support micro SD cards:

  • Galaxy S6/S6 Edge – No micro SD
  • Galaxy S7/S7 Edge – micro SD up to 256GB
  • Galaxy S8/S8+ – micro SD up to 256GB
  • Galaxy S9/S9+ – micro SD up to 512GB
  • Galaxy S10e – No micro SD
  • Galaxy S10/S10+ – micro SD up to 512GB
  • Galaxy S20/S20+/S20 Ultra – micro SD up to 1TB
  • Galaxy S21/S21+/S21 Ultra – No micro SD
  • Galaxy Note 8 – micro SD up to 256GB
  • Galaxy Note 9 – micro SD up to 512GB
  • Galaxy Note 10/10+ – No micro SD
  • Galaxy Note 20/20 Ultra – No micro SD
  • Galaxy Fold – micro SD up to 512GB
  • Galaxy Z Flip – No micro SD
  • Galaxy Z Fold2 – No micro SD
  • Galaxy Z Fold3 – No micro SD
  • Galaxy Z Flip3 – No micro SD

As you can see, newer high-end Galaxy models tend to support micro SD cards up to 512GB or 1TB of expanded capacity, while mid-range and older models may be limited to 256GB cards. However, Samsung has removed micro SD card slots completely from some recent models like the Galaxy S21 series.

Samsung Galaxy S Series

The Galaxy S series contains Samsung’s flagship smartphones. Here’s a breakdown of micro SD support for each Galaxy S model:

Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge (2015)

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were the first models in the Galaxy S series to remove micro SD support. Instead, they only offered internal storage options of 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB.

Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge (2016)

After negative feedback regarding the lack of micro SD in the S6 series, Samsung brought back expandable storage in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. They supported micro SD cards up to 256GB.

Galaxy S8 & S8+ (2017)

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ also included micro SD slots supporting up to 256GB cards.

Galaxy S9 & S9+ (2018)

Galaxy S9 and S9+ models boosted micro SD capacity to 512GB cards.

Galaxy S10e, S10 & S10+ (2019)

The lower cost Galaxy S10e omitted a microSD slot, but the S10 and S10+ supported cards up to 512GB.

Galaxy S20, S20+ & S20 Ultra (2020)

The S20 series upped possible micro SD capacity to a massive 1TB. All S20 models (S20, S20+, S20 Ultra) supported this.

Galaxy S21, S21+ & S21 Ultra (2021)

In a controversial move, Samsung’s latest S21 series completely removed micro SD card support from all models (S21, S21+, S21 Ultra).

Samsung Galaxy Note Series

Here are the micro SD capacities for Samsung’s Galaxy Note premium phablet lineup:

Galaxy Note 8 (2017)

The Note 8 supported micro SD cards up to 256GB.

Galaxy Note 9 (2018)

Note 9 models worked with cards up to 512GB.

Galaxy Note 10 & Note 10+ (2019)

Like the S6 series, Samsung removed micro SD support from the Note 10 and Note 10+.

Galaxy Note 20 & Note 20 Ultra (2020)

The Note 20 series also omitted micro SD card slots, following the precedent set by the Note 10 models the year prior.

Samsung Galaxy Foldable Phones

Here are the micro SD capacities for Samsung’s newer foldable smartphone models:

Galaxy Fold (2019)

The first Samsung foldable phone supported micro SD cards up to 512GB.

Galaxy Z Flip (2020)

Samsung’s first flip phone style foldable launched without a micro SD slot.

Galaxy Z Fold2 (2020)

The second iteration Galaxy Fold successor also lacked micro SD support.

Galaxy Z Fold3 (2021)

The Z Fold3 maintained the trend of no micro SD card slot.

Galaxy Z Flip3 (2021)

Like other recent models, the Z Flip3 foldable did not include micro SD support.

Key Takeaways

To summarize the key points:

  • Newer high-end Galaxy models tend to support micro SD, some up to 1TB
  • Mid-range and older models may be limited to 256GB micro SD cards
  • Some recent models have dropped micro SD support entirely as a controversial move
  • Higher capacity micro SD support first appeared in the Galaxy S9/S9+ and Note 9
  • The trend is moving away from micro SD support in flagship models

So if having a micro SD card slot is important to you, be sure to research the specific Galaxy model you’re interested in before purchasing. Some carrier variants may also omit micro SD support even if the unlocked model contains it.

Why Might You Want a Micro SD Card Slot?

Given the removal of micro SD card slots from some Galaxy models, you may be wondering why you would want this feature in the first place. Here are some of the key benefits of having a micro SD card slot:

  • External Storage Expansion – More internal storage means more apps, photos, videos, and files can be saved.
  • Flexibility – SD cards can be swapped between devices to transfer data.
  • Cost Savings – External SD card storage is much cheaper than built-in equivalents.
  • Backup – SD cards can provide a handy backup of your important files.
  • Media Storage – Large SD cards allow tons of music, movies, and other media.

For these reasons, many smartphone owners still prefer having a micro SD card slot, especially on phones focused on entertainment and media use. But not everyone needs expanded storage, so some OEMs have opted to remove it from certain models.

How Much Storage Do You Need?

The right storage capacity for you depends on how you use your smartphone:

Use Case Recommended Storage
Casual Use 32-64GB
Gaming & Media 128-256GB
Pro Photography 256GB+
Video Recording (4K) 512GB+

For most average users, 64-128GB is sufficient. But media creators, gamers, and power users often need 256GB or higher. This is where micro SD card slots come in handy for adding hundreds of gigabytes more space.

Which Micro SD Memory Card Should You Buy?

The micro SD card you buy for your Galaxy phone depends on the maximum capacity supported:

  • Galaxy S7/S8 – Get a high quality 256GB micro SD card from a brand like Samsung, SanDisk, or Kingston.
  • Galaxy S9/S10 – Aim for a high speed 512GB micro SDXC card from a top manufacturer.
  • Galaxy S20 – Select a high performance 1TB microSDXC card for the best capacity.

For optimal performance, buy a higher speed Class 10, UHS-1, or A2 micro SD card, especially if recording high resolution video. Also make sure the card is from a reputable major brand and has good reviews.

Micro SD Slot vs. Built-In Storage

Should you pay more for a Galaxy phone with higher internal storage, or save on a base model and use micro SD expansion? There are pros and cons to each approach:

Built-In Storage Micro SD Card
Faster performance Cheaper per GB
Not removable Swappable between devices
Lower capacities available Higher capacities possible
Simpler to manage one location External card could be corrupted/damaged

In general, built-in storage is better for performance and convenience, while micro SD cards offer expandability and value. But combine high internal storage with an SD card slot and you get the best of both!

Downsides of Micro SD Cards

While micro SD cards provide notable benefits, there are also some downsides to consider:

  • Small size makes them easy to lose
  • Not as fast read/write speeds as built-in storage
  • Must be manually transferred between devices
  • Possible compatibility issues with some apps
  • Less secure for sensitive data than internal storage
  • More prone to corruption if damaged or removed improperly

Micro SD cards are also small and fiddly, making them frustrating to install and remove, especially if you have large hands or poor dexterity. And they can be a choke hazard for children if swallowed.

Top Micro SD Card Troubleshooting Tips

If you experience issues with your Galaxy phone’s micro SD card, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Reinsert card to ensure proper connection
  • Check for dirt/debris in card slot
  • Inspect card for physical damage
  • Try card in another device to test if working properly
  • Check if card is inserted right side up
  • Clean card gently with soft cloth if dirty
  • Restart phone and re-mount card
  • Scan card for errors using PC and repair if possible

If these basic steps don’t resolve your micro SD woes, the card itself may be faulty and need replacing. Be sure to safely eject the card from your Galaxy phone before removing to avoid potential issues.

Formatting a New Micro SD Card

When you insert a brand new micro SD card into your Galaxy phone for the first time, you’ll be prompted to format it and confirm the file system type. It’s best practice to format cards before first use to optimize performance. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert new unformatted card into Galaxy phone
  2. Phone will prompt to format – Tap to begin
  3. Choose either exFAT or FAT32 file system
  4. Tap Format to confirm and proceed
  5. Wait for process to complete
  6. Card will now show full capacity and be ready for use

Some key tips when formatting a new micro SD card:

  • Back up any data first if formatting a used card
  • exFAT allows larger individual file sizes
  • FAT32 has better compatibility with other devices
  • Choose exFAT unless you specifically need FAT32
  • Do not remove card during formatting process

Adoptable Storage – Using Micro SD as Internal Storage

On some Galaxy phones, you have the option of setting your micro SD card as “adoptable storage”. This incorporates the card into the internal storage pool.

Benefits include:

  • SD card space shows as internal storage
  • More seamless app installation and data saving
  • Better performance than portable storage

Downsides include:

  • SD card is encrypted and tied to that device
  • Adopted card cannot be removed and used in other devices
  • Difficult to undo and revert to portable storage

Adoptable storage is a power-user feature for those who want maximum internal space. But portable storage is generally recommended as it offers more flexibility.

Summary & Conclusions

To wrap up, here’s a quick summary of key points covered in this guide:

  • Newer premium Galaxy models tend to include micro SD support
  • Mid-range and older models have more limited support
  • Cards allow you to expand storage for more apps, photos, media, etc
  • High read/write speed Class 10 or UHS-1 cards recommended
  • Aim for high capacity cards from reputable brands
  • Built-in storage offers better performance
  • But micro SD cards provide greater flexibility and value
  • Adoptable storage incorporates card into internal storage
  • Carefully research specs before buying any Galaxy phone

So in summary, many Galaxy phones do offer micro SD card slots, but support varies by model. Check the specs carefully before you buy. For most users, having an SD slot for removable storage expansion is a very useful feature to have on a Galaxy smartphone.

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