Phones + hardware

Use an SD card to add space

Is your Windows Phone running low on storage space? You can add more if your phone has a microSD memory card slot. To check if your phone has a slot, in the App list, tap Storage Sense Storage Sense Tile. If SD card is displayed, your phone has a slot. (The slot might be on the side of your phone or on the back underneath the battery cover.)

If a microSD card is installed, Storage Sense will show how much storage on the card is available and how much is being used. You can use the available space on the SD card to store new files or move your apps over to free up space on your phone.

Notes

  • This topic is about Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some options and icons may look a little different, and some features may not be available. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.
  • If you need to install a card, keep in mind that SD cards come in three physical sizes. Windows Phones use microSD cards—the smallest size.
  • Some phones have internal microSD cards that are preinstalled and can't be taken out. Check your phone's documentation or the manufacturer's website for more info.

Tip

If your microSD card can be taken out, you can also use it to move or share media files. See below for more info.

To choose where to store new music, photos, apps, and more

  1. Do one of the following:

    • If your phone has a microSD card slot, insert a card. If it's a new card, in the SD card found message box, tap Yes to store new files on the card and go to Storage Sense to review your preferences. If the card isn't new, in the App list, tap Storage Sense Storage Sense Tile, and then pan down to set your preferences.
    • If your phone has an internal SD card already preinstalled, in the App list, tap Storage Sense Storage Sense Tile.

    Note

    If you insert a new card into your phone that has apps from another Windows Phone already installed on it, tapping Yes in the SD card found message box won't change where your phone stores apps. If you want to save apps to the card, you'll have to delete the other phone's apps first. In Storage Sense Storage Sense Tile, pan down and tap Store new apps on my, and then tap SD card. In the Delete other apps? message box, tap Delete.

  2. In Storage Sense, choose where to store new music, videos, podcasts, photos, apps, and downloads—on your Phone or the SD card.

Notes

  • You can change your SD card storage settings at any time in Storage Sense. Storage settings are based on the individual SD card, so if you insert a different SD card, your phone will prompt you to choose new settings.
  • To view pictures or camera videos that are on the SD card, use the Photos Photos Tile app. To play music, videos from Xbox Video, or podcasts, use the Music Music Tile, Video Video Tile, or Podcasts Podcasts Tile apps.
  • You can check your storage space from both your phone and the Windows Phone app. To learn more about storage categories and space on your SD card, see Storage on my phone.

To move apps to your SD card

  1. In the App list, tap Storage Sense Storage Sense Tile > Phone > Apps + games.

  2. To move one app, tap the app, and then tap Move to SD. To move more than one, tap Select Select icon, select the check box next to each one you want to move, and then tap Move.

    To move apps back to the phone, in Storage Sense, go to SD card > Apps + games.

To manage files on your SD card

Storage Sense can help you find and manage the files on your SD card, including photos, music, videos, podcasts, and more.

  1. In the App list, tap Storage Sense Storage Sense Tile > SD card.

  2. Tap the category of file you want to manage, and then tap Manage.

Tip

You can also use a new, free app for your phone called Files to copy and move files or delete them to free up space—plus organize them into folders, share them with friends, and more. Get the app

To copy files to an SD card in your phone from your PC

You can move files between your PC and SD card while the card is still in your phone.

  1. Connect your phone to your PC using a USB cable.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • If you're using Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, open Windows Explorer from the taskbar.
    • If you're using Windows 8, go to the desktop, and then open File Explorer from the taskbar.
  3. Under Computer, click your phone's name, and then click SD card.

  4. To move files between your phone and your PC, right-click the file you want to move, and then click Copy or Cut.

  5. Right-click in the folder you want to move the file to, and then click Paste.

Note

If you can take the SD card out of your phone, you can also copy files using a USB memory card reader that has a microSD card slot. If your card reader or PC has a regular SD card slot, you can use a microSD card adapter. Make sure you safely remove the SD card from your phone using the steps below.

To safely remove the SD card from your phone

Before you take the card out of your phone, you need to go through a few steps on your phone first. Otherwise, it can cause problems with the card itself or the files on it.

  1. In the App list, tap Storage Sense Storage Sense Tile.

  2. Tap SD card, pan down and tap Remove SD card, and then tap Yes to confirm.

  3. In the Safe to remove message box, tap OK, and then take the card out of your phone.

If you don't safely remove the SD card, when you reinsert the card you might see the Scan SD card and fix errors message box. If that happens, tap Yes to have your phone scan the card and try to fix any errors. If you see an SD card scan failed message, insert the SD card into a PC to try and fix it there. To learn more, see this Microsoft Support article about fixing SD card problems.

To format the SD card

You can format the SD card in your phone to erase all files on it and start fresh. WARNING: All your personal files and everything else on the SD card will be erased.

  1. In the App list, tap Storage Sense Storage Sense Tile.

  2. Tap SD card, and then pan down and tap Format SD card.

  3. In the Format SD card? message box, tap Yes to confirm and format the card.

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