What's an SD card, and what does it do?


If there's just one thing you might want to change about your phone, it’s probably the amount of storage space.  Memory cards, or ‘MicroSD’ cards, are the answer. They’re no bigger than your fingernail, but can store loads of data. 

Inside every SD card, rows of tiny memory chips are at work – storing all your documents, music, photos etc. There are no moving parts, which means that MicroSD cards can be pretty durable – lots even claim to be waterproof.

Samsung, for example, claims that its MicroSD cards are safe from all kinds of water damage. The company also claims that the cards can survive being run over by a 1.6 tonne vehicle, or withstand the magnetic forces exerted by an MRI scanner.

How does an SD card work?


Most of the time, your phone will automatically begin to scan the memory card as soon as one is inserted. 

Android phones, for example, will look for any pictures you have stored on the card – no matter what format they're in – and add them to your gallery automatically. 

SD Cards - Frequently Asked Questions


What’s the maximum memory card I can use with my phone?

Officially, this varies from phone to phone – it’s typically either 32GB or 64GB according to device manufacturers. To find out for sure, head over to the GSMArena website and search for your device there: its maximum SD card size will be listed in the ‘Memory’ section. Really though,  that's only a guideline. According to some independent testers, nearly any device with a MicroSD slot should be compatible with cards up to 256GB.


Can I restore deleted files from an SD card?


Unfortunately, that's not always possible – but if the files were deleted recently and you haven’t used the card since, you may be able to recover some of the data with a tool like Recuva, by Piriform. While data recovery is extremely hit and miss at times, it's always worth trying something free like the app above just in case.


Can I save apps to my SD card rather than my phone’s memory?


For phones running Android 4 or above, this option is sometimes available – but it depends on the app creator and whether they've enabled that feature.

To find out whether an app can be moved to your SD card, go into your phone’s Settings menu, then tap Applications. From there, choose the app you want to move – if it’s possible, you’ll see an option labelled 'Move to external memory'. To move it back to your phone, go through the same process and tap 'Move to phone'.


Can someone read my emails or text messages if they remove my SD card and put it in another device?


No – emails and texts are stored in your phone’s internal memory and cannot be transferred. But they may still be able to access any photos, videos, music and app data stored on the SD card.

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