Adding Smartphone Storage, Part 1: Memory Cards

There are so many wonderful things you can do with a smartphone! It’s almost easy to forget that, as great as they are, they simply don’t have unlimited storage. I’m constantly adding apps, music, photos and other items that I want to keep, which pushes my phone’s memory to its limits. The good news, though, is that there are smart, convenient ways to get extra space if you need it, and I’ll be telling you about those here in a two-part blog series.

If you use an Android smartphone or a flip phone, the handiest option for external storage is to purchase and install a memory card—or, as it’s more commonly known, “SD” (for “secure digital”) card. These are like miniature, more-powerful versions of the floppy disks we used in our old PC’s. Though they’re not much bigger than a fingernail, they can store enormous amounts of data—typically either 32GB or 64GB, although some can accommodate as much as 128GB.

An SD card allows you to save additional files directly to the card instead of to your device’s internal memory. The type of memory card you need depends on the age of your phonesome older ones may use standard size SD cards, but most now use the smaller, microSD version.

Here’s how they work: your phone holds two types of memory. One, called device memory, stores everything that’s needed to make sure the systems that operate your phone are running properly. The other, device storage, is where your personal files go—things like pictures, music, or apps that you’ve downloaded. A microSD card provides additional storage for the types of items that are normally in your device storage.

You’ll want to check your user manual to make sure your smartphone can use an SD card and, if so, what type. Some devices have limits as to how many GB of additional memory you can add. You can always go to the Support page on Consumer Cellular’s website to find this information quickly. In fact, you’ll even find a video tutorial there showing you how to install and remove a microSD card. Generally, it’s just a matter of inserting the card into a slot located near or underneath your phone’s battery.

Adding a microSD card won’t be an option for everyone—iPhone models, for instance, can’t accommodate them, or you may just not want to deal with having a physical storage device. Don’t worry! There’s another great choice—cloud storage—that I’ll take a closer look at next week in Part 2 of this series. Stay tuned for more options!

24 Thoughts on "Adding Smartphone Storage, Part 1: Memory Cards"

  1. Cynthia says

    How do we know which apps to move to the SD card? Or does it use that storage automatically? I have a MOTO G2

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for asking, Cynthia! First, you’ll want to make sure you have an SD card installed. If you want to move some apps to it, you’ll need to make sure that is an option for the app and your device, as not all can be used this way. You can find out by going to the Settings app, then selecting the Application Manager (sometimes found under Applications). From there, select an app you would like to move to the SD card. If you see an option for “Move to SD card”, tap it and the app will be moved. We hope you found this blog helpful, and we hope you have a great day!

  2. Susan SOUTHWELL says

    How do you get an app onto the sd card? Where do you find the option to use sd instead of the phone memory?

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for checking in, Susan. Please note that this option isn’t available for all devices and may vary from app to app. You’ll find this option by going to Settings, then your Applications Manager (which may be found under Applications). From there you can select an app and if it can be moved to an SD card, you’ll see an option for “Move to SD card”. You will need to have the SD card installed for this option to appear. If we can assist you with anything else, please call us at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you taking the time to comment, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

      • Luis says

        I also have a Moto G2 and I’ve moved all the apps that allow to the SD card but I don’t understand why many non-essential apps will only install on the internal storage and don’t offer a move to SD card option. I keep running out of room on the internal storage and I already have moved all stored media to the SD card as well as making it the default storage for photos and videos. I don’t have that many apps, I don’t do Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram. I do have Facebook. Is there a way to make the SD card the default storage for apps at the time of download?

        • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

          Those are great questions, Luis. It really depends on the app as to whether or not it can be used on your SD card, as not all can be used that way. As for saving apps to the SD card automatically, it depends on your device. If you often save documents or images from your browser, you can adjust your browser settings so that all downloaded files automatically save to your SD card. Just open your browser app, then go to the Settings. You should see an option to save downloads to internal storage or an SD card. If you like, we can discuss which options will work best with your device over the phone at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you taking the time to post, and we hope you have a great day!

  3. Sam Sweeney says

    I tried that with a 8gb tablet but, the Android system did not allow direct access to card, which it called a external sd card. A special app was needed to move to the card. Biggest problem was not being able to add apps to card.

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Sam. Some Android devices treat SD cards differently, so moving an app to the SD card isn’t always an option. We appreciate you posting!


    what’s your price…how large chip do you have for sell

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for asking, John. We offer a variety of options depending on your device. If you’d like to order one, we can help you over the phone at 888-345-5509 if you like. We look forward to assisting you!

  5. Norman Pinson says

    I liked what you said in part 1. I can’t wait for part 2.Thanks

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      You’re very welcome, Norman! We’re sure you’ll find it to be pretty useful.

  6. Bobbi Demers says

    After much frustration trying to create an Album on my Huawei Vision Lite (G620-A2), I found out that you can only do that if photos are being saved to internal storage. Not able to make an Album if they are being saved to the (removable) SD card.

    It is easy to choose and set which one you want, and to go back and forth between them, depending on your need.
    Icon Steps:

    Select: Camera

    Select: 3 dots

    Select: Others

    Select: Preferred save location, then choose:

         SD card = not able to make albums

         Internal storage = able to make albums.

    I hope this is helpful.

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for sharing your tips, Bobbi! We appreciate you taking the time to post.

  7. Ron Williams says

    I have a Lumia 950. Can I use this phone with Consumer Cellular?

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Ron! In general, unlocked phones that were previously used with AT&T or T-Mobile work well with our SIM card, though we aren’t able to guarantee that a device we don’t offer will work properly with our service. The best way to know for sure is to test it with our SIM card. To learn more about our SIM card and how it works, watch our video here. You can find our SIM cards at your local Target store, on our website or we can send you one if you give us a call at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you taking the time to learn more about our service today!

  8. Rene Vocke says

    I have a ZTE zfive 2 lte Android phone That I just recently got and need to know what sd card I need to get more memory. If you can be of help I’d greatly appreciate it.

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Rene! Using an SD memory card is a great way to gain some additional storage! We recommend checking your phone’s manual to see how large of a memory card it can support. This differs from device to device. If we can answer any other questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you reaching out to us today!

  9. Jean says

    I have installed an SD card in my mother’s Doro 824 but when I go to Storage under the Settings app, I get the message that No SD Card Is Detected. I know it is installed properly! We need storage for additional apps. Please troubleshoot. Thank you.

    • Hi Jean, thanks for reaching out. The Doro 824 can accept a MicroSD or MicroSDHC memory card up to 32GB. The SD card should be inserted by removing the battery, then sliding the memory card into the slot near the emergency button with the non-straight edge facing the right-hand side. For additional assistance, please give one of our account advisors a call at 888-345-5509 at your convenience and we can troubleshoot. Have a great day!

      • Jean says

        Thanks! So, if we install a 64GB card, the device won’t recognize it?

        • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

          Great question, Jean! The phone is designed to work properly with a 32GB card, so we recommend using that for the best result. We hope you have a great day!

  10. Arthur Paige says

    I moved apps to the SD card but they keep moving back to the phone on their own. What do I do about this

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Arthur. While you can move some apps to your SD card, others may not work properly unless they are stored on your phone. We’re happy to review this with you if you like at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us today!