Storing photos, videos, apps and other important files on your smartphone is an unbeatable convenience. But every device comes with a built-in limit, meaning that you need to choose between making hard choices about what to delete, or find an alternative way to store them.
Fortunately, if you use an Android smartphone or a flip phone, there’s a handy option available. You can add external storage to your device by purchasing and installing 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—in fact, some can now accommodate up to 2TB of extra storage.
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. But for those who can, 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 phone—some 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. Most 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.
There are many terrific things you can do with a smartphone, but you need to remember that they simply don’t come with unlimited storage. By adding a convenient, and affordable, SD card you’ll be able to do even more.