Expand Storage With a Smartphone Memory Card

Recently, I wrote about using cloud storage to store your digital files and free up memory on your cellphone. While it’s my preferred method of saving files for its tremendous convenience, there’s another option that many users prefer which also works very well.

If you use an Android smartphone or a flip phone, the handiest option for external storage is to purchase and install a smartphone 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.

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. 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.

There are so many wonderful things you can do with a smartphone. Unfortunately, they simply don’t have unlimited storage. I’m constantly adding apps, music, photos and other items that I want to keep and pushing my phone’s memory to its limits. The good news is that there are several smart, convenient ways to get extra space when you need it.

29 Thoughts on "Expand Storage With a Smartphone Memory Card"

  1. Pam says

    Is this the answer for someone needing additional data? I am not up on all of this but need unlimited data and tired of consumer cellular increasing my payment. Thank you.

    • Hi Pam, thanks for your post! I would advise the memory card is to increase the storage space for things like applications, photos, and contacts, it does not provide more data for service. Currently, our largest data plan is 20GB with Unlimited Texting for $40 a month plus tax but I have gone ahead and sent your feedback along regarding our plans today. Have a great day!

  2. Donna zeller says

    Sounds like good ideal where do you get one these

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Donna. We have memory cards available if you give us a call at 888-345-5509 or you can order one through your online account here. Once logged in, you can click the menu button above your phone, and then click “Purchase Accessories”.

      • Rene Lemieux says

        Just reading your blog entry about extra storage for smart phones. You made the comment that iPhones did not have the capability. If you check, you will find that there are a number of cases available for iPhones which also incorporate additional memory. The phones connects to a lightning plug at the base of the case. The case has a pass-through connector for a standard lightning for charging or backup to a computer.

        There are also cases which have additional battery charging capability. There are also separate plug-in memory modules that can be used via the lightning connector, even in the battery case.

        I’ve been looking at both these options, Right now I need the battery time more than storage.

  3. Manny says

    Why can I not find the place where I can order a MicroSD Memory Card for My Samsung Galaxy J7.??????

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Manny, you can order a microSD memory card by logging into your account here. You can click the menu button above your phone and select Purchase Accessories.

  4. Justice yh says

    I just installed a memory card why is my phone storage still full??? The memory card us 32GB and my phone still says 8GB what to do..??

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Justice, that would depend on if the memory card was formatted as internal storage or portable storage when you inserted it into the phone. We’d be happy to help with that if you give us a call at 888-345-5509 or chat with us here.

  5. Onnye Chamberlain says

    What is internal storage on my Link cell phone? My grandchild made a
    video tape with my phone and now it says to send it to internal storage. I have no idea what this is. 79 yrs & cell phone ignorant.

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Onnye, your phone has 512MB of internal storage, but it can also hold a MicroSD Memory Card with up to 32GB of storage.

  6. Kathleen P Gabel says

    I keep getting a message my internal storage is extremely low. I bought a sim card 128gb and installed it. But keep getting the same message.

    • Hi Kathleen, thanks for your message. Depending on your phone, the memory SD card you picked may be too large for the phone to support. Give us a call at 800-686-4460 or chat with one of our agents here and we’d be happy to help with that.

  7. Anthony Medeiros says

    I have a Samsung galaxy J7,how do I load up my sd card so I can have more storage?

    • Hi Anthony, thanks for your question! We’d be happy to help with getting your microSD card set up on the phone. I suggest giving us a call at 800-686-4460 or live chat with one of our agents here and we’d be happy to walk you through that.

  8. Brenda says

    Is it true that if you install a sd card you have to keep transferring files to the SD card.

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Brenda, if you have a MicroSD memory card in the phone, things like photos may be saved there by default but you can change those settings. We’re happy to help with that if you give us a call at 888-345-5509 or chat with us here.

  9. Sherri says

    Hi. I have a 64GB XR Iphone. There’s a little over 32GB of storage remaining. I just want to verify, if I need a memory card. My daughter purchased the same phone for my grandson. His dad purchased an Android. He chose the Android, so there’s barely any GB’s used. My daughter gave me the phone, I love the XR. I absolutely don’t want to lose my photos. There are ones of my deceased husband and father and years of images of my only grandson. Sorry if this is TMI. I really want to do this correctly.

    • Hi Sherri, thanks for your question! The iPhone doesn’t actually use a microSD card at all and doesn’t have a slot for it. You do have the option to reach out to Apple to see about adding more space to the iCloud where your information is stored.

  10. Eric Aberle says

    It seems most people here are having the same problem with storage that I’m having. I just installed a 32GB Samsung SD card in my Samsung J3. What is the best way to reduce internal storage by using an SD card?

    • Hi Eric, thanks for your question. I’d recommend making sure that information is being saved to the SD card for things like contacts and photos to clear up some space. Just keep in mind that app updates, apps themselves, and any software updates will also take up a lot of space in the phone as well.

  11. Wilfred sindon says

    My phone says I’m out of memory. Should I buy a new phone or what specifically..I have a galaxy a20. Thanks

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Wilfred, in most cases you can just buy a MicroSD memory card for some additional memory. We’re happy to help with that if you give us a call at 888-345-5509.

  12. Linda Gardiner says


    I have a Consumer Cellular phone I discontinued use last year and transferred number to a different carrier. I have pictures on the old phone. How can I retrieve these photos. Help!!

    thank you

    • Hi Linda, thanks for your post. We don’t have access to the photos ourselves, what you would need to do is back them up to a Gmail account, or if the old phone has a slot for a microSD memory card you can also save them there. If you have any questions, give us a call at 888-548-6490 or chat with one of our live agents on our website here.

  13. Peggy Davis says

    How can i send a picture from my phone to my email? I have a LinkII flip phone.

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Peggy. When you’re sending a text you’ll just need to enter the email address as the recipient instead of the phone number. You can then click options to add a photo as an attachment. If you need help with this, you can give us a call at 888-345-5509 or chat with us here.

  14. Peggy Davis says

    If i get a memory card for my LinkII flip phone, can I take the info off of it somehow and put it on my laptop? How?

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Peggy, you can usually do that with the use of an SD card adapter. Those can generally be found in electronics stores, or stores that sell electronics accessories.