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How to move photos to SD card

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You recently bought your first smartphone and immediately started experimenting with all its features. Eager to test its camera as well, you started taking pictures left and right and quickly filled the device’s internal memory.

Now, therefore, you would like to understand if there is a system to cope with the situation and recover some space, possibly without deleting your shots. Well, if your smartphone has expandable memory, moving photos to SD card could be of great help. How do you say? Have you already thought about it but don’t have the faintest idea how to achieve this?

Well, in that case you don’t have to worry … I can explain to you, step by step, how to do it. Do not worry, I know that you are not a great expert in telephony and new technologies, which is why I want to specify right away that you will not have to do anything too complicated. For more details, read on: everything is explained below.

Preliminary information

How to move photos to SD card on Android

Before getting to the heart of this guide and explaining, in practice, how to move photos to the SD card , let me give you some information on how to format the memory card properly.

To start, if you intend to view the data stored on the SD card from multiple devices, I recommend that you format it in FAT32 : by doing this, you can safely store the images and also view them from other devices, without affecting the operation of the smartphone or tablet in question.

Some versions of Android also allow you to format the microSD also as an extension of the device’s internal memory , so that the two memories are virtually merged and identified as a single space by the operating system.

After carrying out a format of this type, you can let Android choose the data to move to the card, or do it manually; in any case, in order to avoid slowdowns caused by access times, you should ideally have a Class 10 , UHS-I U1 or UHS-I U3 memory card available : to learn more, I refer you to reading my tutorial dedicated to the purchase of a new microSD.

However, this approach has two major disadvantages: firstly, by using microSD as an extension of Android’s memory, any data already on it will be deleted . Second, the photos – and all other data – subsequently stored on the card will not be accessible from other devices .

In light of what has been said so far, if you intend to move only the photos to the microSD, I recommend that you use it as it is (if possible) or, if it is a new drive, format it in NFTS (file system recognized by the most recent editions of Android, but not from iOS and iPadOS) or exFAT .

If the card is not already formatted following one of the two file systems just mentioned, you can easily remedy the thing by following the instructions I gave you in my guide on how to format a microSD, in which I have treated the subject in great detail.

How to move photos to SD card on Android

How to move photos to SD card on Android

Having made the necessary clarifications, the time has come to take action and to explain, in practice, how to transfer the photos in the Android memory directly to the SD card.

So, to begin with, insert the microSD into the device following the most suitable procedure (in most cases you must, using the hook included in the sales package, remove the side door and insert the microSD into the appropriate slot) and wait for Android to recognize it. If necessary, tap the notification about inserting a new SD card and choose you want to use the newly inserted memory as portable storage .

At this point, all you have to do is move the photos already present on the device inside the microSD: to do this, open the Google Files app (if it is not already present on the device, you can download it freely from the Play Store ), allow the ” access the files stored on the device, if required, then tap on the item Images and then on the All option , located at the top.

Now, if you intend to move all the photos, touch the button (⋮) located at the top right and choose the Select all item from the menu that appears; otherwise make a long tap on any photo, to enter selection mode , and put the check mark in correspondence of the files to be moved, simply by tapping on the respective previews.

Made your choice, touch the button (⋮) located at the top right, select the item Move to visible in the menu that appears and press the Continue button to transfer the file to the microSD. If this is your first time doing this, tap the Continue , Allow SD Card Access and Allow buttons to finalize the move.

If your device is not equipped with Google services, you can achieve the same result using a third-party file manager, such as Solid Explorer : after downloading it from the reference store of your smartphone or tablet, open it, press on the Skip item and, after having accepted the license agreement , touch the Done item and allow the app to access the device memory, responding affirmatively to the warning that appears.

Then, tap the ☰ button located at the top left, tap on the Photo item which resides in the main menu of the app and select the images to move, making a long tap on the first one and, later, on all the others.

At this point, tap on the scissors symbol you see below, swipe from left to right to show the Solid Explorer main menu again and select, this time, the SD Card item . Finally, go to the folder in which to move the photos (you can also create new ones, by tapping on the folder icon with the “+” symbol visible at the bottom right) and press the Paste item to move the selected images previously.

How to move photos to SD card on Android

Furthermore, if you prefer, you can make sure that the new images acquired through the camera are stored directly on the SD card: to do this, open the application dedicated to the camera on your device, recall its settings , tap on the option dedicated to saving. / storage / photo storage and choose you want to save photos to microSD.

For example, if you use the Android default Camera app , you have to press the ☰ button located at the top left, then on the Storage item located in the panel that appears on the screen and, finally, on the microSD / SD Card / SD card option .

Please note that depending on the precise Android edition in use on your device, the appearance and name of the buttons and menu items you see on the screen may change slightly. Below I will explain, in detail, how to proceed on the phones produced by some important brands.

Note : Google’s Camera app, the one included with Pixel devices, doesn’t allow you to directly save photos to the SD card.

How to move photos to SD card: Xiaomi

How to move photos to SD card: Xiaomi

If yours is a Xiaomi smartphone equipped with MIUI operating system, you will be pleased to know that the File Manager app , installed “as standard” on the device, allows you to transfer photos from the internal memory to the SD card in a simple and quick way.

So, to start, open the aforementioned app by recalling it from the phone’s Home screen, or from the drawer (it is marked by the white folder icon on a blue background ), tap the Images button located at the top and put the check mark next to the previews of the photos you want to transfer, or next to a specific date, to move all the photos taken in that time period.

How to move photos to SD card: Xiaomi

Now, tap the Move button , select the SD Card item from the panel that appears later, tap the name of the folder to which you want to transfer the images and press the Paste button , located at the bottom, to move them. If you wish, you can create a new folder “on the fly” by clicking on the (…) More button and then on the New folder item , located in the menu that appears.

As an additional option, you can ensure that all photos taken in the future via the camera are automatically stored on the microSD: to do this, start the Camera app of the device, touch the button located at the top right and then the Settings icon (the one in the shape of a gear), located in the panel that appears later.

Finally, locate the item Save in the SD card , move the corresponding switch from OFF to ON and that’s it: starting from this moment, all the images acquired through the System camera app will be automatically stored on the card of memory.

How to move photos to SD card: Samsung

How to move photos to SD card: Samsung

Even Samsung smartphones and tablets have a “standard” app for managing files, called Archive , which allows you to transfer the images in the internal memory directly to the microSD inserted in the device.

To do this, open the app in question, using the appropriate icon on the Home screen or in the drawer of the device (and depicting a white folder on an orange background ), tap the button dedicated to Images and access the album (eg . Camera ) that contains the images of your interest.

Now, make a long tap on the first of the photos to be moved, in order to enter selection mode , and put the check mark in correspondence with each of the images on which you want to act, by tapping on the respective previews. Then click on the Move button , to indicate your willingness to transfer the files.

Once this is done, press the Browse button which, in the meantime, has appeared in the lower part of the screen, tap on the wording SD Card and go to the folder in which you want to copy the photos (you can create new ones “on the fly” by tapping on the button (⋮) located at the top right and then on the item Create folder located in the menu that appears). To finalize the transfer of the photo, or photos, click on the Move item located below.

How to move photos to SD card: Samsung

Finally, if you deem it appropriate, you can ensure that the photos taken using the Samsung Camera app are stored directly on the microSD, without going through the internal memory (except for the quick sequential shots, which will continue to be saved in the memory of the device): to do this, open this last application and, if you see a message about the Change memory location appear , press the OK item to ensure that the new images are saved on the external memory card.

If you do not see any message, after opening the camera, touch the gear symbol that resides at the top, tap on the item Memory location resident in the panel that appears later and choose the SD card option from the small menu displayed later .

How to Move Photos to SD Card – iPhone and iPad

How to Move Photos to SD Card - iPhone and iPad

For iPhone and iPad , things are a little different: as you certainly know, Apple devices do not support the direct insertion of SD cards : to remedy this inconvenient inconvenience, if you have a device updated to iOS 13 / iPadOS or later (and therefore equipped with support for external USB memories), you can “transform” the microSD / SD card into a USB key, using a special adapter, preferably compatible with USB 3.0 technology.


Once you have purchased the SD card to USB adapter, in the case of iPhone or some non-Pro iPad models you will need a second device, capable of transforming the “standard” USB connector (or USB-A) into a connector Lightning . In this regard, I advise you to opt, also in this case, for an adapter with a USB 3.0 input and a second Lightning input, through which to connect it to the electricity.

In this way, you will avoid any problems during the reading phase, due to insufficient power supply: for an iPhone to be able to correctly read the contents of a USB stick, in fact, it is essential that the latter absorb a quantity of current less than 100 mA.

If, on the other hand, you have an iPad Pro equipped with a USB-C connector , I recommend that you only buy a microSD to USB-C adapter , through which you can adapt the memory card to the input on the iPad.

Once you have everything you need, insert the microSD into the adapter , connect the adapter to the adapter (if necessary) and then connect the iPhone / iPad to the adapter . If applicable, also connect the latter to an external power source, using the iPhone charging cable .

Within seconds, your iPhone or iPad should notify you of a new storage device, inviting you to open it with the Files app . At this point, all you have to do is open the image of your interest, touch the iOS / iPadOS share icon , choose to save the photo to File and select the external USB device as the path.

Alternatively, you can also store images from iPhone / iPad on a key equipped with a Lightning connector , specially designed for devices with this latter port. To avoid compatibility problems, choose devices with MFI (or made for iPhone ) certification .

Once you have obtained this device, download the dedicated app from the App Store (usually it is free), start it and follow the instructions given to you to move the photos to the external memory.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for me to provide you with precise instructions regarding the exact procedure to perform, since each device has an app that is different from the others: usually, however, a welcome tutorial is shown at the first start of the application, containing all the necessary instructions to achieve the desired result, within a few minutes. More info here.

How to move photos to SD card on PC


How do you say? Would you need to move photos to SD card from PC or vice versa? In that case, you can do it with a USB card reader and your computer’s default file manager (eg. File Explorer on Windows): for all the details, I invite you to read my tutorial on how to transfer photos from SD card to PC , also valid for the reverse procedure.