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How To Move Your Files, Photos, and Data to an SD Card on the Galaxy S7

Posted by William Sattelberg on June 2, 2017

Though many manufacturers of Android smartphones, Google included, have moved away from using microSD card slots in their phone, Samsung has gone against the grain, returning the SD card slot to its flagship phone following its removal on the Galaxy S6. Both the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge have a microSD card slot included in the SIM card tray, making the 32GB of on-board storage expandable up to an additional 256GB depending on the size of your SD card. This means you probably won’t ever have to worry about your photos, videos, or music taking up too much space on the device.

Unfortunately, inserting the SD card won’t move all of your already-existing files over to the device, nor will it save future files to the SD card. You’ll have to dive into settings to make sure that your device uses the SD card slot for your files by default. If you’re running out of room on your device, or you want to save as much space as possible on your phone for apps (not all of which can be moved to the SD card), you’ll want to take the time to move both your existing and future files over to your expandable storage. So, let’s take a look at how to get the most out of your new microSD card for your Galaxy S7.

Move Existing Files and Photos to the SD Card

Once you’ve inserted and formatted your new microSD card, you’ll want to start by moving your existing file and photo libraries from your on-board storage over to your expandable storage. To do this, we’ll need to use Samsung’s included file browser app, My Files. Launch your app drawer and tap My Files to launch into your file browser. If you haven’t used My Files before, don’t worry about it—it isn’t a complex app, and it works quite similarly to Windows Explorer or Finder on a Mac. You’ll see several different options in this app for viewing your files. From top to bottom: your recent files and downloads; six individual categories for file types on your phone, including images, audio, and video; your local storage options (displaying both your internal storage and your SD card); finally, any cloud storage solutions on your phone, including Google Drive or Samsung Cloud.

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Though these steps will work with any of the six file categories in My Files, we’re going to use images as an example. If you’re like me, images—whether they be screenshots, downloads, or actual photos from your camera reel—are the file type taking up the most room on your phone’s internal storage, so that should be the first place we start moving files, just to get them out of the way. So, tap on the images files, which will load all the images on your device in one long list, in order based on time and date captured. Once you have this list, tap the triple-dotted menu icon in the top-right hand corner to view your menu options, and select “Edit.”

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This will create check boxes (well, circles) next to each separate image file. If you only want to move a small selection of images over to your SD card, you can select each file individually of each other, or you can tap the “All” checkbox on the top-left of the screen. Selecting “All” will automatically check every image, so if you want to move all your images but a few, you can deselect each image manually as you would normally. Otherwise, it’s best to move all images together. Once you’ve selected your images, re-tap the triple-dotted menu icon in the top-right corner and select “Move.”

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You’ll receive a popup area on the bottom of your S7, almost like you’re using split-screen multitasking. You’ll receive at least two options on where to move your files to: internal storage or SD card. If you’ve synced a cloud service with your phone, you may also see this as an option. For now, select SD card as your destination for your files. This will take you inside your SD card’s file system, displaying all files and folders already contained. Unless you’ve already created or designated a folder for your images, you should tap “Create folder” on the top of the display, and name the folder whatever you find appropriate (probably “Images” or “Pictures,” or the like). Once the folder is created, it should automatically place your browser inside. If you’ve already made a folder, you can instead scroll through your SD card and tap that folder.

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Now that you’re inside the folder you want to move the images to, tap “Done” on the top of the lower panel of your screen. The moving process will begin, and your files will be moved from your internal storage to the SD card. This may take some time, depending on size and amount of the images you’re moving. Once the move has been completed, you’ll be placed back inside your new folder on your SD card, complete with your files.

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Also note that, though we used images as an example, the process of moving any file type, whether it be music, video, documents, or anything else, is exactly the same as laid out above. So, if you’re trying to free up as much space on your phone as possible, take the time to go to each of the six categories on the main display of My Files and move them all to corresponding folders on your SD card.

Once you’ve finished moving your files from the internal storage of your S7 to the SD card, you can exit My Files by clicking the home button on your phone. If all you wanted to do was move existing files to your new SD card, you’re good to go. You shouldn’t notice any difference in speed, quality, or performance when opening a file on your SD card compared to opening the file on your phone’s internal storage, so long as you’ve picked a fast enough microSD card. If you want to make sure your future photos and downloads automatically save to your SD card by default, or you want to move some of the applications on your phone to your SD card, keep reading from here to save even more room on your phone’s storage.

Setting the SD card as the default space for photos

When you place an SD card in your Galaxy S7, the device should automatically adjust its camera settings to save all images to the SD card instead of to the phone’s internal memory. However, if you want to ensure your phone has done this, or you need to manually change it over yourself, it can be unclear where the settings for the camera’s storage device are hidden. So, to change the your phone’s save settings for photos, you’ll want to start by opening the camera application. Either double-tap on the home button on your device, or launch the camera through your phone’s app drawer.

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Tap on the settings icon in the top-right corner of the display; it’s shaped like a gear. This leads you to your master camera settings. There are a ton of settings here, so you’ll want to scroll down to the “Common” subcategory until you find “Storage location.” If you’ve already inserted an SD card in your Galaxy S7, the location should already be set to “SD card.” If it isn’t, tap the category and select “SD card” from the drop-down menu.

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Setting the SD card as the default space for downloads

This one isn’t quite as simple as setting the SD card as the default space for photos, but it is possible depending on your selection of browser. If you’re using Google Chrome, unfortunately, there is no feature that allows for selecting an SD card as the main download space over your phone’s internal downloads folder. But if you’re using Samsung Internet, Samsung’s preloaded browser, you can change the default download space, just as you can for the camera app. Unlike your camera, Samsung Internet doesn’t auto-change the default download folder to your SD card, so if you want to save files in a different location, you’ll have to change the save space manually.

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Open Internet by tapping the app icon in your app drawer. From the main page in Internet, tap the triple-dotted menu button we’ve seen so much. From the drop-down menu, tap “Settings,” and then tap “Advanced” from the list of options available.

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This will load a list of specialty features in Internet that most users don’t need to access. Four down from the top, you’ll see “Save content to,” along with the word “Phone” underneath. Just like with the Camera app, tap on this setting and select “SD card” from the expanded menu. This will save all your downloads to a new folder inside your SD card, though you’ll have to move your previous downloads manually.

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Moving applications to the SD card

Finally, one last step you’ll want to consider with your new SD card: moving your already-existing applications to your SD card. For this step, you’ll want to make sure you have a fast microSD card to prevent skipping or poor loading times, especially if you’re moving games to the SD card. Thankfully, most newer SD cards fall into the “fast-enough” category, so if you just bought this card, and it isn’t a cheap or no-name brand card, you’ll probably be fine. Also note that this step takes quite a bit of time, both to move the apps and to move every app you wish to select. That said, if you really need to free up some room on your device, you’ll want to follow these steps to do so.

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Start by diving into settings the same way as usual—either use the shortcut in the notification tray or by selecting the app icon from your app drawer. From there, you’ll want to find “Apps.” Under the standard settings menu, you’ll find it underneath “Phone;” if you’re using the simplified settings, it has it’s own category and is found in the middle-area of the list. After this, tap “Application manager” from the Apps menu.

Here, you’ll find a long list of every app on the device. Unfortunately, there’s no quick and easy way to move every app over to the SD card, nor can every app even be moved. Some apps don’t have the option to be moved off of your phone’s storage, and those that do will have to be done one-by-one.

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Start by selecting the application you want to move from your phone to your SD card. There’s no real easy way to know if an app can be moved without opening the app-specific settings, so it’s best to start at or near the top of your list of apps. Once you’re viewing an app’s specific settings, tap “storage” under Usage Info. This is the screen where you’ll discover whether or not an app has the ability to be moved from the internal storage on your S7 to your SD card. If it can be, you’ll see a display at the top of your screen that reads “Storage used,” along with either “Internal Storage” or “External Storage,” depending on where the app is currently accessed from, and a “Change” button. If these things aren’t there, you can’t move the app to external storage.

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Tap “Change” to receive a popup message that reads “Change storage location,” and the options for “Internal Storage” and “SD Card.” Select SD card, which will lead you to an export menu for the application. The display will warn you that you can’t use the application while it’s being moved to the SD card, and it will take a few moments for the data of the app to be exported. Hit “Move” to proceed. Your phone will spend a somewhere between fifteen seconds and a minute moving the application to its new home, depending on the size of the app. Once it’s complete, you’ll be returned to the settings menu, which will now display “Storage used” with “External Storage.” If you ever want to move the app back to a the internal storage, simply repeat the above process. You’ll have to move each app on its own, so this may take some time to verify and move each app capable of being loaded to the SD card.

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Between offloading your photos, music, movies, and some certain apps, you’re bound to end up with a lot of extra room on your phone’s internal storage. Not only can this lead to slightly-better performance than a fully-loaded phone, it also means you can have more photos, music, movies, and apps available on your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge at any time. When you have a device this premium, you should want to use it to its full potential. Moving your stuff to an external source—whether it be an SD card or something like Samsung Cloud or Google Drive—will make your device that much better in daily use.

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