Guide to Manage SD Card on Windows Phone

Windows Phone 8 supports microSD card, which acts as, extended storage if your phone has low internal memory e.g. Lumia 620 and 820. When windows phone team announced the SD card support, they not only announced that it will act as storage for Music, Videos and Photos but also rolled in App Installation feature. In this post, we take a look into bits and pieces of what happens when you insert an SD card in Windows Phone.

Update: Windows Phone 8.1 Now lets you install aps to SD card and move them from Phone to SD card as well. Find out how you can do that after updating to Windows Phone 8.1. It is also possible to install apps from SD card and phone storage. Read here

Fresh Install :

As soon as you insert an SD and reboot your phone, you will be prompted about it. In this prompt, you will be able to confirm that it can be used to store media files. This prompt appears every time you insert a new microSD card or when you format it.

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 Configuring microSD Card usage:

Since it extends your storage, you can find all the settings under Settings > Phone Storage. This section displays the amount of space occupied by your phone and the SD card.

In the same section, you can individually configure Music + Videos & Pictures storage location. A drop down lets you choose between the phone storage and SD card.

SD card options in Windows Phone

Advantage of using SD Card for Media

The real advantage shows up when you switch your phone. If all your media is stored in SD card, they will be available instantly under Photos, Videos and Music App like it was on your previous phone. If you choose differently, the new phone will have pictures located into two different places.

Formatting & Removing SD Card:

If you tap on SD card storage, you can see details of space occupied by individual media types. Right under that, you have two options :

  • Remove SD Card: Use this option when you plan to take your SD card out of the phone. This will make sure that none of the files are in use, and will keep your data intact.
  • Format SD Card: This comes in handy when you insert an  SD card from other phone. I installed an SD card which I was using in BlackBerry, but it was not recognized by Windows Phone. Though visible in Windows Explorer, I had to format it to use it on Windows Phone.

SD Card File Viewer:

Kirik File Viewer for Windows Phone allows you to explore SD card. However it is restricted to display files like PDF and .RAR. You can also buy the pro-version of the app to see more files. Read more about it here.

SD Card Viewer for Windows Phone

Installing Apps from SD Card:

In a scenario where you need to install the same app on multiple Windows Phone device, Corporate or for Family Members, downloading every time is a waste of bandwidth.

You can use the SD card to install the apps offline on any number of phone.

  • Download it from Windows Phone Marketplace.
  • Connect the device over USB and drop the XAP file in SD card.
  • Unplug and wait for SDCARD option to showup on Windows Phone Store. You might want to reboot if its taking of time.
  • Install the app offline. You can also batch install multiple apps.
SD Card App Installation

Remember, when the apps get installed, they will be verified against the store and your account. Free apps can be used instantly while paid apps will have only trail version installed. Apps which do not have trail version need to be bought from the store.

So the basic idea of this feature is to save your bandwidth of your Mobile Data or when you need to install on multiple devices.

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