Guide showing the process of transferring photos from a tablet to an SD card.

How do I transfer photos from my tablet to an SD card?

  Reading time 12 minutes

Transferring photos from your tablet to an SD card is a straightforward process that safeguards your precious memories against data loss. Whether you’re freeing up space on your device, organizing your digital albums, or ensuring your pictures are safely backed up, understanding how to effectively move pictures is essential. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps to transfer your photos from your tablet’s internal storage to an SD card, ensuring that your memories are preserved.

Preparing for Photo Transfer

  1. Go to your tablet’s settings and look for ‘Storage’ to confirm if there is an option to mount an SD card.
  2. If SD card slots are not listed, check your device specifications online or consult the user manual to verify if your model supports SD cards.

Not all tablets are created equal—some might only support a certain type of card, like microSD, while others could also work with standard SD cards. If your tablet does not support this feature, don’t worry, you might not be out of options, as there could still be alternative methods for transferring your photos.

Selecting the Right SD Card

SD cards come in various storage capacities and speed ratings, and selecting the right one for transferring photos is important. You will need a card with enough space to accommodate your image gallery and with a speed rating suitable for quick data transfers. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Capacity: Memory cards are labeled by their storage capacity—ranging from a few gigabytes to a terabyte or more. Choose one that meets your requirements for the transferring process and future use.
  • Speed Class: Look for cards marked with a ‘Class 10’ or ‘UHS’ rating for the fastest possible data transfers.

Tools You Might Need

Preparing for the transfer might also require additional tools, especially if your tablet doesn’t have a direct SD card slot:

  • OTG Cable: For connecting USB card readers to tablets with USB OTG functionality.
  • Card Reader: A device that allows SD cards to be read via USB or the tablet’s charging port.
  • App: Some Android tablets come with a pre-installed file manager, but if yours doesn’t, you may need to download one to aid in the transferring process.
Step-by-step photo transfer tutorial from tablet storage to an SD card

Step-by-Step Guide to Transferring Photos

Let’s begin by locating the card slot. If your tablet has internal storage and supports SD cards, you should find a small tray or slot on one of its edges. Depending on the design, you may need a pin-like tool to open it or it might be easily accessible. Once you find it, insert the SD card carefully, ensuring it clicks into place securely.

Handling SD Card Slots and Adapters

Some tablets use microSD cards, while others may require standard size cards. For microSD cards, you will find either a dedicated microSD card slot or a combined SIM/microSD card tray. Sometimes, you might need to use an adapter if the card slots do not match the card type. This should be placed securely to avoid any data transfer errors.

Locating Your Photos on the Tablet

Finding where your photos are stored on an Android tablet is typically simple. Most images are saved in a folder named ‘DCIM’, ‘Pictures’, or ‘Photos.’ You will need to open your file manager and navigate to one of these folders to locate the images you wish to transfer. Your tablet might also categorize images into albums based on the app used to take or save the picture. This could also influence where the photos are stored.

Selecting Photos for Transfer

After locating your photos, the next step is to select the images you want to move to the SD card. You can often do this by long pressing on one photo then tapping others to add them to your selection. Some Android devices might offer a ‘Select All’ option if you’re looking to transfer an entire folder or album.

Using Built-in Tools for Selection

Most Android phones and tablets come with intuitive interfaces that streamline the process of selecting and moving pictures. Then tapping the ‘More’ or ‘Options’ menu, typically represented by three dots or a gear icon, lets you access the ‘Move’ or ‘Copy’ function.

Sorting Photos for Easier Transfer

Organizing your images before transferring them can minimize confusion and ensure a smoother process. You might want to sort your photos by date, event, or album, which can be done using various available tools on your Android tablet. This can be particularly helpful if you’re backing up photos regularly, as it allows you to maintain consistent organization across both your tablet and the SD card.

Remember, the transferring process might take a while, especially if you have a large number of high-resolution images. It’s advisable to ensure your tablet has sufficient battery life or is connected to a charger during this time.

Steps for TransferDescription
Check CompatibilityEnsure the tablet supports SD card use.
Choose Right SD CardSelect a card with the needed capacity and speed class.
Insert SD CardLocate and insert the SD card into the card slot.
Find PhotosNavigate to the folder where your images are stored.
Select PhotosChoose images for transfer, possibly sorting them first.
TransferMove the selected images from internal storage to the SD card.
moving images from a tablet's gallery to an external SD card

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  1. Eject and reinsert the SD card to ensure it is properly seated in the slot.
  2. Restart your tablet to refresh the system and try again.
  3. Check the SD card on another device to see if it’s working elsewhere, which can determine if the issue is with the card or your tablet.
  4. Format the SD card, but be warned—this will erase all data on the card, so only do this if you’ve confirmed there’s no important data on it.

Remember that some tablets might not immediately recognize a new SD card, and may take a few moments or might require a quick restart to do so.

Insufficient Storage Space

  1. Verify the available space on your SD card before starting the transfer.
  2. Move files in smaller batches to monitor space usage effectively.

If you’re consistently running out of space, consider investing in a higher capacity SD card or regularly transferring photos to a secondary storage location to manage space more efficiently.

Transfer Interruptions and Errors

Data transfer might not always be seamless, and interruptions can occur:

  • Make sure the tablet and SD card remain stationary during the transfer to avoid disconnecting the card accidentally.
  • Avoid using the tablet for other resource-intensive tasks during the transfer that could disrupt the process.
  • If errors occur, try transferring smaller groups of photos instead of a large batch at once.

Best Practices to Keep Your Photos Safe

Scheduled backups can prevent the loss of recent images in case of a hardware failure or accidental deletion. Android devices may offer automated cloud backup options; use them in addition to SD card backups.

Using Cloud Services as a Secondary Backup

While transferring photos to an SD card is a great first step, redundant backups, such as using cloud storage services, can further safeguard your memories. Many services offer free storage up to a certain limit, which can be useful for storing your most important photos.

Handling SD Cards with Care

SD cards are delicate and can be damaged by physical force, electrical static, or exposure to extreme conditions. Always handle them with care, store them properly when not in use, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Alternatives to Using an SD Card

These services provide access from any device with an internet connection. Popular options include Google Photos, iCloud for Apple users, Dropbox, and OneDrive, all of which usually offer a free tier of service.

Transferring Directly to a PC or Laptop

This can easily be done via a USB cable that connects your tablet to the computer. Once connected, you can drag and drop photos from your tablet to the PC or laptop.

Using External Storage Devices

USB flash drives and external hard drives that connect to your tablet either directly or via an adaptor can also serve as viable options for photo backup, especially for large collections.

Woman transferring her vacation photos from a tablet to a secure SD card


Transferring photos from your tablet to an SD card is a practical skill that can protect your memories from device malfunctions and free up precious internal storage. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you should now be able to handle the transferring process confidently. Remember to conduct regular backups, manage storage space wisely, and consider alternative storing methods to ensure your photos remain safe for years to come.


How can I transfer photos if my tablet doesn’t have an SD card slot?
If your tablet lacks an SD card slot, you can use external card readers that connect via OTG cable or transfer photos directly to a computer, cloud storage, or an external hard drive.

Is it possible to transfer my photos to an SD card without a file manager?
While it is highly recommended to use a file manager for easier navigation and selection, some tablets have built-in features in the gallery app that allow you to move or copy files to an SD card without a separate file manager.

Can I move apps to the SD card along with photos?
Some Android devices allow you to move certain apps to the SD card to free up internal memory, but this depends on the app and your tablet’s version of Android. Check the application settings within your tablet to see if this option is available.

What should I do if the transfer speed is very slow?
Slow transfer speeds can be caused by using a low-speed SD card or running resource-intensive tasks on your tablet during the transfer. Ensure that the SD card is class 10 or UHS-rated for faster data transfer, and close unnecessary apps to allocate more resources to the transfer.

Will transferring my photos to an SD card affect their quality?
No, moving your photos to an SD card does not affect their quality. The files are copied exactly as they are, with no compression or alteration.