What Is an SD Card for Cell Phones Used For?

By Alan Bradford

Cell phones usually use a microSD card for expanded storage capacity.
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SD cards are a form of flash memory storage used across a variety of electronic devices, including cell phones. Several form factors and levels of capacity are used in the SD, or Secure Digital, technology. Cell phones almost always use the microSD standard, which is the smallest form of SD card available. Many feature phones and smart phones offer a microSD slot for expanded storage, backup and transfer of files.

Expanded Storage

Cell phones by themselves often have limited storage capabilities for holding photos and videos that you capture on the phone itself or for holding music files for playing back music. These features vary based on your phone. Using a microSD card can greatly expand the amount of memory on your phone, thereby increasing the number of photos you can take or other media you can hold on your phone.

Backing Up Files

Cameras in cell phones are growing more common, and the resolution and quality are improving as well. Along with better quality comes increased file size. A microSD card not only allows greater storage, but is a way to back up photos that you take with your phone to a removable disk. In this way, you can protect your photos by placing them on the microSD card so that if your phone experiences any problems or errors, you have them stored in another location.

Uploading Media

Many cell phones support playback of music and video files, as well as the capability to set a custom wallpaper on the screen. Unless you purchase this content directly from your phone, there are limited ways to transfer files onto your phone from another device. One convenient way is to copy media files to a microSD card from your computer, then insert the card into your phone. The music, videos and wallpaper are then available for use on your cell phone.

Transferring Data

The capability to place data from your cell phone onto a microSD card means that the data is now transportable between electronic devices. You can remove the card and place it in any device that has either a microSD slot or an SD slot using an adapter, such as a computer, another cell phone or even a photo kiosk, where you can print photos directly from the card.