Amazon’s $50 Fire Tablet only comes with 8 GB of storage, but it also supports MicroSD cards. A MicroSD card is an inexpensive way to add additional storage to your tablet and use it for music, videos, apps, and other types of content.
It’s even possible to read eBooks from your Fire Tablet’s SD card, although Amazon’s software doesn’t automatically display these for you.
Choosing an SD Card
MicroSD cards can be purchased from practically anywhere electronics are sold, including Amazon. On Amazon at the moment, you can purchase a 32 GB MicroSD card for about $13 and a 64 GB one for about $21.
Fire tablets can use Micro SD cards of up to 128 GB in size, so that’s the maximum size you can buy and use.
Amazon recommends either “UHS” or “Class 10” Micro SD cards for optimal performance. You may be able to find “Class 2” Micro SD cards for less money, but these will be significantly slower. You won’t be able to play videos from the Micro SD card if it’s too slow, for example.
Getting Files Onto Your SD Card
You’ll need a way to put media files on your SD card from your computer. Your computer may have a Micro SD card slot — if it does, you can simply insert the Micro SD card into your computer. If it has an SD card slot, you can purchase an SD card adapter that will allow you to insert your Micro SD card into that full-size SD card slot. Some Micro SD cards even come with these.
If you don’t have either on your computer, the easiest way to get one is probably to purchase a Micro SD card reader that plugs in via USB.
You’ll need to ensure the Micro SD card is formatted with the FAT32 or exFAT file system so the Fire Tablet can read it. Most SD cards should come formatted with these file systems. If in doubt, right-click the SD card in the Computer view in Windows, select “Format”, and ensure the correct file system is selected.
Copy videos, music, photos, and other media files you want to access onto your Micro SD card. You can even copy eBooks onto it, although Amazon tries to get in your way here. (Here’s a list of video file types Amazon’s Fire tablets support.)
When you’re done, right-click the Micro SD card in Windows and select “Eject” to safely remove it. Unplug it from your computer, and insert it into the MIcro SD card slot on your Fire Tablet. This is near the upper-right corner on the side of the $50 Fire Tablet. You’ll have to open a small door to access it.
Accessing Videos, Music, Photos, and eBooks
Videos, music, and photos on your Micro SD card will all be automatically detected by your Fire Tablet. For example, you’ll find video files on your Micro SD card in the “My Videos” app included with your tablet.
However, the Kindle app won’t automatically detect adn show eBooks stored on your SD card. To read them, you’ll need to download the free ES File Explorer app or another file-manager application, browse to the eBook on your SD card’s storage, and tap it to open it.
You could also use another eBook reader app.
Downloading Apps, Movies, TV Shows, and Photos to the SD Card
To choose what content is stored on your SD card, open the Settings app on your Fire Tablet, tap “Storage”, and tap “SD Card”.
Activate the “Install Supported Apps on Your SD Card” option and your Fire Tablet will install apps you download in the future to the SD card, if the app supports this. Any of the app’s user-specific data will still be stored in its internal storage.
Enable the “Download Movies and TV Shows on Your SD Card” setting and videos you download from Amazon’s Video app — both movies and TV shows — will be stored on the SD card.
Turn on the “Store Photos and Personal Videos on Your SD Card” toggle and photos and videos you capture and record on the Fire tablet will be stored in its SD card instead of the internal storage.
These options don’t affect the data already on your device. Your existing apps and downloaded videos will still be stored on the internal storage unless you do something extra.
To move an individual apps from the internal storage to the SD card, open the Settings app, tap “Apps & Games”, and tap “Manage All Applications”. Tap the name of the app you want to move and tap “Move to SD Card”. If it’s already on the SD card, you’ll see a “Move to Tablet” button instead. If you can’t move it to the SD card, the button will just be grayed out.
You’ll have to re-download videos if you want to move them from the internal storage to the SD card. To do so, open the “Videos” app, long-press a video, and tap “Delete” to delete it. Long-press that same video and tap “Download” to redownload it. If you’ve configured your Fire Tablet to store downloaded videos on the SD card, it will be downloaded to the external storage.
Safely Remove the Micro SD Card From Your Fire Tablet
If you ever want to remove the Micro SD card from your Fire Tablet, you should open the Settings app, tap “Storage”, tap “Safely Remove SD Card”, and tap “OK”. You can then gently press on the SD card and it will pop out.
If you need more storage, you can always buy multiple Micro SD cards and swap them out to access different videos and other media files. Bear in mind that apps you install onto your SD card won’t be available unless that specific SD card is plugged in.
Image Credit: Danny Choo on Flickr