What is a microSD card?

Expand your phone or tablet’s storage using this clever little device.

All mobile devices come with built-in storage, but some let you expand that storage using a memory card. The most common of these is a microSD card.

Here we’ll explain everything you need to know about them, including how much they cost and how much storage space they have.

[Read more: Back up your digital files on these storage devices]

What is a microSD card?

It’s a memory card that you slot into your smartphone or tablet in order to add more storage. As the name suggests, microSD cards are smaller than standard SD cards. SD stands for Secure Digital.

Do they work with all phones and tablets?

Unfortunately not. You’ll need a microSD card slot in order to use one. Make sure you check if yours has one before you buy a microSD card.

What can you store on them?

Almost anything that you store on your phone can also be stored on a microSD card. So that’s photos, videos, games, songs and most apps. But beware, some apps won’t let you store them on external storage like a microSD card. This is because some apps run slower when on a microSD card, and the people who made them didn’t want to hamper performance.

How much space is on a microSD card?

The most common sizes are 32GB and 64GB, but you can go bigger if you like – 128GB sizes are not uncommon, while some go as large as 512GB. A high-definition movie generally takes up about 1-2GB, which gives you a rough idea of how much you can fit on these cards. Obviously if you have lower resolution films, photos and music files, you can fit more on, but the quality won’t be as good.

How much do microSD cards cost?

The price has come down massively in the last few years. You can now buy a 32GB model for under a tenner, while a 64GB one costs £15.99. Want to go big? A 128GB card is a bargain at under £30.

What are microSDXC and microSDHC cards?

The HC stands for High Capacity, while XC means extended capacity. microSDHC cards are between 2GB and 32GB in size, and can be used in phones and tablets that support microSDHC and microSDXC formats. microSDXC, meanwhile, are between 32GB and 2TB, and can only be used in devices that support microSDXC.

To avoid buying an incompatible card, check your phone or tablet before you buy.

[Read more: How to back up your smartphone and tablet]

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