One of the reasons Android’s first big advantages over the iPhone was that it let you add or remove storage using a microSD card. In recent years, Google has abandoned microSD cards in Nexus devices.

But thankfully, not all Android makers have followed suit. Google has taken note and recently added adoptable storage to its OS.

Adoptable storage lets you “adopt” secondary storage devices as if they were a native part of your Android OS.

No longer do you need to shove data between your microSD and your main SD. Instead, it’s all treated as one convenient storage unit.

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about adoptable storage and how to take full advantage of it.

What is Adoptable Storage?

Adoptable storage formats a microSD card that you’ve added to your Android.

Android now treats that microSD card as part of your system and uses it as the primary storage location for app data.

adoptable storage

You may only have 12GB of free storage space on your 16GB phone by default. However, “adopting” a 128GB microSD card could expand your storage space to over 130GB of free space.

Best of all, Android’s adoptable storage automatically distributes data between your card and your internal storage in the best possible way – so you don’t have to worry about major slowdowns.

What Do You Need?

Android’s adoptable storage works with most microSD cards. However, Android will need to run a quick scan to make sure your storage unit is fast enough.

If you use a microSD card that’s slower than recommended, it will have a negative impact on your system’s overall performance – although it’s only about a 5% difference.

After Android adopts the card as part of your system, it’s basically a permanent part of your device – so don’t expect to remove the card whenever you like. It will cause apps to crash and lead to other potentially serious problems.

How to Add Adoptable Storage to Android

-You need a phone running Android 6.0 Marshmallow

-You need a phone that has a microSD card slot

Popular phones with both of those requirements include the Moto X Pure, LG G4, and HTC One A9.

Step 1) Insert your MicroSD card into your phone

Step 2) Choose a mode for your card when you insert it (either Portable or Internal). Portable is the best if you just want to dump files on your card before swapping it to another device. Internal is what you’ll select if you want adoptable storage, which means you won’t want to remove the card from the device in the future.

adoptable storage 2

Step 3) Any existing data you have on the card will disappear when you start to use it as internal storage, so make sure everything important has been removed before you begin.

Step 4) The adoption process is surprisingly fast. After that process is complete, your device will ask if you want to move app data and media files to the card immediately. Depending on how much data you have on your device, this can take quite a bit of time.

That’s it! Android will continue swapping data between the two storage units to ensure you have optimal performance and maximum storage space.

How to Move Data from the Card in the Future

In the future, you may need to use your microSD card for something, or you may want to upgrade to a larger card.

If that’s the case, then you’ll need to migrate the data on your card back to the internal flash storage. Otherwise, you’ll break your apps and lose media files.

You can do this from the internal storage menu. If the storage on your Android won’t be able to fit everything, then you’ll need to delete files to make it work.

Ultimately, adoptable storage is a huge advantage for Android users who have a microSD card slot and find themselves frequently running out of space. The old microSD system was okay, but a bit clunky: you still had to manually save or move files and apps to the SD card to take full advantage.

With adoptable storage, that problem is a thing of the past.

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