How to Add External Storage to a Galaxy S4
Determine Your Storage Needs
First things first, your own personal storage needs must be determined. You, either knowingly or unknowingly, have purchased a smartphone with the option to expand and replace both its internal storage and its battery. For now, decide if you even need more storage than the phone provides by default. Since the S4 seems to be mostly sold in its 16GB configuration, that is likely the amount you have as well. However, all 16GB is not available to you, the user. After Android 4.2 and all of Samsung's myriad apps, features, and gimmicks have been installed, you have about 10GB of internal storage left with which you can work.
So why would you need more space? There are three main use scenarios in which you would:
- Your phone is replacing or is becoming your mp3 player.
- Your phone is becoming your media player (videos/games).
- Your phone will be used as a video camera.
If you intend one or more of these to be true for your phone, then you will need expandable storage. If not, you're probably not a phone "power user", and can go about your day.
Purchase the Right Card
OK, since you're still reading, I assume that means you know that you need to expand your S4's storage. Great! Now you need to pick out a Micro SD card to go into your phone. Here is where a very important distinction must be made; purchase a Class 4 or slower micro SD card. Do a quick Google search, and you will see a host of people complaining about their phones unmounting their cards or giving them formatting error messages. The reason for this is that the S4, for whatever reason, does not play nice with Class 10 cards. Either due to the speeds or just the interface, the phone, as I experienced first-hand, will suddenly stop accessing files on the SD card and give a card format error if it is Class 10 type. I think this is a big oversight by Samsung, but it is the reality of the situation now. The good news is, Class 4 cards work great! So when shopping for a card, make absolute sure it is Class 4 or slower. I returned my Class 10 card for a Class 4 type and have had zero problems since.
Class 4 micro SD cards are available in capacities up to 32GB (over 3 times the user-accessible phone storage for the 16GB model!) and cost around $22. As a side note here, never purchase SD cards (or really any cell phone accessories) from the store you purchased the phone at. They price gouge hard, easily taking a 300% markup from the sale. Avoid them at all costs.
Installing Your Card
Installing an SD card into your Galaxy S4 is incredibly simple. Note that the phone does not have to be powered off for this process, either, making it that much easier. Here's how to do it:
- Remove the plastic back cover from the phone. It has small plastic tabs that keep it in place. The easiest way to do this is to pry a bit from the end of the phone where you connect the charging cable, as there is a gap there which allows for some leverage. Once you've got it started, continue popping the back off of the tabs until it comes free.
- The Micro SD card slot is located above the battery and to the left of the SIM card slot (Verizon model). slide the micro SD card face up, gold contacts down into this slot.
- You're done! Pop the cover back on the back, and we're in business.
- (Optional): If it would make you feel better, or if you are using an existing micro SD card with old data on it, you can format the card once it's been installed. Be warned--formatting an SD card will erase all content on it, so only do so after a full backup of the SD card! Then, turn on the phone, and swipe from the top to access the phone settings. Tap the gear icon in the top right, then tap on the "More" tab. Scroll down to the bottom and tap "Storage". Scroll down again and tap "Format SD card". Confirm, and you're good to go!
32 GB of Storage Gets You...
MP3s (256 kbps)
1080p Video Shooting