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You have an Android device running Android 5.0 "Marshmallow" or better, and it's running low on storage space.

Some modern Android devices don't have a slot for a MicroSD flash memory card. But yours does; it's hidden underneath the (removable) back cover.

You want to buy a MicroSD card; how can you decide which one to buy?

  • You may find this answer useful – beeshyams Dec 27 '19 at 11:08
  • Dear all: This is not a specific hardware-recommendation question; it's general-purpose advice on how to choose hardware yourself. Therefore, it looks from here like it may be a suitable question for this website. – unforgettableidSupportsMonica Dec 27 '19 at 11:22
  • @beeshyams: A1-rated cards can be hard to find. It may be possible to find cheaper and more commonly-available cards which are still fast enough. Instead of looking for an A1 rating, you can look at benchmark scores; or you can rely on a third-party hardware-review website where they looked at benchmark scores for you. – unforgettableidSupportsMonica Dec 27 '19 at 11:24
  • I find A1 rated cards easily and have bought from Amazon India. But I do see your point about benchmarks – beeshyams Dec 27 '19 at 11:48
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This answer assumes that your phone is running Android 5.0 "Lollipop" or higher, and that your phone lets you move apps to a MicroSD card. (Most ancient Android 4.x phones, and even some modern Android phones, lack support for moving apps to MicroSD cards.)


Choose a card good enough for fast app performance

It's quite possible that you'll eventually decide to store apps on your MicroSD card. Therefore, I recommend that you choose a MicroSD card which is good enough for fast app performance.

Lots of product-review websites offer recommendations. The Wirecutter's recommendation article is a fine choice; it looks like they've been periodically updating it for the past few years.

I'm reluctant to offer a specific recommendation here, because I may not return here to update this answer every few years.

Don't be cheap: upgrades may be impossible

Before storing apps on a MicroSD card: Consider buying a card large enough so that you'll never need to upgrade your current phone to a larger card. This is because, once you've installed apps on a MicroSD card, it may be difficult or impossible to upgrade your phone to use a bigger card.

MicroSD cards can fail

MicroSD cards store your data on a tiny flash-memory chip. Unfortunately, the profit margins on MicroSD cards can be razor-thin. To cut costs, manufacturers use low-grade flash-memory chips which may be far less reliable than the flash memory built into your phone. See, for example, this source.

MicroSD cards can fail irreparably, without prior warning.

If it only holds photos, music, and videos, a MicroSD card will probably last for years. If you store apps on the card, though, this puts more stress on the card, and it may fail significantly sooner.

If you plan to store any irreplaceable data on your MicroSD card, make regular backups. If the backups are encrypted, keep extra copies of the encryption key in two different places.

High-endurance MicroSD cards

You can buy special "high-endurance" MicroSD cards. These may be more reliable, but are often slower. (Source.) I therefore assume it's probably unwise to store frequently-used apps on "high-endurance" cards.

Avoiding counterfeit cards

Counterfeit cards can fail, permanently, within an hour or two of purchase. The Wirecutter offers some good advice on avoiding counterfeit cards. One good option is to shop in-person at a trustworthy local store.

Detecting counterfeit cards

There are lots of tools which can tell you whether or not a card is counterfeit. Some such tools are very slow. The fastest tool is ChipGenius (for Windows). If its reported card capacity matches the advertised card capacity, then the card is genuine. Another reasonably-fast tool is FakeFlashTest (for Windows). These tools are freeware. (Source.)

Dealing with counterfeit cards

If you bought a counterfeit card, you may or may not be able to get your money back. But it's worth trying.

  • First, you can ask the retailer for a refund.

If that fails, you can try any of the following:

  • If you bought the card from an online marketplace, contact the website operator.
  • If you paid using a credit card, contact your credit-card issuer.
  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau, if there is one.
  • Contact your local small-claims court, if there is one. You don't need a lawyer.
  • Contact another local court.
  • Contact your government.

Speed matters. If you wait too long, it may be too late to try to get your money back.

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