How to Use an SD Card with a Fire Tablet

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Bernard Perron
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Do you own an Amazon Fire tablet? If so, did you know that you can install applications directly on an SD card connected to your tablet? That's right.

With some Fire tablets only having 8GB of built-in storage, you're forced to be selective when it comes to storage. You can't install every app you want, nor can you save every video or music track you come across.

But with an SD card, you can add up to 1TB of storage to your tablet and install as many files as you want. You can even use it to expand your internal storage and create space for more apps.

This article will demonstrate how to use an SD card with a Fire tablet running Fire OS 7.3.1 or later.

How to Use an SD Card with a Fire Tablet

Amazon Fire tablets are a great option for people on the go. They are affordable, lightweight, and compatible with all major streaming services. But like other modern mobile devices, Fire tablets aren't perfect.

If you own a Fire tablet, chances are you'll be left with little to no storage after downloading and installing essential apps. This can be particularly troublesome if you use your device for content storage.

While you could transfer some files to an external hard drive, that would mean giving up immediate access to your favorite videos, music, or apps. There would also be the inconvenience of connecting your tablet to a computer via a compatible USB cable whenever you want to store something externally.

Pop in an SD card and your fortune changes instantly!

An SD card is an inexpensive way to add extra storage space to your tablet for music, videos, apps, and other types of content.

Let's see how to insert an SD card into your Fire tablet.

How to Put an SD Card in a Fire Tablet

One of the great things about the Fire tablet is that you don't need professional services to install an SD card on your device, even if it's your first time doing it. However, you will need a sharp object such as a paperclip to open the card slot.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Turn off your tablet.
  2. Locate the SD slot on your tablet.
  3. Insert the pointed object into the door covering the card slot to open it. You can use your fingernail, a knife, or a flat-bladed screwdriver to do this. It is important to note that the door overlay does not completely detach from your device. Instead, it pivots down.
  4. Gently press each side of the card to insert it into the socket until you hear a click.
  5. Close the door cover by gently moving it to the original position. This will prevent dust from accumulating in the slot.

After following these steps, your device should detect the SD card and indicate that unrecognized or unsupported storage has been connected.

How to Use an SD Card for Storage with a Fire Tablet

When you connect an SD card to your tablet, the system does not immediately recognize the card. Instead, the card will be detected as an "unsupported storage device". But do not worry. With just a few more steps, your device should be ready to use.

If you tap on the "unsupported storage device" notification, you should see two options:

  • Use for additional tablet storage
  • Use for portable storage

If you choose to use your card for additional storage, you will be able to install and host applications on it, but you can also use it to store media files. This will help free up space on your tablet's built-in storage. On the other hand, you will immediately lose access to any applications or files hosted on the card as soon as you eject it.

As such, you should only choose the first option if you are sure you won't have to remove the card frequently.

If you choose the second option, you cannot use your card to host applications. You can only use it to store music, movies, and other media files. Hence, it would be the best option if you are planning to use your tablet to store lots of media files for your own consumption or to transfer them to other devices.

Let's take a look at the specific steps needed to configure your card for each type of storage.

How do I use an SD card for portable storage with a Fire tablet?

If you only want to use your card to store media files, here's how:

  1. As soon as your tablet detects the card, tap "Use for portable storage".
  2. At this point, your tablet will ask you if you want to format your device. To do this, follow the on-screen instructions. You can also skip this step if the card contains files that you want to keep.
  3. Go to your tablet's settings and tap "Storage".
  4. Tap "Internal Storage" to open a list of apps installed on your device, starting with the ones that have used the most space.
  5. Scroll down until you see "SD card storage". Below you should see a series of toggle switches that allow you to specify which items you want to upload to the map. These options are:
    • Download movies and TV shows to your SD card
    • Download music to your SD card
    • Store personal photos and videos on your SD card
    • Download audiobooks to your SD card
    • Download books and periodicals to your SD card

By default, all of the above options will be enabled. If you don't want to use your card for the options listed, just flip the switch next to it to the "off" position.

After that, all downloaded files will be saved on the card. Keep in mind that you will immediately lose access to anything stored there if you remove the card.

Use SD cards as internal storage

If you want to use the card to host applications or store files, follow these steps:

  1. Once your tablet detects the card, tap "Use for additional tablet storage". Otherwise, if the card is already in use for portable storage:
    • Open "Settings"
    • Select “Storage”.
    • Scroll down to "SD card storage" and tap "Format as internal storage".
  2. Follow the on-screen prompts to format your card.
  3. Once your card is formatted, your tablet will ask you if you want to "move content" to the card immediately or "move later".
    • If you choose to "move content", media files will be immediately transferred to your card, including music, movies and videos. However, no application will be moved.
    • If you choose "move content later", you will be able to move files at any time, but the added benefit of this option is that you can move both files and apps.

Here's how to move apps to your SD card:

  1. Go to your tablet's settings and tap "Storage".
  2. Tap "Internal storage".
  3. Under 'SD card', tap 'Move apps to SD card'.

At this point, your Fire OS will evaluate apps that can be instantly transferred to your card. However, apps that cannot be hosted on your card will remain in your tablet's built-in storage.

Shoot your way to bigger storage

The Fire tablet is a great device for reading books, playing games, and watching movies on the go. However, it comes with limited storage, so there may not be space for all your favorite files and apps.

With an SD card, however, you can add up to 1TB of storage which can be used as you wish.

However, SD cards have some drawbacks. For example, some apps may run slower when installed on external storage. Also, apps transferred from your built-in storage to the SD card cannot be moved back. You can only download them again.

Nevertheless, an SD card can help you accommodate more applications on your device and eliminate the need for external hard drives.

Have you tried using an SD card with a Fire tablet? What was your experience?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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