How to move pictures and videos to an SD card Samsung Android 4.2

If you are looking for a way to move, or copy the photos, videos, screenshots, movies, music or any type of media file currently saved on your Samsung Android 4.2 smartphone then look no further because here is how to do it. This guide explains step by step, with pictures, using the Samsung Galaxy S 4 phone running on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and will demonstrate how to move files from a Samsung 4.2 Android phone to its memory card without the use of a computer. All you need is a charged phone and a memory card.

What this article is useful for

This article is the perfect solution if you have just purchased a new memory card and need to transfer your original pictures and videos onto that new SD card. The phone will not do this automatically and this article will show you how to manually move those files from your phone onto that external storage.

This is also perfect for backing up your Samsung Galaxy S 4 if you need to perform a hard reset on the device. Remember to always backup a phone before performing a factory data reset. Everything on your phone will be erased but everything on your SD card will be nice and safe allowing you to restore all of your important information afterwards.

This is also the perfect guide for a person who would simply like to know how to move specific files to their memory card from their Galaxy S 4 or Samsung Android 4.2 smartphone.

Checking your memory card

First things first... Do you have a memory card to transfer your information to, and if you do, is it mounted and reading properly? If you’re not sure then you should pause from this article for a minute and read How to Check the Memory Card on an Android Smartphone just to make sure. If your memory card is not connected or communicating with your phone properly then this obviously isn’t an option available and you should get that resolved first. If your memory card is inserted, mounted, and working at 100% functionality then you’re in awesome shape and ready to proceed.

Start by locating your files

One of the first things that you will need to do is find the files on your phone that you want to transfer to your SD card. This is actually really easy to do once you know where to start looking.

Here is how to locate the picture and video files in the phones original default storage location. Basically where a phone saves its pictures without a memory card and when it’s new out of the box. This is most likely where your media is located and where it needs to be moved from.

Locating media files saved on your phones storage: Quick instructions

Apps > My Files > All Files > Device Storage > Pictures/DCIM/Music/Movies/etc

Locating media files saved on your phones storage: Detailed instructions with pictures

Go to your Samsung's main screen and then open your Applications by tapping the Apps icon.


Scroll through your Apps until you see “My Files


Tap on My Files.


Tap All files.

Since we want to move files from the phone onto the memory card we want to select Device storage.


Once Device storage is opened a list of all the files on your phones internal storage will appear.

This is where you want to search/browse for files that you want to move from your phone to your SD card.


Common Folders of interest from this list include the:

Pictures – which often contains the Screenshots taken on your phone, and may contain the phones Photo note folder.

DCIM – this is the default storage location for photos taken with the camera of an Android smartphone, and is often, in my opinion, the best place to start when transferring files from an Android phone to its SD card.

Music – often contains music downloaded to your phone or Samsung device. Note: if you download music through a third party application then the music might be stored in a different folder other than the Music folder. I suggest looking for the name of the application that you use to download music as the files are most likely stored in that location.

Movies – as the name suggests this is a good place to look for movies that you may have added to your phone.

Important Note: you might have to browse your phone a bit to find some of the files you wish to transfer. All applications can be configured differently depending on who wrote the app so you might have to do some searching in order to find the exact files that you are hoping to backup.

Moving files from the phone to the Memory Card

Moving select files from the phone to the SD card: Quick instructions

Open the folder that contains the file(s) you wish to move in this example I am going to chose to move pictures taken with the camera before getting a memory card…

Device storage > DCIM > Camera > Select desired pictures > Share > Settings > Copy > SD memory card > DCIM > Camera > Paste here.

Moving specific files from the phones storage to an SD card: Detailed instructions with pictures

In this example I am going to perform the same transfer, as I am going to transfer pictures taken with the camera from the phones internal storage to its external storage.

Continuing from the steps that were shown above,

Tap on the DCIM folder.


Tap the Camera folder.


This will display all pictures taken with the camera before inserting a memory card and changing the phones default storage location to the SD card.

You can select certain pictures that you would like to save and then transfer those pictures by marking the desired media with a checkmark, but in this example I am going to backup/transfer all the pictures shown here to the SD card.

To select all the pictures tap on the Menu key on the bottom left hand corner of your phone, and when presented with some choices tap on the Select all option.

Note: if some of these files are already selected (meaning they have a green checkmark next to them) then tapping on the Menu key may not show additional options, so deselect all the pictures if pressing the menu key provides no response.

Once all the pictures are selected tap on the Additional Settings icon in the upper right hand corner of the display.

Then press the Copy option.

Important Note - Move vs. Copy: I highly recommend that you use the Copy option as opposed to the move option to avoid any loss of information during the transfer, either by a software hiccup or user error. I have seen lost files when a person has selected Move. So again, I recommend you use the Copy option as this creates a second picture and you will have two copies of that file. One copy on your phone and one copy on your Memory Card. Then once you have confirmed that the files are on your memory card 100% you can go back and delete the original file from your phone. Trust me; Using Copy instead of Move decreases the chance of lost pictures/media during the transfer process. But I digress.

Once you tap on Copy the phone will want to know where you want to copy those files to, often bringing you to the Device storage and SD memory card options. We want to move these files to the memory card so we are going to tap SD memory card.


Your memory card will most likely have a DCIM folder already (one gets created after setting the default storage to the memory card. If your phone doesn’t have a DCIM folder then tap Create folder and make one).

Tap and open the DCIM folder displayed on that page.

Tap Camera.

Note: If you had to manually create a DCIM folder in the previous step than you will also need to manually create a Camera folder (within that DCIM folder) on this step as well. ~*Thanks Terri for the great question!*~

And then tap Paste here which is located in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

You might see a “Processing…” message as the files transfer to the SD card.

After it’s done processing then check to make sure all of the files are saved onto your SD card and your cameras pictures will be nice and safe now should your Samsung device get damaged or malfunctions. You can simply take the memory card out of the phone, put it into another unit, and still have all of your information. Just don’t forget to unmount your SD card before removing it from the phone.

Copying entire folders to the SD memory card

If you would like you can also Copy an entire folder of information to your Memory card. I don’t usually recommend this method as you don’t want to accidently override existing files but the option is available if you want to do it that way as well.

Here is how you can copy the entire Screenshots folder from a phones internal storage to the memory card aka the external storage.

Go the folder that you want to copy, in this case the Screenshots folder which is located under the Device storage > Pictures… press and hold on the Screenshots folder until a window pops up and then select the Copy option.

Just like before go into the SD memory card storage and this time simply click the Paste here option. The screenshots folder and all of its content will be copied to the memory card.

That is how you can move files from a Samsung phone onto its memory card 

I hope that this guide has helped you through the process of backing up your information to a memory card and made it a little easier to understand. Samsung phones have a wonderful file management system you just have to know how to navigate to use it properly.

Thank you for reading the article if it helped you to backup your files then you can let me know that you liked it by pressing the Facebook Like button or Google + button or by sharing it through any of the social sites shown below. If you would like then don’t hesitate to leave a friendly remark or comment below. Thanks for reading and make sure to take lots of pictures and videos with your Samsung smartphone.





Very helpful, thank you

Very helpful, thank you and may God Bless you!

Download photos

Thank You. Very well done. Worked as described which is a miracle these days.

Thank you.

Thank you. Very easy to follow.

Thanks...Worked great

Wow, thank you. And I started deleting each one separately. Now I can unmount the SD card, remount and the duplicates are gone. Thanks!!!!

Thanks - Very Helpful

Appreciate the detailed instructions. Very helpful for a new Android user.

You’re welcome

Your welcome guys, thank you for the positive feedback. I am glad that you are finding this guide helpful in backing up your Samsung smartphone; don’t hesitate to let me know which Samsung phone you have and if any of the steps listed were slightly different on your phone (if you choose to leave a comment that is). Other people with the same phone might need the suggestion or hint in order to get to the next step in the process.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to comment and thank you for sharing this article through your Facebook or Google + pages. I appreciate it as it helps others find the article as well.

Used the Move option and lost files


I used the Move option and lost half the pictures.

Worse, the pictures I lost are of my new born babies :((

Can you please recommend any way I can get these recovered?

Thank you.


Uh oh…

Hi Jimmy,

Hopefully you did the “Move” before stumbling on my guide because I made sure to mention, in bold, that I always recommend the “Copy” option as opposed to the “Move” as I have seen a loss of data on rare occasions (like your current situation) and you don’t want to lose any of your important information when transferring data, especially important information like family photos.

That being said, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place… Here is what I recommend you try.

  • If you have not rebooted your phone already then go ahead and try to do so. Just turn it off and then turn it back on to see if any of those important pictures come back.
  • If not then power your phone off, remove the memory card, and then power the phone back on (without the memory card) to see if it will load any of your missing media files.
  • If they are still missing then put your memory card back into your phone and plug your phone into a computer and then open the phone (through the computer) as you would when accessing a thumb/flash drive. Look in the DCIM folders on both your phone and the SD card to see if you can find your pictures. I recommend that while doing this step you COPY and paste them onto your computer for an additional backup. Just in case something ever happens to your phone or your memory card you’ll have a computer backup too. In my opinion you can never have too many backups.

If you’re still missing those important baby photos then act quickly. The longer you wait the harder it will be to try and recover them. I think at this point your best option will be to look into a data recovery program. There are many available online, or even the app store, but look for one that can recover deleted or lost photos.

I have not had the need to use one of these programs yet so I cannot recommend any from personal experience but if you type in “Android Data Recovery” into a search engine I am sure that you will find many programs that can fit your needs. I’ll have to test some out later to try to locate some of the best ones so that I can recommend some to my readers. If you find one that works and is user friendly that you would recommend to others than come back to the site and let me and others know what the name of it was and why you liked it.

Hopefully that will allow you to recover those new born baby photos. Congratulations on the addition to the family by the way. You said babies as opposed to baby so I’m guessing twins? How exciting. Boys? Girls? Boy and girl? In any case congratulations, I hope this helps, and don’t delay try to recover them right away as it will increase the chances that you can restore them to your phone, and if you do locate them or if your able to restore them then don’t forget to create a backup to your computer as an extra precaution.

Good luck Jimmy, if there is anything else I can do to try and help just let me know.

Lost photos

Take your phone to the store where you bought it and they may be able to recover your photos for you.

I had lost photos that were on a sd card before and was given an app that let me recover the lost photos (unfortunately, I don't recall the name of the app).

Good luck recovering your photos.

lost pics during transfer to sd card

Just a thought...if you have a google account and sync it with your phone, your pics will automatically be backed up on the might want to check there in case you have it set up and weren't aware...

I am in the process of moving my pics

I am in the process of moving my pics but I have them backed up on google and on "dropbox". Dropbox has been a life saver for me. I lost my mom a few years ago and my phone broke - all data/pic were gone but luckily my pics were still on dropbox. I suggest all android users have this option.

Nice tutorial !

If you want to automate these tasks, take a look and try URSafe Media Redirector on the Google Play Store, it can do this job for you.

Thank you, your app seems like it could be useful as well

Hi Joel,

Thanks for the complement and thank you for mentioning your redirect application.

Apps are awesome, and they are one of the many great features of Android phones. The way that Google’s Play Store is designed is also wonderful as it allows app developers, such as yourself, to create useful applications which help people accomplish desired tasks and allow greater customization on their Android smartphones.

I myself however don’t typically download apps when I don’t have to.

I took a look at your URSafe Media Redirector and even though it doesn’t help move your files I think that your app would be very useful at special events or any occasion that you would need to keep track of the pictures that you were taking. Like a birthday party, or wedding, or vacation, celebration, etc. you could customize the folder that you wanted those pictures to store to and save yourself time later as your vacation photos could all be put in a “Vacation” folder or birthday pictures could be stored directly to a custom “Birthday” folder. So I can definitely see how the app can be useful.

Thanks for visiting the site Joel and keep up the good work.

App information update

Joel was kind enough to contact me and even demonstrate that the application he mentioned in his comment above (URSafe Media Redirector) does in fact move all of the pre-existing data from the original folder (in this case the DCIM>Camera folder located on the phones internal storage) to whatever custom folder that you choose to make when creating a redirect using the application.

Although choosing specific photos or other pre-existing media to try and manually copy or move from a phone to its SD card is not a feature of the application it will move all pre-existing media from the original folder to the new location when first creating a re-direct.

I still think that Samsung phones have a terrific file management system built in which allows you to move your files with ease (once you know how to use it that is) and an application isn’t really necessary for simply moving a specific file or multiple files from one location to another but Joel’s application can be a terrific solution for anyone that takes lots of pictures or records a lot of video with their phone or when planning an event in which a lot of media will be recorded as it can be very helpful in keeping media files organized and sorted accordingly.

You can even use the app to store certain media types in different locations depending on what type of file it is. So you could configure it to save all of your videos in a custom video folder or pictures in a custom picture folder or audio files in a specific folder etc. The app (if used to its full potential) can eliminate the need to search through ALL of your media files when trying to find a specific file or folder. If you needed to locate a video then you could go to the custom video folder that contains your video files and you would be able to locate it a lot faster. But I digress.

Thanks for pointing that feature of your application out to me Joel, keep up the good work, and as always thank you for visiting the site.


Thanks so much. I've had android phones and tablet for years and I've always backed files up on my computer. This is so much faster and more efficient. Excellent tutorial and so very helpful

pics to SD card

Thank You . I did it and it was simple. THANK YOU!!!!

Double Excellent

Very nice tutorial. Lots of screen shots to make it quick and easy. And,enough written info to fill in the blanks.

(Thanks for recommending the "copy" function, instead of "move.")

Loved it made my day completely

I have been struggling to find a way to do this and it was sooooo easy!!!!! Thank you.

moving data

this is most helpful, and much obliged. thanks again.


I can't thank you enough for this tutorial ! I just got an SD memory card and was struggling to figure out how to move the pics from my device to the card. Everytime I tried moving the pics via the laptop - it would give me an error !
Really appreciate the time and effort you have taken to share this with everyone :)

You’re welcome

I would just like to thank everyone who has taken the time to show their appreciation for this article. I really appreciate the recognition as well as the knowledge that you found the advice useful when learning how to move files from your smartphone to your memory card.

Thanks again, don’t hesitate to let me know what phone this how-to guide was able to help you with and keep all the great comments coming. As always if you have any other questions about your smartphone then don’t hesitate to ask.

Samsung Fame

I have recently inserted a 16 g external memory card. I wanted to download large files from the BBC I Player. I tried to download a programme and a note came up that I had insuffient memory. I also download music from Spotify.
It appears that instead of going to the external memory it goes to the internal memory.
Is it possible to force all downloads of these types to the external memory.

As I only have 2g of internal memory, is it possible to force these sorts of downloads to the external memory automatically?

Samsung Note, File Moving

Great help, just spent almost an hour looking for something that worked

The tranferred pictures didn't open

I followed the steps mentioned by you to transfer the picture to the SD card using the copy option and the pictures did get copied to the SD card, however, after i deleted the pictures from the original folder on the phone memory and tried viewing it on the SD card, the picture files won't open giving a pop up message saying " no application could support this action". How do i recover the lost pictures??? :(


Hi Calvin,

I am sorry to hear that you’re having problems with your photos. Good job in using the “Copy” option though and it sounds like you even checked to make sure that your media files were copied to your SD card before deleting the original copies on your phone, so really good job.

I’m not sure why the files on your memory card wouldn’t open though, are you 100% positive that you deleted only the files on your internal storage? Can you see the names of the photos and media files on your memory card? From your comment it sounds like you can see the files but the phone is just having problems opening them.

What phone or Android device were you moving photos on? Were they pictures taken with your phones camera? Did you copy the entire folder or did you open the folder and then select all the files and then move them that way?

If you followed all the instructions above, which it sounds like you did since you were able to confirm that “the pictures did get copied to the SD card”, then it sounds like it may have happened after deleting the original. Have you tried accessing the files through your phones gallery?

Do this…

If you have not already done so try restarting your device and then checking your gallery to see if your media files are there. If so then manually access your “SD memory card” under “My Files” (as shown above) to try and locate them again and then see if the phone will allow you to open them that way. If they aren’t showing in there but they are still showing in your phones gallery then check your “Device storage” to see if there is a copy there as the phone will have to be pulling them from somewhere to show them in the gallery. You’ll just need to find them.

If you find the files but you get that strange “no application could support this action” then it sounds like your phone isn’t recognizing the files format for some reason; which doesn’t make sense if you took the photos with the devices camera… if you get that message again try to copy a few back to the phones storage to see if they would open when on the internal storage. I’m not sure why they would work on one and not the other though so just try it for good measure.

Are you able to open the files if you plug your phone (or memory card) into a computer?

It sounds like the files moved/copied over to the SD card properly so start out by simply rebooting your phone. By restarting it the phone will search for media files as part of its startup procedure and there is a good chance that it will locate the files and that your pictures will to start showing correctly. If you are still having issues after restarting your Android device then something must have happened when you attempted to remove the original files. Try the other suggestions above to see if you can get your pictures to show up properly and if you still have issues then post the answers to the questions mentioned throughout this post such as what Android device you are using, if you can still see the copied files, or if you can access them through a computer, etc. and we’ll try to narrow it down to some possible causes and best yet some other possible solutions.

Either way let me know Calvin, I look forward to your response.

The tranferred pictures didn't open

Hi James, I also transferred pictures from my tablet to an SD card and deleted the originals from the tablet to take more photos. Later when I looked to see my moved photos, some I could view others didn't open. But now, all the data disappeared, only empty folders are left. I have tried to use some data recovery on the tablet and only old and unnecessary files came up to recover and on the SD card it was the same, no signs of precious photos.
Please advise, if you have any thoughts. Thank you. Beck

Trying to recover your missing photos

Hey Beck,

If you confirmed that all of the files copied over to the SD card properly before deleting the originals, which it sounds like you did do, I don’t see any reason why anything would just disappear. And if it was there and got deleted by accident or through a software bug or glitch a data recovery program should still technically be able to recover them. To be honest I’m not sure what happened to them Beck.

As far as what you might be able to do in order to try and recover your photos… you could attempt to use a different data recovery program and make another attempt at recovering the original files from the tablets internal storage (the ones that you manually deleted after the transfer) and if it can’t find those files (which it should be able to if you act right away) you could search the external storage as well.

Then what ever you are able to recover you could backup to your SD card again as well as at least one other source such as a PC or you could even upload them to an online storage service. That way if your photos decide to vanish again you’ll have that backup copy just in case.

Awesome thank you so much

Awesome thank you so much did not want to lose 750 pics but needed them off phone storage

Fabulous.....thanks a ton...

Fabulous.....thanks a ton....the detailed explaination was reallly helpful!

Really good

I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 and this tutorial was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot!

Sooo Helpful

Thanks a lot for this article. It was easy to understand and follow, just what someone who is older, and new to Android, needs.

You couldn't ask for better

You couldn't ask for a better and so much accurate info about the subject.
All kudos to the author!!

Copy Failed

I don't know why...but I get this message. I have apps on my sd card but can't get pics, videos or music to copy or move to it. Either this way or on a pc. Any ideas?


That is interesting…

Hi Marie,

I had a similar issue when I tried to transfer my Music to my Samsung Galaxy S4. I tried to plug the phone into the computer and copy and paste from my PC to my S4 and got pretty much the same error, even though in theory it should have worked perfectly fine in my honest opinion.

Since I had A LOT of music that I wanted to transfer from my computer and I knew that I had the space available on my memory card what I ended up having to do is remove my 32GB SD Card from the phone, plug it into my computer directly (luckily I have an adapter and an SD port on my PC) which allowed me to copy and paste my media files directly to the card. I even moved some movies while I was at it. After I was done I plugged the card back into the phone, and low and behold, problem solved, and I now have all my music available through my SD card.

Make sure that there is enough space available on your SD card when moving your files as well. Yet another good reason to use the COPY option instead of the MOVE option as there is less of a chance an unexpected problem or error.

The above method should work though… what phone are you trying to transfer the files with, how big is your memory card and how much storage is available on it?

If you can plug your memory card directly into your computer try transferring your files that way to see if it will let you and if you still have any issues let me know what kind of phone you have etc. and I’ll see what I can do to try and help.

Thanks Marie, I look forward to your reply.

I try to take a screenshot

I try to take a screenshot but it just flashes "copy failed" so fast and the screen shot misses it. I do have an adapter and my pc tells me I need to format my sd card. I do have things on it. It is new 64g 10x. I can format it but my pc won't format 64g...only 32. I will try my pc at home.

Formatting issue

I formatted my card using my phone and now I am able to copy everything over. Thanks for responding!!

That would do it

I am surprised that your phone didn’t prompt you to format the SD card as soon as you inserted it. Very odd, but if not formatted then your phone would certainly have some problems copying media to it.

Glad it’s working now. I am assuming that it is also allowing you to copy existing pictures from your phone to your memory card. Make sure to take lots of pictures and to enjoy your working SD card, and thanks for coming back and letting us know what the issue was, that way if someone else has the same problem it can help them to solve it.

Thanks again and have a great night my friend.


Brilliant.... thanks so much... now have a 64GB SD card in my 16gb Note II!! All stuff moved over and working well!

For some reason it is not

For some reason it is not letting me do anything. I don't have dcim or whatever file so i tried to create and it says it failed to create so i tried pretty much everything, moving, copying, pasting, to both the whole file and individual pics but nothing works. Every time it says moving failed and i just cant figure it out. I know i have plenty of space on my sd card so idk what the problem can be.

It sounds like your phone isn’t reading your memory card

Hi Lilly,

From your description it sounds like your phone is not reading or communicating with your memory card properly.

Usually a DCIM folder gets created automatically, sometimes it will create it for you after you insert and format your SD card for the first time or set your default camera storage location to the memory card.

What I recommend is that you remove your memory card from your phone, restart your phone, power the phone back off, reinsert the memory card, if prompted format the SD card (Note: only format it if you don’t have preexisting info on your SD card because a format wipes the card clean. If you do have data on the card then back it up to a computer first). Once formatted or once its reading correctly then check to make sure that its mounted and reading properly (if you need help with that then you can read mounting and unmounting a memory card for some help).

Then try to follow the instructions above again and see if it will let you copy your files properly.

Another reader had a similar problem and it turned out to be a format issue with her memory card.

I hope that helps Lilly, if you need any more help or have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you very much.

Thank you very much. This tutorial worked perfectly and solved a problem we have been wrestling with for months. Much appreciated.

Moving videos to SD card

Sadly I have not managed to move "videos" from my Samsung 4 to the SD card. These are videos downloaded from the internet and are played under the Video app which is a white block with a purple "play" button depicted. Sorted under the "movies" file.
I follow all your instruction and get a message "copying failed".
Any ideas would be most welcome.
Thanks you.

Very helpful! Thanks!

Very helpful! Thanks! It worked for my s2

moving files from samsung phone internal storage to sd card

Hands down - the best instructions I've read on the subject!!
Super easy to understand and to follow.
I loved how there was a picture for each step.
I will definitely be bookmarking this site for future how-to's!


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