How to Access Android SD Cards

By Andrew Tennyson

If your Android phone or tablet is outfitted with a micro SD card, you can access it by connecting it to your Windows 8.1 computer and opening the native file explorer application. You can also view and manage the contents of the SD card directly on your Android 5.0 device using the native My Files app.

Accessing Your SD Card on Your Computer

Step 1

Connect your Android device to your computer using the USB cable that came with the phone or tablet. If the Android device displays a message saying it’s connected as a camera, swipe down from the top of your screen to display the Notifications Panel and select “Media Device (MTP)" as your connection type.

Step 2

Press “Ctrl-E” on your Windows computer to open the native File Explorer app if it doesn’t open automatically when you connect your Android device to your computer.

Step 3

Select your SD card on the list of removable storage devices displayed in File Explorer to view the contents of the SD card. When the card is accessed in this way in File Explorer, you can back up its contents by dragging and dropping files and folders off of the card and onto your computer. Add and remove items like you would an external hard drive or USB key.

Step 4

Eject your SD card on the list of removable storage devices in File Explorer when you are finished and then unplug the USB cable.

Accessing Your SD Card on Your Android Device

Step 1

Open the app drawer on your Android device, scroll through the applications list and tap “My Files” to open the My Files app.

Step 2

Tap “SD Card” under the Local Storage heading to display the contents of your SD card.

Step 3

Select the folder containing the files you want to view. Application and system-related data is stored in the Android folder. Pictures and videos taken with your Android’s on-board camera is stored in the DCIM folder.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a micro SD card in your Android device, you can remove it and view its contents on your computer by inserting it into an SD card reader as well.
  • How you go about removing the micro SD card can vary considerably depending on the make and model of your Android device. On most smartphones and many tablets, you remove the back cover or battery cover to access the micro SD card slot. The micro SD card is sometimes hidden under your SIM card.
  • You can also back up other important data on your Android device using the Backup and Restore section of the Settings app. Tap the “Settings” icon on the home screen, scroll down through the Settings app and tap “Backup and Reset.” Place a check mark in the “Back Up My Data” check box to enable automatic backups of your Android device.