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Every tablet Amazon Fire tablet released in the past few years has featured a microSD card slot, which is a nice thing to have if you’re using a tablet that may have as little as 8GB of built-in storage. You can pick up just about any Class 10 or UHS microSD card to add up to 1TB of expandable storage, depending on which tablet model you’re using.

Once you’ve selected an appropriate SD card, Amazon gives you a lot of control over how to use it with a Fire tablet.

You can decide whether you want to apps to be installed on the SD card, whether movies, music, or other content should automatically be downloaded to the SD card, or whether photos should be stored to the card. You can move apps that are already installed to the SD card, or move them back to internal storage. Or you can just treat the card as removable storage and load it up with music, movies, documents, or other files.

This article has been updated to include instructions for using SD cards with tablets running Fire OS 7.3 and Fire OS 8 and everything has been tested on a Fire HD 8 (2020) tablet running Fire OS 7.3 and a Fire 7 (2022) tablet running Fire OS 8.

If you’re looking for instructions that work with older Amazon Fire tablets, our guide to using SD cards with the Fire HD 8 (2017) running Fire OS 5.4 may be helpful.

Using SD cards with an Amazon Fire tablet running Fire OS 7.3 and Fire OS 8

Setting up SD cards

Open the door covering the microSD card reader and insert a card.

If this is your first time using this SD card with your tablet, you may see a notification that says “Unsupported Storage.” If you do, you can tap that notification to open a menu that offers two options:

  1. Use for extra tablet storage
  2. Use for portable storage

The first option allows you to install apps to the microSD card, freeing up space in your Fire tablet’s built-in storage. You can also use the SD card to store media and other files, but if you remove the card you’ll lose access to any apps installed to it. So only choose this option if you don’t plan to remove or swap storage cards frequently.

If you choose the second option, you can use the SD card to store music, movies, and other files, but not apps. This is the better option if you plan to use an SD card to transfer files, movies, or other content between devices.

Once you’ve made your choice, tap the option and Fire OS will ask if you want to format this storage device.

Note that any data that’s already on your SD card will be erased, so make sure to back up any important files and then go ahead and format your storage device.

Using SD cards for portable storage

If you chose the portable storage option above, you can safely use an SD card to transfer files to and from the tablet using any file explorer app. But you can also automatically download Amazon content to the tablet.

To select which content is saved to the SD card, open your tablet’s Settings app and then select the option marked Storage.

Near the top of the screen you’ll see a section marked “Internal Storage” that shows you how much free space you have.

Tapping it will take you to a screen that shows which apps and files are using up the most space.

Left: Fire OS 7.3 / Right: Fire OS 8

Below Internal Storage is a section marked “SD Card Storage.” Tapping that option on Fire OS 7.3 will bring up a similar menu with a list of apps and files taking up space. But if you tap that option on Fire OS 8, you’ll instead be taken to a File Manager that allows you to manually sort through files on your SD card.

Back to the SD Card Storage menu though, below the name of your SD card you’ll find a series of toggles that let you set the SD car das the default location for downloading different types of content (including Movies and TV shows, Music, Personal Videos, Audiobooks, or Books and Periodicals).

Keep in mind that any content downloaded to an SD card will not be available on your tablet if you remove that card. But you can always re-download that content or access it again by re-inserting the SD card.

At the bottom of the screen, Fire OS 7.3 will also display options to safely Safely Remove SD card (it’s highly recommended that you do this before removing the card from your tablet) Erase SD card (only do this if you’re okay with deleting everything on the card), and to Format as Internal Storage in case you change your mind about how you’d like to use your card (this will also erase any files currently on your card). After formatting as portable storage, you’ll be able to install apps to the SD card, as described below.

Fire OS 8 handles things a little differently. Instead of a Safely Remove SD card option, there’s an eject button next to the SD name, You can tap that eject icon to unmount the card so it can be safely removed.

If you’d like to erase the card or format it as internal storage, here’s how to do that:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap the Storage option.
  • Tap the SD card name to open the Files app with the SD card selected
  • Tap the three dots in the upper right corner.
  • Tap Storage settings.
  • This will bring up an SD card storage menu with Format (erase) and Format as internal storage options.

While you can return to the settings menu any time you want to make changes, you’ll also see a persistent notification when a microSD card is in use. Pull down the notification tray and tap that message and you’ll find options to safely eject the card, or to revisit the setup utility that lets you decide whether to use the card as portable storage or ad an extension of the tablets internal storage.

You can dismiss this notification, but it will reappear any time you remove and re-insert your SD card.

Using SD Cards as internal storage

Once your SD card has been formatted for use as internal storage, you’ll be greeted by a screen asking if you would like to “Move content to storage device.”

This will free up internal storage space by transferring data such as eBooks, photos, videos, documents, and other files to the SD card. But this step will not transfer any installed apps to your SD card. You’ll have to do that manually, as described below.

During the file transfer process, which can take some time, certain apps may not work. Amazon also advises against removing the SD card and suggests keeping your tablet charged.

If you’d prefer to move your content later, or have more control over which content is moved, you can tap the “Move Content Later” option rather than the button marked “Move Content.”

Whether you move your content or not, you can now open the Settings app and go to the Storage option described in the section above. But this time you’ll see a different set of options.

Left: Fire OS 7.3 / Right: Fire OS 8

Rather than toggles to choose which content is downloaded and stored on an SD card automatically, you have the following options:

  • Move content to Internal Storage (This undoes the “Move content to storage device” option described above. If you haven’t taken this step, you’ll see a “Move data to SD card” option here instead).
  • Move Apps to SD Card
  • Format as Portable Storage (This lets you convert your SD card to portable storage. If you’re running Fire OS 8 you need to dig a little further to find this option with Fire OS 8: open Settings -> Storage -> SD Card -> tap the three dots in the upper right corner and you should see Rename, Eject, and Format as portable options)

If you choose to Move Apps to SD card, Fire OS will automatically detect apps that can be moved and transfer them to your card. This should free up some internal storage space, but perhaps not as much as you would expect since some of your apps probably aren’t designed to run from external storage and therefore will not be moved.

In the screenshot above you’ll notice that 8 apps on my tablet are available to be moved. But that’s just a fraction of all the apps on my tablet.

Also keep in mind that depending on the speed of your SD card, some apps may run more slowly if they’re installed to external storage than they would when running from internal storage.

One thing to keep in mind before transferring your apps is that while moving them to external storage is a 1-click process, transferring them back to internal storage is not.

After transferring your apps, the “Move Apps” item will be grayed out. There is no “move apps to internal storage” option.

But you can still move apps back to your internal storage manually by following these steps:

  • Open the Settings->Storage menu.
  • Tap the “SD Card” icon.
  • On the following screen, tap “Apps & Games.”
  • You’ll be greeted with a list of all apps.
  • Find the app you want to move and tap on its name.
  • If you’re running Fire OS 7.3, the steps to move that app back to internal storage involve:
    • Tap the Storage option to bring up storage details for that app.
    • Tap the “Change” button to choose whether the app should be installed on internal or external storage.
    • If you choose “internal” then you’ll be greeted by a screen asking if you want to move that app.
    • Choose “Move” to complete the transfer.


  • For Fire OS 8, the steps are a little different:
    • After tapping the name of the app you want to move, you should see Clear Storage, Clear Cache, and Change buttons. Tap “Change” if you’d like to move the app from the SD card to internal storage.
    • A window will pop up with options for SD card and internal storage. Tap “internal storage.”
    • A full-screen window will open with a “Move” button in the bottom right corner. Tap it to complete the transfer.

It’s kind of a tedious process, because not all of the apps listed in the “Apps & Games” menu are installed on your SD card. So you may have to hunt to find all the ones that were moved by Fire OS automatically.

Note that if you decide to reformat your SD card for use as portable storage and you already have apps installed on that card, they will be uninstalled and their data will be deleted if you haven’t transferred them to internal storage manually first.

The good news is that Fire OS will give you a warning message before allowing you to reformat the card so you can make an informed decision.

And that covers the basics of using an SD card with Fire tablet in mid-2020. But what about older models running earlier versions of Fire OS?

Using SD cards with an Amazon Fire tablet running Fire OS 5.4

Everything described in this section has been tested on an Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) tablet running Fire OS 5.4 and was originally published on July,14, 2017. The steps should be similar on other Amazon tablets running Fire OS 5.

Getting started

Open the door covering the SD card slot, insert a card that’s formatted using the FAT32 or exFAT file system, and you’re good to go.

If you’ve already loaded music or videos onto the card, you should be able to find them by going to the Music or Video tabs in the home screen launcher… although it may take a little work to find them.

For example, in the Music tab you’ll need to tap “My Music,” then tap the Settings icon, and then toggle the option that says “Offline Music Mode” so that you only see music that’s on your device and not music in the cloud that you’ve added to your Amazon Prime library.

If you’ve already downloaded some music to your device, there’s also an option in the Music Settings labeled “transfer all offline music.” You can press this to copy music from internal storage to the SD card.

For videos, open the Video tab, select Library, open Settings, and then choose “Personal Videos.”

Or you can just use a third-party file explorer like File Commander or Total Commander, navigate to the files you want to open, and then select the app you want to use. Personally, I’m using Solid Explorer, which isn’t available from the Amazon Appstore, but which you can download from the Google Play Store (if you’ve installed that), or from a third-party source like APKMirror.

You can either load music, movies, and other content onto your SD card by ejecting the card, inserting it into a card reader on your computer and copying files, or by plugging your tablet into a computer with a USB cable so that it shows up as a storage device. That second option is probably safer if you’re using a tablet that’s already had a card inserted, since it reduced the risk of data loss or corruption. But see below for instructions on safely ejecting the SD card.

Choose which items should be downloaded to the SD card

Once your SD card is inserted, Fire OS will automatically save certain types of content you download in the future to the card. But you can choose which items are and are not saved.

Open the Fire OS settings menu, choose the Storage option, and then scroll down until you see the SD card section.

There are a list of toggles. You can enable or disable options including:

  • Download Movies and TV Shows to Your SD Card
  • Download Music to Your SD Card
  • Store Photos and Personal Videos on your SD card
  • Download Audiobooks to your SD card
  • Download Books and Periodicals to your SD card

Most of these options have to do with content downloaded from Amazon. The photos and personal videos option refers to content you shoot with your tablet’s cameras.

Install (or move installed) apps to the SD card

There’s one other toggle labeled “Install Supported Apps on your SD card.” Once enabled, any apps that you attempt to install in the future that can be loaded onto the SD card will be.

There’s also a “Move Apps to SD Card” option that will move any pre-installed apps that are compatible with running from an SD card. Note that it can take a long time for that process to complete, so be patient.

While moving apps to your SD card is a one-click, long-wait process, I noticed there’s no quick and easy way to move all apps from your SD card back to built-in storage. But you can do it one-by-one.

Just tap the “SD Card Storage” option in your Storage settings, choose “Apps & Games” on the following screen, and then you’ll see a list of SD Card Compatible apps that are installed on the card. Tap any of those apps to bring up a detail screen that includes an option to “Move to Tablet.”

Keep in mind that while this will free up space on your device, you could run into a few issues:

  • If you remove the SD card for any reason, you won’t be able to run apps that are installed on the card.
  • You might not save as much data as you expect, since some portions of some apps will remain on the tablet’s internal storage.
  • Read and write speeds for most SD cards probably aren’t as fast as for the tablet’s built-in storage, so depending on your card, your tablet may perform some tasks more slowly.
  • If your SD card fails, it will take your apps with it.

Remove or Erase your card

Want to eject your card? Then you’ll probably want to make sure it’s not in use first.

Go to the Storage settings, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you’ll see an option marked “Safely Remove SD Card.” This will stop any tasks associated with the card to prevent problems.

Or if you want to erase everything on the card, there’s an option for doing that too.

Fortunately there’s a warning message the pops up before you take either action, so it takes at least two clicks to erase or eject the SD card, making it less likely that you’ll do either by accident.

You also won’t be able to erase or eject the SD card if your tablet is connected to a computer via a USB cable. You’ll need to unplug the tablet before making those sorts of changes to the card.

Looking for more things to do with your Amazon Fire tablet? Here are some more resources from Liliputing:

This article was originally published July 14, 2017 and last updated July 6, 2022.

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58 replies on “How to use an SD card with Amazon’s Fire tablets”

  1. I have Sandisk 128Gb microSD formatted as external storage. I put about 5 Gb of music on it from computer and put it back in the Fire. The Amazon Music app finds the files with no problem but it stops playing frequently like it’s buffering and then in a little while it resumes play. Any suggestions?

  2. I can see music I have on my SD card but cannot play it. Can anyone please help?

  3. “… insert a card that’s formatted using the … exFAT file system, and you’re good to go” — not on my 2019 edition of the Fire HD 10 running the latest version of Fire OS; this is bad information.

  4. Want to put CD collection on the fire tablet and use VLC since it will play flac and then pair it with the new $40 sound bar from Amazon. The fire tablet was $30 back in the day. One way to put electronic devices to practical use around the house.

  5. Hello, is it possible to read preloaded data from a SD card that is inserted into the tablet? thank you

  6. I just formatted an old SD 4GB card for “extra tablet storage” (ok, I know this is a slow memory and I should not use for apps or videos … but for docs I thing it would be fine).

    I have the option for move data and apps to SD Card, but I don’t see the SD Card on Files app (or another file manager app) for fine grained access and moving.

    Is there such option? Or the SD Card is not mapped to a storage/folder in Files?

    Fire HD 8 (8th gen) with Fire OS 7..3.1.8

    1. Just installed Solid Explorer. The SD Card seems to be also invisible to this app.

      Then I formatted the SD Card for “portable storage” (I guess this is the way I have to use it) and I see that Solid Explorer has gone. I suppose the app was automatically installed in SD Card.

  7. I have an 8HD running External storage is installed and in use with lots of space. However the screen where you should be able to choose whether apps abs content are automatically downloaded to the SD card simply doesn’t show those toggles. It basically had the card name, an option to switch apps (0, as all that can be are already on there) to the card or use it as portable storage. If it tap the SD card icon it just shows current usage. Tapping household profiles does the same. Any idea why I don’t have the toggles?

    1. I hope someone knows the answer. I have exactly the same problem and haven’t found an answer anywhere.

  8. I am a real “aul timer” as I am having real difficulty in both playing music from my Kingston SD cards, plus I am unable to access apt info on how to do so on my AMAZON FIRE HD 10 TABLET — can ANYONE help me, with hopefully, simple and/or straight forward info.

  9. I am a real “aul timer” as I am having real difficulty in both playing music from my Kingston SD cards, plus I am unable to access apt info on how to do so on my AMAZON FIRE HD 10 TABLET — can ANYONE help me, with hopefully, simple and/or straight forward info.

  10. Hi. I have fire hd10. I removed sd card without any transfer of files. As in android phones, we can insert and remove card easily without loosing data stored. But when I reinserted sd card, it shows me window either to format it or cancel it. I cannot proceed without formatting. I had all my data and many if apps on sd card. Is there any way to insert sd card without formatting. Well i think this format option is not good. Sometimes we transfer data from one device to other using sd cards.

  11. Hoping someone could help me figure out why the “format as internal storage” button is grayed out. I got a great deal on a PNY 256gb microSD card, but when I insert it into the tablet I can only format it for external storage. I’ve been researching for days, but progress is slow and Amazon support isn’t helpful. I purchased a SanDisk 128gb microSD card from Amazon and it works, so I know the tablet is fine. The specs on the PNY are the exact same as the SanDisk except the capacity. I’ve tried reformatting the PNY card numerous ways with no luck. I have EaseUS (free version) but open to trying other apps. I feel like the disk format and partitioning is the culprit, unless the SanDisk had some hidden firmware on it to allow Amazon to “format as internal.” I have 2 other SanDisk to test with, but don’t know how. Any advice?

  12. What if Amazon Prime Video is running on the internal memory but the movies have been downloaded to the external. How do you change it so that future video downloads are on the internal (because my external space is running low).

  13. I enabled the toggle for ‘download book and periodicals to your SD card’. Nothing happened.

    1. Nothing happens just by clicking that button. The next time you download that type of content it will be downloaded to the SD card. If you want to move existing content, you have to delete it and redownload from the cloud.

  14. Damn. I just got a 512gb Micro SD Card. I formatted it for ExFAT and my latest (9th generation) Amazon Fire 10-inch says it’s an unsupported format.

    Does anyone have any recommendations? I’ve updated to the latest OS version and it will only recognize Fat32. (What, they couldn’t get a license to use MS-DOS, or perhaps Kaypro II cp/m? Or perhaps Zorba cp/m? That was pretty cool in its day.)

    These things are supposed to be running ExFAT. My 8th generation device reads ExFAT with no problem. What’s wrong with this new version. It’s built to run only FAT32? I mean, really?? What the hell is wrong with Amazon? ExFAT is free.

    I doubt there’s a solution, so I’m really ticked. Is this something they can fix with a software update? Perhaps a future fix? Or should I load it up with Amazon movies and sell it?


  15. This absolutely ridiculous… I spent 30 minutes researching, reading instructions looking at photos etc attempting to install a micro sd card into my Amazon 10 Tablet. It was extremely uncomfortable to push in successfully and broke in half trying to get it out after it was not identified. I’ve installed dozens of these in other devices with no problem. Yes, I was attempting to put it in the correct way.

  16. If I format my sd card and use it as expanded storage to download movies and music can I still remove and use with a media player into tv to watch the movies ?

    1. If you’re using it as internal storage, then no. It’s not meant to be removed, may cause problems with your tablet, and will most likely not be readable by other devices. But if you format it as portable storage for downloads and other files, then yes, you can revive the card and use it with other devices.

  17. I bought a tablet but i cant install app in them can you please tell me. Also I cant see access any storage of my Fire HD 10 while connected to my computer? Neither Win 7 nor Win 10 shows any storage at all.

  18. I have a Fire HD 8 and have been using a SanDisk SDHC 32GB Memory Card.
    On power-up it has previously shown the disk icon on top left of the screen, which I swiped to see the contents…..recently it dosen’t appear on the screen on power up. Would anybody know why this is?

  19. Can anyone tell me why I cannot see or access any storage of my Fire HD 10 while connected to my computer? Neither Win 7 nor Win 10 shows any storage at all.

    1. I think you have to give permission. A message should appear when you open “This PC”

  20. What size SD card do I buy to maximize my fire tablet 8 plus 64 gig to 1T

  21. Your link to the article on installing an SSD to an older 5.4 Fire is a dead link.

    1. @Random, I’m not sure how that broke, but it should be working now. If it isn’t, just scroll down the page — both sets of instructions are included in this article.

  22. I had 2 Fire 7’s and a Fire HD 8 2017 version. I never had much luck moving apps to the SD card. Sure, I CAN move the apps. The apps work a couple of times, but start having intermittent problems, then eventually quit working. The SD card works just fine for music, video and pictures, but there are too many problems installing apps on it. Now I only install apps on the internal storage. The HD 8 has 16gb of storage, which seems to be enough for now.

  23. Thanks for writing this very complete article. I personally have never had any issues with using an SD card with either of my Fire Tablets. I like that it allows moving apps to the SD card so easily.

  24. Bought 2 sd cards for my daughters’ fire tablets and I cant download apps to them. Can anyone help?

  25. How do you use apps already on an sd card to a fire tablet 5. It’s is because I had apps on the sd card then removed it and reset my kindle and now I don’t know so How to get them apps again

    1. Unfortunately that’s not a feature that’s supported. You’re going to need to re-install those apps otherwise the tablet won’t know that they’re there.

  26. I just bought a 32gb pny as card it clicks in and shows it in the settings but it will not let me transfer or download anything to it. Any help?

  27. just bought a MICRO CENTER (Cambridge, MA) Hc 32 gb sd card for Fire hd 8, gen. 7. IT WONT SNAP IN!!! YOU CANT GET IT TO GO IN AT RIGHT ANGLES!!! HELP!!!! THE AMAZON INSTRUCTIONS ARE USELESS!!!!!

  28. the menu is different for the 7 and 8 fire. You also do not have a way to move games over to the SD Card.

  29. Can I move my documents folder to the SD card and/or create a documents folder on the SD card that my Fire HD8 (2017) will readily recognize when opening my docs?

  30. Still trying to get photos taken with camera to automatically store on sd card. It’s not happening. Argh!d

  31. Still trying to get camera photos taken to automatically store on the sd card. It’s not happening. Argh.

  32. I saved all my apps to the SD card before restoring o factory default. Now my Kindle Fire HD 20 can tell that the SD card has stuff on it, but it refuses to access the stuff on the card. I think your tip for using a file explorer will solve my problem, thanks.

  33. So, I am wondering if anyone can help me with this one…I have a 32gb SanDisk SD card in my Kindle Fire HD 8. I have all the toggles enabled so that apps, music, books, audiobooks, etc. are to be saved directly to the SD card. Up until now, this was working very well. I have 12gb left on the SD card, and 5gb left in internal memory. However, now nothing will save onto the SD card. I can retrieve everything already on the card with no problem. But if I try to save something new, I get “internal error” messages or it just saves right to internal memory. This even happens with attempts to download Kindle book samples, which should save to the SD card easily, as they always have. I’ve tried clearing caches, removing the outer case I had it in, powering down and back on, removing some apps, etc. but nothing seems to work. Has anyone encountered this before and/or can offer any ideas on what else I can try?

    1. copy content of the sd card to a new card formatted same as the original card (fat32 or ntfs),maybe you should place it first in the fire tablet & let it format it then take it out & insert it in to your pc & start copying. i hope this works for you

      1. Turns out the SD card had gotten corrupted. Amazon sent me a new SD card and now everything works fine. However I have decided that the next tablet I buy will have at least 32GB of internal memory because dealing with SD cards is a pain. I was trying to be clever by buying a cheaper tablet and then putting in a $10 SD card, but that ended up being more trouble than it was worth.

    1. both my scandisk and ony cars (128gb) clicked in, tho I had to use a pen to get it to go, very tight down it slot, my long nails used to work but sadly I cut them all

  34. I’m on my second fire 8hd and the sd card won’t fit into this one just like it wouldn’t into the first one. Their recommended card, nope, outside card card, nope…though both are sandisk….fire 8 hd and I are probably parting company……..

  35. I have 2 older Kindle Fire 7 tablets. I put 16gb SD cards in both of them. I was able to move 75% of the apps to the SD card, but some apps don’t support it. I think this is because of licensing issues, same as Android. Some developers don’t want you to pay for an app, save it to an SD card, then copy it to other tablets for free. The SD card works well for installing most apps, but not all of them.

    1. That’s pretty much the way it works on all Android devices. I’m surprised you could move 75% of them–that’s a high percentage. The app needs to be designed to allow being moved, but as far as I know it’s not a licensing issue.

  36. But nobody is telling about how the cards will work then are no longer recognised by device this has happened on three devices and Amazon’s answer is to remove and reformat the cards well guess what that caused me to lose data. But they are happy to sell me new sd cards because the ones that amazon recommends aren’t compatible per helpdesk

    1. That’s reminiscent of what happened with the Samsung Galaxy S4. The remedy then was to make sure you weren’t getting counterfeit cards (don’t buy from an Amazon third party seller) and do not use SansDisk cards even if legit.

  37. They also have a feature I just noticed, which goes the opposite direction. In Settings/Storage there’s an “Archive Now” button and a “View Contents” button. Click the latter and then you can select the items you want archived to Amazon’s cloud. I’m assuming most (or all) of the stuff they allow you to that with is Amazon content.

    1. Hi Katy. Do you know how to retrieve files from Amazon Cloud after pressing the Archive Now button? I accidentally archived the photos from my SD card that were in my camera and I’m unable to find them on my Amazon Fire.

  38. Android has had the capability, since version 6, to
    treat removable storage as if it were internal storage.
    Except Samsung has not implemented this feature.

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