Saving Pictures from a Motorola Android Smartphone to an SD Card

Do you need to save your pictures and videos from your android phone onto a memory card? These step by step instructions will guide you through the process of moving all of the pictures and videos from a Motorola Smartphone running on the Android Operating System and how to successfully move those pictures and videos onto your memory card so that they’ll be nice and safe from any factory data resets or phone issues. This will also allow you to easily transfer your media files from one device to another should you ever get another android phone.

You’re in luck too, Motorola phones have a pretty user friendly file management system and with some guidance on how to do it it’s actually pretty simple to transfer information from your smartphone onto the memory card. The beginning of this article goes over some of the things to take into consideration when backing up information to your SD Card, if you want to skip that information and go straight to the instructions on how to move and backup your media then click here.

Let’s start with the basics and go from there:

Do you have an SD Card?

If you don’t have a memory card then you can’t transfer your information to one, simple as that. If your phone allows the use of a memory card and your interested in investing in one, which I recommend that you do if you don’t have one already, then you might want to decide on what memory card would be right for you and get one. SD Cards are often times very affordable and they can make things so much easier if you ever need more space on your device, or want to transfer media from one device to another, and the best thing of all is that your information is secure. Should your phone get broken or if it malfunctions you won’t lose your data, all you have to do is pull out your SD Card and plug it into your replacement and presto, you got all your info, easy as that.

If you’re not sure if you have an SD Card, here is how you can check.

Quick Instructions:

Settings > Storage > Unmount SD = You have a Memory Card, Mount SD = No Memory card

Detailed Instructions:

  1. Go to your home page, the screen you see when you first turn on your phone (tap the home key, it’s one of the 4 physical buttons on the bottom underneath the phones display, usually looks like a house)
  2. Tap on your menu key, (it’s one of the four buttons too, usually on the far left, on Motorola phones its often four little squares, or a few horizontal lines depending on the phone. The far left key is what you’re usually looking for.)
  3. Tap settings, (once you tap on the menu key, the phone should show a few options on its display, one of those options is settings, tap on settings.)
  4. Select Storage, (It should give you a list of options to choose from. Scroll down and select the option that has the word storage in it. This option will be different depending on what type of phone you have; it will say either “Storage” or “SD and Phone Storage”, etc. tap on that option.
  5. Look for an option that says “Mount SD card” or “Unmount SD card”, if the phone is reading a memory card then it will say “Unmount SD card”, the phones basically saying I see a memory card in me, do you want me to unmount it so you can take it out without having to power me off first? If it says “mount”, then the phone is not reading a memory card and it will probably be grayed out not even letting you click it.
  6. Don’t click it! If you clicked it, don’t worry it won’t hurt it, just click it again. It needs to read unmount if you want to save stuff to your memory card.

Mount SD = No Memory card

Unmount SD = You have a Memory Card

Or, just look for a physical chip that plugs into your phone, different phones have them in different places, sometimes you have to pull the battery out of the phone to get to it, sometimes it plugs into the side or the bottom, it just depends on the phone. Remember it’s NOT your SIM card that you’re looking for. SanDisk is a pretty popular brand name for memory cards and might be branded on the memory card. SD cards often come in sizes like 2GB (two gigabytes) 4GB, 6GB, 8GB, 16GB and up. Some phones come with them some don’t.

If you have a memory card then proceed to the next part of the article. If you don’t or if you’d like to know some other methods on how to backup your pictures then you can read about them here. Other methods include computer, Bluetooth, online backups etc.

Is your phone made by Motorola?

These instructions are for an android Smartphone manufactured by Motorola. If you need instructions on how to backup your android phone and it’s made by different manufacturer than you can check out this page. Phones often have their manufacture branded somewhere on the device but if it doesn’t then the phone should also show the manufacturers logo when powering up the device.

What OS version is your Android Phone?

The Android OS (Operating System) that you’re using will also affect how you manage your information. As newer versions of the Android platform are released it is becoming easier to transfer and save information. The basic procedure of these instructions should work for most current operating systems especially the 2.3 (Gingerbread). If you ever want to check your OS on an Android Smartphone then all you need to do is go into your phones “Settings” and click “About phone”. Once you’re in “About phone” scroll down to where you can see the Android Version…

The current android versions are as follows: 1.5 is called Cupcake, 1.6 is the Donut, 2.0 and 2.1 are Éclair, 2.2 Froyo, 2.3 Gingerbread, 3.0 Honeycomb, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 4.1 Jelly Bean, etc. I love computer nerds, look at the version release names, there all alphabetical and all so sweet.

Checking your media

If your information is already saved onto your memory card then you won’t need to save or move anything, the works done. Here is how you can check the information saved onto an SD card.

If you don’t see your photos saved in your External SD then the pictures are going to be stored on your phone itself, this is quite typical on Motorola Android devices and is most likely the reason that you’re here.

Locating and moving your media

Alright here is what you came for, how to backup your pictures and videos to your memory card.

Quick Instructions:

Applications > Files > Internal SD card > DCIM > Camera > Menu key > Select Multiple > Select All > Move > Back Button > External SD card > DCIM > Move… Processing… Done.

Detailed Instructions:

  1. Select Applications – just like you did when you were checking to see if your information was already saved to the memory card. You’re going to want to go in to the applications in which you see a bunch of icons. It’s usually found on an androids default home page, in the lower right.
  2. Tap Files – it’s probably just going to say “Files” but on some phones it says “My Files”.
  3. Open the Internal SD card – this option might read as something else as well it just depends on what on what Motorola phone you have, you don’t want to select the external storage option you want to select the internal storage where your pictures are going to be located. Sometimes it just says Internal SD card sometimes it just says SD Card. If you see an Ext Storage or ext SD Card you don’t want to go into that one because it’s your external aka memory card. You’ll go into that folder when you’re ready to move your files. In any case go into the phones storage option usually labeled as internal storage. If you get to step 4 and go into your camera and don’t see any of your pictures then hit the back button and select the other option showing, then pickup and proceed from here (step 3) again.
  4. Select DCIM – there should be a folder labeled DCIM, go ahead and open it up.
  5. Tap Camera – once you tap on Camera you should see all the pictures and videos that you have taken on your phone. Note: if you don’t then make sure you’re in the phone storage and not the memory card storage as mentioned in step 3. Otherwise if you see your pictures proceed to step 6.
  6. Tap the Menu Key – usually the menu key is a physical key below the phones display next to the Home key. Depending on the operating system it might also look like 3 dots stacked vertically one on top of the other and display on the screen itself. Once you press the menu key some options should pop up.
  7. Select Multiple – this will allow you to select multiple pictures instead of just one at a time.
  8. Select All – Pretty much saves you a TON of time so that you don’t have to select them individually. This should of course select all of your pictures and allow you to move them all at once.
  9. Move – once all the media files are selected then tap on Move
  10. Back Key – you’re going to have to go back to the Files folder again so that you can open up your Memory Card. You’re navigating to the location that you’re going to move those pictures to.
  11. Select External SD – select the External Storage or External SD or External Memory or whatever the option is that you didn’t select before. Basically go into the SD card that you can remove from the phone at will. This is where you’re going to save your pictures so that they are nice and secure should anything happen to your phone or if you want to wipe the phone for troubleshooting purposes.
  12. DCIM – this folder should have a DCIM folder as well. go ahead and open it up.
  13. Move – once you open the DCIM you might see a camera folder you might not, if you do then you can go into that camera folder and tap move there instead but it shouldn’t matter. If your pictures are moved to your DCIM folder then the phone should read it without any problems.
  14. Done – you might see a processing or transferring message as it moves all your media. This can take a few minutes depending on how much information you actually have. Once it’s done then you should be good to go.

Double checking your information

Once your information is copied onto your memory card you might want to make sure that everything transferred correctly.


You have successfully saved all of your pictures and videos to your memory card on your Motorola phone.

Setting up the phone for the future

Once you have your files saved from your phone to your memory card you should setup your phone so that when you take a picture or record a video it saves directly to your memory card. Then you don’t have to worry about transferring the information again, it will just get automatically saved to you SD card, which should make your life a bit easier.

The exact process varies from phone to phone but here is the process on the typical Motorola android Smartphone.

Quick Instructions:

Camera (or Camcorder) > Menu > Settings > Storage location > SD card

Detailed Instructions:

  1. Go into Camera – as though you would If you were going to take a picture or record a video.
  2. Menu Key – tap the menu key to show the settings.
  3. Tap Settings – it’s often an icon that looks like a little gear.
  4. Tap Storage location – to set the location you want your pictures and videos to save to.
  5. Select SD Card – the internal phone storage option is probably the one selected. You want to select SD card or Memory card that way they get saved to it instead of your phone automatically.

Then you’re done and you won’t have to worry about your personal media files any more.

Moving other files the same way

The same process we used to backup your pictures can be used to backup other information from the phone onto your memory card. Just Move the file from the phone onto the DS card. For example if you have a music folder you want to copy over, you can move it in the same fashion. 

Other Methods of Managing Files

If you want another way to save your files to a memory card you can download an app to help you. The best one I have seen thus far is the ASTRO File Manager application. Just go to the Play Store and do a search for “File Manager” and you can see many free apps to choose from. And free is always in my price range. If you would like detailed instructions you might like saving pictures from an Android Phone to a memory card using ASTRO File Manager.

Note: If you’re running on the 2.3 Gingerbread Operating System then the instructions above should have guided you fairly well when it came to moving files to the SD card. If however you’re on the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS then it might be a tad different. Go into the phones Applications then the phones Files, locate the folder that has your pictures and once you find it on the top of the phone look for a little triangle or arrow that allows you to pull down some options, if you see a Move this Folder option then click on that and then Copy to SD card, and then hit Move. It should then move those media files from that folder to your memory card.


I hope you enjoyed the article and the new found knowledge that your information is now save on your SD card. If you have any questions or comments or suggestions don’t hesitate to leave them down below. I look forward to reading what you have to say, otherwise enjoy.

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19 thoughts on “Saving Pictures from a Motorola Android Smartphone to an SD Card”

  1. wow thank you! but…
    This is a perfect how-to article. Thank you for your clarity. I’m not completely dumb, but when it comes to technology I am and I’m so grateful you don’t skip steps and use lotsa acronyms and jargon.
    Sadly I did still manage to get stuck: Step 11.
    When I go back to find my “External SD” the only option aside from “SD Card” is “Shared Folders.” When i click that the only option is “Add Server.” Stumped again.
    Any more hints?

    Thank you again for your knowledge generosity and e-patience!

    1. How to move pictures and videos to your Motorola’s SD Card

      Hi Amgo,

      Thank you for the kind comment. Yes, I do try and make my guides and tutorials easy to follow, especially for those readers who might not be too tech savvy. I wish I had access to a Motorola Android smartphone so I could make a detailed guide with screenshots on how to move pictures and videos to an SD card like I was able to do with my Samsung Galaxy S4. But I digress; let’s see if we can’t figure out why your phone is being stubborn and not allowing you to move your media files to your memory card.

      First of all… What Motorola cell phone are you trying to move pictures to your memory card with? Do you happen to know what version of Android it is currently running on? Different make and models can have slightly different instructions.

      From your description though it sounds like you’re doing it properly, especially if you saw the “SD card” option. Did you follow the first part of the article and verify that your SD card was inserted and reading properly? This actually happened to me once and I consider myself a pretty tech savvy person, but it stumped me for a couple of seconds. I had inserted the micro SD card for the first time into a phone that I wasn’t too familiar with (at that time, it was a new model), and I had then ejected it to just make sure that it was inserted properly. WELL I ejected it when the card was communicating with the phone for the first time and when I reinserted it the memory card didn’t sync properly. I had inadvertently confused the phone.

      So I ended up checking to make sure that the memory card was mounted properly under the Settings (I talk about this at the beginning of the article) and it wasn’t mounted correctly. So I powered the phone off, took out the memory card, turned the phone on, waited for the cell phone to turn on completely, then powered it off again, reinserted the memory card, powered the phone back on, checked to see if it was mounted and reading correctly and this time and it was. Then when I went to find the memory card folder it was there and I was able to move or Copy files to it from the phones internal storage.

      So triple check to make sure that the card is reading properly, because if it’s not then it will be exactly how you described it in your comment and the folder to transfer or move your files into will be missing.

      I hope that helps Amgo, If you have any more issues or questions then don’t hesitate to ask, and thanks for being the first person to leave a comment on this article, I appreciate the positive feedback.

      1. The truth is…

        Well, not exactly. There still is no External SD option.

        The truth is this whole thing is an attempt to save my data (I thought it would save my contacts too) so I could return the phone to factory settings without losing my photos and contacts. And the reason I wanted to do that is just that I somehow did something (I think) that made it so that the text message icon/option doesn’t appear when I click on a contact in my address book. I get their email and the option to call them and Whatsapp if they have it, but no text message, which is the main communication I use.

        I couldn’t find that exact issue anywhere, so i figured it was something I did when I was messing around trying to make the phone stop going so slow. I didn’t realize there were such attentive Real people able and willing to help real time on these forums, otherwise I would have asked directly.

        Thank you again for being a real person and actually wanting to help!


        1. Hum, that is interesting…

          Hi again Amgo,

          Still no External SD hu? Are you sure that you have a memory card? Sometimes people confuse their SIM card with an SD card and the two are actually very different. Check out this article about un-mounting an SD card; it helps explain a little more in detail how you can check to make sure you have a memory card and that its working properly.

          Before we get to finding the best solution for your phone let me answer some of your most recent questions…

          If you are going to factory reset your phone then make sure to read how to backup and reset an Android Smartphone. I wrote that guide a while ago but I think you will find it VERY helpful as it give a lot of help not only factory resetting your phone BUT how to backup most of your information first.

          I’m not sure why it would remove the option to message through your contacts… At first I thought you might have just deleted the shortcut in which case THIS GUIDE would help but it sounds like you somehow removed the messaging feature all together, which I don’t know how you could… so a little strange and you might be right a reset might be your best bet at getting it back to normal.

          Before you do a factory reset do me a favor. Go into your Apps (bottom right of your Home/Main screen) and look for an icon that says “Messaging” icon. Click Messaging and if it goes to your last text message then hit the back button one time or until you see a list of all your texts. Tap the menu key (bottom left button on your phone), then tap Settings. Tap the Menu key again and if there is a “Restore default settings” tap it. Restart your phone and see if you can message properly again.

          If that doesn’t work then go to the Play Store and look for a “Messaging” app, you might just need to update or reinstall the Messaging feature back to your phone.

          If that doesn’t work let me know and we can try something else.

          Yes, I am a very REAL person and you are most certainly welcome, Amgo. I hope that helps. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any more questions and we’ll see if we can’t get your cell phone working properly again.

          Hope to hear back from you soon.

          1. Thank you for your thoughtful response

            Hi James!

            Sorry for disappearing. Life got super busy! Thank you for your thoughtful response.

            So actually, I didn’t lose the whole Messaging app, just the shortcut from my address book. I can still use the “+” sign inside the messaging app to add a text message recipient; I just can’t text from my address book. I know that’s not a huge deal but it’s actually proven amazingly inconvenient! I tried doing “restore to default settings” like you suggested but it didn’t fix it.

            Thank you again a million times! People like you give me hope in humanity! SRSLY!


          2. Your welcome, try this too…

            Life gets busy, I know what you mean.

            I am not sure what model of Motorola you have and I have not had the opportunity to explore the messaging features on a Motorola Android smartphone for a while so I cannot say for sure about that messaging feature through your contacts… I know exactly what you are talking about but I am not sure what setting would cause the option to vanish.

            Try opening your “Contacts” pressing the menu key, and then going through those settings as well. Hopefully you just unchecked one of the options to show that feature… I tried to replicate the same conditions on my Samsung Galaxy S4 to see if I had a similar setting but couldn’t seem to duplicate your issue on my phone.

            That is a strange issue you have Amgo. I’m pretty sure that a factory data reset will fix it as well, as it will put all the phones settings back to their factory default. Just make sure that if you do decide to perform a reset that you backup everything first. That way you don’t have to worry about losing any of your important information.

            Don’t forget to keep us updated; you got me curious my friend.

  2. Didnt work!
    Hi! So I followed these instructions exactly, did the same for downloaded pictures and ringtones, too. The downloaded pics and ringtones are now on my SD card although they are kind of scattered around and there are duplicates and triplicates of everything. However, my camera photos ARE NOT in the DCIM folder, when I click on camera under DCIM it says the folder is empty. I thought perhaps they somehow dumped under another file or folder, but I have checked them all and they are no where to be found!! AND they are no longer on my phone’s internal storage/gallery either! I’m on a Motorola Razr X 4.4.2 (jellybean). Any help or suggestions you have would be much appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Looking for your lost pictures

      Hi Janine,

      So it worked and you were able to move image files to your SD card but you’re having difficulties locating the pictures taken with your phones camera in order to move those pictures to your memory card…

      It sounds like your Motorola Razr might be setup to automatically transfer your camera photos directly to your memory card. Many Androids will prompt you when inserting an external memory card and ask you if you want your pictures to get stored to it instead of your phones internal memory. Or some cell phones will be setup to automatically save photos to a memory card, especially if the phone comes with a memory card.

      I have a feeling that this may be the reason that you couldn’t seem to find your camera photos. Your initial impulse might be correct in that your Motorola Razr may have “dumped them under another file or folder” only instead of saving them on your internal storage it may be saving them on your external storage. Make sure to search your external SD, especially if it contains another DCIM folder, and make sure that your pictures are not there already. If they are then you won’t need to move them to your memory card as your phone has already done it for you.

      I have a feeling that this might be what happened, so just double check and let me know one way or the other.

      As far as creating a backup. Don’t forget that a PC backup is also another fantastic idea as well. If your phone gets lost or stolen then your memory card is going to disappear with it. You can never have too many backup copies especially when it comes to important or valuable information.

      For your duplicates, once you have confirmed that they have been copied and are safe somewhere else you can delete your originals. Once you’re done moving, and removing things I recommend that you reboot your Razr as it should force it to scan your media files when it boots up and it should display your images properly in the gallery.

  3. This information was extremely helpful
    This information was extremely helpful and detailed which is greatly appreciated as well as your patience.


  4. How do I move my Data from SD card to Phone memory in Moto g2
    Can you Please help me to know How can I move my Data(Images,Videos.Songs) from SD card to Phone memory in Moto g2 ?

  5. Motorala ATRIX HD scare eliminated by your instructions

    You saved the day. I followed the vague instructions from Motorola support page and could not transfer my media files from internal to my new external storage SD Card. I even read many technical opinions / comments that Motorola smartphones will not allow you move from internal to external storage. Then I read your article and the clouds broke and the sunshine beamed in on my phone. The DCIM file folder was not mentioned in the Motorola support page. I have successfully moved all my pictures and videos to the SD Card. I am happy.

    Thank you, James.

    1. Walking on Sunshine! Enjoy your nice and safe media files

      Hi Vaincidence,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a nice and friendly comment. I appreciate it and I am happy to hear that you found this guide helpful when moving the media files from your Motorola to its external SD card.

      When Android was first released Motorola and Samsung were two of my favorite smartphone manufactures as they both had pretty decent file management systems built into their phones by default. This made troubleshooting a lot easier and less troublesome as you were able to actually back everything up before performing a hard reset. The trick was / is knowing how to use it 🙂

      But now that you know how to utilize it you will be able to take full advantage of it. Enjoy your nice and safe pictures and videos my friend and thanks again for letting me know that you found this guide helpful. Your post made me happy too.

  6. I know all this stuff…
    I know all this stuff… I still cannot move my screenshots, downloads, and Bluetooth photos to the SD card because it will not allow me to do so. Can someone tell me why and if there is a way to fix it direct me on how to go about this?

    1. I might need more information…

      Hi Oliver,

      The advice above should work for just about any media file on a Motorola Android smartphone with perhaps a few differences depending upon which version of Android it is currently operating on.

      Which Motorola are you having problems with? Which version of Android is it running on? Are you receiving any error messages when trying to make the transfer or is the option to move your files just not available? Tell me as much about your phone and what its doing and I will do what I can to try and help.

  7. Moving pic files
    Thanks very much for sharing this with the ignorant population. Very detailed information and useful for my Motorola razor because I am finally going to have to replace my four-year old device.
    What was so surprisingly easy was finding your post in Google search.
    Thanks and mucho kudos.


  8. Motorola Droid Maxx 2 lost pictures
    Per advice at a Verizon store, I moved photos from Gallery to Google Photos. I thought I backed them up to the Samsung SD card. I then deleted the photos in Gallery. Now I cannot find about 1/2 of the photos. They are not in Gallery, Google Photos, or on SD card looking at DCIM. I tried to find deleted photos through Trash in Google Photos and not there. What can I try now as Verizon says the pictures will be held for 60 days but I don’t know where. The salesman at Verizon said he didn’t know & I should go on another vacation and take the pictures again. I didn’t slug him.

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