How to Set Up the Samsung Galaxy S 4 camera: Picture Storage Location

Do you want to make sure those important pictures and videos that you just took with your Samsung Galaxy S 4 are safe on your memory card? Good idea! If your phone ever malfunctions or gets damaged and your photos are saved to your phone and not the SD card then those pictures or videos might be lost forever. This article will help show you step-by-step how to check to make sure that your camera is set to save pictures and videos automatically to the phones external memory card as well as how to set it up to do so if it isn’t already.

How to check your cameras default storage location

Usually this happens automatically

As soon as you insert your memory card into your Samsung Galaxy S 4 it typically prompts you the first time you open your camera with a message letting you know that you have inserted an SD card and if you want to change the default storage location to that SD card.

From which most people select “Ok”.

And that is usually all there is to it and you’re done. However… sometimes settings can be accidently changed or the “Cancel” option might have been selected instead so I strongly recommend that you double check your cameras settings to make sure that the proper configuration is set.

Checking or setting the cameras storage location

Quick Instructions

Camera > Settings (the little gear/sprocket icon) > Settings > Settings Tab > Storage > Memory card

Detailed instructions with pictures

Open your camera.

By default there is a camera icon on your home screen, if this shortcut has been removed then you can access your camera by going into your Apps and selecting Camera from your list of Applications.

You should see a video display as though you are about to take a picture.

Tap the Settings icon

It looks like a little gear or sprocket.

You will be shown some additional options.

Tap the Settings (gear icon) again to bring up even more settings

You will be presented with 3 tabs and a list of options.

Tap the Settings icon a third time.

Scroll Down

Make sure that Storage says Memory card

If “Memory card” is not selected and its showing “Device” instead then tap on the Storage option and select Memory card.

Once memory card is selected you’re done.

Your phone is now setup to automatically save your cameras pictures and videos to your memory card.

If your S4 is displaying “Device” and it will not show a “Memory card” option or the “Memory card” option is unavailable then your phone is not reading your memory card properly. Make sure that you check to make sure that it’s inserted and mounted properly. If this applies to your device then you might be interested in reading about Mounting and Un-mounting an SD card on an Android smartphone.

Additional Suggestions

Move your previous pictures from the phone to the memory card

Don’t forget to move the pictures that you had previously taken to your memory card as well. You want them to be nice and safe on your memory card and not just your phone, your Android phone will not automatically do this for you.

If you need help moving your original photos and videos or many other files from your phone to your memory card then Saving Pictures from a Samsung Android Smartphone to an SD Card should help to set you on the right path.

Make sure that you have the room for your media

If you’re using a hand me down memory card or an older memory card from a previous device then you should make sure that it is large enough and fast enough to handle the media from your new phone. The Samsung Galaxy phones get along with most micro SD cards very well but you certainly don’t want to run out of space on your memory card when you need it most. You might be interested in these tips on upgrading or choosing the best memory card for Android phones.


Enjoy your now secure photos on your Samsung Galaxy S 4. Make sure to take lots of pictures and videos and to enjoy the little things. Thank you for reading. If you have any tips, suggestions, or questions then don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. If you found this article helpful let me know by clicking the Facebook Like button or the Google + button below. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to check out some of the other interesting and helpful articles on the site. Enjoy.

19 thoughts on “How to Set Up the Samsung Galaxy S 4 camera: Picture Storage Location”

  1. Excellent!
    Excellent! Clear enough for even a dummy like me! So happy you posted this site! Thanks so much!

  2. Info.
    Thank you very much the information was informative, concise and simple. What’s the catch? hahaha….

  3. Moving pictures from device to memory card, Galaxy S4
    Thank You so much for making such clear and easy to follow directions on this Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. I will keep this site in my favorites section because I know I will find something else to learn every day with this smartphone.

  4. Moving Pics
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Very clear on how to do this and as I am not very good with knowledge of how tos on these phones this is PERFECT for me! Again thank you. But i was also wondering if u could answer a question I have about photo size and video resolution? I know it takes a lot of space up having a higher resolution but what in your opinion would be the best setting for pics and videos?? Thanks so much

    1. Choosing the best media format

      Hi Lori,

      You are most Welcome Welcome Welcome! I am pleased to hear that you liked this how-to tutorial and that you found it helpful. I do try to make these guides and articles as user friendly and as easy to follow as possible. Thank you for taking the time to leave such a friendly comment. The positive feedback makes me very happy.

      Ok, as per your Photo Size and video resolution question… it is really going to be a matter of preference BUT as for me I keep every setting of my camera at its maximum resolution and the biggest size. The way I think of it is… Why settle for anything less than the best.

      Since I have a 32GB SD card and plenty of storage space available the only problem I have ever really run across while using the best settings is sending a lot of pictures. If you are emailing, or messaging pictures then there is going to be a limit as to how many you can attach to a single message or email. This holds true on any smartphone or PC of course and if you do hit this little snag than many phones will let you resize the images to help make them smaller.

      I hope that helps Lori. If you have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

  5. Default setting of SD card as auto store location
    I have a Samsung S4 and purchased a 32G SD card for ext memory. I went through all recommended settings to set the SD card as its default picture storage. The S4 sends all of my pictures to the SD card automatically at the beginning great just like I wanted, however, after saving so many pictures it sets the default storage location right back to the device. I changed the default settings process four times after reformatting the SD card again. Every time it works great until saving so many picture to the card and it puts it right back to the device as being the default storage location. WHY and Why?

    1. Cell phone reverts back to default camera storage location

      Hi Chris,

      Yeah, it shouldn’t do that. I suppose there could be a few causes. For example if your memory card (or the memory card port on the phone) is malfunctioning and the phone disconnects from the memory card your Samsung might think that the card was removed from the phone and so it would go back to saving pictures to the phones internal storage. The card (or port) would start functioning properly again but the default storage would remain the same until you changed it again. This could all take place in a matter of seconds so it would likely be hard to spot and would look like the phone was just resetting the default storage location…

      It could also be a software bug (less likely but possible). Have you tried backing up your phone and performing a hard reset to try and rule out software issues? A hard reset would be a last resort but I thought I would ask for good measure.

      What speed class is your memory card? How much available storage is left on the card (probably a lot since you said you reformatted it but if it’s close to full this could be a contributing factor)? You already reformatted the card (good job by the way). Have you tried a different SD card in your Samsung yet? Have you tried the SD card in a different cell phone? Does this only happen when transferring pictures and other data or does it seem to be pretty sporadic? Have you been getting any error messages?

      I can understand the frustration Chris. If this happened on my Samsung Galaxy S4 then it would annoy me as well. I use my cell phones camera all the time. In order to solve your problem you might have to do a few things to try and pinpoint the cause before you can find the best solution.

      If you are still having this issue then let me know the answer to those questions I listed in this post and I will do what I can to try and help you pinpoint any possible causes and hopefully resolve this issue.

  6. Samsung Galaxy 4
    I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful, informative, easy to understand website.
    Since our kids are in college and cant show us how to manage our computer, phones, etc., it has been a struggle trying to figure out how to do things on the above mentioned. I have visited a lot of sites to try and figure out how to use my phone and/or computer. I have finally found my go to site. I will be sharing your website address with all of my technically challenged friends (and that’s a lot) lol. Thank you once again for all of your knowledge and wonderful step by step illustrations and willingness to help those of us who no longer have kids at home to do it for us.
    Terri and Glenn

  7. Best guide ever!
    Best guide ever! Thank you so much for writing this fantastic article, succinct and clear! Helped me a lot!

  8. Thanks!!
    Thank you! This was very helpful. I’m trying store my mom’s pictures so she can have more space for her cruise and I had no idea how to do this, since we don’t have the same phone. 🙂

  9. SD card question
    I followed your very clear explanations and moved my default picture location to the SD card in my Samsung Galaxy S4. (I also copied my existing photos to the SD card, following your directions.) When I took pictures recently, I did not see them in my “Gallery”, and I’m now getting a message that says “Blank SD card – SD card is blank or has unsupported file systems. If I touch the message I get a request as to whether I want to “Format SD card?”, and also noting that all data on my card will be lost. I have not done that, as I don’t want to lose the pictures – assuming they are there. So – many questions. Are my copied pictures there? (How do I check?) Second, assuming they are there, why can’t I view them? Third, if they are there, should I take out my SD card (after turning off my phone or “unmounting”), and then transfer somehow to my computer? Or, are they not there because the card was not formatted, so my attempt to transfer was in vain – and I should format the card and then transfer them. I want to be able to view pictures on my phone, and also email/send to FB photos that are on my phone.

    Thanks for your assistance. Your website is tremendous!

    1. That doesn’t sound good

      Hi Meredith,

      Let me start out by saying thank you for complementing me and my site. I really appreciate it.

      From your description it sounds like you did nothing wrong and everything correctly BUT from your well written explanation it sounds like your memory card either has or is malfunctioning. This is very bad news if there is information on the card and the card is refusing to communicate with some kind of card reader.

      If a phone or PC is unable to read the card and the card is only giving the option to reformat (which will wipe the card and everything from it) then you may not have any other choice apart from reformatting.

      I would definitely try to insert it into a computer to see if the computer can see those media files and if it can (which it might not be able to if the card malfunctioned) then you should create another copy and save that to the computer, try the card in your phone again and if it doesn’t want to read properly you could reformat the card, copy the information from the PC again, and be back in business.

      If this is the first time that you have used the card and the card was never formatted to begin with then it’s going to need to be formatted before you can transfer information to it.

      If you format the card and still have your original images/pictures/photos stored on the internal storage (the phones storage) then you can format the SD card and then COPY those media files to the card again and this time they should copy properly.

      If you transfer them again I recommend waiting to delete the originals, or creating another backup of the information to another source like a PC just in case your memory card is in fact malfunctioning. If it starts requiring you to reformat it all by itself again then the card is likely defective and should be replaced.

      1. Follow-up questions
        Thank you, James. I want to have my phone revert to storing picture on the phone, rather than the SD card, while I figure out what’s going on with the SD card. However, when I go through the steps on the camera to re-set storage back to the phone, the scroll down menu (after tapping Settings 3 times) shows “Storage” as grayed out. (It also shows that “Storage” is “Device”, but remember, the pictures that I took that started out this question are not showing up in my gallery.) So, how do I change it back? Also, I wanted to unmount my SD card before taking it out of my phone, but when I went to Settings (on my phone, not the camera), and Storage, SD card – it shows “Mount SD card”. When I touch that it says “preparing SD card” and then I get the same message about the blank SD card. So, can I take out the SD card (since it is apparently unmounted) without turning the phone off? And, more importantly, will it then save pictures to my phone? Another option I considered was the “Reset” option within the camera settings (at the bottom of the scroll screen that includes the Storage information. At this point, I just want my camera to take pictures that I can see!

        1. Trying to resolve your cell phones storage issues

          Hi again Meredith,

          For some reason your phone is not communicating with your SD card properly. This is why it’s saying “Mount SD card” as opposed to “Unmount SD card”. Since your phone is not communicating with the card there should be no issue removing it from the phone while the phone is powered on, but like you said you could always power the phone off before removing the card if you’re ever unsure.

          If your phone won’t communicate with the card then it probably will continue to be stubborn until the SD card is formatted. After formatting the memory card I have a feeling that your phone and card will be able to sync up properly again and allow you to setup the cameras storage to default to the card again as well.

          I hope that helps Meredith, let me know if you hit any snags or have any more questions.

  10. How about directing
    How about directing screenshots to an sd card? I often take screenshots and it gets saved on the device and not on the sd card. When I save pictures from twitter it also doesn’t go to the sd card. What should I do?

    1. Saving other types of files directly to an SD card

      Hello Alya,        

      To my knowledge there is not yet a setting that you can adjust (outside of the camera settings) in order to instruct the phone to save screenshots or downloads to the SD card directly. I do know that there are some applications available on the Android Play Store that can do this for you but you would have to download them and install them on your phone and then configure the app to automatically save those types of files wherever you wanted them to save on your memory card.

  11. Retrieve pics from external memory card
    Your sight is awesome and very helpful in setting up and transferring pics to external memory card! Thank you! ! Now I am trying to retrieve those pictures to show a friend and can’t figure out how to look at the pictures through the gallery that are on the external memory card? Can you help??

    1. Viewing recently moved pictures in your Gallery

      Hello Cindy,

      I am happy to hear that you have found the advice listed on the site helpful. I do try to create awesome content whenever possible; it just takes a lot of work.

      As far as viewing your recently transferred images in your phones Gallery… most phones should set all that up automatically and show in the Gallery right away.

      Here are some ideas…

      1. Restart your phone, maybe the phone just needs to scan for those media files and add them to the Gallery. Your phone should do this automatically for you as its starting up. After it restarts check your Gallery to see if the images are there.
      2. Double check the folders in your Gallery. Chances are your phone will have two “Camera” folders. A Camera folder for your phones internal storage and one for the external storage (your SD card). Perhaps you accidently overlooked the one on your memory card?

      If these two things don’t solve your issue then double check manually through your “My Files” directory to make sure that the pictures are in fact getting saved to your SD card properly.

      If you need help with this then you can check out THIS GUIDE which you can use as a reference.

      As long as your pictures are saving properly they should display in your phones gallery. Let me know if these two tips help or not and if you are still having issues we might need to do a little bit of troubleshooting to work it out.

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