Use Your Android as a Storage Device

April 7, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Portable storage options have become increasingly common in the last few years, with floppy disks making way for writable CDs and DVDs, which in turn have become the last resort in a world of high capacity portable hard disk drives and flash storage.

Mobile phones use flash storage, either for internal storage purposes or for user expansions, and it is common to find music and video stored in this way. Other data types can be stored on such additional storage options, allowing you to use a mobile phone as a useful portable data store, much like a portable hard disk drive.

Android phones are particularly suited to this purpose thanks to the manner in which they can be connected to a computer via USB and configured to behave in a specific way.

Use Your Android as a Storage Device

Turn on USB Storage

In order to use your Android device in this way, you will need to first connect it to a PC or laptop using the USB cable. No drivers should be required for this particular purpose – once the correct options are configured on the Android it should be recognised only as a storage device rather than as a phone or tablet.

Once connected you will see the USB connected message on the Notification bar, informing you that the device has recognised the USB cable. Drag the Notification bar down and select USB connected; you will now be able to use the Turn on USB storage button to activate the storage mode, effectively mounting your device as a disk option on your computer. You will notice that Android helpfully displays the remaining space on the device.

The next step is to open Windows Explorer or My Computer to see the new drive listed. You will be open to double-click this to see what else is already saved to it, and you will also be able to add and remove data and folders until the capacity of the flash storage is reached.

To end the storage sync session, just tap the Turn off USB Storage button!

Further Flash Storage Settings

You can find more storage options in the Android settings screen, accessed via Settings > SD card & device storage settings.

Here you will see the total and available space available on your additional storage card, as well as available space on the internal storage of your device. If you have a removable SD card (some hardware has the SD card locked in place within the chassis, making it tough to remove) then you should unmounts the card before removing it from your phone or tablet.

You can do this via the Unmount SD card option, which will enable the safe removal of the card, much like safely removing an USB storage device in Windows. When you replace the card or insert a new one, use the Mount SD card to enable it to be accessed again. Also note that for new cards or for cards you wish to wipe, there is the Format SD card tool.

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