Moving a SD Card from Windows Phone to Another Windows Phone

There was a Windows Phone which was purchased 2 years ago with the updated Windows Phone 8.1, we put a 32 GB SD card on it. We had installed major apps on the SD card and hundreds of photos and video on the SD card. Later we bought a new Windows phone since the old Windows phone was working worse due to more and more apps. We meet a task:

How to move the SD card from old Windows Phone to a new Windows Phone ?

We actually had two type of data on the SD card: Apps and Photos (Including Video, Music files and other files). If you are familiar with computer with Windows system, you might understand a case of how to move a hard drive from one computer to another computer: When we moved a hard drive to another computer, we could see the original photos, video, music files and our document files directly, they were not changed; But we could not use the installed software, we had to install the application again, even we could see the application files and folders.


Photos, Video, Music files, Document etc. Can be Moved Directly

The photos and video, or music, document files, are just static data on the storage devices such as hard drives or SD cards, so we can move those static data to other places without problems.

Applications Can NOT be Moved Directly on Current Windows System

How about application programs on a computer system or apps on a Phone system? We mentioned previously in desktop Windows system, we could not move installed applications to another computer even we could see the files and folders were on the hard drive, because applications software on Windows system are not only been stored there as files, but also they needed to be “registered” into the Windows system, they might also involved multiple services to work together when the application were launched, these are the tech things in Windows system, which we do not need to acknowledge very details, we just need to know that almost all Windows applications are “Dynamic” things compared to those Static data files. That is the reason why the application can not be moved to another computer directly like a data file.

Unfortunately, Windows Phone 8.1 system (I guess Windows Phone 10 also currently), the Apps are just like a desktop system applications, they can not be moved to another Windows phone directly either.

A Real Case of Moving SD Card from a Windows Phone 8.1 to Another Windows 8.1.

1: Very Important ! Backup all content on the old Windows phone first:

Settings –> Backup –> Tap on all backup options: apps + settings, text messages, photos + videos

This backup process will spend your time, so just wait and make sure it completed all content backup before you start the next step;


If you have too many photos and video, you can only backup the apps and text message items through your phone first because the phone uploading speed is slow; Then you connect your phone to computer or take out SD card from phone and then use SD card adapter to insert to SD card reader slot on your computer (if applicable), copy all photos and video to your computer. This way is much faster than you do backup way on your phone.


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2: Try to move apps from SD card to Phone if you want to keep some apps on the old phone:

Settings –> Storage Sense –> SD Card –> apps+games –> tap a app which you want to keep on the phone –> move to Phone.

Note: Since your phone’s storage space is limited, you can not move all your apps to your old phone, so you will have to compare the app’s size and phone’s available space before moving an app to phone. Select the most wanted app by yourself first .

3: Uninstall all left apps on the SD card through old Windows phone:

If you see no more phone space to move apps from SD card, then you will have to uninstall all left apps, otherwise these apps files will not be useful on new Windows phone but they still occupy the SD card space, so better uninstall them before moving SD card.

(The new Windows phone might delete all left apps for you automatically when you insert the SD card to new Windows phone, but we did not try that way, we uninstall apps from old phone before we insert SD card to new phone)

Settings –> Storage Sense –> SD Card –> apps+games –> tap a app which you want to uninstall –> Uninstall.

You will have to uninstall app one by one.

4: Double Check on the old phone any other files still on the SD card ?

Such as check download files, temporary files ? If there are files, try to delete them.

Settings –> Storage Sense –> SD Card –> downloads

Settings –> Storage Sense –> SD Card –> temporary

5: Change all new store settings from SD card to phone on old Windows phone:

Settings –> Storage –> change all existing new store settings, if you set SD card previously, change to phone.

6: Click “remove SD card” button on the old phone !

You can not take out SD card directly from your old Windows phone since you might damage the SD card. The safe way is let Windows phone system remove the SD card:

Settings –> Storage Sense –> SD Card –> remove SD card on the bottom


7: After you seeing a message notifying you can move SD card safely, power off the old Windows phone, take out the SD card;

8: Insert this SD card into new Windows phone and power on the new phone, you will see the below screen:

Delete other apps?

This SD card has apps from another phone installed on it. To install apps to the SD card, the other phone’s apps must first be deleted. Do you want to delete the other phone’s apps from the card?


Since we have already uninstalled all existed apps, so here we just click yes, it should not bring any problem.

9: Give time to new Windows phone to recognize all photos, video and other static data files.

If you have lots of photos, video and other static files on the SD card, the new Windows phone can not show them for you at once when you just inserted the SD card, you will have to wait some while to let new Phone system to recognize those files.

You can see the updating slider run on the phone top during the static files recognize process, for our case we waited around 10 minutes for Windows phone show back us our old photos.


Now the SD card moving process is done. Good luck for your case !