Using an SD card with the Plum Village app

Many Android phones and tablets allow storage space to be expanded by slotting a separately-purchased SD card (microSD) into the device.

The Plum Village app supports SD cards on Android (4.4 or higher) with a setting called “Save offline media to SD card”. Because SD cards are not available for iPhone or iPad devices, this setting is not available on iOS.

We have prepared these FAQs to help you understand how and why to use an SD card with the Plum Village app.

Why use the “Save offline media to SD card” setting?

This setting can be helpful if you wish to save media for offline usage but have limited internal storage space on your phone or tablet. If storage space is not a concern, you may wish to stop reading now (check out our blog instead)!

The Plum Village app allows you to save audio and video media by pressing the download button next to these items:

The download button shows next to each audio or video item in the Plum Village app.
The download button next to a media item

Once you have downloaded the item, it will show the ✓ icon, meaning it is available offline:

An item which is available offline after being downloaded shows the ✓ icon.
This media item is available offline

These offline items can be used even when you do not have an internet connection. Offline items can help to keep mobile/cellular data usage under control, too: saving a frequently played meditation for offline use means that your device will not download it again every time you play it.

The only downside of offline items is that they use up part of your device’s storage space. If you have limited internal storage on your device, enable this option so as to save to an SD card instead.

How do I enable this SD card setting?

  1. In the Plum Village app, open the Extras tab (the fourth tab; the icon is a singing bowl).
  2. Scroll down and press Settings.
  3. Check the Save offline media SD card setting.

If you have an SD card in your device and it is available, the settings screen will show SD Card status: available. After enabling the setting, any media downloaded in future will be saved on the SD card.

Under the SD card status, you can see the number of items saved on the SD card and on internal storage.

The SD card setting in the Plum Village app shows items saved to the SD card and internal storage.
SD card setting, SD card status, and offline item stats

How do I move offline media items to the SD card?

If you saved media items to internal storage prior to enabling this option, and you would like to move them to the SD card, you will need to download each item again. To do so, first navigate to the item and press the ✓ button:

The ✓ button can be used to remove an offline item.
Press the ✓ button to remove the offline item

A dialogue box will appear, informing you where the item is stored (internal storage or SD card):

A confirmation dialog shows before you delete a media track.

If you confirm deletion, the item will be removed. The ✓ icon will change back to a download icon; pressing it will download the item again, this time to the SD card.

We have not added an option to move all items automatically, because we expect few people will need to. However, if you would use this feature, please let us know by voting for it on our feedback board.

How do I move offline media items from the SD card to internal storage?

You may wish to move items to internal storage if you intend to stop using the SD card. You can do this one by one, as described above.

Alternatively, some recent Android devices offer an option to “Migrate data” back to internal storage. This is only available if the SD card was formatted as Internal Storage/Extra Phone Storage (which is not possible on all devices). If available, you will find this option in Settings (phone) > Storage > Internal shared storage > Menu (⋮) > Migrate data.

Why is my SD card showing as unavailable?

If you do not have an SD card plugged in, or if the SD card is damaged, the status will be given as unavailable.

The SD card could also be incorrectly formatted for use with the device. A new SD card will typically work immediately. However, your phone may notify you if an SD card requires formatting. You can also start the process in Settings (phone) > Storage. Please be aware that when formatting an SD card, any data already on it will be lost.

When formatting an SD card, you may have a choice between formatting as portable storage and internal/phone storage. Either option should work with the Plum Village app, but in our experience the portable storage option is slightly more reliable, so use that option if in doubt.

Formatting options for SD cards include "portable storage", and sometimes also "phone storage" or "internal storage" (alternate term).
The SD card formatting options on Android 10. This screen looks different on older versions of Android. Prior to Android 9, the “phone storage” option was referred to as “internal storage”.

Anything unclear or not working?

If you experience a problem when using an SD card with the Plum Village app, please get in touch so we can assist you. Similarly, if you found anything in this guide unclear, we’d love to hear from you so that we can improve it for others.


A free app as a gift to the world

The Plum Village App is offered for free as a gift to the world. As well as the Bell of Mindfulness, it is full of guided meditations, contemplations, and talks offered by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village monastics. Please share it with anyone who may benefit. If you are using the app and find it beneficial, you can support its continuation with a donation.

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