How To Transfer Files Between The Galaxy Tab and a USB Drive, SD Card, or Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 slates are notable for their slim, iPad-esque profiles. They’re also notable for having only one port: a 30-pin connector. By default, users can’t plug in a USB flash drive or SD card to transfer files on the go. Samsung offers a solution to this problem with the Galaxy Tab USB and SD Connection Kit.

These dongles make transferring files between the Tab and a drive or memory card pretty easy if you can figure out where that happens. A notification pops up in the tray, yet tapping it doesn’t do anything.

Don’t worry if you encounter this. The Galaxy Tab isn’t great at making the next steps obvious, so I’m here to help.

Galaxy Tab with USB Adapter


Transferring Files Between the Galaxy Tab and USB Drive / SD Card

Step One: Insert the USB drive or SD card into the adapter, then plug that into the Galaxy Tab’s port. Once the Tab recognizes the drive or card, an indicator will pop up in the Notification Tray.

Notification USB

Note: Android tablets can read USB flash drives or external SSD drives, but they cannot read traditional (spinning) hard drives. IF you’ve tried to plug in your external HDD and Android didn’t recognize it, this is why.

Galaxy Tab with USB Adapter

Step Two: Open the app drawer and find the My Files app.

Step Three: If the app opens into the Root folder, scroll the folder list on the left side of the screen until you find the Storages folder. Tap to expand it, then tap to expand the usb folder inside, then expand the sda folder inside that.

The sda folder is where the files on your USB or SD card live, not a new folder on the drive.

My Files App Galaxy Tab

The app may open into the correct folder upon launch. If you’re already in the My Files app when you plug in the adapter the correct folder will open automatically.

Step Four: To copy or move files or folders to the Tab, tap the box to the left of the file name to select it. This will bring up editing options in the upper right corner.

The two pages icon is for Copy, the scissors are for Cut, and the trashbin is for Delete. In the dropdown menu on the far right you’ll find Rename and Details.

Selecting FIles - My Files App Galaxy Tab

Tap on the Copy or Cut icon after you’re finished selecting. The icons in the upper right corner will change to a clipboard icon. This is the Paste command.

Paste Icon - My Files App Galaxy Tab

Step Five: Navigate to the folder on the Galaxy Tab (under Root) where you want to copy or move the file/folder. Tap on it to open, then tap the Paste icon. Your file is now in the new folder.

My Files App Storages Folder Galaxy Tab

Note: A quirk of many Android file apps is that, unlike a computer, the clipboard forgets what it’s holding if you do some other command before pasting. Example: if you select another file or create a folder. If this happens just navigate back to the Storages folder and start over. For this reason, I usually Copy instead of Cut, then delete the files I don’t need on the drive later.

Step Six: To copy or move files from the Tab to the USB Drive or SD card, repeat the steps above but in reverse.

Step Seven: Once you’re done, click the USB icon in the Notification area. It will now say “Click here to remove drive”. Tap that and the folders will disappear from the My Files manager. You can now unplug the drive from the Tab’s’ port.

Pro Tip: You can connect a camera to the Tab without having to take the SD card out as long as the camera has a USB connection. Just plug the USB cable into the USB Adapter dongle. The Tab will simply recognize it as a drive and you can copy images to a folder on the slate quickly.