Do we really need expandable memory on our phones any more?

An expanded view

One thing is certain: we don't need expandable memory in the way we used to. Online streaming and pervasive connections mean we can watch TV and movies wherever we want, just by grabbing them from the internet.

Meanwhile, rapidly increasing base levels of internal storage in phones mean the days of running out of space after taking just a few photos are long gone too.

But there's still one thing that consumers crave: confidence in their device. There's something visceral about knowing that your content – and perhaps your whole digital identity – is stored locally, and can be removed when you need it.

That's why there's still a market for Lightning port drives that can copy data from your iPhone and store it externally – it's cumbersome, but it offers security and reassurance.

Android's introduction of adoptable storage, meanwhile, will certainly make microSD expansion more desirable for both consumers and manufacturers.

It offers convenience and flexibility for users, and allows manufacturers to put lower amounts of internal storage in the base models of their phones, leaving the buyer to decide how much capacity they want to add.

Major brands like Samsung including expansion ports in solid state builds makes for an appealing alternative to Apple's closed iPhone design – whether or not it's needed isn't really the question.

There's no doubt that as connectivity becomes more dependable and omnipresent, the desire for greater amounts of expandable memory in phones will diminish, with gigabit Wi-Fi giving you masses of 'expanded' memory that's as accessible as a memory card.

But right now the memory card is still a crucial part of daily life for many Android users, bringing a degree of convenience and confidence to their phone purchase – and even many iPhone users are secretly wishing they could do the same.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.