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Don't buy an LG G6 without a microSD card

The LG G6 is a great phone. But what's definitely not great is the way certain features, like the Quad DAC, wireless charging and 64GB storage model, are confined to a handful of specific regions. Of the three, the storage capacity restrictions imposed on Western G6 buyers is probably the most irksome. 32GB is only barely enough to include in a flagship phone in 2017. (I've laid out all the reasons against buying a 32GB phone here.)

In earlier Android flagships, a microSD card was an optional extra. With the G6, it's a necessity.

Nevertheless, the LG G6 is a great phone, even with its relatively cramped internal storage. That means if you plan on buying the new LG flagship, you'll want to invest in a microSD card, to offload heavier files like photos, videos and music. LG's camera app will default to using removable storage for photos and videos if it's available. And most popular streaming apps like Spotify and Google Play Music let you download tracks to your SD card instead of internal storage — though you'll likely have to manually flip that switch yourself.

AC editors are currently using pre-release U.S.-spec G6s with 32GB of storage, and these come with a little under 21GB of space for your own stuff, a whopping 11GB of space having been lost to formatting and system data. (Part of that is Android Nougat's new partition system for seamless updates working as designed.) After a little over a week with the G6, I'm down to 12GB remaining — that's with having a 128GB microSD installed for music and photos.

Without removable storage, I'd blow through that remaining dozen gigabytes in a couple of months, easily, with a little daily music streaming and photography. Which is why a decent SD card is a necessity, lest you fall victim to storage anxiety.

But be careful what you use your SD card for. Some apps can be moved to external storage through LG's software, but doing so will cause them to load more slowly and possibly impact performance in other, less predictable ways. Same deal with Android's Adoptable Storage feature, which debuted in Marshmallow and lets you format an SD card as internal storage. All this stuff comes with a performance-related price tag, so it's safer to just use your card for music, photos and other types of media, like Netflix downloads.

You'll also want to make sure you get a good, fast SD card, like one of the ones in our guide below.

More: Best microSD cards for Android

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

80 Comments
  • When it comes to phones, what's more important? Read or write speed?
  • Read speeds
  • definitely read. At least in my opinion
  • Write speed though, is just as important as read speed. Especially if you take a lot of photos, write speed can determine how fast you can take the next shot.
  • Agree, get to the next as fast as possible.
  • It's those special little details you don't wanna miss when your wife is dsjnsjdaddc..................
  • 32GB is the new 16GB. And on a side note, we shouldn't be giving manufacturers a free pass for not having more storage just because it has an SD slot.
  • I will be skipping this one. 32 GB storage for apps is just too little for me. I will be sticking with my V20 for now.
  • If you are a gamer yeah, otherwise in my opinion 32 is fine. Take a look at installed apps and I bet at least a quarter of them you have not touched in a month.
  • Sure, I could get rid of some apps, but why should I have to? Also, LG is making a 64GB version of the G6, just not for the US market. What's up with that? it is not like they are selling the 32GB version at a discount. Bottom line is, there are other flag ship phones and even moderately priced phones available with 64GB and microSD expansion, so why should I settle for less in a new flag ship phone?
  • @sheba510, you are 110% correct. No excuse for it, and being told that you need to make changes on your part to accommodate their shortcoming is pure BS. Hell, let's just make it a 16Gb base. I mean, you'll have a whole 5Gb available after the system install. What more could you people want?
  • Exactly
  • I'm skipping it too, keeping my V20. No way I would give up the Hi-Fi Dac, removable battery, and 64 GB...
  • Just shameful LG is dead. I'll stick to my ZTE handsets
  • 32GB is new 8GB, with all respect. ;)
  • Noooo I rather buy a s8 plus with a SD Memory slot . And 64 gigs of on board storage .....LG G6 ...I'll pass on ...
  • This was the deal breaker for me. When One Plus can give customers 64gb base storage for $450, and LG cannot, they can keep their phone.
  • This should be a major issue in reviews - yes, buy one BUT... I can live with the 21gb remaining myself, but at flagship prices I shouldn't have to depend on SD cards which don't fill me with confidence. Then they omit the audio stuff, when us peasants in Europe could never buy a V series. We have to buy their sob story as to the rationale for these regional specs. IDK, I wouldn't kick one out of bed, but if I was in the market for another flagship I think I would pass unless the price dropped significantly.
    The camera is not a number one item for me. Each year a major OEM disappoints fans in some way I guess, by holding back what they want.
  • LG just has a habit of disappointing more frequently than others.
  • Even with an SD card it is still a hassle transferring media, apps etc over to the SD card. It's unacceptable for any OEM to still be releasing phones with only 32GB of storage. I think 64GB should be the standard.
  • What media has to be transferred? Don't buy phones without SD cards and you'll always have your media on the SD card.
  • Yeah, the decision to go with 32Gb native storage was a stupid, no go move, for me. Good luck, Lg.
  • Does anyone know the price difference between 32 and 64gb UFS ?
  • In quantities that they get for manufacturing? A few bucks...
  • Negligible, as NAND prices have been going down for a while.
  • Sorry LG, I will skip over you once again. This year, when the G6 was revealed, I took notice. So much of what you have done with the phone is right on point. I love the design, waterproofing, internals, etc. but as soon as I saw "32GB" I put it out of my mind. I'm sorry, but it is 2017. I know there are many individuals who use less than 20 apps or so but for some us us 32GB is simply not enough. If the manufacturing cost of doubling or even tippling the cost of the storage was congruent I might understand. But based on reports I've read the cost to double the storage is as little as $8. Simply put, sorry 32GB simply doesn't cut it.
  • Here's my theory on this situation, this might seem crazy, but I think LG is currently surveying the US Market just to see what our reaction will be due to giving us the 32GB Model instead of the 64GB Option, and this is probably why we are most likely waiting until April for the LG G6 to be Commercially Available, if they see that it's an issue, they may reconsider. Honestly I personally don't see this as a deal breaker, because at least an SD Card Option is available for our usage, I know that's not justifiable, but it's better than having a 32 GB device with no expandable storage (I'm looking at you Apple), it could always be worse, that's just me. They also probably pushed this decision, because they want to make sure the LG G6 is reasonable priced, because I think about this, when you see products that have different storage options, you see the price go up 100 dollars more when those storage options are selected. We'll see.
  • It's too late for that. LG is just stupid lol. There was no cleverness behind it. They got almost everything right. If they didn't have these different SKUs and priced it smartly, it probably would have done better than however it's going to do.
  • Apple gives you the option to get 256Gb though
  • Yes I think 64Gb is about right, I have a 64gb iPhone 6 and I have plenty of netflix content and about 8GB of podcast on it, after all that I have about 5GB left, I also have a 32GB LG G4 with an additional 64GB card, but managing content is always back and forth, would prefer a 64GB base option and 128GB card, that would be enough.
  • I hope your theory is right because to me, the whole region-restricted specs made absolutely no sense. From the point of view of manufacturing, it also increases your cost since you have to many different versions. They claim to base on some surveys. Absolute BS. Common sense dictates that it's much simpler to make one version, and no customers get angry or confused because they can't get whatever their neighbors get. LG, you'd better change your strategy fast. Otherwise the G6 will be another footnote in your long list of failures.
  • And Europe gets the worst deal of all. 32GB, no quad DAC and no wireless charging.
  • Yep. Why make this phone glass backed if it doesn't support wireless charging? Why don't they just make one phone for all markets.
  • Yep Europe is the unwanted step child for a lot of OEMs one reason I like Apple because they give Europe and most of the world the same thing. I will only buy android OEM that do the same. It's a shame as I loved my LG G4
  • The deal breaker for me wasn't the 32gb of storage. It was not having the better DAC.
  • Does the G6 randomly eject and remount the SD storage like the G3, no matter what brand/speed of card you install?
    If LG hasn't fixed this, I'll look elsewhere.
  • Didn't happen on my G4 or G5. I'm using Lexar 64gb 633x. 26gb used up. G5 still fast enough with 15gb internal used up.
  • I have a HTC 10 with 32 GB onboard storage. I currently have 139 apps installed and I'm using 31 GB of storage. I do have a sd card but the only things on there is my titanium backup files and photos.
  • Impossible. The 32GB storage also contains your OS which, in most cases, take up 10 to 12GB. That means only 20 to 22GB is available for you too install apps. No way to have 31GB of apps only with 20GB of storage left. Unless your meaning you used 31GB of storage on your sd card.
  • Check it out. https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNtMOA554Eb45-6oOsTQqfuJVWXLMDdlVu9...
  • Oh ok. I see what you're saying. You have 32GB storage and have used 31GB total .... that includes the OS and apps!! Cause you have only 9.14GB of apps installed. In your post though, you made it sound like you have 32GB storage and you have 31GB of apps installed.
  • Oh yea sorry :). It is possible to get by with 32gb. Especially with Google Photos and music on the cloud.
  • No worries!! And of coarse you can get by with 32GB. Might have to micro manage at times of you're a download junky but possible. I do it every day!
  • I'm confused, not the first time by any means.
  • About? :)
  • As i can see LG continue to shoot themselves in the foot. First Snapdragon 821, second regional features and now 32 gb. 64 gb is nothing co sidering the absurd amount of money they asked for those devices. What a shame, i love the new design, it seems those OEM don't learn nothing.
  • Crappy LG and it's regional restriction crap. Some region get 64 GB ? LG you are drunk
  • this phone would be interesting at $400
  • Not when you can get a s7 edge for half off on t-mobile and sprint haha
  • Why in the hell does the v20 come with 64gb internal and lgs new supposed flagship only come with 32gb... They can keep it.
  • The V20 also has DAC. I think the European version won't have DAC on the G6.
  • If this is priced at 550 bucks or above....it will be a total failure. And well deserved.
  • Flagship prices for mid-level specs...... How could you say no....
  • So the G6 supports adoptable storage explicitly then?
  • Last year's processor, last year's memory capacity, this phone better be cheap or it is a no go for sure.
  • My S7 has 32GB and I'm only using 21.7 of it and I've had the phone since launch, have an SD card with under 5Gb used on it. I can see why people need more storage, but I feel it's the minority that are in need of it. This is only an issue if most other flagships use 64GB at the same price point.
  • Woah people... It's not really that serious in the grand scheme of things. Your average consumer won't care that much about space like we do. They'll accept its full, get mad, delete some stuff, and keep it moving. Yeah it'll be annoying to them but they'll just assume their friend's iPhone with 32 GB of storage is going through the and annoyance. They just won't know any difference, let alone know to complain about read and write speed. Me personally I have a 64 GB SD card and I stream off Google Play some I'm good
  • Bruh my two closest friends have the S7 Edge. Both ran out of storage right away after downloading stuff. Those are your average consumers right there. Im somewhat savy when it comes to phones so I got me a high end SD card. And even me I hate dealing with it. What exactly is your point? It's ok for OEM's to charge such high prices with last year's specs. Hmm ok.
  • I hear you and agree with your last point, but i would just like to point out that "Average Consumers" don't try to fill their phones up with basically the entire Google Play Store catalogue and then complain they lack storage like what your friends did, apparently. That's not a thing. TRUE average folk (at least in my country) have these EXACT LIST OF APPS installed. These are your true average folk, they only run out of space if they bought an 8GB phone (Who TF would still buy an 8GB phone in 2017?!)
    Facebook - Messenger - Twitter - Instagram - Viber - GOSMS - Clean Master - GO Keyboard
    Candy Crush - ShareIT - Collage - Z Camera - LINE - Wechat - Spotify - Music downloaders P.S.: If someone says "But what about games? I love NBA 2K17 on my Galaxy!" Just get a PlayStation 4.
  • After two Nexus devices in a row, I have formed two opinions.
    One, SD cards stink, and Google was right to reject them.
    Two, 32 GB storage was a lot in 2012, barely acceptable in 2014 (for my usage), and pure nonsense in 2017. LG is foolish for this decision, and Google is no less idiotic for offering 32/128 only on the Pixels. Neither will see my money.
  • It's when I stumble across articles like these that I'm feeling the most satisfaction upon using an adblocker.
  • Of course most people can make due with 32gb of storage. But it's something I'd prefer not to even think about after purchasing a 700+ dollar device. Why not under promise, and over deliver? That's how you build a loyal customer base.
  • 32gb is enough for me.. https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNP1zSUwKf3qDf9DatcvFM2rm6lLwmDFBfN...
  • Or don't buy a G6 at all and wait another month for the better spec'd S8 plus like me with 64gb internal and a 256gb micro sd card leftover from my Note 7.
  • It didn't take long for the endless stream of disappointing issues to commence on an LG phone.
  • LG seem to think 32GB storage + SD Card is enough. I disagree but kind of understand. For a lot of people 32GB is enough and those that want more can use an sd card. Saves cost for those that don't need extra. I'm guessing that the 64GB model is also the dual-sim model. As it will probably be a shared slot, those who use the dual-sim will not be able to use an additional sd card (without a dodgy hack of some sort).
  • how can 32 gig still be a thing? i have a 64 gb and it's already full from just apps. everything else is saved on sd card. can't imagine only having half that...
  • Put the apps that don't need speed to work well, if you're rooted(except any critical app) on the sdcard. Example is wifi overview 360 pro, it's a app that doesn't need to have everything on internal. it's how you use your space that makes a difference.
  • Selling 32GB flagship phone in 2017 is just a joke.
    Or they just say: "Go away europeans, buy Xiaomi or Lenovo!".
    Or maybe: "Do not forget that Samsung is way better, if you not remember".
  • 32gb is just companies being capitalist in their natural not surprising
  • Yet another example of LG doing some things right then stepping on their johnson. My lat two phones both cost under $400 and both had 64GB memory. There is no excuse for this.
  • That`s all to the people who`s living all their times listening to music and taking pictures and playing games.. I do have Nexus 6P with 128 I bought it through Amazon last may and still I have 116GB available.
  • Shouldn't the advice be, "Don't buy a phone with max 32gb onboard"? So tired of companies doing this nonsense.
  • Why do I need more than 32g? I stream 25gigs of data a month and everything is stored online, not much on the device! I max out at 10g.
  • As i read these comments I laugh.... If you are even reading this article you are most likely a "tech junkie" or a "power user" most reading this will use more than 32gb. what you don't seem to grasp is that the other 99% of the public will never come close to using 32gb, so LGs decision here is in fact a good one...
  • I'm in that light-moderate general public type of user. SD card in my G5 is about half filled with music and photos. Internally still 15GB free. Biggest concern is battery life for me. I forgive mediocre battery life for my G5 since I can swap batteries out. But water resistance and 13mp wide-angle sooooo want it.
  • I disagree. Pictures and video take up a LOT of space, even the simplest of users like my grand parents take a ton of pics/videos. Yes you can store those on a SD card, but sometimes getting them to understand how to do that is impossible. Trust me, I just spent the weekend trying to show my dad how to text message and setup his email on his iPhone. 32gb is really bad in 2017, shame because the G6 really looks like a great phone.
  • This. People here seem to think only the power users use a lot of storage. Regular Joes use the storage as much, if not more.
  • Just got the LG G6. Beautiful phone, it really is.
    But 32GB is pathetic.
    And 21GB remaining is painful.
    And no Adoptable Storage is downright insulting.
  • I threw in a 64 GB SD card -- I just downloaded all my Google Music Playlists to it and other things. It is just for some media :).