Coming soon: Tuxera NTFS for Mac for High Sierra

Coming soon: Tuxera NTFS for Mac with macOS High Sierra support

Hey Tuxera NTFS for Mac fans! With the launch of macOS High Sierra on September 25th, we expect many of you will be updating soon if you have not done so already. In case you haven’t been following Mac news too closely, every Mac that can run macOS Sierra can update to High Sierra. Those Macs include:

  • MacBook (Late 2009 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2010 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (2010 or later)
  • Mac mini (2010 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2010 or later)
  • iMac (Late 2009 or later)

Now, there’s a slight catch if you update to High Sierra and you have Tuxera NTFS for Mac version 2016.1 installed. You may get a system message noting that Tuxera NTFS for Mac is blocked. Or, you may notice that Tuxera NTFS for Mac no longer works. No worries! It should still work with a small workaround detailed below. This is an issue we’re aware of and we’re working to fix it with the upcoming version of Tuxera NTFS for Mac.

UPDATE FEB 2018: This issue is resolved in Tuxera NTFS for Mac 2018. Download the latest release here!

Tuxera NTFS for Mac blocked

Temporary workaround for Tuxera NTFS for Mac version 2016.1

In the meantime, we’re happy to inform you that Tuxera NTFS for Mac for Sierra is compatible with High Sierra as well. The reason it may be unavailable after you update to High Sierra is that the operating system version prevents extensions from loading automatically. As a temporary workaround, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Find the text that reads, “System software from “Tuxera Inc." was blocked from loading.", and click Allow.

Allow Tuxera NTFS for Mac

Update Feb 2018: A new version of Tuxera NTFS for Mac is now available, which helps you breeze through this setup. This workaround is no longer needed.

Get the latest version of Tuxera NTFS for Mac here:

Download Now

Tuxera – data storage software for car IVI

A brief history of in-vehicle infotainment and car data storage

When it comes to cars, these three things are all intertwined – data, storage, and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. The IVI needs data to be – well – "infotaining." Whether it's music, movies, traffic updates, or maps – it's all data served up by the IVI to make your ride more enjoyable and convenient. And whenever you have data, you also need a way to store it.
The shift toward in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems powered by flash-based memory has been decades in the making. But did you know that Tuxera is also a part of this history? Read on for a brief rundown of how IVI and in-car data storage have evolved over the years – and how we fit into that story. We'll start off where IVI begins, the radio!

History of IVI and how Tuxera fits in – storage in 1931

Radio – the early ancestor, pre-1940s

The earliest ancestor of the IVI was the car radio, which became part of the dashboard in the 1930s. Back then, the only data transmitted was music and voice carried by radio waves, and storage space strictly meant the car’s trunk.

“Storage” in 1931. Source: Stephen Foskett (Wikipedia User: sfoskett) GFDL , CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


History of IVI and how Tuxera fits in – 1957 preset buttons

Mechanical “data” storage in the 1940s

Throughout the 40s and 50s, car radios acquired physical buttons to remember your favorite radio stations. This feature represents the first way to store data within the car, albeit through mechanical means.

Preset station buttons, 1957. Source: Historianbuff (own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

History of IVI and how Tuxera fits in – 1988 car cassette playerThe cassette tape era and analog data storage – 1960s–1980s
The 60s gave rise to the first widely adopted form of external analog data storage for cars – the eight-track cassette. Eight-tracks were cumbersome, however, which lead to the dominance of compact cassette players in cars throughout the 70s and 80s. On-board navigation entered the scene in Japan with the 1981 Toyota Celica.
Car compact cassette player, 1988. Source: Sathyan Thambirajah (own work).          

History of IVI and how Tuxera fits in – 1990s car CD changer

1990s – CD was king

By the 90s, digital data made its way into cars on compact discs (CDs). CD-players, GPS navigation, and backup cameras came into the picture. Even though CDs were light and portable, they still required physical space to store in cars. The end of this era also brought the first head units that played MP3s, while high-end autos shipped with DVD players.

External cartridge for six CDs, 1990s. Source: Joonga at English Wikipedia [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Car USB port2000s – as it turns out, IVI is a millennial!

The first IVI systems emerged in the early 2000s as touchscreens to play your music, or get GPS navigation assistance. Bluetooth also came into demand, and the first hard drives shipped inside cars for data storage. By 2006, USB slots made their appearance to store and play MP3s. The GENIVI Alliance was founded a few years later in 2009, to drive the widespread adoption of an open-source development platform for IVI.

audi-sd 2010s – enter Tuxera 

In 2010 Tuxera’s file systems became available in selected IVIs. Back then, our solutions focused on making it easy to plug SD cards and USB sticks into the car’s entertainment system, and for data (such as music) to transfer freely between the storage devices and the car. These solutions are still used in cars today.


Tuxera’s file systems are now the industry standard in automotive infotainment (IVI) systems. Microsoft exFAT by Tuxera, Microsoft FAT by Tuxera, Tuxera HFS+, and Microsoft NTFS by Tuxera make IVI systems faster, more responsive, and more durable – helping you get the best out of your ride.

Flash forward to today

Skipping ahead to the present and toward the future – the connected car must reliably process data from a variety of sources. Built-in apps stream real-time traffic data or music, 3D navigation is gaining momentum, and a variety of sensors record data about the car and its surroundings.

Tuxera – storage software for automotive infotainment

Memory challenges ahead

All of these applications running at once places heavy demands on the car’s flash-based storage. Automakers and consumers expect that the internal systems will last for the lifetime of the car, from 10 to 20 years. These expectations are offset by the lifetime of flash memory, which is limited by the number of data write cycles. The inherent way that flash memory works requires erasing and rewriting significantly more memory blocks than is actually needed to write the new data. This unfortunate, but expected phenomenon is called write amplification factor. It contributes to memory degradation over time – the more data written, the faster the memory wears out.

That’s why we created VelocityFS by Tuxera (formerly Tuxera Flash File System), which offers various flash performance optimizations including faster and more efficient data erasure and writing. We have very strong partnerships with leading flash vendors, which makes it possible for us to continually get better optimizations with VelocityFS by Tuxera.

Cars powered by our software are better equipped to keep up consumer expectations: more apps, more sensors assisting the drive, and more streaming data – more of the things to make your ride a bit more fun.

Car makers and Tier-1 suppliers – find out how our solutions make automotive systems faster, more responsive, and more durable.

See Tuxera automotive solutions

Tuxera – how we support women in tech

How can we improve the participation of women in the tech industry?

In her TechCrunch article, Swati Mylavarapu of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers posed the question, "how can we collectively work to improve women’s participation in the tech industry at each key stage of their careers?"

In honor of International Women's Day, I spoke with Tuxera's own Eva Rio to take a closer look at how our company is working to answer this question. Eva is Service Designer and Marketing Manager at Tuxera, and also one of the lead organizers of the Finnish Android Association (now Google Developers Group Helsinki). Read on for the interview!

Tiffiny: What does Tuxera do to support women in the Finnish tech scene?

Eva: What we do is a combination of initiatives that come from the company as a whole, and from personal contributions from our employees. For example, I am an active member of Girls in Tech and Women Techmakers. Through Girls in Tech, I also mentor women who have recently graduated and are interested in technology. Also, our Head of People Operations, Satu Muilu, has organized coding classes in her neighborhood school, which place special emphasis on coding skills for girls. So just looking at some of our own personal efforts as Tuxera ambassadors, we have support for girls and women in tech from elementary school to university.

Tiffiny: And Tuxera as a company has also been closely involved with Girls in Tech as well as other initiatives, right?

Eva: Yes, that's correct. We've arranged visits and meetups for girls and women that study computer science or are otherwise involved in STEM. For example, we invited TKT-AKAT, the association of women studying computer science at University of Helsinki, to our office to learn more about our inclusive working environment.

We’ve also hosted a Girls in Tech Bootcamp, which was a three-day intensive course in design, business, and software. We contacted several influential people in the Finnish tech industry, along with our own people, to coach women interested in those tracks, and arranged workshops with them.

In general, we have an open offer to help Girls in Tech and other groups and associations for the same cause with whatever support we can. If we have some expertise in an area and they need it, we are always here for them. I think they appreciate that support.

Tiffiny: Do you have anything inspiring you'd like to share for International Women’s Day – perhaps specifically about the Finnish tech industry?

Eva: Speaking about Finland as a whole, I think we are doing a pretty good job of supporting women in tech – especially compared to my previous experiences living in other countries and from speaking to a lot of women of other nationalities who now live here. Let's keep up this high level of support for women and girls of all ages and always strive to improve. We should be an example for other countries to follow – that's what matters.

Tuxera employees – over 70 worldwide

How do you know you have a great place to work?

We've had lots of good vibes at Tuxera HQ. For the third year in a row we've been awarded Great Place to Work. But what's the secret to making a great workplace? Read on to see what our people think. As you can see, we're pretty excited and happy to share how we make it work at Tuxera:


Tuxera wins Great Place to Work 2017 – quote from Jukka"Getting this award doesn't come as a surprise to me because each and every day you feel it here. Every day is a lot of fun. I enjoy the creative freedom we have and especially the encouraging "go for it!" attitude. No matter how wacky the idea is, I never hear, "I don't know if it'll work..."

Instead of holding back, people see the opportunities (not the risks) in trying new things. The more out of the box the better. I think it has a lot to do with the personalities we have here. Just a bunch of wacky fun people – a really good premise for creativity."

—Jukka Malkamäki, Graphic Designer, 6 months with Tuxera


Tuxera wins Great Place to Work 2017 – quote from Sougata"It's great coming here every day and working with these great colleagues. It's a very collaborative and friendly environment. Working here gives me much more beyond just the technical stuff – I get details from every corner of the world. I've been working in software development for 10 years and Tuxera's culture is very unique."

—Sougata Santra, Senior Software Developer, 5 years with Tuxera



Tuxera wins Great Place to Work 2017 – quote from Rakesh"I am very happy that we won this award, but it's no surprise to me. I know this a great place to work! I have been here for four years and it has always improved and always been wonderful. Even though we have grown so much, the culture hasn't changed. It's still inspiring to be here every day. We have a great team.

My favorite thing about working at Tuxera is the freedom. I also like that my work here really counts for something. People are using the devices with your software inside, so you always get to see your work out there. It's a great feeling."

—Rakesh Pandit, Software Engineer, 4 years with Tuxera


Tuxera wins Great Place to Work 2017 – quote from Severi"I've only been here for three months, but I have already seen that this is a great place to work. It feels nice coming in on Monday and sad leaving on Fridays. My favorite things about Tuxera are the freedom to do things the way you want, the great people, and the new office. There's ping-pong, Super Bomberman and gaming, a nice kitchen, saunas, and a pool. It's a nice place to be all around."

—Severi Tikkala, Sales Executive, 3 months with Tuxera


Tuxera wins Great Place to Work 2017 – quote from Aino"I thought this year would be a very challenging category to win because now we're a bigger company and there's usually more challenges as the company grows. So I'm surprised to hear that we have an even better score than in previous years, while at the same time we're jumping up into the next sized category.

The energy is my favorite thing about working here. There's so many different stimuli from the people and the work. There's not just one thing you do, but there are a lot of different things you can concentrate on.

—Aino Tuominen, Administrative Assistant (aka "The MacGyver of Tuxera"), 2 years with Tuxera

See for yourself what it's like to be at a great place to work – check out our open positions!

Join us

Tuxera – Great Place to Work 2016

Tuxera awarded Great Place to Work 2017 amidst rapid employee growth

The company ranks in the top 10 for its category. Tuxera’s headcount grew by 36% in 2016 – pushing it from a small-sized company to a medium one in a span of several months.

Helsinki, Finland – February 10, 2017 – For the third year in the row, Tuxera is awarded Great Place to Work. The company ranks #10 in the medium-sized category. In 2016, Tuxera’s headcount grew by 36% to a current workforce of over 70 employees worldwide. This rapid expansion hurdled the company from small to medium-sized within the span of several months.

Company growth typically brings more bureaucracy, and consequently employee engagement begins to dwindle. That has not been the case for Tuxera, however. “We avoid this pitfall by making it our priority to maintain a fun, flexible, free, and productive work environment,” explains Satu Muilu, Head of People Operations. “Receiving this award is a fantastic honor. But it’s also an excellent measure that we’ve succeeded in maintaining our culture even as we expand,” Satu continues.

Trust, freedom, and community are essential to Tuxera’s culture

As Tuxera’s workforce grows, the organization structure remains relatively flat – meaning no unnecessary management layers. While each company function has a leader, these leads are self-organized from within the teams. Plus, the company fosters an open-door policy for sharing opinions, ideas, and constructive feedback.

Employees enjoy the freedom to choose how, when, and where their work is done. At the same time, the company encourages openness and collaboration between individuals and teams. These practices are complemented by a proactive approach to community-building.

“A workplace needs to lift people up,” says Satu. “As the company grows, we aim to build and maintain a strong community, not just a place to work for individuals. People look for ways to be connected – they want to belong and to feel they’re contributing to the team, the organization, and even for the greater good of the world. We put a great deal of effort into fostering that sense of belonging – both inside Tuxera and on the outside with local and global tech communities.”

For more information, please contact:

PR & Communications Manager

Stanislav Dmitriev

Head of People Operations

Satu Muilu

About Tuxera

Tuxera is the leading provider of storage and networking technologies. From the latest flagship smartphones, to cars, cameras, routers, and drones – Tuxera’s software makes file transfers fast and content easily accessible. The company is an active member of multiple standard organizations, including JEDEC, AGL, SD Association, and many others. Founded in 2008, Tuxera’s headquarters are located in Finland, with regional offices in China, India, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the US.

Tuxera at CES 2017 – embedded software

Get amped up for CES 2017

CES 2017 is set for takeoff! We’ve got our own crew in Las Vegas gearing up for the popular consumer electronics fair. But why should a software company be at an event that’s all about the gadgets?

For starters, our AllConnect casting app was named a CES 2017 Innovation Award Honoree. The app will be on display during CES with other honorees in the Innovation Awards Showcase at Tech West. If you can't make it to CES, you can get the app for Android or iOS devices here.

But behind the scenes, CES is an important place for strengthening partnerships and finding new devices that our software can improve. Here are a few of the device categories we’re focusing on this year:


CES has become such a big auto show that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reportedly plans to launch their newest car at CES – not at the Detroit Auto Show. And it’s no wonder why – today’s cars have the computing power of dozens of personal computers onboard.

We’re excited to see what cars and new vehicle tech are unveiled at CES this year. But more importantly, we’re there to meet with car manufacturers and tier-one suppliers. Together, we’re working on ways to make data recording and storage for autonomous and assisted driving solutions better and more reliable in cars you’ll be riding in.


We’re talking more than just the devices used for personal or professional photos and videos. Cameras are in everything and anything these days – cars, drones, smartphones, toys, fridges – name a device and there’s probably a version with a built-in camera. With cars, drones, and action cams in particular, the cameras need high-performance software that’s ultra-fast for 4K and 8K video. When those devices use low-performance software, you get stuttering images and frame drop. CES is a great place for us to meet up with device manufacturers that need software inside their devices that's fast enough to handle the video recording, without lost frames.


Wait a sec, routers? We know – it’s a bit hard to jump for joy over those blinking boxes you usually hide out of sight. But remember that for all the cool connected gadgets in your home, your router provides the Wi-Fi. Today’s routers often come with support for network storage, backup for your laptops and other important data, and securely share files like your pictures to other devices in your home. According to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (the folks that organize CES each year) sales for accessories supporting emerging products, such as enhanced routers, are on the rise. In the case of routers alone, 2016 saw a 27% growth in sales.

At CES, we’ll meet with router manufacturers that want the fastest and most reliable network storage support, secure file sharing, and backup features – which our software delivers.

And finally – what to expect from CES 2017

Of course, we’ll be on the lookout for the latest TVs, laptops, drones, VR/AR headsets, wearables, robots, and more as well. We’ve found plenty of great “what to expect at CES 2017” pieces out there. Now for a roundup of some of our favorites:

Business Insider – All the car tech we can't wait to see at CES 2017


Tech Crunch – What to expect from CES 2017

CNET – The 7 big trends that will dominate CES 2017

ZDNet – CES 2017: Announcements to expect from this year's show

Digital Review – CES has something for every technology fan

Interested in learning more about our embedded solutions for consumer electronics?

Get in touch

Tuxera – embedded file system software for UFS cards and flash memory

UFS cards mean less wait time, more apps

In July 2016, the industry's first removable Universal Flash Storage (UFS) cards were announced. Much of the excitement centered on the blazing-fast 170 MB/s write speeds for photo and video applications. Not to mention the amount of storage space is astounding – currently up to 256 GB!

But buried in the buzz are some hidden gems for everyday smartphone use (at least for Android phones). For one, if you store photos, videos, or music on UFS cards, your phone will feel faster and snappier as compared to using an SD card. What’s more, UFS cards will also give you more freedom to decide the app power in your smartphone. Let’s look at these two points in a little more detail. 

Less waiting, better user experience

“With UFS cards, you should see big boosts in speed and responsiveness that will add up to a better user experience,” says Mika Kuulusa, Research Manager and flash memory expert at Tuxera’s R&D facility. “Things you used to wait for will now feel more instantaneous, such as scrolling through your photo and video gallery. The thumbnail images will pop up more rapidly on your screen – faster than with SD cards. Also, any app that uses photos, videos, music, or other files stored on the card will feel faster than ever before.”

The reason? It’s mostly in the IOPS, or inputs/outputs per second – which simply means how fast files can be written to or read from the card. Most of what we do on phones requires a lot of simultaneous jumping around between small, randomly scattered bits of data stored on the memory. These random operations are the most time-consuming to handle.

When it comes to random reads, the 256 GB UFS card boasts 40,000 IOPS. That’s below some mid-ranged laptops (around 70,000 IOPS), but still super fast. Essentially, on the card the size of your thumbnail, you get nearly the memory power of a laptop. That means less waiting as your phone finds the randomly scattered bits of data. But it also leads us to another point about UFS cards – more app capacity on your phone.

More space + fast cards = more you can do

In the past, the Android operating system could only run apps from a phone’s internal memory. This limited the number of apps you could install. For higher-end Android phones, that typically wasn’t a problem. But on lower-end Androids, running out of space was certainly a limiting factor. All that changed with the Android Marshmallow update in 2015.

Developers can now make apps that run from removable memory cards too. That said, they’ve been reluctant to do so because memory cards have been too slow – until now. Because UFS cards have the memory performance near to that of laptops, this is now a workable option.

That means more power over what you can do with your phone. If pricing is a constraint, you can now run apps and games from a UFS card on a lower-end Android phone – provided it has a UFS card slot. You can add as much additional space as your budget affords. And for higher-end Android phone users, this could mean more powerful apps and more immersive gaming because developers are no longer constrained by internal memory alone.

At the moment, this all remains a good story. We haven’t seen any removable UFS cards yet on the market, nor any phones with UFS card slots. It seems the world will have to wait until the end of 2017 or early 2018 for UFS cards to hit the stores.

We’re working to get you the most from UFS technology

For our part, Tuxera is a member of the Universal Flash Storage Association (UFSA) and JEDEC, the organizations in charge of developing and setting UFS standards. This gives us the opportunity to influence UFS standards, but also insight into emerging UFS technology.

Although UFS cards have amazing speeds, your phone needs high-performance software to access data on these cards. For nearly a decade, Tuxera has brought file system software to your devices that adds fast, secure, and reliable support for removable memory cards. And we’re now working with the big players in the industry to help devices get even better performance from UFS cards.

If you’re an OEM or ODM developing a device that supports UFS cards, we’ll help you find the right file system software!

Get in touch

Tuxera – Free casting app AllConnect

Cast music, videos, and photos easily with AllConnect

Did you get any new devices this holiday season? The easiest way to cast your photos, movies, and music to and from those new devices is with our award-winning AllConnect app. AllConnect works on Android or iOS phones or tablets to cast to any screen, TV, speakers, or casting device (including AppleTV, Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon FireTV). You can even cast to multiple screens at the same time from just one phone or tablet.

Get AllConnect free from Google Play or App Store, or buy the ad-free version for just USD 2.99 (check your market for prices in your local currency).

google_play-5    app_store-3

Tuxera – Slush 2016 Helsinki Badass Tourism Poster

What we learned at Slush 2016 – a recap from 6 perspectives

Slush had a record-breaking year. And we're not talking the icy slop found on the streets of Helsinki from November until April. We mean the annual two-day international startup and investor event. A record 17,500 guests made it to the conference this year, including 2,336 startups, 1,146 investors, 610 journalists, and 12 Tuxerians in red hoodies.

Tuxera is no longer a startup, but tech and innovation are always central to Slush, which is why we showed up in such force. From what we saw, the trending topics in the European startup scene are: artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), data mining and analysis, mobility (including self-driving cars), and space technology. There was something for everyone there, and each of us went in with a different mission. Read on for more of what we learned at Slush 2016.

A lot going on with AI, AR, and VR

"It was really interesting to see all kinds of artificial intelligence applications popping up. Maybe now all the gargantuan amounts of data gathered will actually be used for something big! Also, be on the lookout. Virtual and augmented reality will approach their hype cycle peaks in early 2017, which means we'll start to see where these technologies will actually fly and where they will not."

Tuomas Niska, PR and Communications Manager

Concern for our environment, our jobs, and people

"Many of the talks and startups that caught my attention were focused on sustainable technology, space tech, and using data to change the way we live and move around. The community is clearly concerned about the impact technology has on our environment, our jobs, and people in general. Several discussions at Slush also touched on political, philosophical, and socioeconomic topics related to technology. People in this sphere have a unique vantage point on how rapidly technology is advancing. Slush showed us that the tech community should play an active role in creating forward-thinking legislation, economic solutions, and education initiatives to keep pace with that progress."

Tiffiny Rossi, Content Manager

Slush 2016 was true to its startup roots

"I was happy to see Slush has come back to its roots and give the spotlight to startups again. Big organizations like Google, Microsoft, and Samsung had smaller spaces than in past years, with exception of Nokia, which was showcasing their innovation projects.

Hot topics on the event floor were AI, VR, and autonomous driving. Data mining and analysis was pretty dominant too – for example, a lot of startups had developed dashboards or analytics platforms to crunch all types of data.

I didn't see a lot in terms of hardware this year, however. One hardware company that attracted attention was Eve Tech. They were the startup behind Eve V, a crowdfunded PC that raised $1 million in just four days."

Eva Rio, Service Design and Marketing Manager

Startups serving up enterprise software

"I agree with Eva. I've been to Slush now four times and I'm happy to see the focus return to startups. They were physically located in the center of the venue. I think that's meaningful in the broader context of what Slush is about – that startups are central to innovation.

This year many startups had enterprise software solutions, primarily for analyzing data and metrics. There were also a lot of interesting uses for VR, especially in travel and gaming. This year, I saw a lot less internet of things (IoT) technology than I would have expected given all the hype. In that sphere, retail and indoor navigation solutions were heavily represented. There was also a lot less shareconomy solutions than in previous years – meaning less "the Uber of X-industry" startups.

Claudio M. Camacho, Head of Marketing

Need an investor? Find the perfect match at Slush

"Slush's online Matchmaking tool is a great way for startups to find and book meetings with investors, companies, and the media. I've been to many startup events around the world, and there's nothing like this anywhere. My advice for startups: start booking your meetings early on. The time slots fill up fast."

Shane Allen, Business Manager and Product Owner

All brands big and small should keep it real

There were also a few sessions on design and brand building for startups, which our graphic designer, Jukka Malkamäki attended. "A common theme in these talks was authenticity. A brand needs to feel real to its audience. Andrew Stalbow, co-founder of Seriously presented this case most convincingly. He cited research on how young people feel YouTubers are bigger stars than Hollywood actors. These video bloggers share a lot about their lives and actively engage with their audiences – they act authentically. This is a stark contrast to the glamor of Hollywood, which seems distant and fake. Andrew also had some good advice for all brands big and small about keeping it real: Go beyond performance marketing. Don't forget creativity – and don't take yourself too seriously."

There's lots of innovation waiting to be found at tech events all over the world. This year we also went to IFA, the largest consumer electronics fair in Europe. See what we learned there in our IFA16 wrap-up.

Tuxera – SD card video speed class explained

A quick guide to SD card speed and capacity for video recording – with infographic

Here’s an interesting fact for all the cameraphiles out there. By the end of 2016, an estimated 1.1 trillion pictures were taken by people using mobile devices and still cameras around the world! Not to mention the number of smartphones with 4K video recording capability continues to grow.

There’s one thing related to this we don’t often think about, however. All these amazing pics and videos need to be stored somewhere. Thanks to the cloud, storage is typically an "out of sight, out of mind" thing for a lot of people. Everything gets backed up for us behind the scenes. While cloud storage is provided free by many providers, the network fees for uploading large, high-resolution photos and videos can quickly burn through your data limit or add up in overage fees.

Memory cards, on the other hand, can usually be purchased at an affordable price, making them an attractive local storage option. Although Samsung launched its first Universal Flash Storage (UFS) memory cards in 2016, SD cards are still the predominant memory cards in cameras, smartphones, tablets, GPS units, video game consoles, and many other electronic devices. Because SD cards are so ubiquitous and have been around for decades, they’re easily swappable between devices.

The SD Association – with members such as Toshiba, Panasonic, Canon, Tuxera, and others – is responsible for maintaining the standards related to SD card storage. In 2016, they launched the fastest speed class yet for SD cards: Video Speed Class. This new class brings zippy speeds and better performance to SD cards. But how does this new class compare to the previous ones? To help sort things out – and to help make choosing SD cards a bit easier for video recording – we put together this quick guide. Plus, we've summed it all up nicely in an infographic for you at the end of this post.

Know your type

First things first. You of course need the right physical size for your device. SD cards used to come in three sizes: standard (SD), miniSD, and microSD. SD cards are the largest and have a “cut corner” design. MiniSD cards are lighter and smaller than SD cards. This size is not commonly made or found today since the launch of microSD cards (the smallest SD card of all), however. As a matter of fact, SDXC cards, explained below, are not found in mini size at all.

Secondly, you’ll want to get the right amount of memory, or capacity, to meet your needs. The SD specifications developed since the year 2000 have led us to three different standards: SD, SDHC, and SDXC. Each standard supports a different capacity, or the amount of data you can store on it. SD offers up to 4 GB, SDHC from 2 to 32 GB, and SDXC can hold up to 2 terabytes!

Check your speed

The speed class rating was introduced by the SD Association as a way to quickly provide information about the minimum write performance of the card. The idea was to help you decide which card to purchase to meet your specific usage needs. The speed class rating shows the minimum speed of the card, not its actual speed. If two cards have the same class, it doesn’t automatically mean that both cards will perform equally. Manufacturers usually go well above those minimum requirements and offer much higher speeds. In addition, the device using the SD card also plays a part. A card might support writing at 100 MB/s, but the device might not be capable of sending data as fast as it can be written. That’s why it’s important to check SD card compatibility from your device’s user manual or tech specs.

Speed Class

The original speed class was plainly named “Speed Class” and is designated by the Speed Class Mark (shown in the infographic below). Speed Class simply indicates the card has the minimum write performance to record video. The classes are 2, 4, 6, and 10 and correspond with the minimum write speed in megabytes per second. These classes are used in camcorders, cameras using video mode, dash cams, and smartphones covering video formats up to Full HD.

UHS Speed Class

UHS stands for Ultra High Speed and offers high performance on UHS-compatible devices. This speed class is known for very rapid data transfer – up to 312 megabytes per second – from the SD card hardware to the device central processing unit (CPU), otherwise known as bus-interface speed. These classes include UHS 1 (U1) and UHS 3 (U3) and support full HD to 4K video formats. UHS classes are used in UHS-compatible devices such as action cams for real-time broadcasts, large-size HD videos, and high-quality professional HD.

Video Speed Class

Cards marked with the “V” speed class offer the fastest speeds available and best performance for ultra-high resolution, high-quality videos, and multi-file recording. Multi-file recording refers to video data recorded simultaneously with data from another sensor, like location and altitude data in drones, for example. The Video Speed Classes are V6, V10, V30, V60, and V90, and the numbers correspond with the minimum write speed in megabytes per second. This class supports from HD format up to 8K video in drones, 360-degree cameras, action cams, and VR cameras.

Final thoughts

To recap, not all SD cards are the same: size, capacity, speed, and intended use are the determining factors when deciding between SD cards. Even though cloud storage is in the spotlight, SD cards are an easy and affordable way to get extra storage on your smartphone, tablet, or camera.

And now for the infographic:

Tuxera – How to choose SD cards for video recording – Infographic