1080p HD movies onto your Android SD card [fat32] [solutions]

UPDATE 2013.04.16 Commenter Brain Fox recommends formatting your SD card or USB device as exFat to allow for greater than 4GB files on your Android device. 🙂

Q. Hi. I read your 1080p phone/tablet MKV playback list and tested my SGS2 and you are right it works with 1080p MKVs amazing!  Really enjoy it. However, I only have a few 1080p things that fit under the 4GB limit of FAT32 🙁 How can I get full 1080p HD movies onto my phone??? I don’t mind doing a little bit but I don’t want to re-encode a bunch. Thx! –AndroidMovieFan

NOTE: AndroidMoveFan is referring to the limitations imposed by the FAT32 file system currently used to format SD cards for use on Android devices:

The maximum possible size for a file on a FAT32 volume is 4 GB minus 1 byte or 4 294 967 295 (232−1) bytes. This limit is a consequence of the file length entry in the directory table and would also affect huge FAT16 partitions with a sufficient sector size.[1] Video applications, large databases, and some other software easily exceed this limit. Larger files require another filesystemWikipedia

A. Great question and I’m glad you are enjoying 1080p on your phone! I totally understand not wanting to fully re-encode your movies to fit the 4GB limit, since it would take time and would degrade the video quality. So, here are a couple strategies you can try for full 1080p MKV files on your FAT32 SD card:

#1 Split your MKVs into < 4GB pieces easily and without re-encoding:

How to Split MKV Files | eHow.com

How to Split MKV Files | eHow.comhttp://www.ehow.com/how_5162610_split-mkv-files.htmlClick the “Add File” button, circled in red in image provided. This will begin the process. This will split the MKV into whichever size segments you went with in the…

This is a nice, an relatively easy, method for taking large movies and simply splitting them (without re-encoding) to make them work within the FAT32 file size limitation.

#2 When you backup your BluRay discs, do it in a manner compatible with FAT32:

I do not recommend downloading this movie since that would be illegal, but you CAN just look at the file listing to see that it is an example of a movie that someone has backed up into (2) parts which will easily fit on FAT32 partitions!

The Dark Knight 1080p [PS3 & fat32 Compatible]

The Dark Knight 1080p [PS3 & fat32 Compatible]http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6587991/The_Dark_Knight_1080p_%5BPS3__amp__fat32_Compatible%5DType: Video > Highres – Movies Files: 2 Size: 7.25 GiB (7782985868 Bytes) Spoken language(s): English Tag(s): The Dark Knight Batman The Dark Knight The Dark… (download torrent) – TPB


The.Dark.Knight.2008.1080p.x264.DTS-WAFHD.part1.mpg4 GiB
The.Dark.Knight.2008.1080p.x264.DTS-WAFHD.part2.mpg3.25 GiB

So, there you have it, a couple rudimentary options for getting your nice HD movies onto your sweet phone!

The future: better file system support for SD/SDHC/SDXC formatting

Android will likely eventually support other filesystems (ext2/ext3/ext4 etc.) that will make this all moot 🙂


2011.10.01 Update from: AndroidMovieFan

Q. Thank you for the tips! I tried #1 and it worked and I had no idea that #2 people were already encoding movies to get around this limitation! Thanks again 🙂 Android rocks I just wish they had better SD card formatting 🙁

A. You are very welcome, enjoy your movies on your phone 🙂 –JD

MISC LINKS : info on just what filesystems Android does support and misc links related to this struggle with video and FAT32…

filesystems – Whats Android file system? – Stack Overflowhttp://stackoverflow.com/questions/2421826/whats-android-file-systemDepends on what hardware/platform you use. Since Android uses the Linux-kernel at this level, it is more or less possible to use whatever filesystem the Linux-kernel supports.… sysfs rootfs bdev proc cgroup binfmt_misc sockfs pipefs anon_inodefs tmpfs inotifyfs devpts ramfs         vfat         msdos nfsd smbfs         yaffs         yaffs2 rpc_pipefs

Filesystem support on SD card - Android Forums

Filesystem support on SD card – Android Forumshttp://androidforums.com/htc-hero/26549-filesystem-support-sd-card.htmlHi, Just wondering if the Hero supports other filing systems other than fat32 on SD (stock rom – no root), I would like to run ext2 ideally. Cheers

3 Surprising Things About Video On Android Tablets

3 Surprising Things About Video On Android Tabletshttp://niallohiggins.com/2011/03/07/3-surprising-things-about-video-on-android-tablets/An obvious killer app for this kind of device is video. At the distance you hold a tablet it has the same apparent size as a massive TV screen. The easy-to-hold and carry form…

MKV files bigger than 4Gb? How to split them to copy into FAT32 4Gb size-limit SDcard - xda-developers

MKV files bigger than 4Gb? How to split them to copy into FAT32 4Gb size-limit SDcard – xda-developershttp://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=763461I don’t know if it’s already been posted or not. You know that our SD cards (internal and/or external) is FAT32 formatted, so the FileSystem size limit is 4Gb. This means that if…




  • Miki

    Hi! i have a very similar problem but unfortunately none of these are solutions for my problem. i am downloading torrents on my android phone – for many reasons it works better for me than doing it on my PC. i am trying to download one which has some 8 gig files in it. i do get an error message that the file exceeds the limitations and im looking for a workaround..
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Miki,
      Thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunately, I have not been able to find aany way to successfully download files larger than 4GB on my Android phone or tablet. 🙁

      Of course there are all the solutions that use a PC (i.e. re-encoding, splitting the files, etc.) but of course that does not help if we want to exclusively use our Android phone! Hopefully soon Google will enable a new file system format on Android so that > 4GB files will easily be supported on today’s superphones. 🙂

      Best regards,

  • Brain Fox

    Works fine on my novo 7 crystal with jelly bean stock rom on USB Host. Sd feature will be tested in a few days.

  • Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

    • Dear Paul,
      Thank for commenting! I am glad that you enjoy reading my articles and that the hopefully help you if you have a problem. Have a great day! 👍

      Best regards,

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