I bought a plain (non-special-edition) Nintendo 3DS XL, turned it on, and followed the initial setup instructions. Once it was all set up, I removed the preinstalled SD card and inserted a fresh 32GB card I purchased for this purpose.

It wasn't until nearly 24 hours worth of play time later that I discovered (by putting it in my computer) that the original SD card had data on it, in the Nintendo 3DS folder. More than 20MB worth.

Now, I didn't download any games prior to swapping cards, I finished the initial setup (connect to Wifi, etc.) and immediately powered it off and replaced the card.

So what am I missing? What data comes on the preinstalled SD card?

  • Did you buy just a plain 3DS or did it come in a bundle with a game? (e.g. this geek.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/…)
    – Humungus
    Jun 4, 2014 at 9:04
  • @Humungus ~ A plain 3DS.
    – ERJ
    Jun 4, 2014 at 9:05
  • 1
    I'm curious, are you sure there was actual data on it, OR was it a situation where you saw that 20 MB of free space was missing? To be honest, companies rarely are exact about memory content. For example, my iPod touch is 8GB, but it has closer to 7GB of usable space. Every flash drive I've ever had was the same way as well.
    – TheNeeoo
    Jun 10, 2014 at 7:36
  • Why don't you just put it in and check what's different?
    – Guy
    Sep 7, 2014 at 3:09

2 Answers 2


I just looked into that SD card the other day actually. On my 3DS, the memory had to do with a "Dinosaur Video" application that I never used nor opened, and the rest was either "update notice" messages or screenshots I had saved.

In other words, nothing important that will hinder your future gaming experience.


At that size It's likely to just be save/cache data stored to the sd card from the system apps when you were setting the system up.

The 3DS may even set up a default file and folder structure on every SD card that is inserted into it.

Around 20MB is nothing significant.

(Sorry not enough rep to just comment.)

  • Up until "around 20MB is nothing significant" I agreed with your answer. But it could be plenty significant for the correct functioning of the system. Size doesn't matter here - even a single bit can be significant. Though it does look like these particular 20MB are not too important!
    – Alex
    Nov 19, 2014 at 9:59

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