Why phone doesn’t see your SD or microSD card – the solution

Owners of smartphones with Android operating system are wondering – why the phone does not see the microSD memory card? This happens not often and can be caused by different factors. I have collected in this article all the possible causes and solutions. The material is weighty and will definitely help get rid of problems with “invisible” SD not only on mobile gadgets, but also cameras, cameras and other devices that have a slot for memory expansion.

Phone doesn't see the memory card

Why is it critical?

In most cases, the phone has its own internal storage, and to increase the amount of “storage” an external “card” is used. Imagine that we specified in the settings of the device as the main place for saving photos, videos, applications third-party media. But it suddenly stops working correctly, the system does not see it, and all the data is sent to the integrated memory. And when the free space becomes insufficient, often the gadget starts “glitching”.

Let’s say you decide to remove the defective card and replace it with a new one. But the problem may not go away. You did not expect such a thing, right? Things like that can make device owners quite nervous. I think that’s enough theory and speculation, it’s time to move on to specific steps. There will be a lot of them, for all occasions.

The standard procedure

At first let’s consider the basic steps of troubleshooting, and further in the article I’ll tell you in detail about all the possible reasons, methods of correction.

If the phone for some reason does not see the memory card should:

  • Perform a normal reboot (power off – power on). This sometimes helps to get rid of software glitches. Did not help? Move on to the next solution;
  • Disconnect the smartphone, remove the back cover, remove the battery and wait a couple of minutes. Then put everything back in its place and check if the microSD is working:
Removing the battery of your smartphone
  • If the previous option did not work, try to remove the “card”, check the integrity of the contacts and put it back, tightly:

Once you have done the above manipulations and do not get a positive effect, move on to see the ways below.

Wrong SD format

If the phone does not see the memory card – it is likely that it has the wrong format file table or it is damaged.

Possible causes:

  • Memory partitioning failure;
  • The user has formatted it with incorrect settings;
  • MicroSD was previously working with an unknown to the gadget file system, has a specific partitioning that is not accepted Android.

Methods of elimination:

Most modern flash drives with a capacity of more than 32 GB are marked in exFAT format, which “see” not all phones (especially older models). Therefore, if your external memory has a similar size, it is worth first copying important data to your computer, insert the card into your smartphone/tablet, enter Recovery modemode, select “Wipe cache partition” to format it and create a FAT32 file table. It is supported by all devices without any problems.

It is better to entrust such actions to professionals, if you are a novice in this business. Otherwise you can accidentally select the wrong partition and lose all the data on your Samsung, Lenovo, etc.

But I would recommend a simpler and more reliable option – using the application SD FormatterI would recommend using SD Formatter application which is installed on your notebook. You will need a card reader. I recommend to watch the following video explaining how to use the program:


You can also perform the procedure using the built-in Windows tools. I have already described them in the article at the link. But now I will say it again.

  • You can connect the phone to the computer via cable, but I would advise you to use a card reader for the sake of the experiment. Any card reader will do. I have, for example, this:
USB card reader
  • We insert the card directly or through an adapter (depending on the availability of certain slots in the reader):
microSD-to-SD adapter
  • When connected to the PC, go into “Explorer” (My Computer), and there should be a new drive. Right-click on it and select “Format”.
  • A window will open where you will specify the FAT (exFAT) file system. Do not change any other parameters, just click on the button to start the procedure.
Windows format utility

Very rarely helps another option – select the file system type – NTFS. Some devices can work with it. It’s worth a try if nothing else works.

Some gurus on the forums suggest resorting to low level formattingBut be careful with these things, because not all memory cards are compatible with special software.

What to do if there is no computer nearby? You can use the built-in tools of Android. But not all versions have this functionality. It is necessary to enter “Settings” and in the section “Memory” find the line “Format SD”. (may also be called “Clear SD”):

Deleting SD information in Android settings

Do not forget that all data will be permanently deleted, with little chance of its recovery. Note that in the above menu there is also a button for safe extraction. This is for a reason – it is necessary to resort to such an event every time you want to remove the microSD card. This way you will not damage the information stored on the medium and you will prolong its lifetime. But, alas, many people are used to using “hot extraction” right in the process. This is not quite right, and can cause malfunctions.

MicroSD card not working, out of order

The most probable reason:

It could be either mechanical damage to the media or thermal damage (due to severe overheating), causing the SD card to stop working not only on the tablet, but also on any other device.

How to fix it:

Unfortunately, in such cases it is customary to say: “Medicine is powerless…”. There is nothing you can do, except buy a new drive. Alas, there is no way to save the lost data either. That is why I always recommend making backups of important information – in the “cloud”, on a computer hard drive. Practice shows that “dancing with knick-knacks” is of no use here. Do not waste your time looking for a “lifeline”. Life is harsh…

If you bought the flash drive in the store and it is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, you can try to exchange it for a new one. But to do this you need to provide a receipt, the goods must not have any visual damage.

Banal incompatibility

Why else the phone does not see the microSD memory card? It happens that the new generation drive is not supported by some models of smartphones. Or its volume exceeds the allowable indicators of the gadget. For example, the Samsung J120 is “friendly” with external storage media up to 64 GB, and you bought a flash drive for 128 GB. Here is the reason for the problem. It is necessary to clarify such moments beforehand in order not to get into trouble later.

The computer also doesn’t see the SD card

Situation: connected your mobile gadget to PC via USB cord, the choice of connection modes was displayed on the phone, you indicated “Mass Storage” (Data Transfer), but the new “storage” is not displayed on the laptop.

The solution is simple: just disconnect the device and then plug the cable back into the laptop, but now you have to choose “Media Device” (MTP) mode.

Media transfer Android

It does not “connect!”

If someone “krunkunk” (not you) tried to insert the card into the slot the wrong way, showed excessive persistence, the connector could be damaged – the contacts came off. Or on the microSD itself the tracks are oxidized / frayed.

It is necessary to carefully inspect all the above described objects. Maybe you should just pull out the drive and insert it correctly. If the problem is in the contacts, they can be replaced, but with this problem it is better to contact the service center to the professionals.

The phone stopped seeing the memory card: a failure at the software level

Diagnosis: a certain Android application does not recognize the external storage, while others do it without problems – recording, playback occurs properly.

What to do? Most likely, in the utility settings a different location for saving data (internal “drive”) is specified. It is enough to open the settings and make the necessary changes. Such behavior often helps to eliminate defects in the standard software “Camera” and “Gallery”.

Useful Videos

How to check the SD card for errors:


The following useful information will be presented in the format of answers to frequently asked questions by readers of various forums and thematic resources. I have collected the most valuable recommendations. Maybe there is a solution for you.

I bought a new SD-card for Samsung J320. I inserted it into my phone and moved all the photos and videos from the internal storage to the external one via Explorer. I wanted to automatically save new pictures from the camera to the microSD. But this did not happen – the photos are placed in Samsung memory, as before.

Most likely, you need to reconfigure the Camera app by specifying the settings to save pictures and videos to an external storage device. If it doesn’t work, turn off your gadget, remove the card, insert it again and boot up again.

CD card is not detected only on the smartphone Lenovo A560 – and the computer sees through the card reader, the phone second Lenovo – too. When I put another flash drive to me – no problem works. Please tell me what the problem is?

Prestigio stopped seeing the SD card. How did it happen: I was just playing


Then I got a call. Talked for about ten minutes. When I finished – in the notification bar was the inscription – “Secure eject…”. I looked in the settings, where all the available drives are listed. Under “External…” it shows two options (instead of volume): connect and clear SD. First clicked on the first, a couple of seconds it was displayed: “Connecting…”, then “Search for errors” and silence. Rebooted, removed – the effect is the same. And on other smartphones the same problem. Help, please!

On Windows Phone DS 535 recently stopped detecting microSD. I put it on other devices – it works (camera, tablet). This is a defect of the phone?

I have a Fly. Yesterday I cleaned the memory through the optimizer

360 Total Security

and after that the phone does not see the card. I put a new one – same trouble. I suspect that the program “killed” important system files. Can it be like this?

For all of the above situations, the procedure is as follows: first, determine whether the PC sees the memory card – use a card reader for this purpose. If it does, copy important data to your hard drive and format it. You will need the SDFormatter utility (mentioned above in this article). If it does not help, the medium is completely damaged and you need to replace it with a new one.

Download from

After restoring the photos with one of the utilities, the images were placed in the program folder, but they are not visible in the Gallery.

The problem here is not in the “card”. You should go to any file manager (or via PC) and transfer the restored pictures from the application directory to the DCIM directory. Then they should become visible to the device.

I had to temporarily move the card from the phone to the tablet, and after these manipulations the data on the misroSD disappeared. The smartphone can see it, but it looks like it is empty.

Most likely you did not insert SD correctly during re-installation. Try ejecting and reinserting with the gadget turned off beforehand.

Just bought a Qumo 2GB microSD, but my Samsung Galaxy A5 for some reason does not identify it. Tried through a cable to a laptop, but Windows also does not see. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, tell me?

I should immediately note that the company’s products Qumo has not the best reviews. We recommend to connect the card directly to the PC by means of a card reader. If it still does not work, then it is worth to return it to the store before the deadline for exchange according to the law (14 days). But, if everything is fine on the computer, then try to format it with the SDformatter utility.

Bought not so long ago phone Galaxy S5, and literally a month later he stopped detecting external drives (I tried different). Others, my SD card is functioning without problems. Why does Android on the Samsung does not see the flash drive, can I fix it?

It is likely that the negative behavior in this case is caused by the following factors – the smartphone has disabled USB debugging (try to turn it on), the drive has a file table format that is not understood by the gadget. Try formatting it by selecting the exFAT type.

The tablet fell on the floor and after that all the photos disappeared from the Gallery. In the file manager, the card is visible, there are folders on it. But there are no pictures.

This can happen with mechanical damage. Most likely, the card is displaced inside the slot – you should align it. If it does not help, try to insert it into a card reader and connect it to your computer. If you don’t see the photo there too, I suggest to use a PC tool. CardRecovery . for data recovery.

I had a new Samsung J7 and I wanted to transfer some valuable data from the old Smartphone (also Samsung). It seemed like everything went smoothly, there were no errors.

But after a week I noticed that the transferred files had disappeared. I opened Explorer and all the folders were there, but they were empty. And where the information was left – when I try to play it, it gives an error. The strangest thing is that I put the card into my old gadget and everything is opened and displayed there without any problems. By the way, after rebooting sometimes the problem disappears, but not always. The defect in the phone? What should I do, advise me.

I would recommend saving all important data to an external drive (hard drive, cloud). Then format the microSD card to FAT (use SD Formatter – link above in the article), and do a factory reset on the phone. One more thing – before you go to such drastic measures – try to uninstall unnecessary software and check for updates. It is likely that it is a problem with the firmware. You will need to

enter the recovery menu

to restore it.

Already tried everything, re-read a lot of forums. On you last hope. I have a Chinese (non-original) Galaxy 5. Recently it only sees the internal drive, and the microSD does not detect.

The question is not quite specific. If the card is not identified in specific applications, it may be the problem. Try reconsidering the software settings, reinstall it. I recommend to test the drive itself on another device or connect it to a PC. It is likely that this will not give a positive result, then it is worth to take a known working medium and test work with it.

In general, it is a paradox. At first the memory card stopped working correctly. I reconfigured the saving from applications to the internal one. Then total ATAS – as soon as I disconnect the external drive, the internal one stops being detected. Phone does not see it, as if there is no storage at all. Although Android is working, its files are stored somewhere.

Most likely, the file table on the card is corrupted. I do not exclude the possibility of a virus infection. Make sure you take it out of the phone, connect it to the PC and check for viruses, then format it to FAT32. If nothing good happens after these operations, reset your smartphone. This will delete all the data, alas.

The card works fine on the computer, I have no complaints. But as soon as I insert it into the tablet – it says “Safe delete…”.

I got the virus through e-mail. Tried to remove – did not work. Advised to enter the Recovery and do the firmware restore. When I rebooted and followed the advice, the smartphone started, but something went wrong – the phone does not see the memory card at all. Started playing with the custom firmware – did not help.

In both cases the microSD file table is broken, either due to a bug or a virus. This situation can be solved by formatting the external flash drive. And do not “play” with unofficial software, it is better to flash only with proprietary software.

I bought a 4 Gb flash drive, previously recorded music and photos from the computer to it, then inserted it into the Lumia 530. Used it for a couple of days, then re-applied the card reader to throw the photos on your computer. But Windows said that the device is not recognized or damaged. On the phone sees, the computer – no. I tried others – no problems.

Obviously, the defect lies in the PC. Try plugging different flash drives to it – will there be a similar reaction. Test different USB connectors, maybe one of them is damaged. Sometimes the system itself blocks the ports. Read


about this issue.

I use a Mirex Class 4 micro-flash drive on my Nokia 6. A couple of days ago I was listening to music normally through the player, but today it says that there are no audio files. Is the card dead or how can I check?

Do not jump to conclusions. You need to check whether other applications installed on your Android can see the external drive. Maybe it is a “glitch” of the player. If other programs do not detect it, you should connect the device to your computer through a reader (card reader). If the PC does not read it either, try other methods described in this publication.

My smartphone is not so old – Samsung A3 (model 2015), but the SD card is not seen. Already formatted, but it did not lead to anything. It’s easy to detect on the laptop. But the phone does not see the flash drive – why?

I advise you to open “Settings” Android and under “Memory” look at the item “Memory Card” – does it show the total and occupied volume? You can also install a third-party manager (Explorer) from Google Play, such as ES. In it, too, see if the medium is visible, if folders are displayed on it. If you have tried formatting, it is also worth referring to the Low-Level Formatting procedure. Read about it



I bought the Chinese Dugi X5 for my head. Had it for about half a year but had no problems. First it rebooted and reset Google Play services settings. And now this – I bought a 16 gig microSD and transferred my personal photos and videos from the internal drive to it. And then they’re gone. Smartphone doesn’t see the memory card at all. Did the restore via Recovery – still nothing. Need to save files, help!

If you can’t make the necessary manipulations on the device, you should connect it to your PC. Better yet, remove the card and connect it to your PC directly. Then I recommend to run CardRecovery utility to save the files. Otherwise – follow the steps mentioned in other answers of this article.

The SD card was removed for use in the camera. Then I put it back, but it stopped accepting it. How do I fix the situation when my phone doesn’t see the memory card? Also, the laptop doesn’t detect it either.

It is possible that the camera is using its file table and could have made changes to the drive. This happens very rarely, but if the partitioning is lost, you should run the service “Disk Management” on your PC. Press Win + R , then type the command “diskmgmt.msc”. A window will open where your drive will be displayed as an un-partitioned area (be guided by its size, so as not to accidentally select a hard disk partition). Now right-click on the desired block and create a new volume. After a couple of seconds the flash drive should become visible on both the PC and the phone.

I always do everything according to the instructions, no amateurism. Yesterday I bought a new camera and connected it to my laptop via USB cable, but it showed up in My Computer as a portable device instead of a removable drive. When I open it, I see only 16 MB of built-in memory, and the SD card the camera sees, but the PC does not detect.

To save the trouble, just buy a card reader for the SDHC connector and insert the card there. That way your notebook will be sure to be “friendly” with the media.

To increase the available space in the tablet I bought a 32 GB microSD. It is inserted into the side of the gadget. I noticed that the first time, when I put it in, it was a little bit stiff. But I did not bother. Now this problem – periodically writes “Eject…” and the card becomes unavailable. Just press my finger on it – and it’s on again. I take it that the slot is damaged?

Do not jump to conclusions. I suggest you first put your card in another device, and in your gadget also a known working drive. To narrow down the “circle of suspects”. But, as I understand it, you have a problem with the connector pins. Be sure to turn off the tablet and try to bend them gently to return them to their previous position. But it is better to contact experts, so as not to break everything there. If another card works without glitches, then take your card and format it, selecting the table type FAT32 (possible through a PC standard way or through SDFormatter).

MicroSD 32 Gb new, checked in the store – everything worked. At home connected – phone does not see it. Wife’s smart phone – also no. At work tried ten phones – same thing.

You provided insufficient information. You could have answered that the card does not work and you need to take it to the store for return/exchange. But, there is a possibility that this 32 GB memory capacity is simply not supported by all the devices you tested on. And did you check in the store on your device? I can not answer specifically, because you vaguely described the situation. Your best bet is to go back to the store where you purchased the SD drive.

Unclear problem – the card sees the smartphone Texet 5570, but it can not copy or transfer information to it. That is, it kind of is, but you can not use.

100% – you need to format the medium with the help of your computer and SDFormatter utility. Be sure to specify exFAT (or FAT32) in the procedure parameters. I had such a situation, too, it was this kind of manipulation helped to fix the defect.

In the evening the tablet turned off by itself, although the battery was charged. I then turned it on and did not immediately notice that the SD card is no longer displayed. In the notification bar writes “Connection in progress…”, but the process is delayed and there is no positive result. As a result, most applications do not start – gives an error. And it is also impossible to transfer them to the internal drive. But worst of all, the gadget lags so much that it stops responding to my commands. It hangs, I have to wait until it runs out of power and shuts down. Alas, I don’t know how to reset it. But when I remove the microSD card, then immediately the load is reduced and the tablet works, but without the right programs. According to your instructions, formatted in different ways, changed the card. Sometimes mine is displayed, but as soon as I try to view photos or videos in the Gallery, then again begins “braking”. I did a reset, tried Recovery – nothing. The strangest thing is that the computer perfectly sees the memory card, copies and reads from it.

The problem is quite unusual, if you described it correctly. It is likely that the drive is fine. But something is wrong with the tablet. Alas, even a reset will not guarantee a return to normal if there are hardware defects. Either the slot is defective, or the chip that controls it is defective. I recommend that you contact a service center so that the specialists can make a diagnosis.

The initial data is as follows: there is Lenovo Vibe with Android sixth version, Sony card for 32 GB. On the computer is displayed in two sections, everything is fine. Phone does not see and displays a message SDCARD 0 Kb. That is, as if it is empty. It is important to me to access the photos, because they are very valuable to me. By the way, the PC sees the drive, but does not open it.

If you want to recover images, there are a lot of useful applications. See




. Try not to do anything else with the media before you start scanning. This way you will increase the probability of successful recovery of all photos and videos.

I bought a Samsung A3 series together with a Samsung 64 Gb card. I connected it to the PC and created folders with music, movies, photos, documents and a few more in the memory. But then I found out that the smartphone does not see some of them at all.

It is likely that Samsung’s built-in Explorer may not perceive some folders because of their names (in Cyrillic). But if you install a third-party file manager ES via Google Play, it should show all the content. But if new errors start to appear, it is better to copy important data to your hard drive, and then format the flash drive.

Lenovo stops seeing the memory card. After switching on, immediately in the status bar writes “One SD card is available, switching is impossible”. Put in other smartphones and tablets, connected to the computer through the card reader – all in vain. And how many photos and videos from the rest, and travel left there. Help, I’ll pay as much as you say!

I do not take money, although for the offer – thank you! For now, let’s leave aside the worst-case scenario – the map is completely out of order. Let’s hope the partitioning is just gone. In that article above there is some advice about running the diskmgmt.msc service. Here you need to see if you can see the flash drive, how it is displayed (file table type or unpartitioned area). If so, create a new volume. The microSD card should be detected on the PC. Now you need to recover files with any suitable utility (see also references in the contents of this publication).

I have decided to encrypt the data on the SD card to protect the information. Now I can see the files, but I can’t open them. Even through the program, which crypted. The same thing on the computer – it sees the folders, but does not play anything. SDFormatter is not an option, because I need to save the information. What to wish for, tell me.

Look carefully at the other situations and answers, there are a couple of suitable options there. I also advise you to connect the card reader to your laptop and run a command line., there you have to type the command chkdsk X: /f/r – where X is the drive letter in explorer (My Computer). This way you will check and fix write and read errors, physically damaged sectors.

When I connect a Kingston flash drive through the card reader to my laptop, it writes – “The device can work faster. And sometimes even cool – the card is not recognized.

There is very little information, but I will try to answer. If the drive is a USB 2.0 format, but the laptop is old and it has ports with support for the first version of USB, this error may be. Or you should

Update the drivers

chipset drivers should be updated. Then it may work normally.


It seems like I’ve given a lot of solutions and tips, but you can always contact me in the comments or on the page “Q&A».

I have often heard that people have purchased a product in a hardware store, and the salesperson has assured them that the products are checked in the warehouse and there is no point in unpacking them at the time of purchase. Everything works and has a warranty. This is especially true for flash drives which are tightly sealed in a plastic box. And then at home it turns out that the drive does not work or is not compatible with your gadget. Be sure to look at the specifications of your device to see how many “gigs” you can expand its storage before you pay in the market. These days, in online stores, customer reviews are a useful tool – be sure to read what people write. Sometimes there you can see interesting nuances that influence the choice of a particular product.

Once you have determined that the purchased memory card is defective – do not delay, immediately bring it back for an exchange or refund.

And yet, if you do not feel confident in your computer knowledge, it is better not to take the risk, and immediately ask for help from professionals. This can be both experienced acquaintances and employees of service centers. I do not recommend going to small workshops, where they can cheat you out of money by passing off a trivial malfunction as a critical breakdown. And then they may say that the cause was a virus, forcing you more and install anti-virus software for 1000 rubles. This happens all too often.

In most cases, the steps described in the publication help to understand why the phone does not see the memory card. Unfortunately, in one incident out of ten it is fixed the failure of the medium without the possibility of recovery. I hope this is not your situation.

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