Memory Card Not Detected by Phone. Why Android Won’t Recognize SD Card

Submitted on 11/03/2017

It is quite a frequent case when one’s phone won’t read an SD card, which results in all the data getting straight to the phone internal memory bypassing the memory card. While your SD card remains unused, the internal memory has less and less space on it, and your device works with less productivity. So no wonder a lot of people ask the question I put as the headline.

This piece of text will be helpful for those using mobile devices with memory card support: photo cameras, mp3 players, laptops and others, but first and foremost smartphones and tablets.


  1. The main reasons why micro sd card not detected:
    1. Wrong format or corrupted file table
    2. SD card is not compatible with device
    3. Wrong data transfer mode on Android
    4. Memory card loose springs
    5. Application error on Android
    6. Memory card broke down or damaged
  2. My sd card not reading: QA

A phone is not detecting an SD card: wrong filesystem format / corrupted file table


It can be caused by a number of things:

  1. Your SD card has a corrupted file table, the marking is broken.
  2. Your mobile phone doesn’t recognize the SD card after your formatting.
  3. SD card filesystem is unknown (it was used by a different operating system).

How to fix

1. Find out the size of your memory card. If the capacity of the microSD is over 32 GB, it is likely to have been formatted to exFAT. Not all Android versions support this filesystem.

2. A fast way to fix this problem is restarting the phone in the recovery mode and selecting Wipe cache partition in the Android service menu. This will clear off the SD card and format it to FAT32 which is the most suitable for storing files on a phone.

Note. We wouldn’t recommend this solution to inexperienced users because if a wrong partition is formatted, all data from the internal memory of mobile phone will be lost.

3. An easier and safer way of formatting an SD card is using computer. You’ll need a card reader and SD Formatter app that will help you format the memory card properly.

Download SD Formatter

You’d better not use standard formatting software from Windows package (their features are considerably limited compared to SD Formatter).

4. You can try low-level formatting; yet not all manufacturers offer their soft for this (check it out on the website of your memory card manufacturer).

Memory card is not compatible with your mobile device

Symptom. Your phone is not reading your new micro SD card. For example, you can see the system message "sd card not inserted". 


  1. Your mobile device doesn’t support new memory cards.
  2. Memory card has too big a capacity or uses unknown specifications, that’s why the phone is not reading an SD card and doesn’t recognize it as a memory device.

How to fix. Examine the manual that goes with your phone and get an SD card compatible with your system requirements.

Wrong data transfer mode on Android

Symptom. You connect your phone with an inserted memory card using a USB cable and selecting the Mass Storage option, which results in micro sd card not detected on your computer or laptop.

How to fix. Instead of Mass Storage select Media Transfer option when connecting your phone to the computer. The Explorer should display data stored on the memory card.

SD card loose springs or lost tracks of the socket (broken memory card)

Symptom. If your memory card is not properly connected or shifted, your phone doesn’t see the data stored on it.

How to fix. Remove SD card from your phone and insert it back so that SD card springs would connect properly with the SD socket.

If SD card springs have worn out, you can get new ones cheaply and replace them yourself (if you have the necessary skills and minimal experience in repairing and replacing spare parts of course).

Quite possibly, tracks on the card were removed, and your phone doesn’t see the broken memory card at all. A common reason is your phone natural wear and tear. In this case we’d recommend handing in your device for repair or getting a new one.

Micro sd card not recognized because of application error

Symptom. Particular Android software won’t recognize an SD card. Other apps read the SD card and write data on it no problem.

How to fix. Android won’t detect the memory card because in the settings internal memory of your smartphone/ tablet is set as default storage. Go to the settings of the app you have problems with (for example Gallery or Camera) and set SD card as the destination.

Memory card in your phone (tablet) broke down


  1. As a result of mechanical damage your phone doesn’t see your SD card or the latter stopped working.
  2. Your phone is not recognizing an SD card and it’s not recognizable on other mobile devices.

What you can do. Alas, you can’t do anything about a broken SD card. You’d better waste no time on looking for the reasons it broke down and get yourself a new one whose specifications will be suitable for your phone or tablet. Thanks god it doesn’t cost too much.

If your SD card is under warranty and looks like new (with no visible damage), try bringing it back to the shop. If you’re lucky enough, they’ll give you a new one instead.

Micro sd card not detected by phone: Questions - answers

My phone is Samsung Galaxy A5 2016. I inserted my newly bought SD card Qumo (2 GB) into the second slot of my phone, but the device can’t read this SD card neither via phone menu, nor using a cable to connect it to the computer.

Answer. Qumo memory cards don’t have great reputation. However, 2 GB cards tend to have no problems in working with phones.

Connect your SD card to the computer using a card reader. If the computer doesn’t detect the card (the disk is not displayed in the Explorer), hand in the SD card to the seller and get your money refunded.

If your SD card isn’t recognized only by your phone and is read by the computer, formatting it to FAT should work.

I dropped my phone and lost all photos from the Camera folder stored on the memory card. Can I recover them? The rest of the folders remained intact.

Answer. Your SD card might be damaged or not recognized by Android. Check if it works when connected to the computer using a card reader. Another thing might be that the memory card shifted in its slot, say when you dropped your phone, so check that out as well.

If your SD card is not damaged, you can recover photos using any data recovery software.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (China) uses only its internal memory while my micro SD card is not detected by my phone. I’ve tried everything… ticked boxes in the settings, inserted it in another phone, formatted – nothing works.

Answer. The problem might be the app which saves files on SD card. Check in the settings of a certain app where it saves files – to undetected SD card or internal memory of your tablet/smartphone.

I bought a 4 GB micro SD for my phone, connected it to the computer using a card reader, copied files to it and inserted it in my Microsoft Lumia 530. Windows says the device works incorrectly and doesn’t read the memory card although it works in the phone. This happens to all my media and devices. I checked the SD card on many computers before inserting it into my phone and it was ok. So the memory card is not detected on computer and only works in the mobile device.

Answer. Format your SD card either using the phone or data recovery software (we wrote about it above). If this fails to help, go to Disk Management in Windows and check if your memory card is mounted when connected to the computer, or if the volume is displayed in the list. Create a new partition on the card and format it to FAT using SD Memory Card Formatter if necessary.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2015 doesn’t read my SD card. Formatting it to all possible formats didn’t help. Connected to the computer it works perfectly. Why is my phone not reading my SD card? Should I change the settings to detect SD memory in mobile?


  1. Go to the Settings – Storage.
  2. Check out SD card section.
  3. Run file manager, does it see files from the memory card?

One reason can be a lost contact between the memory card and phone. Check if your device reads other SD cards, and if not – hand it in to repair.

My phone Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 SM-T331 doesn’t recognize my SD card: total space – 0 bytes, available space – 0 bytes. I inserted this very SD card into another device: total space – 14.57, available space – 14.57. Trying another SD card with my tablet – same thing, and the phone does see it.

Answer. If there are important files on your memory card, copy them to your computer. After that format the memory card and scan it for errors. If the situation happens again, update the firmware of your tablet or do a hard reset.


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