What happens when you Unmount SD card on an Android?

So you’re exploring your awesome Android phone (or Android device) and while in the Settings you stumble upon the SD card and phone storage (or Storage) and find an option to Unmount or Mount SD card. But what happens when you unmount the phone storage on your Android device? Good question and here is a brief description of what this does and why it is important.

If you have an SD card vs. don’t have an SD card

If you have an SD card also referred to as a memory card in your Android phone then the device should give you the option to unmount SD card. If you do not have a memory card in your phone or if you just placed a card into your Android phone, and have not yet powered the phone back on after doing so, then the option will read Mount SD card. This is also good to know if you want to test to see if your memory card is working correctly. If you insert a memory card and your memory card is reading Mount SD card and it’s grayed out and won’t let you tap that option then the phone isn’t reading the memory card properly and you might want to look into buying another memory card or looking into warranty options. Also remember to check for damage on both the card and the phone.

Inserting and removing a memory card

This is where the mounting and un-mounting comes in. If you ever want to remove your memory card from your phone then you should go into your devices Settings then tap on Storage (or SD card and phone storage) > and tap Unmount SD card. This will tell the phone to stop communicating or transferring information from the memory card to the device, or vise versa from the phone to the memory card, and allow you to remove your memory card safely.

If you do not unmount your SD card or power off the phone before removing your memory card then you can corrupt any files that might have been transferring when you removed the card and run the risk of damaging the memory card.

Corrupted or malfunctioning SD card

If you think that your memory card might have corrupted files or might be malfunctioning then I recommend that you save the information from the memory card to a computer and then erase/format the SD card.

Format SD card

You can erase a memory card using your phone with very little effort by first clicking the option to unmount SD card. When it’s done it often gives you a message to let you know that the SD card has been successfully unmounted and is now safe to remove. If it doesn’t then it should just switch from saying unmount SD card to Mount SD card. When it’s done, you will be presented with the option to Format SD card.

DO NOT FORMAT AN SD CARD UNTIL YOU HAVE SAVED ALL OF THE INFORMATION TO A DIFFERENT SOURCE. Formatting the SD card is like performing a factory data reset on a phone. Formatting it will erase ALL of the information currently saved to your memory card.

Now you know

A quick recap with some other important tips to keep in mind

  • You should ALWAYS either unmount your SD card or power off your phone before removing your memory card.
  • Unmounting the SD card does NOT result in a loss of data or anything saved on your SD card. It simply tells the phone to stop showing things from the memory card.
  • Some applications use the memory card to store information to, or function properly. When unmounting your SD card from your phone you might get a little warning message letting you know that unmounting the SD card can cause some applications to stop functioning properly. That’s fine. Just press ok.
  • You do NOT need to unmount your SD card to remove the back of your phone. You only really need to unmount your SD card when you plan on physically removing the memory card from the phone.
  • You can unmount the SD card if you want to verify that things are actually saved onto your SD card. If you go into a file you assume is on your memory card, then unmount the SD card, the file(s) on the SD card should vanish.
  • If you just got a memory card or are planning on buying a memory card then don’t forget to set the default storage location of your camera to your SD card by going into your Camera Settings and switching from phone to memory card. That way when you take a picture or record a video it goes directly to your memory card. Then you don’t have to worry about transferring pictures and videos to your memory card later, everything will be saved there already. This also helps provide better security for your media files, should the phone malfunction or become damaged. This allows you to simply take your memory card out of the broken phone, put it in the replacement phone and you’re good to go.

If you have a memory card that is 4GB or less then I recommend you invest in a larger memory card, with a high Class rating. If your memory card is one of the smaller cards you might want to read this article about choosing the best memory cards for smartphones.

Keep enjoying your phone

So now that you know the importance of unmounting your memory card before removing it from your phone you should be in good shape. Make sure to take lots of pictures and videos on your device and don’t forget to set the default storage location for your media to the memory card.



I don’t see anything wrong with it…

I didn’t see anything wrong with “fix-es” I think I like it better than “fix(es)”…

I think it was more about trying to decide if it should be a singular use (fix), which part of the article might have helped him answer a single question that he had about unmounting the SD card, but since this article covers multiple topics that a person might want to consider he might have been unsure of whether he wanted to use the word fixes instead as he was commenting on the article as a whole. So CB chose to use them both with “Fix-es”.

Besides, I would say that this article is more about preventative maintenance as opposed to fixing or repairing an existing problem but I do appreciate the kind comment and appreciate the fact that he took the time to post it.

Thank you CB for posting such a nice comment, and don’t worry we all start out as a Newbie and then work our way up from there; especially when it comes to technology.

After unmount an SD card

Well I red your comments which are usefull but I have now the following problem:
- I've unmounted an SD card on an ANDROID phoe but now the option Mount is not acessible. What should I do? Can you help me?

How to fix a memory card that won’t mount

Hi Francisco

That doesn’t usually happen when you unmount through the settings, but it is common if you physically pull the memory card out of the phone while it’s trying to sync. In any case your phone is not reading your memory card properly.

Power the phone off, pull out the memory card, turn the phone on (without the memory card in it) and then wait for your phone to turn on all the way, and then plug the memory card back into the phone, it should read it and let you mount it.

If it doesn’t for some reason then pull the memory card out of the phone (with the phone on), clean the metal piece of the memory card off, be gentle don’t damage it, some people use a pink eraser to clean it. Don’t use water or any conductive liquid to clean the memory card, then try putting the memory card back in and see if the mount option shows again.

If that doesn’t work then pull out the memory card, power the phone off, plug the memory card back in, then power the phone back on.

If the card still won’t read then try the memory card in another phone because it might have malfunctioned (which is extremely rare). If the memory card works in another phone then your phones memory card port might be malfunctioning (more common). Try a different memory card if possible. If it won’t read any memory cards then the hardware on your phone is likely malfunctioning. As a last resort you could perform a full backup (to a computer and Gmail) and then perform a hard reset. This will help rule out any chance of a software issue causing the problem. If you perform a reset and it’s still not reading a memory card properly then there is not too much more that you can do on your end and you might want to look into your other options.

Chances are though that simply removing the memory card and then mounting it again will fix your issue.

Good luck Francisco, Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

unmount sd card

My phone brokenout nd I could not unmount my ad card properly but now when I am using it in different phone it shows blank sd card and ask me to format, it is not readable at computer also, plz provide me the way to save the content of sd card

Not a good sign

Hi Ravins,

So let me understand this correctly. Your phone broke, you couldn’t unmount the SD card, you were able to remove the card from the broken cell phone and tried it in a different cell phone but the newer cell phone shows that the SD card is blank and it wants you to format the card. You did not format the card because you don’t want to lose any of the information that is supposed to be saved to the card so you tried to insert the card into a computer to try and recover the information that way but the computer is showing that the SD card is blank as well.

If that pretty much sums it up then, first let me say that I am sorry to hear that your phone broke.

An odd thing about your situation is that if the phone was powered off (being broken) then it would have been safe to remove the card from the phone as the phone wouldn’t have been transferring information to or from the card.

Another odd thing is that even if the card gets removed improperly there would still be information on the card it just might be corrupted… so the fact that the phone and computer isn’t reading anything on the card isn’t a very good sign.

I’m not sure if the card was erased when the phone was broken, if the card was damaged, if the phone formatted the card because of a malfunction, or what, but from what you describe it sounds like, for whatever reason, there is no information on the card any more.

Are you positive that there was information saved to the card before the phone broke? What were you hoping to recover if you don’t mind me asking? Pictures and media files would definitely be locatable through a computer. In fact you should see a few files to choose from if you insert your card into a Windows computer and choose the “Open folder to view files option”.

So as far as saving the content on the card… from what you described there is no longer any content saved on the card. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help Ravins.

Keep an eye on that SD card though. If it starts losing information that gets saved to it while inserted into the newer cell phone then it may be defective possibly even damaged and might need to be replaced. Good luck, and if you have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

So confused

So I had a Samsung captivate and the screen broke from the inside so all I have is a blank screen I can still power it on etc...I just got a Samsung s4 and when the phone was off I took out my sd card and insertedit in my new phone. I still have my documents and downloaded pics and pictures I had organized in folders but my music and photos in the dcim folder says no items. But when I look on the space it says I have a 4Gb sd card and 1.93 space left . But Its not pulling up everything. With all the things I have its right amount of space So I'm confused.

Here is what I would do…

Hi Adrianna,

Going from the Samsung Captivate to the Samsung Galaxy S4? That is a pretty nice jump. I think you will love your S4 too, I have one myself and I love it.

Before we begin I just wanted to say, good job in turning off your phone before removing the SD card. No corruption of data.

Here is what I recommend you do to try and locate your missing data.

Make sure your browsing the correct DCIM folder

If you are trying to locate the files on your SD card through your Galaxy S4 then make sure that the DCIM folder that you are looking for is the DCIM folder of your SD card and NOT the DCIM folder of your S4. If you would like a reference you can check out How to move pictures and videos to an SD card Samsung Galaxy S4.

It might not be on SD card

The information that you are missing might have been saved to the phone before the SD card was inserted, and your cell phone won’t automatically move that previously saved information for you. It would have had to have been moved manually. Sometimes information has to be moved to an SD card manually anyways, so you’re missing data might still be on your Captivate. The only problem is that your Captivates screen is black so you won’t be able to move those things from your Captivate to the SD card because you cannot use your screen to do so.

There is hope though… Since you can still power the phone on you can connect your Galaxy Captivate to your computer and try to locate your phones information that way. I cannot remember if the Captivate requires you to accept the connection through the screen. If you plug your phone into the computer and the computer doesn’t let you open folder to view files then you might have to tap on the screen a few times to get it to connect. You can probably find a video online showing you how to connect it to a computer so that you know exactly where the option will pop up and where you need to press on the screen. Your display might have malfunctioned but your touch screen is likely to still be operational.

Replacing the LCD

Kind of an extreme suggestion but you could also replace the screen on your captivate as well. Replace the screen with a new replacement screen or take one from another Captivate, then you will have access to your data and a backup phone should something happen to your S4.

Locating files with a Computer

You can also try plugging your SD card into your computer directly, not through a phone, and browsing it that way as well. If you don’t see your missing information through your S4 though it’s probably not on the SD card and is still on your Captivate.

I hope that helps

I hope that gets you on the right path Adrianna. Thank you for being so descriptive in your comment. You provided just about every detail I needed to know exactly what the issue is and what type of phone you are having these issues with. It really helps take the guesswork out of troubleshooting, and lets me sort of pinpoint possible options that are available, so I hope these suggestions help you recover your missing information.

Thanks again for the comment, thanks for visiting the site, and if you have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

Oh and I bought a 32 GB memory card for my S4 and if you plan on taking more pictures and videos with your new phone I suggest you upgrade as well. 4GB just isn’t what it used to be. If you would like some tips in choosing then you can read How to pick the best memory card for an Android smartphone. And don’t forget to make sure the default storage on your S4 is set to the SD card. That way when you take a picture it will get saved directly onto your memory card instead of the phone.

I cant see the sd storage info on my phone

hello. I think I broke my card or something. I got a 64gb card and I put it in my phone. once I inserted it I could see that it was good and had the correct amount of storage on it. it was straight out of the pack. my phone asked me if I wanted to format it  and I said yes. after that I couldn't see any info about an sd card at all. as if it didn't have one inside it. it just  says its preparing the card and then nothing happens. it works fine on computer. I can switch over and see files. what should I do. did I break the card.

There can be a few reasons why this is happening

Hi Jackson,

The good news is I don’t think that you broke your SD card, especially since the card works “fine on the computer”, and don’t worry about formatting your SD card. Formatting an SD card is usually required after inserting a memory card into an Android phone for the first time.

There can be a couple reasons why it’s not working. Let’s start with a few of the basics and go from there.

What kind of phone do you have and does your cell phone support a 64GB memory card? Some phones DON’T. Some phones only allow you to go up to a 32GB card so check to make sure that your phone supports a 64GB memory card. If it doesn’t then that could be part of the problem.

If your phone supports a 64GB card then…

Check to make sure you don’t/didn’t remove the SD card prematurely – If you insert your card and then remove it improperly, by just pulling it out and not un-mounting it first for example, then your phone might have trouble reading it until you re-insert it properly.

Re-insert your memory card – Power your phone off, re-insert your SD card, and then power the phone on. You might have tried this already when you tested your SD card on your computer but if you didn’t then make sure to try it.

Re-format the card – If your phone is at least showing that you have an SD card then see if it will allow you to format it again. The first format might have had a hiccup and re-formatting might allow the card to work on your phone properly.

Test your card – if you have another phone to try your SD card in then try it in that phone to see if it seems to only have issues on one specific phone or multiple types of phones. If your SD card works fine in another phone then you can narrow it down to an issue with your original cell phone. If it won’t work in any phone then you might have a defective memory card that will need to be replaced (it doesn’t sound like this is the case in your situation as your memory card still works on your computer, but it’s not a bad idea to check if possible).

Watch your class – check the class of your memory card to make sure that it’s not too slow. This isn’t typically an issue but a memory cards class is the speed that the memory card will allow you to read and write information to and from it. If you have a memory card with a slow class/speed then when syncing or transferring information to or from the card you might get a “processing” message as it tries to move your information.

Mount if possible – If your phone is giving you the option to mount your SD card then make sure to do so otherwise your phone won’t communicate with your memory card.

Damage – memory cards are pretty durable these days, and since your SD card works on your computer chances are that it’s not damaged. But do a quick inspection of the card to make sure that there are no signs of physical or liquid damage.

When I got my 32 GB Micro SD Card I wasn’t thinking and right after I inserted the card I ejected it to make sure that it ejected as easily as it inserted, which it did, but my phone was syncing the SD card when I ejected it (last thing to cross my mind at that particular moment) and when I went to check my memory card to make sure it was mounted properly my phone wasn’t reading it at all. It was as if the memory card wasn’t even inserted.

A quick re-insertion of the SD card was able to fix my cell phone and get it up and running again. Just follow the suggestions I just listed and as long as your phone accepts 64 GB SD cards I think it should help.

If you have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask. Just make sure to provide any troubleshooting steps you might have already taken, what model of phone you have and any other pieces of information that might help to narrow down the cause of your issue.

Thanks for visiting the site Jackson, I hope these suggestions help, and don’t forget to set the default storage location for your phones camera to the SD card storage instead of the phones storage once you get your memory card up and running.

Heey , so im haveing

Heey , so im haveing problems with my android phone my memorie card sd says threse not enough space on my sd card I erased alot of stuff on it and im not sure what to do? What dose unfromating really ,mean I have an samsung galaxy s3 and it says unfromating? Im not sure what that mean I do not want to lose my picuters or my music app I download a wholet back please help me I dont know what to do I dont want to lose anything like my picuters or my music paridice app I download what should I do what dose this mean!? Thanks I hope you can help me!!!!?


Hi I just bought a 64gb SD card for my Galaxy Note 3 and the unmount and format SD card options are greyed out (unusable)with the caption "MTP or PTP function is active".
What does this mean?

leftover data

Hi, i was wondering if you had any suggestions to help me please. I have a samsung galaxy s2, with a 32Gb micro-sd card. I've taken the sd card out many times to add & remove music & photos. I don't always remember to unmount the card first however. I have noticed recently that when i put the card back in, the music i deleted is still listed, though it wont play. How do i get my phone to forget about the files that arent there anymore? I've tried a cache cleaner with the card out, but that didnt help. Thanks in advance

i had just pull out the sd card

i had just pull out the sd card from my s3 without unmount option. but now when i put in back, my s3 says "sd card removed unexpectedly or safe to remove sd card" sd card does not work and not shown by phone.what to do? plz help me

Not a good thing but…

Hi Hari,

Make sure to always unmount or power your phone off before removing the SD card as it can cause issues like this or worse including corrupting your data. Not a good thing but luckily it sounds like this issue should be fixable.

I recommend that you power your Galaxy S3 off, remove the memory card, power it back on, once its powered on all the way then I would power it back off, reinsert the memory card and then power the phone back on. Test it and see if that fixes it.

If your memory card still won’t mount properly then I recommend that you plug your card into a card reader save its data to a computer and then reformat the memory card, and then try it again.

If that doesn’t work then try your card in another phone and if it won’t work in a different phone (or device) then it’s likely your memory card will need to be replaced.

Good luck Hari. I think that should work though, from what you described in your comment it sounds more like a communication issue than a damaged defective or broken memory card.

Let me know how it goes, I look forward to your response.


Hi Cathy,

Yes, you may take out your old SD card and then replace it with the new one. Just make sure to power your phone off, or unmount your SD card before you remove your original and you’ll be in great shape. The only thing that you might have to worry about is moving the information from your old card to your new card.

I find that connecting your phone to the computer and saving your information from your old memory card to the computer is one of the easiest ways to move your information. Once you save the information from your old memory card onto a computer you can replace the old card with the new one, plug your phone back into the computer and then transfer the information from the computer to your new SD card. Most of the transfer process is as easy as dragging and dropping or copying and pasting. If your computer has a card reader it will be even easier as you can just insert the memory card directly into the computer.

If you chose to do that then I recommend that you insert your new SD card into the phone first so that the phone can setup your card with the needed files and there won’t be any questions as to why you can see a DCIM folder (or other folders) on your old card but your new card is empty. Just a suggestion though.

I hope that helps Cathy, thank you for visiting the site and if you have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

mobile phone memory is not working

dear sir i have a karboon a8 mobile phone which has 2gb inbuilt memory and also 2gb memory card. some day ago my memory card get damage so i have format it. but when it didnt work. unfortunately i have format my 2gb inbuilt card also.
Now the main problem is when i capture the photo from camera it shows the message no external storage available. means inbuilt 2gb memory cant be accessed or shows in file manager. also when i connect my mobile with pc it doesnt show memory card.which was earlier displaying. i have done everything like reset mobile, version updation all are effortless

Not a good thing. It sounds like a hardware problem

Hi Rajaram Jat,

Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your phone and or memory card. From what you said in your description it sounds like there can be a few things that can be causing this to happen.

Memory card – the memory card itself may be malfunctioning or worse, as you said in your description, that it could also be damaged. If the memory card has liquid or physical damage then formatting will not help and it will need to be replaced. It sounds like your phone requires a memory card to function properly and if you have not yet tried another memory card then I recommend you try that first. Hopefully it’s the memory card and not the phone itself.

Memory card slot – another possible cause that’s even less desirable is that the slot where the memory card sits in the phone has become damaged and is causing the phone not to be able to read the SD card properly or even at all. This too is not a good thing as the phone itself would need to be sent in for repair or likely need to be replaced.

Since you said that you already formatted your internal storage it’s less likely to be a software issue as a reset usually fixes those types of problems. I am assuming that you formatted your “2GB inbuilt card” or internal storage by performing a factory data reset on your cell phone which removed all user data and put the phones settings back to factory default. If this is the case then it’s less likely to be a software issue on the phone as a hard reset or factory data reset usually fixes those types of problems.

From your description your issue sounds more and more like a hardware issue and unfortunately it’s likely that either the memory card or the phone itself is going to need to be replaced.

Make sure to try a different memory card or to try your questionable memory card in a different device to narrow it down to a bad memory card or the phone itself. A defective, malfunctioning, or damaged SD card will be the easiest and more affordable piece of equipment to replace.

app icon not visible

I bought a new sd card for my s3, transferred everything from the old one but now i cant some of my apps have disappeared. I have re-installed most of them but the icons are not visible.
Has anyone got idea how to fix this?
please HELP!!!

Restoring app icons

Hi Michael,

It sounds like you are missing the shortcut icons that used to be on your home screen(s). If this is the case then you’re in luck as it’s a really simple task to restore them once you know how to do it.

To add a shortcut icon to your home screen all you need to do is tap and hold on the desired app under your applications and it will let you drag it to the page that you want then stop holding the app, reposition as necessary and enjoy.

Detailed instructions for the not so tech savvy: Tap on your Home key (it’s the big button on the bottom center of your phone under the display) this will take you to your Galaxy S 3’s Home page or Main screen, then tap on the “Apps” icon (bottom right of screen), this will display all the apps on your phone (remember that they are arranged alphabetically if you’re looking for a specific app), once you have found the application that you would like to have displayed on your home screen simply press and hold your finger down on that app, the screen will change and you can drag the icon to any of your phones main screens. If you decide you want to delete the icon from your main screen you can simply hold your finger down on it and then drag it to the “remove” trashcan icon which will appear on the top of the screen. Remember that dragging an icon to the “remove” trashcan simply deletes the shortcut icon itself and doesn’t remove the application from the phone. To remove the entire app from the phone you will need to uninstall it.

Side Note: As far as app data, app data and information from applications can save to an SD card but the actual app often save to the phones internal storage. After resetting a phone custom and third party applications often need to be re-downloaded but once its reinstalled the app can often access the phones memory card and restore the stored data all by itself. This can be a useful piece of information should you ever need to reset a phone or transfer app data from one phone to another.

I hope that answers your question Michael, oh and don’t forget to make sure that your Camera is setup to automatically save the pictures you take to your SD card. It will help keep them safe should your phone ever malfunction or accidently gets damaged. If you would like to check the default storage location of your camera then click HERE for some detailed instructions with pictures.

Thanks for visiting the site Michael, if you have any more questions then don’t be afraid to ask.

unmount sd

Should i change my sd card since it complain low space, is 6gb okay for my phone? Thanks for good explanation u give or what must i do? I need a feedback.

S3 Galaxy Broken

Ok so I broke the inside screen of my s3 (led screen) so my phone doesn't show anything but black. I bought a new s3 and put my memory card in the new phone. None of my pictures or videos are one the memory card and I know they were saved on there. And its weird because all of my contacts and the pictures that go with my contacts are showing up. But all my photos and videos I had before at lost? Ive tried plugging it up to a computer and it doesn't show any pictures or videos either.is there a way to get my old picture and videos back?

I used to transfer files

I used to transfer files between my pc and sd card by connecting d mobile via USB data cable. But recetly i have a problem, I could find only d files in d mobile memory but d files in d sd card is not shown. My sd card is not detected by anyother mobile either. It works only with my mobile in which i used to have this sd card. Plz help

It’s ok, just turn your Huawei off and then remove it

Hi DhonG,

It should have an Unmount SD card option under the settings and storage… if a Mount or Unmount option is there but it’s just grayed out then your phone isn’t recognizing that there is an SD card inserted into it.

If you cannot located the Unmount SD card option under your settings then just power off your phone before removing the memory card and it will be fine. You just don’t want to unplug the memory card when the phone is transferring information to it as it can cause the information to be incomplete and corrupt, which of course can cause problems later.

Add new comment