Android Phone’s Media Slot not Reading

In the age of smart devices, mobile phones are used for far more than just making and receiving calls.

You probably get your news, sports, and weather from your phone. There are likely numerous apps installed, including games. Then, of course, let’s not forget the camera features found on most smartphones today.

With all the apps, data, and pictures being stored, it’s no wonder a lot of space is required. When the default storage for your Android phone isn’t enough, you may need to add more – in the form of a micro SD card.

After placing your new SD card into the phone, you may come across an issue where the phone doesn’t utilize the extra space, or even recognize the card has been added. At this point, you may be asking yourself, “why is my phone not reading my SD card?”.

Troubleshooting Your Phone’s SD Storage

It’s always best to start with the quickest solutions first. A popular step to do for just about any device is to reset it and see if the same behavior occurs. If it does, you may want to physically check the SD card – remove and add it back into the device.

If neither of those produces positive results, you can read on for further suggestions.

Damaged or Dirty SD Card

You may have stopped wondering why the card won’t read and simply move straight to asking yourself, “how do I fix my SD card from not reading?”.

One possibility is that the SD card’s connectors are dirty. You can take the card out of your phone and physically check it. You should look for dirt, smudges or anything else caked on the metallic connectors. A soft cloth with a little rubbing alcohol may be all it takes to remove the build-up.

You also have to consider that the card or even the SD slot in your device is defective. You can test this by removing the card and testing it on another device or a computer. If it works there, it could be the phone’s slot. Otherwise, the card might be damaged.

If you’ve checked the SD card on your computer and it didn’t work, don’t assume it’s the card just yet. Windows computers typically will need to install drivers when devices are initially plugged in. Sometimes the drivers Windows chooses (if the O/S recognizes the device at all) might not be optimal.

See the section for device drivers further down in the article for more information about that subject.

Compatibility Issues

Not all SD (or micro SD) cards are equal. In fact, there are several formats available – SD, SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC. These formats, from first to last listed, progressively increase the maximum of storage capacity, today ranging from 2GB to 128TB.

It should be mentioned that SD cards also vary in speed, signified by Class rankings. These speed classes have transfer rates from 2mb/s to around 90mb/s.

The above mentioned – format and speed – can have a lot to do with whether your micro SD card will work in your Android device or not. It’s best to check your phone’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to confirm the right types of cards.

Also, be wary about buying counterfeit micro SD cards. These are sold by disreputable sellers (primarily online) and may advertise false claims, such as speed and the amount of storage space supported. For various reasons, a fake SD card could fail to work with your phone.

SD Card not Formatted for Your Phone

Every form of storage unit must be formatted properly to work with any given device. Your Android phone is no exception, though these cards are usually pre-formatted for either general or specific use.

The proper formatting type depends on the available memory size of the card and the device using it. Android phones typically use FAT32 (up to 32GB) or exFAT (64GB and up) file formats. The former is the older format, therefore likely more compatible with various phones and devices.

If your Android phone isn’t recognizing the current formatting, you can have the phone try to format it or let Windows do so. You can also download specialized software for formatting micro SDs for phones.

To allow Windows 10 try to format it – assuming you have an SD card slot in your computer – right-click the Windows menu button and choose File Explorer.

Then select This PC, right-click the SD card drive and choose Format.

This will bring up options for how to format the card. For older cards/devices, you can choose FAT32.

For newer SD cards that are supported by your device, you can alternatively select the larger format, exFAT. Either way, always ensure you know the correct file format to use. Also, verify that you don’t have anything on the card that will need to be recovered/backed up before formatting it, since it erases all existing data.

Other Possibilities

If nothing mentioned thus far helped, you can always try a different (perhaps older) SD card and see if it fares any better. Try different apps on your phone to see if they can be saved to the SD card. You may also want to ensure your Android device is updated to the latest O/S patches.

Beyond that, it might be time to contact a professional or the manufacturer of either the phone or the SD card.

Ensure Device Drivers are Updated

It was mentioned that devices attached or plugged into your PC need software (or drivers) to run them. This software allows the hardware and operating system to communicate.

If these drivers are missing, outdated or corrupt, the hardware that relies on them might malfunction, if not stop working altogether. You can let Windows try to find the best driver, but as mentioned, the O/S doesn’t always find a better one.

Manually Update the Drivers Yourself

You can download the latest drivers for a device by going to the manufacturer’s website. Before doing so, ensure that you have plenty of information about the device, like the exact model and other details. If you can find the correct driver, download and unzip it to a location easily found later.

Once you have the drivers downloaded, go into the Device Manager. You can find this via the taskbar’s search box.

Find the device (such as the SD Card), right-click, and choose Update device.

You should see two choices for updating the driver. Pick the second one for Browse my computer for driver software. Then drill down and find the latest driver you downloaded from the manufacturer’s site.

Driver Support Keeps Your Drivers Current

Another path you can take requires less work on your part.

Software, such as Driver Support, can automate the task of keeping device drivers updated. Driver Support software/service will inventory your computer for all supported device types, then update any drivers that are missing or outdated.

You can spend less time worrying about drivers, and more time thinking about what you’ll put on that new SD card.

Driver Support has been trusted since 1996 to assist in keeping device drivers up to date. Download Driver Support to get started.

 

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