After the blip when smartphone manufacturers thought creating devices without expandable storage was a good idea, we are now seeing manufacturers adding an SD card slot to the phones again. If you’re ready to expand your storage, it’s as simple as learning to mount an SD card on your Android device.
Here we show you how to mount your SD card, unmount it, and what this whole mounting malarkey means in the first place.
Why Mount Your SD Card?
Whatever device you put an SD card into, you’ll need to mount it, which means the SD card becomes readable by whatever device it’s in. Think of it a bit like a mini-installation, which makes the SD card visible to the device and makes it play nice with processes and software on your specific phone. When you unmount it, the SD card disconnects from your device.
If you don’t mount an SD card on your Android device, it won’t be readable by your device. If you don’t unmount your SD card before removing it, you risk losing data on the card, as you didn’t give it the chance to disconnect at the software level before pulling out the hardware (sort of like switching off your PC at the mains instead of going through the Shutdown process).
How to Mount an SD Card on Your Android Phone
Mounting an SD card should be as simple as inserting it into your Android device, then following the prompt to “Mount” it. Some more modern smartphones automatically mount your SD card without asking, while on others you may need to go to “Settings -> Storage -> SD card” and follow the prompt to mount it from there. Once your SD card is mounted, it’s ready to use with your Android device.
How to Unmount (Or Eject) Your SD Card
For the most part, the term “unmount” has been replaced with the much more familiar term “Eject” these days, because it essentially means the same thing (although don’t expect your SD card to pop out of your Android phone like a VHS tape).
To eject your SD card, go to “Settings -> Storage,” then tap the “Eject” icon next to your SD card. Alternatively, tap all the way through to your SD card, then tap “Eject.” (Some older phones will have the “Unmount” option instead, which does the same thing.)
Most of you will know this already, but just to be sure, unmounting/ejecting doesn’t erase the data from your SD card (not to be confused with formatting, which will completely wipe your SD card).
SD Card Not Detected by Phone
If you try to mount an SD card on your Android device, but it’s not recognized, you should try formatting it on your PC to the “exFAT” format, which is readable on most Android phones. Insert the SD card into your Windows PC, right-click it in File Explorer, then click “Format.”
The main options you want to select in the new window are “exFAT” and a 1024kb unit size, which is a good default to have.
If that doesn’t work, you should try inserting a different microSD card into your phone to work out whether the problem is with the phone or the card.
Using SD Cards without an SD Card Slot
Even though newer Android devices are being shipped with increasingly more storage, you may still want to use an SD card to quickly back up files to external storage. If your device doesn’t have an SD card slot, you may still be able to technically mount an SD card on your Android device. You’ll only be able to use it for file storage, but it gives you an extra option.
You’ll need an on-the-go USB cable adapter. If you have a micro-USB charging port, you’ll need something like the UGREEN Micro USB 2.0 OTG Cable On The Go Adapter. If you have a USB-C charging port, you’ll need something like the JSAUX Type C OTG Cable. Attach a standard USB flash drive or USB card reader to the Type A end and the other end to your Android device.
You should now know everything there is to know about the increasingly integrated process of mounting and unmounting (see ejecting) an SD card. If PCs are anything to go by, we may reach a point where you can just remove SD cards without having to “Eject” them first, but for now, keep playing it safe and do your mounting and unmounting in accordance with our guide.
Want to use your SD card as the Android internal storage? Just follow these steps.
Image credit: Flickr / Maurizio Pesce
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox