How to Mount an SD Card on Your Android Device

After the blip when smartphone manufacturers thought that creating devices without expandable storage was a good idea, we are now back to normality and have been for the past couple of years. SD cards in Android phones are here to stay, so it’s as good a time as ever to have a refresher on how to mount and unmount them.

Here we’ll show you how to mount your SD card, unmount it, and what this whole mounting malarkey means in the first place.

Whatever device you put an SD card into, you’ll need to mount it, which means that 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 your SD card isn’t mounted, it won’t be visible to your Android phone. 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 Shut Down process).

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.

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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.)

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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).

If your phone isn’t detecting your SD card, then 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.

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If that doesn’t work, then you should try inserting a different microSD card into your phone to work out whether the problem is in the phone or the card.

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.

One comment

  1. “Insert the SD card into your Windows PC, right-click it in File Explorer, then click “Format.”
    This can be done on most any PC, not just windows. I know you guys tend to be win-centric, but editing out “windows” in this case might alleviate some confusion.

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