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How To Format An SD Card On Android

Android SD Card

Note: This method was tested on a device running Android 2.2 Froyo.

Most Android phones either come with an SD card or give you the option to install one. Expanding your device’s storage space in this manner can be a great way to store more music, photos and other media, while simultaneously preserving your device’s internal memory for applications and user data.

Before you can start utilizing a new SD card, it will need to be formatted. Fortunately, Android has this capability built-in and it is a relatively painless process to accomplish.

First, if not already there, go to your home screen by pressing the Home button on your device.

Then, select the Menu button and press Settings.

Scroll down the list until you find the SD & phone storage entry and select it. The following screen will give you a summary of multiple aspects of your card, e.g., its maximum capacity, how much space is available, etc. In order to proceed, you will now be required to unmount the SD card by selecting the Unmount SD card option in the menu.

Caveat: Before you proceed, remember that formatting a card will make all data currently stored on the card inaccessible, barring the use of data recovery tools/methods unbeknownst to many end users.

If the card is successfully unmounted, the Format SD card option will become available. Select it to initiate the process, and after a few moments, you will be ready to start copying media to your new storage space.

Source Online Tech Tips

Image via thomcochrane

  1. william linville #

    Format on computer using fat32 , should work great

    April 29, 2014
  2. Amooh Dreezy Malone #

    I have a 2 GB SD card on my Alcatel OT918 Android phone….I can neither delete or download stuff on it…I have tried formatting it but nothing works…what should I do???

    July 20, 2013
  3. Timothy Takemoto #

    The Format SD card is not displayed, greyed out or otherwise, whether I unmount or not. My android NEC Medias Tab 08-D recognises a SDHX card showing I have 59GB avialble, and allowing me to erase the card, but my windows 7 64bit will not, either via my card reader, or via USB to the tablet.

    July 2, 2013
  4. Crazae Crazea Guy #

    your music files are corrupted. it would be stored on lost.dir so back up everything except lost.dir and format. or else just delete lost.dir

    source: i had the same problem too but somehow i figured it out ;)


    June 12, 2013
  5. Adrian Holland #

    This card is faulty, it’s a 64GB and it won’t work in any phone or camera I try it in, it says on screen SD Card blank and has Unsupported file system. I have tried formatting it, and it still comes on on screen unsupported file system. What do I do ?

    May 8, 2013
  6. Thank you for the article! I have Motorola Atrix 2 (Android 4.0.4) and Sandisk 32 Gb class 4. After making few pictures and videos MyGallery became corrupted. Some items were available, other – no. I did Unmout – successfully. Did not find “Format SD card” option. Just mounted again – repaired!
    P.S. I think the “Format” option is called “Erase SD card” in 4.0.4+

    December 4, 2012
  7. Strange. First, backup whatever data from the card that you can. If you connect your device via USB to your computer and go into USB mode, the card should mount to your PC and you should be able to copy the data over to your computer.

    Then, I would try two things to further narrow down where the problem lies: (1) try formatting a different card you know is working in your Android device and (2) try formatting the problematic card in another device.

    This way, we can determine if there is something wrong with your phone or with the card itself.

    Also, when you say that the music is not being shown, how have you verified this? What apps are you using to try and access the music stored on the card?

    January 3, 2012
  8. Nathan Fournier #

    This post saved me a trip to verizon so thanks!

    January 3, 2012
  9. joe #

    what if the “format SD card does not work??

    December 15, 2011
    • Sorry for the tardy response. Do you mean that the option to format the card is still greyed out? Did you remember to unmount the card first? If you give me more details, I may be able to solve your problem.

      December 24, 2011
      • Amey More #

        i think my sd card is corrupted….. cant get it formated by pc nor in phone 

        January 7, 2012
      • I’m sorry to hear that. Better luck with the next one, Amey.

        January 30, 2012
      • Calusa #

        i removed my card and formatted to fat directly with my pc. now i cannot get it to work what should i do?

        May 18, 2012
      • Do you mean that the card is no longer visible to your PC operating system, or it is just not visible to your Android device?

        July 14, 2012
      • Mark Sentesy #

        I have this problem too: the card is visible on the PC, I formatted it on the PC. Moreover, the droid doesn’t do anything when I press “format.” I can just go back to the same screen and the option is still there, etc.

        February 2, 2013
      • Sorry for intruding but I have a Replenish phone that came with a 2gb card. I just recently bought and incerted a 16gb. I followed ur directions but on my android the “Format SD” is not even an option for me. I can unmount or mount?

        April 21, 2013

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