Samsung Galaxy S5 - Memory or SD card issues

Memory or SD card issues

This guide provides some key troubleshooting advice to resolve issues you may have whereby your device's micro SD card is not recognised.

After performing each step, please test to see if the issue is resolved.


  • Unable to save media files
  • Unable to move applications to SD card
  • Device reports that SD card is missing or not recognised
  • Unable to download files

Troubleshooting Questions

  • Is the memory card compatible with the device?

    Some devices may require certain types of memory cards, and will either not work fully, or at all with certain other types. For example, some early devices were only able to use small capacity (less than 4GB) cards, and could not read or write to SDHC cards (those ranging between 4GB to 32GB). In the first instance, ensure that the memory card currently inserted in the device is compatible with your device. Check the manufacturer's documentation or device specification page for more information regarding this.

  • Is the memory card properly inserted?

    A common cause of memory cards not being recognised is incorrect insertion. It can often be the case that due to the small size of micro SD cards, if the card is not inserted fully and securely, then the gold electrical contacts may not make a firm connection to allow for data transfer. Before proceeding with further troubleshooting, remove the SD card fully, and check the gold contacts for any dust or dirt. If there is any present, use a dry, lint-free, cloth to remove it.

    Before re-inserting, check the orientation of the card in relation to the device slot. Follow the guide below to insert the SD card correctly:

    Walkthrough - Insert the SIM Card, Battery, and Memory Card

  • Has the memory card been formatted?

    Although many SD cards are bought pre-formatted, it is always advisable to re-format cards in the device that they going to be used in. This is especially true of Android devices, as it will allow for required file and folder structures to be created. The other benefit is that it can correct software corruptions which may cause errors or loss of data when reading or writing from the card.

  • Does the formatted memory card work in other, officially compatible, devices?

    If the above steps have failed to resolve the issue, then it is necessary to test the memory card in another device compatible with that card. This will ensure that the SD card does not have a physical or other non-recoverable fault. If the card does not work in a number of other devices, then it is safe to conclude the card is damaged, and should be replaced.

    Due to the nature of SD cards, certain types of damage or shock can render the card permanently damaged. This can be physical shock, exposure to static electricity, etc.

  • If the SD card does work in other devices, do other cards work in your device?

    If the above testing reveals that the card is not faulty, then it is necessary to test another card in the original device. This will allow you to determine whether or not there is a fault with the device itself, or some component thereof, such as the SD card reader. It may also be indicative of an issue with the software/OS of the device.

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