Access to apps on sd card not possible with android 6

Some of my apps were loacted on sd card. After updating to Android 6 today, I neither can use these apps nor transfering them to the internal storage anymore.

Either there is a way to do it with Android 6 or I would like to reinstall Android 5 to move them to the internal storage.

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Is it possible to see them in the Settings -> App in Tab “SD card” (or similar name?). What option can be found there? If no moving is allowed, maybe deinstalling and reinstalling is possible?

Just finished my upgrade. Nope, the before mentioned “tabs” don’t exist any more on Android 6 and I also really can’t remember which App I’m missing now… I’m sorry, I can’t help then.

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I am also having the same problem since updating.

When I look at the files on the SD Card they are there, but the phone is not recognising the SD Card anymore and is suggesting I reformat it which would mean I lose the apps and photos stored on there. I also cannot see the data when I plug the phone into my computer in order to transfer it. There is nearly 5 GB of data on my SD card and I do not want to erase it without backing it up externally before reformatting the SD Card.

This may not help with your over all problem, but you don’t need to loose your data if reformatting is necessary.
Copy your files to an other location beforehand, and copy it back after the formatation process.
Eg., use a card reader to transfer the files to your computer, or any other device handling micro SD cards. Maybe not very handy, but could be a simple and easy workaround.

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I assume I have the same problem? Got a “Set up your SD card” message after the upgrade. When tabbing it, I have the options

  1. Use as portable storage
    For moving media between devices
  2. Use as internal storage
    For storing anything on this device only. […] “Requires formatting …”

I am a bit confused about this distinction as I used it for apps, but also moved music, e-books etc. from my computer to the sd card and vice versa.

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I recommend you select “portable storage”. If not you’ll lose access from PC (at least windows PC) to external sd-card because of incompatible file system (you’ll find lot of more details when searching for this topic in the internet).

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Hi Volker, @retrovertigo and @freibadschwimmer,

my problem now and as far as I have understood @mishakimou as well is, that since the computer does not see the SD card any more when plugging the phone it is hard to transfer files. This “feature” didn’t happen on an other installation of 17.04.03 to an other phone.

To be clear, the card was already in use and has data. I do NOT want to select portable or anything else that leads to reformatting.

That is what I did so far to solve the problem:

  1. I reinstalled all the apps missing using my favourite app stores and apk providers
  2. Because all my pictures are automatically stored into a cloud account, I did not loose them and could get them back onto my FP.

settings/ apps: only shows all apps/activated/deactivated,
no more “apps on sd-card”

Same problem. Will everyone who install Android 6.0 experience this?

I do have the same issue.
It is caused by the renaming of the SD Card by the System.

My SD Card was named SDCard under Android 5.1 and after the update it was renamed to “C51F-19EE” under Android 6.0.1.

I think the different name (soft-link) is the problem, the data on the card is the same as before.


No, the different name does not cause the issue. It was same way on beta 17.04.3 on another phone and this I could connect properly to my PC and see the content of the SD card. Now with my personal and GA 17.04.8 I have this issue, that I cannot access the SD card from my PC.

Could the reason be that all who have problems here had at least one App installed on SD card? I would never have known if I didn’t have a look recently in Settings -> Apps on Android 5.1 and have suddenly found a new tab “SD card” (or similar) and migrated from this state without moving the affected App manually to phone memory (where it was space enough left).

I told you all that this will happen, but nobody heard me …

I tried Nougat for 3 days and reverted back to Lollipop. Nothing is better, but a few things make me unhappy (write rights to sd-card, USB-mass-storage-mode). I shall be happy with my FP2 and Lollipop, if the bugs would be fixed …


Edited by @TobiasF: Cleaned the post from broken code for better readability.

Original post I told you all that this will happen, but nobody heard me ...

[read this](http:// I tried Nougat for 3 days and reverted back to Lollipop. Nothing is better, but a few things make me unhappy (write rights to sd-card, USB-mass-storage-mode). Read this blog-entry.59 I shall be happy with my FP2 and Lollipop, if the bugs would be fixed …)

Thanks @Volker, following your advice solved my question!
Information in the wild is a bit confusing, even contradictory. I found several statements that you have to choose internal storage in order to the SD card for apps and app data at all, which is not true. I found this note helpful:

If you choose portable storage, it’ll be treated the same way as removable storage devices have been for the past few versions of Android: you can’t easily install apps to the storage card, but some app data can be saved there and you can store music, movies, photos, and other content on the microSD card.


This is quite annoying.
My SD Card was called “sdcard1”, now it has the stupid ID “XXXX-XXXX”.
My Podcast device now doesnt find the downloaded episodes anymore.

@Fairphone, pls fix this or give us a way to rename it

Seems like a very thorough article. Thanks for linking it! I will most certainly choose “use as portable storage” now.


That is not what the original post is about. @piccolini refers to apps that were transferred to the micro-SD card. In your case, this is the prompt you get when Android 6 first sees your card.

Selecting Portable storage will make it act as it was before, with Lollipop.
That means that the card can be read by other devices if you take it out of the phone.

Selecting that option will not format the card, the data will not be deleted.

The new mode Internal storage will format and encrypt the card so that nobody else can use it but the very phone that initialised it.

Only few people will want to do that as the micro-SD cards are usually way slower and less reliable than the 32GB embedded flash storage.

Android 6 properly displays the external card name, that is why you see some exotic name.
This name is originally given when the card is formatted. Because the card has to be formatted with a FAT file system, the name has a (very) limited length.

If you take out the card and put it in a computer/USB reader, you should be able to rename it.

Note that the card name should not impact the phone in any way. The proper way for apps to access data on an external card is not to rely on names. If an app cannot read what it could before, please double check that similar issues were not reported for this app (and whatever phone) before.

That is a very sound approach indeed.


Thanks @borjan, very helpful. I chose ‘Internal storage’ when prompted, backed-up the files onto my computer and reformatted it. Now wishing I’d chosen Portable storage, as I want to choose what goes on there.

Anyone know if it’s possible to reformat so that I can use my card as Portable storage instead please?

  • update: just discovered it was possible to reformat from the ‘Storage & USB’ menu in settings
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I’d like to disagree. :relieved: Adopting the SD card as internal storage has several advantages:

  • As you said, it is encrypted. (In portable mode, everything on the SD card is accessible if you loose your phone.)
  • Every app can use it. (In portable mode, only apps which explicitly allow you to select a storage location can save data to the SD card. Many apps can’t.)
  • You can save large files (e.g. videos) to the SD card. (In portable mode you are limited to 4 GB.)
  • If you are worried about performance, you can still keep all your apps in the internal storage.

So I think this is one of the best new features of Marshmallow!