FP3 - SD Card as internal storage - Data Lost

Hello - i inserted a Mirco SD card into my FP3 and selected Internal Storage.
Since then no media - audio or video/photo - is accessible, and after restarting the device 30 GB of media seem to be lost.
There is no way to access the card, neither on the phone or on a computer (where it is visible but does not seem to contain any data.
Can anyone help? Thank you in advance

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Setting up your SD card as an internal storage is the problem.

Please also have a look at the #sdcardguide.

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thank you, but your hashtag does not lead anywhere. what does it mean, it is the problem, why is it the problem (if the phone offers me this option and then performs the action of moving everything without asking further questions) and what can i do now?

For me it shows this topic: ✏ A little guide to... using SD cards


Strange that the hashtap doesn’t work.
It is linked to https://forum.fairphone.com/tag/sdcardguide

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Thank you, now the link works. However, the information in it does not answer all my questions, and warns me not to use the SD card as internal storage - but its all done - what can i do now?
Can Data just get lost?
In several places it says to reformat the card to be an external storage device - i am afraid to do this because formatting may wipe all data on the card now.
Thank you again

What you can do:

Also, I’m afraid the data on the card is lost anyway :frowning: Except if you can get the data on it e.g by connecting the phone to a computer, I believe you won’t get it back.
I will update the SD-card guide to have better instructions.

You can try to follow these instructions, but not sure they’ll work:

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I don’t particularly like to be the bearer of bad news, but the answer to this simply is Yes.

In general, even without a software bug like this current unfortunate one electronic storage can fail you at any given most inconvenient time. It can be an SD card, a USB stick, the storage built into the phone, the hard disk of your computer, anything.

The importance of your data in the storage can be measured by how recent your most recent backup of the data is, or alternatively by how much you are willing to pay for professional data recovery services (which exist and can get forbiddingly expensive for reasons).


Thank you, Alex. I do have to say that it is extremely unfair to offer an option on the phone which does not hazard its own unreliability so that I can reconsider, but that effectively wipes out half my data, in a simple process which is an everyday thing on any other smart phone. Why offer this option???

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Because it should work. And if it doesn’t work, it is a bug. And as I stated:

And if they can’t reproduce it, they can’t solve it.

I don’t recommend formatting as internal storage anyway. It is quite unstable, on any smartphone. If either the card or the phone breaks, the data on the other device is lost. And a card which breaks is quite common.

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Yes, I learned this the hard way…
I dont understand the phrase ‘FP can’t reproduce the bug’ - could you explain?

Fairphone cannot recreate the issue with their own devices. When they format an SD-card as internal storage, they have no problem, which means they can’t understand what’s going wrong with users experiencing it (like you).

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Ok, I understand. Its quite a standard disk - SanDisk, 128 GB,

I will try to take the time to send this to the support.

Thank you, all the best


Sorry, Alex, but when thinking about this, it makes no sense - how is it possible that only users have this problem and Fairphone never finds it? Surely all types of SD cards are being tested and devices which had this problem were accessible to them. And if it is known that it is a wide-spread problem - why not add a warning to this juncture in the phone or disable the ‘internal storage’ altogether?
And, most importantly - what is happening here? Why does the SD-Card consume all the date and then looses it? Where and why? Why do the apps loose the stored data?

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Your questions might be answered as soon as the issue can be reproduced by Fairphone…


I’m pretty sure this is due to statistics. If it happens - say - for one in thousand phones after using the SD card heavily for weeks (probably depending on a certain usage pattern) and Fairphone test it with one hundred phones, there is only a 10% chance they hit this bug. And that is ignoring the fact that testing a phone usually wouldn’t take weeks and there is just no way that Fairphone employees do all things that users do with their phones (combining the phones with all kinds of accessories out there). And maybe the SD card bug only happens with certain cards. I have no idea how many different card brands and models are out there but to test them all under all potential real world circumstances would take years.

As said before: I doubt this is possible (see above).

Yeah, I personally would be in favor of just removing the option, too.

Because technology is not magic but bound to the laws of physics, chemistry, etc.
Sorry, there just is no easy answer to this. Every data storage at some point goes defect. For flash storage, see for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory#Memory_wear


thank you for coming in!
just one thing - it happened with the very first usage - i inserted the Disk, chose one option and the card took all the data and then it was lost.


I can imagine how annoyed you are, but my experience is different.

I bought the FP3+ in October last, inserted the sim and SD card and was offered no option to select if I remember. It was already formatted and had lots of data on it.

So I am wondering if the option asked you if you want to format as external or internal or just asks if you want to use it as external or internal…

If the question was of formatting then it would be clear that all the data will be lost. If it was not reformatted you may well still have the data.

I will try a new sd card and see what happens

thank you, too. it was not a question of reformatting, but the very first choice. I chose internal use. Then, unfortunately, there was no more choice, but the phone simply moved all apps with their data to the card.


There’s another post on this today, so did you loose data just from the SD card, it looks like the post below shows data loss from the phone memory, in that instance.