Refurbished phone does not read sd card

After a replacement under warranty with a refurbished FP2, I inserted my sd card with all my back ups in the slot but the new phone wouldn’t read it and say I need to format it which would in turn override all the data on it. I tried to transfer the data from the sd card to several computers (one mac OS, one ubuntu, one windows) and none of them recognised it. Mac OS says it’s unreadable, ubuntu and windows don’t even acknowledge it. I have all my photos, contacts, etc., from my previous phone on it, does anyone have an idea about how to proceed?

Many thanks in advance.

Did you encrypt your SD card before you sent your prior phone back?

Hi Gerry, thank you for replying.

I have no idea, honestly. If that’s the case am I screwed? And how can I see if I did or not?

If I were you, I would have the same questions, because I am no Android expert. :worried:

I desperately hope someone can help you out.


The data is likely to be encrypted if you formatted the card as adoptable storage in Android 6. If you kept it as portable storage, then this shouldn’t be the case. If it’s not encrypted, you could look at data recovery options for SD cards - I haven’t done this in a long while, so I currently don’t have any recommendations.

P.S: One tip: If you’re running some form of linux/unix, I’d suggest making a copy of the block device and trying different recovery options on copies of that copy rather than on the device directly.

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Hi Johannes, thanks for your reply.

I am not very good with tech things, so I only partially understood your post. I am very new to linux too, I just installed ubuntu on an old laptop to give it a try but I still have to understand properly how it works. What do you mean making a copy of the block device?

And also, if the sd card is encrypted (which is likely, now that you mention it I remember something like that when I upgraded from Android 5 to 6), is there anything I can do?

If I’m not mistaken, the encryption key is only stored in the device in which the SD card was encrypted (in a file in /data/misc/vold). If that is true, and there is no backup of that folder that you can access, then that’s bad news for being able to recover data from an Android encrypted SD card.

Click for linux info

As for block devices: in Linux devices show up as files in the /dev/ folder. Storage devices often start with sd and then a letter; for example the main storage device is usually /dev/sda. You’ll just need to figure out which one is the one for your sd card. In a terminal, running dmesg gets you recent system messages, if you do that just after inserting the sd card, you often get hint as to which sdx device it is. You can then check which partitions are on the device using fdisk -l /dev/sdx, where sdx should be replaced by the relevant device name. You may need to run this and other commands as root (if you get access denied errors) - this can be done by adding sudo to the beginning of the command. If you get something like this (source):

#Start End Size Type Name 1 2048 34815 16M unknown android_meta 2 34816 15257566 7.3G unknown android_expand

(i.e. two partitions of unknown type, labelled android_meta and android_expand) then that’s a strong indication you have an encrypted sd card.
If you do want a copy of the block device, a popular way of doing so is dd if=/dev/sdx of=~/image.img. You can then run commands on the image file you created in the same way as if you were using the actual device. (e.g. fdisk -l ~\image.img should give you the same results).

If you’re more comfortable in Windows, right click computer in the start menu (or in the file explorer) and choose ‘manage’. In the window that pops up, you should be able to see partition layouts under Storage > Disk management. If you see two partitions on the SD card, one named android_meta and the other named android_expand, the SD card is probably encrypted.

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Ok I will try, thank you very much for your help!

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