Trouble accessing (read/write) external SD card on Fairphone 3 running /e/ OS


I just got a new Fairphone 3 and followed the official instructions from /e/ to install /e/ OS (version 0.9-2020051454091) on it followed by enabling root with these instructions by @lost_geographer. Everything seems fine except for my inserted 64 GB SD card.

It seems that apps don’t have reliable read/write access to my SD card. A few examples:

  1. The Antennapod podcast app reports there is no available SD card that could be used. This is despite that it has always been able to access that exact SD card on my previous phones.

  2. The /e/ OS built-in Open Camera app can save photos into the default internal storage location. However, if I select a folder on the SD card, all photos saved to is are blank. I made sure to enable using the Android storage framework in Open Camera settings with no success. I had no problems with this on other phones. (side note: the /e/ stock Open Camera app always crashes if I use HDR mode, why??? Probably a question for another post)

  3. Images in internal storage can be seen by the built-in Gallery app, and the Gallery app can delete those images. However, photos taken by Open Camera are blank if saved on the SD card (even though it does create a file) when viewed with the Gallery app. Also, if I try to delete the photo using the Gallery app, the photo remains on the SD card. I can still see it’s there with the Files file manager.

  4. Using the Files file manager, I navigate into my SD card and chose “Get info” from the “three dots” menu. It showed some permissions that I’m not sure if they’re normal. Here’s a screenshot:

  1. If I mount my phone’s storage on my computer, both the internal and SD card volumes can be mounted. My computer is able to read and write into both.

The above are just a few examples. In general, the phone just doesn’t play nicely with my SD card, and apps have trouble accessing it.

I have tried:

  1. Factory resetting /e/ OS.
  2. Formatting the SD card using my computer.
  3. Formatting the SD card from within /e/ OS.

They didn’t make any difference.

How can I troubleshoot this problem so that my apps can smoothly utilize my SD card? Thank you.

There are some sd card related issues on the /e/ forum

It also seems to affect other phones


That’s helpful, thank you @Ingo! I’ll keep observing with regards to the other points.


I’m currently deciding on whether or not to purchase a Micro SD card (the SanDisk microSDXC Ultra 400GB) for my FP3.
The primary reason is to fill it with music, and perhaps videos. I intend to format said Micro SD card as an external card, and use VLC to play audio/video.

Does anyone have experience playing music/videos from a MicroSD card recently?
(I did find posts from awhile ago, but those topica are closed now, and without a definite answer in regards to playing music)

Thanks in advance for any help :slight_smile:

Yes that’s what I do. I only have an old 8Gb card but it’s fine. I transferred it from my old Samsung with music and videos.

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That’s almost exactly my setup (same card, external, VLC) :slight_smile: I’m using /e/OS instead of Fairphone OS, but that should not make a difference - after all, I already used this SD card and VLC on my old Fairphone 1 (!).

I cannot report of any music playback problems, but I strongly recommend – if you have a huge music library (mine’s almost 200 GB) – to deactivate VLC’s automatic scan for media contents. Navigate your music through VLC’s file tab, not the album or artist tabs (to avoid cover browsing which can quickly stall VLC with a large music library). The cover will still show once playback starts.

I don’t use playlists, so no tips there from me.

P.S.: Set up/format/check the card in your FP3 first. Loading all your data on it can take a long time - time that you would not want to be all wasted if you formatted the card and loaded it in another device, only to find it not working in the FP3.


Thanks @amoun & @urs_lesse for your replies, and thanks for the VLC tips, much appreciated!
Based on your feedback, I’ve now ordered the MicroSD card! Excited! Soon I should be able to carry my music library with me (pushing 100GB myself) and musicvideos/bootlegs/documentaries (about 140GB) with me \m/

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If you do format the SD card in the FP3 DO ensure it is formatted as External/Portable

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