How to recover corrupted files on SD card Android?

Having corrupted files on an SD card can be incredibly frustrating. Those photos from your vacation, videos of your kids, or important documents for work could suddenly become inaccessible. When an SD card becomes corrupted, the file system gets damaged, leading to issues reading the data. Thankfully, it is often possible to recover corrupted files on an Android device’s SD card.

Causes of SD Card Corruption on Android

There are a few common causes of SD card corruption on Android devices:

  • Improperly removing the SD card – If you remove the card while files are still being written, it can cause file system corruption.
  • Power failure or reset during write operation – Any loss of power during a write can lead to incomplete writes and corruption.
  • Faulty SD card – Low quality or counterfeit cards are prone to errors over time that lead to corruption.
  • Too many read/write cycles – SD cards have a limited lifespan and can only withstand so many write cycles before failure.
  • Virus or malware infection – Malicious software can intentionally corrupt files and file systems.
  • Hardware issues – Problems with the SD card slot or reader in an Android device can cause corruption.

To help avoid corruption issues, always properly eject the SD card before removal, use reputable high-endurance cards, and watch for early signs of failure like frequent read/write errors.

Recovering Corrupted Files on SD Card Using Android Recovery Software

If your Android device’s SD card becomes corrupted, the easiest recovery method is to use Android file recovery software. Here are the steps to recover corrupted files using recovery apps:

  1. Download and install an Android SD card data recovery app on your computer. There are many reliable options like DiskDigger, EaseUS, Stellar Phoenix, etc.
  2. Connect your Android device to your computer via USB and enable USB debugging if prompted.
  3. Open the recovery app and grant root access if needed. Select the corrupted SD card drive letter.
  4. The app will scan the drive and rebuild the file system catalog. This can take some time depending on the size of the card and level of corruption.
  5. Once the scan finishes, you can preview found files. Select the ones you want to recover.
  6. Choose a save folder on your computer to extract and recover the corrupted files.

The recovery app uses advanced algorithms to scan the raw data on the SD card and retrieve files even if the file system is damaged. As long as the physical memory chips are still functional, the data can usually be restored.

Benefits of Using Data Recovery Software

  • Easy to use with wizard-guided interface.
  • Restores all major file types including photos, videos, documents.
  • Recovery from severe file system damage or format.
  • Faster recovery versus manual methods.
  • Recovers data directly to another drive.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Root access needed for highest chance of recovery on Android.
  • Don’t save recovered files back to the corrupted SD card.
  • Paid software offers more features than free versions.
  • For best results, stop using the SD card once corruption is noticed.

Trying to Recover Files Using Android Device

In some cases it may be possible to recover corrupted files directly on your Android device without a computer. Here are some methods you can try:

Use Android’s Built-in Recovery Mode

  1. Boot your Android into recovery mode – the key combination varies by device.
  2. Select the apply update from SD card or ADB option.
  3. Choose the corrupted SD card as source.
  4. Android will attempt to correct errors and recover data.
  5. Reboot back into normal mode and check if files can be accessed.

Format the SD Card

As a last resort, you can try formatting the SD card to factory settings. This will erase the corrupted file system.

  1. Back up recoverable files first if possible.
  2. Go to Android Settings > Storage.
  3. Select your SD card and choose Format.
  4. Confirm formatting and wait for process to finish.
  5. The SD card will now have a fresh, empty file system.

Formatting should only be done if other recovery methods failed since it will delete all data. But it may fix the file system enough that some files can be recovered after with data recovery apps.

Preventing SD Card Corruption

You can take a few measures to help avoid SD card corruption happening in the future:

  • Always eject the SD card before removing it.
  • Don’t take out the card when actively writing files.
  • Use name brand SD cards with error correction.
  • Make sure your Android OS and apps are up-to-date.
  • Be careful of malware that can infect your device and SD card.
  • Back up your important SD card data regularly.

When to Consider Replacing an SD Card

If your SD card seems prone to repeated corruption issues, it may be time to replace it. Consider getting a new card if you notice the following:

  • Frequent read/write errors or crashing when accessing files.
  • Corruption even after formatting a new file system.
  • Slow performance that gets progressively worse over time.
  • Visible damage to the card like dents, cracks, water damage.
  • Card is older than 3-5 years.

SD cards have a limited lifespan due to the nature of flash memory. Constant writing/erasing of cells causes gradual degradation over time. While corruption can happen on newer cards too, older cards are generally more prone to unrecoverable failures.

Choosing a Reliable Replacement SD Card

When replacing an old or unreliable SD card, choose a quality card from a reputable brand. Here are some tips for selecting a good SD card for your Android device:

  • Known brand name like SanDisk, Samsung, Sony, Kingston, etc.
  • Higher capacity – At least 16GB minimum, but consider 64GB or 128GB.
  • Faster speed rating – Get a UHS-I U3 V30 card or better.
  • Designed for HD video recording and high resolution photos.
  • Durable build and material – Avoid ultra low cost cards.
  • Has decent lifetime warranty of a few years.

Avoid using cheap, counterfeit, or pirated SD cards from unknown brands. The quality and performance is noticeably inferior to premium cards from top brands. Paying a little more for a quality SD card can save you from frustrating file corruption issues.


Corrupted files on an SD card can seem disastrous but there is usually a good chance of recovering your data. Make use of reputable Android file recovery software for the best and easiest results. Just avoid further writes to the card, backup whatever files are still accessible, and let the recovery app do its work.

In some cases you may be able to fix minor corruption issues directly on the Android device itself without a computer. But for severe file system damage, specialized recovery apps have the best success rate. And don’t forget to replace aging SD cards that are prone to errors with new high-endurance models.

With the right tools and techniques, you can rescue your valuable photos, videos, music and documents even from an SD card that won’t read or mount properly. Just act swiftly when corruption happens to maximize recoverability before more damage occurs.

Recovery Software Platform Pricing
DiskDigger Windows, Mac, Linux Free (Pro $)
EaseUS Windows, Mac, Android Free (Pro $)
Stellar Windows, Mac, Linux Free trial (Paid)

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