[TOPIC] What causes an SD card to be displayed as damaged?

SD cards are media used in many devices as external storage media for digital cameras, smartphones, and mobile phones. However, suddenly a message like “SD card is damaged” may appear on the screen and the data inside the card may become completely unreadable. You may be in a panic when it contains important photos and videos. What should you do when such a situation occurs?
In this content, we introduces what to do if the screen of your smartphone or other device displays something like “SD card is damaged” and you cannot read the data. Keep in your mind some of the possible causes and how to recover your data, so that you don’t have to worry about it in case of emergency.


  1. 1. What is the cause of SD card damages?
  2. 1-1. Physical failure
  3. 1-2. Logical failure
  4. 2. Precautions and countermeasures when an SD card is damaged
  5. 2-1. Be careful about formatting
  6. 2-2. How to try using data recovery software
  7. 2-3. How to ask a data recovery specialist
  8. 3. Conclusion Make sure to back up your data

・1. What is the cause of SD card damages?
There are two main causes of SD card damages: a “physical failure” and a “logical failure”. A physical failure means that an SD card itself is damaged, and a logical failure means that an data inside an SD card is damaged due to improper use or malfunction of devices.
Here, we will introduce specifically these causes of multiple SD card damages.

・1-1. Physical failure
This is a case where an SD card is damaged due to submersion, heating, pressurization, and bending. It may become unusable when the number of writes exceeds the upper limit or when it reaches the end of its physical life due to long-term use. Also, by repeatedly attaching and detaching to and from a device, the connector (terminal) part may be damaged and poor contact may occur. Since SD cards are thin and small media that are not very resistant to external pressure or shock, so they are prone to physical damage.

・1-2. Logical failure
This is a case where a problem occurs in a file inside an SD card due to misuse of the SD card or unexpected operation on an device side. Specifically, a logical failure occurs when you pull out an SD card while writing data, or a device with an SD card unexpectedly ran out of battery and was forcibly stopped. Since an SD card does not have a function to back up an update history each time the file is read and written repeatedly, there is a risk of damage due to a logical failure due to careless insertion and removal.

・2. Precautions and countermeasures when an SD card is damaged
What to do if a message “SD card is damaged” is displayed and you cannot read or write to the SD card? First of all, please confirm that your SD card is really damaged or not before trying these solutions below. In detail, confirm as restarting a device and checking an operation of the SD card on another device. If you try these and it works, your SD card may not be damaged. If you cannot use the SD card even if you try the above methods, it is suspected to be damaged. So please refer to the precautions and countermeasures below.

・2-1. Be careful about formatting
If you have problems reading or writing an SD card, you may be able to repair the SD card by formatting it. However, even if a message “Do you want to format the SD card?” is displayed on, you need to be careful not to format it immediately. If you format the SD card, even if the data remains inside, they will be completely erased. You should be careful when formatting, as data that could otherwise be restored may become irreparable.

・2-1. How to try using data recovery software
There are some of the free software for PCs that are distributed free of charge include SD card data recovery software. So try those recovery software before formatting. However, it is not always possible to restore data with those software. Even if it can be restored, it may not be possible to retrieve and reuse the data. Even if you can retrieve the data safely, it is not recommended to continue using the damaged SD card. Back up your data immediately and avoid using the damaged SD card.

・2-3. How to ask a data recovery specialist
If you worry about a damaged SD card, you should ask a specialist without touching it, as it may worsen the condition if you repeatedly insert and remove it at your own discretion.
It is expensive to ask a specialist to restore your data, however you may be able to restore your data in any case of failure. Of course, in that case, it is important to select a reliable one. Please note that depending on reasons for failures, it may be difficult for even a specialist to restore the SD card.

・3. Conclusion Make sure to back up your data
Many people are using SD cards to store data on their smartphones and digital cameras. However, it is possible that the SD card is damaged suddenly. It is important to back up your data firmly by using cloud services provided by PC makers and mobile phone companies so that you will not be in a panic even if you suddenly lose access to your data.

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