How to fix Galaxy Note9 not detecting SD card issue

The Galaxy Note9 is a great device but just like any other phone today, it’s far from perfect. In this short troubleshooting guide, we show you the ways to fix your Note9 if it’s not detecting your SD card.

How to fix Galaxy Note9 not detecting SD card issue

There can be a number of reasons why an Android device fails to read an SD card. If your Galaxy Note9 happens to having such a problem, take note of the troubleshooting steps that you can try below to fix it.

Verify SD card is working

Before you do any troubleshooting on your Note9, you must make sure that it’s not an SD card issue. You can do that be inserting the card on another phone and check if it does allow saving files. If the card wont work on another device, you must replace it. It’s most probably corrupted or totally busted. If, on the other hand, the card works normally on a second device but not on your Note9, it’s either an incompatibility issue (applies to older types of SD cards) or a phone issue. Either way, you should continue with your troubleshooting by following our suggestions below.

Take note of errors

The next step is to know whether or not there’s an error that shows up when your Note9 tries to read the card. There can be a number of different errors related to SD card problems so all you have to do is to take note of the one showing up and run a search in Google about it. Almost all generic SD card errors can be fixed this way so make Google your friend.

Ensure SD card is inserted properly

Another basic way to fix SD card problems, and a lot of Android users ignore most of the time, is by making sure that the card is inserted properly. If you still have it, refer to the manual or documentation that came with the phone. The steps are self-explanatory and easy to figure out. Better still, you can do some quick search on YouTube how to do it to get a better picture.

Forced reboot

If the above suggestions has not helped so far, then it’s time to begin the software troubleshooting process. The first one to do is to simulate a “battery pull” procedure. Doing this solution is often effective in fixing minor bugs that developed after letting a device run for some time. If you haven’t tried it yet, follow the steps below on how to do it:

  1. Press and hold the Power + Volume Down buttons for approximately 10 seconds or until the device power cycles. Allow several seconds for the Maintenance Boot Mode screen to appear.
  2. From the Maintenance Boot Mode screen, select Normal Boot. You can use the volume buttons to cycle through the available options and the lower left button (below the volume buttons) to select. Wait for up to 90 seconds for the reset to complete.

Install updates

When dealing with any form of possible software bug, you should always consider installing updates as a solution. Some bugs require coding changes to fix them so it’s really a good idea in this case. If you’ve been holding off carrier or system updates for some reason, now is the time to install them.

Clear cache partition

Android uses a set of temporary files called cache to load apps quickly. In some situations, this cache may get outdated, corrupted, or buggy. To ensure that there’s no issues from the system cache whatsoever, you can try to clear the cache partition. This will erase the current system cache to force the device to create a new one. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe cache partition’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘yes’ is highlighted and press the Power button.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, “Reboot system now” is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Check for bad app

Some apps interfere with Android and causes problems with other apps. To check if one of your downloaded or third party apps is the culprit, you can try to boot to safe mode. Here’s how:

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key past the model name screen.
  3. When “SAMSUNG” appears on the screen, release the Power key.
  4. Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  5. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  6. Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  7. Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.

While on safe mode, all third party or downloaded applications are suspended. You won’t be able to use them as they can’t run. Make sure that the SD card is properly inserted and check if your Note9. If it does, that’s a clear indication that one of the apps must be bad. To identify which of your apps is causing the trouble, you should boot the phone back to safe mode and follow these steps:

  1. Boot to safe mode.
  2. Check for the problem.
  3. Once you’ve confirmed that a third party app is to blame, you can start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added.
  4. After you uninstall an app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
  5. If your Note9 is still problematic, repeat steps 1-4.

Reset app preferences

Resetting app preferences is oftentimes overlooked in many Android troubleshooting articles but when it comes to an issue like yours, it might help a lot. It’s possible that one or some of your default apps may not be set correctly, causing this glitch to occur. Because there’s no way to know if this guess is true, what you need to do is to simply ensure that all default apps are turned on. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap on More settings at the upper right (three-dot icon).
  4. Select Reset app preferences.
  5. Restart your Note9 and check for the problem.

Reset all settings

This procedure is separate from the previous one as it covers all settings of your Android device and not just the apps. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. From the Home screen, swipe up on an empty spot to open the Apps tray.
  2. Tap General Management > Reset settings.
  3. Tap Reset settings.
  4. If you have set up a PIN, enter it.
  5. Tap Reset settings. Once complete a confirmation window will appear.

Factory reset

If the cause of the problem is due to a software bug, wiping the phone and returning all its settings to defaults might help. Here’s how to factory reset your Note9:

  1. Create a backup of your personal data such as photos, videos, contacts, documents, etc.
  2. Turn off the device.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  4. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  5. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  6. Press Power button to select.
  7. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  8. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  9. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  10. Press the Power key to restart the device.
  11. Let the phone run for 24 hours without adding any apps.


The worst situation that can happen in this case is the possibility that there’s a hardware malfunction causing the problem. If your Note9 still fails to read an SD card or any SD card, then that means there’s something deeper behind it. It may be a non-functional SD card slot, or a general defect in the motherboard. Whatever the case, you must send it in so Samsung can examine the hardware.


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