SD Card Problem Solving


I have a Moto Z3 with an SD card running Android 8.1.0. Unfortunately, Motorola (Lenovo) decided to alter the phone so the SD Card can only be formatted for Portable Storage and not Internal Storage. This means that only music, videos, photos only can be put on the card and no .APK files (apps).

The logic behind them doing this is:
Formatting to internal storage is no cure for low memory issues, SD cards are slow and will make your phone laggy, They fail frequently and as the data is encrypted there is little chance of recovery. If you factory reset your device, the encryption key generated by your phone changes so you lose access to any data on the card. Used as “portable storage,” they are not secure.

The RW site says:
SD cards used as Portable Storage have the following properties:

  • Can be frequently swapped between devices or used for media storage only (photos, videos, music)
  • Can be used to transfer content between devices
  • Can NOT be used to store downloaded applications and their data
  • Readable by other devices (another phone, Mac, PC, digital camera)
  • Content on the card is not encrypted by default
  • Will not require an automatic re-formatting of the card

SD cards used as Internal Storage have the following properties:

  • Can extend your existing device storage to store large applications, games, and their data
  • Can store large games
  • Use if you plan to always keep this card in the device
  • Downloaded applications, their data and media can be moved to the Adopted card, as long as the application developer allows for this feature with their application
  • Is NOT readable by other devices. (another phone, Mac, PC, digital camera)
  • Card is always encrypted and cannot be decrypted on any other device
  • Card will be formatted when Internal Storage is selected

But putting your data over on the SD Card formatted as portable storage does create issues. When music, data and photos are put on the SD card, often apps such as music players, photo apps, etc. cannot see the files on the SD card. The work around I have found is to use a file browser such as Total Commander, Smart File Manager or X-plore to navagate to the music file or photo you want to hear or view and click on it. You will then be prompted for the app needed to hear/see the data on the card.

I hope this has been of help or clarification to someone. Personally, I would appreciate the Gods at Motorola (Lenovo) allowing the end user some freedom to choose what is best for them!

If anyone else has some insights (like how to get around the limitation Motorola has but on these phones) I would appreciate a post back.



I’ve moved your post to the “Tips & Tricks” section. Thanks for writing this up!

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samsung did that to the s7


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