The storage on my Android 11 phone (Fairphone 3) was running out so I mounted a Lexar micro SD card to increase storage. I now realise this was a mistake but not knowing any better I formatted it as internal storage as that is essentially what I needed.

Now any photos I take will not show up in Gallery, Photos or Drive and neither can I see them on the SD card - so they're essentially not being taken. Taking a picture within Whatsapp is possible but then impossible to send because the file format isn't "valid". (And when I manually eject the card, the camera won't work at all.)

I've come as far as thinking I need to format the SD card to portable to fix this? Essentially I want to undo ever putting it in there, I'd rather take low storage.

BUT while there are no major picture or document files on the card, I noticed the WhatsApp Databases and Backup files and I'm worried that formatting will wipe my WhatsApp account. It's also backing up to Drive but when I try and do a manual back-up without the SD card in (thinking I can then uninstal/reinstal Whatsapp and load the most recent Drive backup after formatting + losing the SD storage) it tells me "Backup skipped because internal storage not available".

So could someone please confirm:

  • Do I need to FORMAT my SD card to fix the Photos issue?
  • Will I lose my WhatsApp chats if I format because it deletes the Databases?
  • If so, is the only way to save it to secure a Drive backup, format the SD card, then uninstal/reinstal WhatsApp and load the Drive backup?


TL;DR how do I get out of an internal formatted SD storage situation without losing my WhatsApp history?

1 Answer 1


Going from internal to external is going to erase all, best bet would be transfer whatsapp app, and data to a pc or other storage device, then revert to external by wiping card....

Is whatsapp on external card for sure, if it is just backup the data, if its on internal alone then you should be ok with formatting sd as is...

To check this use a file explorer to check SD and internal contents

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