I'm looking into wiping my Galaxy Nexus, but I need to know whether or not a factory reset will also wipe the virtual SD card on the phone. If it does, is there an alternative way to wipe without affecting the virtual SD card?

I'm running stock JellyBean 4.1.1, rooted.


A factory reset does indeed reset the virtual SD card on a Galaxy Nexus.

Okay, initially it appeared as if it wiped the virtual SD card, but it did not. After the media scanner did its magic, everything on the sd card (mostly) still remained there.

I did a factory reset by going to Android's Settings, then Backup & Reset, and did the factory restore option. I did not wipe the device from recovery.

  • 3
    Possibly worth noting: if you use a custom recovery to wipe the /data partition it will skip the sdcard directory by default. Nov 8 '12 at 3:34
  • @eldarerathis I used the factory reset option under settings -> backup & reset.... and apparently it didn't wipe the sd card folder. I'm so confused. I'll sort it out in the morning
    – Bryan Denny
    Nov 8 '12 at 4:32
  • In order for this to work this strategy cannot do a secure erase (eMMC) and a reformat. One might be able to recover pre-wipe data with forensic tools, just thinking. Will test...
    – ce4
    Nov 8 '12 at 8:23
  • I've updated my answer to reflect what has happened. In short, it did not wipe the sd card folder.
    – Bryan Denny
    Nov 8 '12 at 13:52
  • 1
    Another note: The wipe that takes place when you unlock the bootloader (in preparation for rooting) does wipe everything, including the virtual sdcard. Nov 9 '12 at 11:40

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