How to safely remove the microSD card on the Lumia 950 & 950 XL

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL both have microSD slots so you can have more room for storage. In fact, you can get a 200GB microSDXC card for the phones right now. These high-speed, high-capacity cards can get expensive depending on what you get, so making sure to take care of them can save you money later on. For example, simply pulling the microSD card out of your Lumia 950 or 950 XL isn't recommended. We'll show you the safer way.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap All settings
  2. Go to System > Storage and tap the SD Card
  3. Scroll down and tap Remove
  4. You'll get a warning that the files stored on this card won't be available until you put it back in. Tap Yes, I'm sure.

That's it! Now, you can remove the back cover and remove the microSD card. Most people won't be removing their microSD cards often, but it's one way of transferring files between the Lumia 950/XL and the Surface Pro 4, which has a microSD slot, too.

Did you know about this safety measurement? Have you pulled out your card before removing it in the settings? Let us know in the comments.

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Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

26 Comments
  • How about shutdown and then removing it? I actually did that today before reading this article .____.
  • Theoretically, the device will ensure that all read/write operations are halted on the card before shutdown. Theoretically. Remove (or eject) is your safety. This is coded to ensure no operations are working on the card. I always remove/eject, then power down. I've been burnt in the past when I used to forget. Once or twice with a corrupted card is all it takes to drive the lesson home.
  • Sage advice.
  • Hm, I didn't know about the "remove" thing, and just took it out after doing a shutdown.  Since that time, File Explorer has become completely unusable.  Crashes immediately upon launch.  I wonder if it's related? (I removed the card because after I set up my work account on the phone I was informed that the card had been disabled, as they aren't allowed by my company's security policy.  I got the same warning every time I turned the phone on, so I figured I might as well just remove it entirely.)
  • Logical thing to do.
  • Yes, you can do this too if you are certain that the phone is off and not still powering down or back up again. In fact, you can also use this method for ejecting flash and hard drives from computers. Sometimes the built-in protection will report (perhaps erroneously, but why risk it?) that the device is still in use. In this instance, shutting down the computer is the best way to be sure that no data is being written to the device before unplugging it.
  • Wonder if we should do the same thing with USB media on the continuum dock. Being that you aren't putting system (apps, photos, etc) stuff on there, or setting it as a default, probably not needed. But.... thoughts?
  • Probably not an issue. OS X makes you eject USB but not Windows. The SD card thing is for what you say, well, mostly the app issue.
  • Unless you have the write cache enabled, but since it's off by default, it shouldn't be an issue for most people.
  • You guys have some really helpful tips concerning these phones, I'm not sure if I would have thought about making it safe to disconnect like on a PC before ejecting it, thanks to you guys I know how to do it safely and hopefully not corrupt my Data!!!! Nice one Guys!!!!
  • No need.  I use OneDrive for backup. :p
  • I shutdown and removed the 4GB microSD and replaced it with a 128GB. I reset the phone afterwards, so I should be good.
  • Shame this can't be mapped to a "quick action". Is it unsafe to remove the microSD even if the drive hasn't been written to? Can microsds be set to read only to avoid this hassle?
  • I thought things like this only applied to Desktops.
  • Nah, Android has the same function in the storage settings.
  • That's correct. The only difference is it's called unmount in Android (and in Linux). Posted from my Moto X Pure Edition via the Windows Central App for Android
  • How about transferring files. Say I have a 32gb card with map data, photo, music on it and I want to put in a 64gb card. Would I insert the 64gb card, let the os format it, and then transfer files from the 32gb card to the 64gb using my PC?
  • Ymcpa - you shouldn't need to format the new card in the phone. Pretty sure they default to exfat these days but you'll see the format for sure when you put your old card in the pc. Make sure new card is formatted same way (probably worth a new quick format on it anyway) and just copy across then reinsert. Alex
  • Yeah, guilty as charged. I put it in several times the wrong way. No ill effects.
  • Even though the tap in navigation bar to sleep is working, the tap to wake from lock screen is not working in my Lumia 950, how to enable this?
  • You can't, at least for now. And it's a shame
  • Sorry, let me rephrase that. IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AND I'M GOING TO APPLE/ANDROID!
  • I inserted an almost full 32Gb SD card that was not formated on the phone. It took 20-30 minutes for the "arrows" to quit spinning. The camera response was very slow since I had changed the save location to the card. Then I removed the card after shutdown but without going through the "remove" process. After turning it back on, it took another 20-30 minutes for all of the placeholders of the pictures to be removed.
  • Is this article trying to tell us that NOT using this option (which has been there since WP81 or earlier) can actually damage the card itself? I always believed it only meant the (tiny) risk of corrupt files.
  • How to make something so simple very difficult, lol.
  • This leather back looks really good!