Safely remove the memory card from your BlackBerry

BlackBerry mass storage mode
By Joseph Holder on 20 Jun 2011 04:28 pm EDT

There's a lot of memory installed in my BlackBerry. The Torch 9800 comes with 4 gigabytes of internal memory, and I have a removable 16 GB microSD card installed as well. Until recently, those cards were rather full. My BlackBerry goes where I go, so I usually have it filled with movies, music, ringtones, and anything else that strikes my fancy. My smartphone has so much memory available, I've stopped carrying USB thumb drives. Why would I when my BlackBerry can hold so much?

The Mass Storage mode on the BlackBerry is an extremely useful tool. Using a standard micro USB cable, I can attach the device to any computer and use the smartphone as an external drive. Since the BlackBerry uses standard USB drivers to connect, modern computers have no trouble connecting to and using the memory card(s) on the smartphone. Your BlackBerry will appear as one or more removable drives; you're able to transfer data to and from the device just like you would with a USB flash drive.

When my BlackBerry is attached to the computer as a drive, I'm a fanatic when it comes to that whole Safely Remove Device thing on Windows PC's; I'm sure there's a similar function on Mac's. I always worry about delayed writes or something else causing problems with my memory card if I unplug it too early. It's happened to me before, so I try to be careful.  Before detaching my BlackBerry from the computer, I always make sure to check that it's safe to do so.

So what happens when you want to remove or replace the microSD card from within your BlackBerry? Though some may argue this a useless step, I find it's a good idea to turn off my removable memory card first. That way, I can be certain that no data will be read or written as I remove the card. The process is slightly different depending on your OS.

Remove internal memory card from BlackBerry

  • OS5: Options-> Memory-> Change media card support to "Off" (You'll need to change this back after reinstalling the microSD card)
  • OS6: Options-> Device-> Storage-> Press the menu key and choose "Safely Remove Media Card" (once the new card is inserted, you may need to return here and choose "Install Media Card" from the same menu.

Keep your memory cards safe and happy; let them know when you're going to disconnect them. Whether it be from a computer or from inside your BlackBerry, microSD cards - and memory cards in general - work best when you give them a bit of warning. Suddenly removing an attached drive can have some negative consequences, so play it safe when it comes to your removable storage.

Reader comments

Safely remove the memory card from your BlackBerry


I thought this was a post was going to be about physically removing the memory card. It's too late, I'm gonna search for my bed.

Good writing, keep up the good work.

I do this. I'm big into storage. I have a 32GB card in my primary and I have a couple 4GB cards and 8GB cards as well. Storage has improved that it has matched and surpassed the iphone.

safely remove it - err just pull it out, will be fine! phone on or off doesnt matter!
put new one in and will load all that stuff!
pointless post

clearly you don't know what a delayed write is and when or why it occurs. But one day you will find out the hard way when you corrupt your memory card. (Same applies for usb drives/hard drives/etc.)

I pulled mine out(err.... memory card), and put it backin just cause i was checking something hadn"t touched phone for while beforetouching it, put it backin and had it currup upon reinserting it.

I always find these post informative. As much as I use my BB as a portable storage device, its never occured to me to remove it "safely". I usually just plug in, add whatever I need and unplug. Great post

Quick question for the more experienced. Just upgraded from a Storm to a Torch, where the best of my music collection is. Can I just move the 16Gig card from Storm to Torch, or will the differences between OS5 and OS6 make it unuseable?

I may work ok but you may have issues. When I upgraded to a device with OS 5 on it to the Style (OS6) I did a copy onto my computer of the whole card. There is a difference in how some of the folders are structured and arranged especially with the pictures and camera folder. Then I loaded the blank card in my new Berry and plugged it into the computer and put the appropriate files in the proper folders that the new Berry had created. Not a big difference but a good idea to do this non the less. It's a little bit of a hassle, but just think, only need to do this once per new phone. I don't use desktop manager for the SD card. But be sure to back up your device too with Desktop Manager and then you can restore the back up file to the Torch. That's how I did it anyway...

Anyone know if it's possible to plug a flash drive into a BlackBerry's USB port and write to and from it? I've often been in situations where I wish I could have connected a USB flash drive to my BlackBerry and copied data to it, or gave files to a friend, and there was no computer near.

I actually have the proper adapters to do just that and I've tried it. Sorry to say it won't work. Would be great to see something like that on future devices though. I can think of times where it would be quite useful. Also tried this on the PlayBook and it's a no go there either. Would be even more useful on the PlayBook if one had movies they wanted to watch but not use up the memory on the device.

I guess it's slightly misleading that BB's microSD cards are "hot swappable". Yes you can, but....

Good post. Glad I read it. I usually don't do a lot of data transfer to and from my device, but its good to keep in mind.

Thank you, I didn't know that was available. I gues I've been lucky by just pulling and inserting.
I will remember for next time.
Thank you.

On my BBS2 9550 (running os5 of course), removing the memory card is very simple and there is no need to turn off the device. Go to Options/Memory and click the menu icon on your device select & click "Remove Media Card". From there is a matter of opening the back of the BB and removing said card. No need to turn off my device. I've been doing this for over a year and have been using the same sd card since I the day I bought my BlackBerry. :-)