Two month ago, I encrypted my Micro SD card in my Android device (Samsung Galaxy S5) for security purposes, and yesterday I forgot to decrypt it whilst removing the card I and factory resetting the device. Is there any way to decrypt it by using the same device, if I set all the settings the same?

  • Generally, no - any data on it is probably lost. This is essentially the process used to "erase" encrypted drives - just delete the keys, and the data becomes unrecoverable.
    – Matthew
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 20:57
  • But I have the backups of settings , Is there any chance to recover the data.
    – Honey
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 21:01
  • Only if the backup includes the encryption keys. If that's the case, best option would be to try restoring them and see if you can access the data.
    – Matthew
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 21:09
  • Thanks Matthew you give me a hope to recover the data. :(
    – Honey
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 21:11
  • Are you familiar with photorec on linux?
    – mchid
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


Hope you didn't format your sd card yet. I did the same thing with my S7 edge but managed to fix the problem. Headphone jack stopped working so Samsung support recommended a factory reset to rule out software problem. After backing up with the smart switch program and factory reset were performed, the files on the sd card couldn't be read properly. The file names/folder structure were all there but when you tried to view an image or read text nothing was readable (the files were the same size as before the reset). Here's what I did:

  1. On a PC: Copy (the encrypted and unreadable) contents of the sd card from the phone to your harddrive
  2. On the phone: Settings -> Storage -> Sd Card -> Format sd card (this erases all the data on the sd card but don't worry you have a copy on the PC)
  3. On the phone: Settings -> Security -> Encrypt sd Card (should be real fast since it's an empty sd card)
  4. On the PC: Copy the contents of the sd card onto the phone
  5. On the phone: Settings -> Security -> Decrypt sd card (edit: this may take a while depending on how much data was on the card)

After that I was able to view all the files I had on the sd card!

  • 1
    I guess the key used to encrypt the data in step 3 should be exactly same as the one used to encrypt the data previously.
    – pri
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 5:40

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