You’re gearing up for the perfect shot, you click the shutter, and your camera flashes the dreaded message:

“This SD card is write protected.”


Even if you have tried reinserting the card again and again on your device, it would have been fruitless.

Reinserting a locked memory card will probably be flashing the line above or something like this: “the data cannot be written to the sd card” or “the sd card is locked”

However, there’s no need to despair. Unlocking an SD memory card is really easy, and here are three ways to do it.

Solution 1 – Slide the lock switch upwards

Step 1

Unmount the memory card from the camera/computer menu(if applicable) and remove it from your device. (Although you can unlock it without taking it out, unmounting will be safer for data protection.)

Step 2

Memory Cards come with a locking switch. Locate the switch on any one of the corners of the card. (The switch will be a sliding plastic knob.)

The switch will be down towards the bottom of the card. You will notice “lock” written there.

Unlock position will be at the upper end of the card. (“Unlock” will be written there.)

Step 3

Slide the switch up all the way towards the top of the card, up till the end with the corner notch. This will unlock the sd card.

Insert the sd card back into your device.

Step 4

Confirm if you are able to modify data or not. If you can modify the already loaded data – then the memory card is unlocked.

You will be able to load and store more data into it.

This should solve your problem, but in case it doesn’t, keep reading.

Solution 2 – Toggle the lock switch

Sometimes even after pushing the switch upwards does not work. The reason being that although the plastic switch is slid upwards it has not affected the inner circuit.

In this case, you’ll need to toggle the switch a few times to engage the circuit.

If your memory card is behaving this way, I recommend picking up a new card. The solution below is piecemeal at best and is just enough for you to get back home and replace your card.

Step 1

Slide the “Lock” switch down to the “Lock” position and keep it there for 10 seconds.

Step 2

Slide the lock switch up and down for three to five times. And this time slide it with a little force.

Step 3

Again put the switch back to its unlocked position. And your will be able to work with it again.


Solution 3 – Permanently unlock the card

If you are still (after sliding the card up) not able to modify or save files on your memory card – the sd card is still locked.

Lock Switches are not made up of high grade plastic. And it is simple friction between the switch and the plastic beneath which restricts its movement.

So a little degradation in its material will cause it to slide down because of any movement. This will cause it to go from unlocked to locked state pretty easily.

Sometimes it will start moving downwards to the locking position – if subjected to little jerky movements and shocks.

So here is what you need to do:

Unlock the card and give it a tap (with a little amount of force).

If the switch goes back to the locking position, then you need to do some DIYing.

Step 1

Move the switch back up to the unlock position.

Step 2

Apply a little amount of adhesive glue at the bottom of the switch. Try applying it below the switch too – so that the switch becomes glued to that position. This will probably permanently unlock your card.

Step 3

Copy all the necessary data to another memory card, Because your current memory card will not last long.

You can continue using it until it does not gets permanently damaged. But most probably you will not be able to lock it again ever.

Step 4

If your card is in warranty then contact the manufacturer – to replace the faulty card.

Remember some cards come with a lifetime guarantee and some with several years of damage protection. So before throwing your card away, check once if it is covered or not.

Benefits of Locking Your Card

Memory cards store a variety of data file. It can be your vacation photos, selected music folders and other extremely important documents.

Today a memory card can be used in many devices including desktops, laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras and even in handheld gaming consoles.

Sometimes while exchanging a memory card on different devices can lead to data loss.

Locking memory cards is helpful if you have some extremely important data – that you don’t want to lose.

Secondly keeping the card locked is important if others use your devices, especially kids.

An unlocked card can accidentally lead to files being deleted. Sometimes you can lose all your work or important data – because of this.

Prevention of modification of your data is also important.

Another important factor to notice is that a locked memory card is less at risk of malicious spywares and viruses.

There is a lesser chance of viruses hitting your card because a locked memory card does not accept any new files. You can’t even transfer files to a locked memory card.

If you do not use a device frequently than it is highly advisable to keep the memory card in it – locked.

Unlocking is not that difficult. It will hardly take 30 to 45 seconds to unlock your card.

Better to unlock it in 45 seconds – than to lose your data!