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How to Fix “Card’s Write Protect Switch is Set to Lock”

In the last few days, when I was doing what I do best in taking pictures, my camera screen displayed a message error indicating that the write protect switch on the card was locked. I was able to troubleshoot and resolve the issue, and I'd like to share my experience with others who may encounter the same problem. Here are the actions I took in troubleshooting:

The last time I used my Canon camera, “card's write protect switch is set to lock” appeared on the screen. I thought my camera or memory card was broken, which took me quite a lot of time. You know, I was going to go out and take pictures. These are the possible useful repair methods I compiled.

1. Check the write protect switch of the memory card

Check the write protect switch of the memory card

Suppose your camera displays the error message “card's write-protect switch is set to lock,” preventing you from capturing or deleting any images. In that case, check and adjust the write-protect switch of the memory card. Here are the steps you can follow:

Step 1: Remove the memory card from the camera and locate the small write-protect switch on the left side as it faces you.

Step 2: To unlock the write protect switch on a memory card, you will need to flip the switch to the unlocked position. The location of the switch can vary depending on the card type, but it is usually located on the side of the card. It's marked with an icon or label indicating the position of the switch.

Step 3: Insert the card back into the camera once you've moved the switch to the unlocked position. The error message should no longer appear.

Ensure that the switch is in the correct unlocked position, which should be slid up toward the direction of the connector. With these simple steps, you can quickly fix the issue and continue using your camera and memory card.

2. Wipe the metal contacts of the memory cards.

Wipe the metal contacts of the memory cards

Wiping the memory card's metal contacts can help improve contact and prevent reading and writing errors. If the contacts are oxidized or dirty, it can cause a poor connection between the card and the device.

To clean the contacts, you can use a soft cloth or tissue to wipe them gently. If there is stubborn dirt or oxidation, you can use a small amount of alcohol or white vinegar on the cloth to clean it. Another option is to use an eraser to gently rub the contacts, being careful not to damage them.

It is also a good idea to wipe the metal contacts of the camera card slot to ensure good contact. However, it's important to avoid using any liquids or water to clean the contacts inside the camera to prevent water damage. Instead, you can use a thin wire or specialized cleaning tool to carefully scratch the contacts and remove any dirt or debris.

3. Check the camera card slot sensor.

Check the camera card slot sensor

If you've already tried other techniques and your camera's SD card is still showing as locked, the locking switch inside the camera's card slot may be stuck. You can identify the switch by looking inside the slot where the SD card slide switch would be and seeing a glint of gold color on the side. Following these steps, you can resolve the issue and regain access to your camera's SD card.

Step 1: To fix this issue, you can use a plastic toothpick or any other skinny, non-metallic item to tap and gently push against the switch. The goal is to jar open the contact to its normal unlocked position.

Step 2: Alternatively, You can blow compressed air at the switch to clear out any debris that may have jammed it closed, such as a single grain of sand.

Step 3: Reinsert the SD card occasionally to see if the issue has been resolved.

Note: Always remember to ignore any other glints of gold that you may see at the far end of the slot, as these are the reader's connectors and are unrelated to the locking switch.

4. Use Scotch Tape

Sometimes the write-protect switch of the memory card may become loose and accidentally slide to the lock position when installed in the camera. Fortunately, you can use transparent tape to fix it.

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: First, remove your SD card from the camera and locate the write-protect switch on the side of the card.

Step 2: Take a small piece of scotch tape and cover the upper part of the switch, being careful not to cover the metallic part. This will ensure that the camera can still read the SD card.

Scotch Tape

Step 3: Reinsert the SD card into your camera once you've covered the switch with the tape. The camera should now be able to write to the card as usual.

5. Reset camera settings

Resetting the camera settings involves restoring all settings to their default values. This can be helpful if you're experiencing issues with your camera. To reset your camera settings, you'll need to access the camera's menu and look for an option that says “Reset” or “Restore Default Settings.” This option is usually located in the “Setup” or “Settings” section of the menu.

During resetting, it also enables you to update your camera firmware, and you can check out this YouTube video that explains the reset process in general.

6. Replace with a new card.

Replace with a new card

If you've tried all the other solutions and your camera is still not recognizing your memory card, it may be time to replace the card with a new one. Replacing your memory card with a new one can be a quick and easy solution if your old card is no longer working properly. Just choose a compatible card and format it correctly to ensure your camera can recognize it.


Handling your camera and memory cards carefully is essential to avoid issues like lost photos and unrecognized memory cards. Following our troubleshooting methods, you can identify and fix the problem with your camera or memory card.

Remember to try each technique one by one to see which one works best for you. Be patient and careful as you modify your camera or memory card to avoid causing further damage.