How To Fix SD Card Not Working On Mac


External storage solutions have come a long way in terms of density and mass affordability. You can now have over 1 TB of data at your fingertips. However, one thing that hasn’t changed much is the reliability of external storage devices.

Whether it’s just a speck of dust, rust build-up on the contact points, or improper insertion into the slot, there are several factors associated with the failure of an SD card. In case your Mac fails to read your SD card, you probably will panic as well, especially if it has important files on it.

However, errors like this can occur at any time, and there’s nothing to panic about. Instead, you should relax and follow this troubleshooting guide to fix your SD card not working on Mac.

Start with examining your SD card

When an SD Card isn’t showing up on your Mac desktop, the first thing you should do is check for rust, grease, dust, or deep grooves on the golden contact points of the SD card. After that, use a soft and dry microfiber cloth and some isopropyl alcohol (if possible) to clean the contact points thoroughly. We strongly advise not to use water, as it can lead to unrecoverable damage to your SD card.

Another thing you should do is disable the write protection by sliding up the lock tab on the SD card. In some cases, the tab might get loose and interfere with the card’s sensitive contact points.

When you insert the SD card, ensure that the contact points are facing down and pointing toward the Mac’s SD card slot. You should hear a click sound when you insert the card properly.

Once inserted, search for Disk Utility from the Spotlight app and launch it. If you still don’t see your card shown in Disk Utility, then check out the next troubleshooting section below.

Why isn’t your SD card showing up on Mac?

There can be several underlying reasons why your SD card is not showing on Mac. We have listed a few of them below, which you should definitely check out.

Damaged SD card slot

There’s a high chance that the SD or SDXC card slot on your Mac computer is damaged, which is why it has trouble reading your SD card. Try inserting the same card into another computer to check if it’s readable.

Unsupported SD card format

It’s also possible that you have an SD card with an unconventional format. Most Mac computers support SD 1.x, 2.x, and 3.x standards. Note that the UHS-II format is supported on only iMac Pro. For more information, you can check out Apple’s official guide to SD and SDXC card slot.

Outdated or corrupted macOS

Your macOS system might be corrupted, causing your SD card to not being recognized. In such cases, you will have to reinstall macOS to solve the issue.

Corruption of SD card’s file system

In cases where you can see the SD card but can’t access the files or copy them, it’s quite possibly linked to a corrupted file system. When inserted the same card on a Windows PC, you should receive the following error message, “The file or directory is corrupted or unreadable.”

Malware on the SD card

If the SD card has been inserted into a Windows PC before, the chances are that it has been infected by the infamous “AutoRun” trojan, which not only infects other PCs but also sets specific attributes to hide your files on the card.

Although the same malware won’t be able to infect your Mac desktop or laptop, your files might not show up due to the set attributes.

Fix SD card not working on Mac

Now that you are aware of the possible reasons, here are a handful of fixes for SD card not working on Mac:

Restart your Mac

The system driver for the SD card slot might malfunction sometimes. Since restarting your Mac resets all the drivers, the SD card slot should start working as intended once again.

To restart your Mac, simply click the Apple menu and select the Restart… option. After a proper reboot, you should try inserting your SD card to see if it gets detected.

Use Disk Utility to mount your SD card

Your Mac may be detecting your SD card but not auto-mounting it for unknown reasons. In that case, go to the Disk Utility menu via Spotlight, select your SD card on the left sidebar, then click the Mount option above the Disk Utility window.

After that, you can access your files on the SD card from the Finder app.

Use Disk Utility’s First Aid tool

The First Aid feature can automatically find and repair formatting and directory errors on a storage device. In the Disk Utility menu, select your SD card, click the First Aid option above, then click Run.

Once Disk Utility finishes detecting problems with the SD card, click Done. You can then click the Repair Disk button on the following menu and wait for Mac to run the necessary repairs.

Finally, you should try mounting the card again to check whether the files on the card are showing up or not.

Format your SD card

If none of the fixes above help your case, then you have no choice but to format your SD card. However, we will soon discuss another way to recover your files.

All you have to do is click the Erase option, with your SD card selected in the Disk Utility app. Make sure to use the exFAT format before you proceed to erase the SD card.

Recovering lost files from SD card on Mac

While your SD card might start working after a quick format, you probably won’t be able to access the files deleted in the process. However, it’s totally possible to get them back with data recovery software.

To learn more, you should check out this detailed guide from iBoysoft. They offer an all-in-one data recovery software that you can download on your Mac and use it to recover lost files from your SD card.

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