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By Katrina | Posted to Home > Mac Data Recovery Tips, updated on August 9th, 2021

When you insert an SD card in your Mac, nothing happens – the SD card not showing up on Mac. So SD card is not working, your Mac doesn’t read or recognize the SD card. Consequently, you can’t access the data stored on it.

Does it mean that you’ll permanently lose your photos, videos, and other important files? No, this passage will help you recover data from the SD card and also fix the unreadable or unrecognized SD card.

Solutions to fix SD card not showing up, reading, or recognized on Mac

To help you fix the SD card not showing up, working, or reading on Mac, we have listed some feasible quick solutions.

  • Fix 1: Check the connections and restart your Mac
  • Fix 2: Check Finder and desktop preferences
  • Fix 3: Check if SD card is locked or damaged
  • Fix 4: Check if SD card reader is not working
  • Fix 5: Mount SD card in Disk Utility
  • Fix 6: Reset NVRAM/PRAM
  • Fix 7: Repair SD card via First Aid
  • Fix 8: Recover data and format SD card
  • Fix 9: Update the SD card drivers on Mac
  • Fix 10: Send SD card to an expert for reparation
  • Fix 11: Replace SD card with a new one

Fix 1: Check the connections and restart your Mac

When your SD card not showing up on Mac after being insterted, the first thing you should do is checking the connections.

First of all, make sure you insert your SD card properly: The metal contacts must face down and point toward your Mac. By the way, a simple reboot can fix a computer issue 80-90% of the time. It also works when external drives are not showing up on Mac.

So, when your Mac like MacBook not reading the SD card, you can try to remove the SD card and then switch off the Mac. Leave it for a few minutes, turn it back on, and try again.

If your SD card is still not showing up, download, install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your Mac and then check if your SD card is recognized by iBoysoft Data Recovery.

If your SD card is detected by iBoysoft Data Recovery, follow the wizard to recover data and then format SD card. If your SD card is not detected by iBoysoft Data Recovery either, send SD card to an expert for reparation.

Fix 2: Check Finder and desktop preferences

It is rare that the external drives are not set to show up on desktop or Finder. But that’s also the possible cause why your SD card not showing up on Mac. Let’s see how to show the SD card on the desktop and Finder.

  • 1. Go to Finder > Preferences > General, make sure the “External disks” option is ticked. This will make the SD card show up on the Desktop. Show external disks on the desktop
  • 2. Select the Sidebar tab on the top, make sure the External disks option under Locations is also ticked.
  • 3. Go to Desktop and check if your SD card is showing up. If not, download, install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your Mac and then check if your SD card is recognized by iBoysoft Data Recovery.
  • 4. If your SD card is recognized by iBoysoft Data Recovery, follow the wizard to recover data and then format SD card. If your SD card is not recognized by iBoysoft Data Recovery either, send SD card to an expert for reparation.

Fix 3: Check if the SD card is locked or damaged

Another case for Mac not reading SD card is that the SD card is write protected. To work on the SD card again, you need to safely eject the SD card and adjust the lock slider tab on the SD card to unlock it. Then, reinsert SD card into the slot.

Unlock your SD card to show it up on Mac

If it still not working, you can test if your SD card is damaged in different devices, such as phones, digital cameras, or other computers.

For instance, you can remove the SD card from your Mac and insert it into your digital camera. If your SD card is still not detected or working on the camera, the card might be damaged or you need to try the following solutions.

Fix 4: Check if SD card reader is not working

Commonly, for the latest Mac models, they have no SD card slot. To access an SD card on Mac, you usually need an SD card reader. When your Mac doesn’t recognize the SD card, it is necessary to check whether the card reader is working or not.

It doesn’t matter that you access the SD card by the built-in slot on your Mac or a third-party SD card reader (or adapter). Simply follow these steps to check if the SD card reader is recognized or not.

  • 1. Simply click Apple Menu > About This Mac > System Report.
  • 2. Find Card Reader under the Hardware list.
  • check if the SD card reader is working or not
  • 3. If the card reader works, you can see its Vendor ID and some other product information. When your SD card is inserted, it should also be listed at the right with specifications.

If unfortunately, the SD card reader is not working, it might be an SD card hardware issue. For a broken slot built-in your MacBook, you need to send it to a local Apple store for repair service. Instead, for a malfunctioned external SD card reader, you can simply replace it with a new one.

Fix 5: Mount SD card in Disk Utility

If your Mac can’t read and recognize an SD card, you should go to Disk Utility and see whether the SD card is listed. Just Open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Mac Disk Utility

If your SD card is showing up in Disk Utility, but the SD card is greyed out, that means SD card is not mounting. Simply select the Mount option to see if the SD card will be mounted and show up in Finder and the desktop.

If your SD card cannot be mounted, it is time to download, install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your Mac and then recover data from SD card. After recovering data, just reformatting SD card and make it working again.

If you can’t find your SD card in Disk Utility, the SD card usually has some hardware issues, please refer to the solutions in option 10 and option 11 below.

Fix 6: Reset NVRAM/PRAM

NVRAM/PRAM, a chip in Intel-based Macs, is used to remember the setting for your computer, including sound volume, display resolution, startup disk selection, peripheral devices and more. It’s worth resetting whenever you find your computer’s hardware acting in unexpected ways, such as an SD card can’t work on Mac.

To reset NVRAM, you should shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold Option + Command + P + R. Keep holding down those keys for about 20 seconds. Then release the keys and allow your Mac to continue starting normally.

Fix 7: Repair SD card via First Aid

Mac still doesn’t read your SD card? If you can’t mount your SD card in Disk Utility, the SD card may be corrupted and needs to be repaired. All portable hard drives have a limited life span, as wear and tear could bring bad sectors on the disk.

Thankfully, macOS has a built-in repair tool – First Aid, which allows you to fix SD card errors on Mac and make it readable on Mac again.

Although First Aid is a file system repair tool, but it may cause data loss when repairing the file system errors. So recovering data with iBoysoft Data Recovery is highly recommended before using First Aid.

Steps to fix SD card via First Aid:

  • 1. Go to Applications > Utilities e> Disk Utility.
  • 2. Select the corrupted SD card and click First Aid on the top.
  • 3. Wait until the reparation process finished.
  • Run First Aid to repair SD card

Then, you can try to mount the SD card again to fix the SD card not being recognized issue.

If your SD card cannot be repaired, it is time to download, install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your Mac and then recover data from SD card. After recovering data, just reformatting SD card and make it working again.

Fix 8: Recover data and format SD card

When running First Aid, you receive an error message like this: Disk Utility can’t repair this disk. Back up as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk, and restore your backed-up files. Or after running First Aid, the SD card still can’t be mounted.

Both show that the file system of your SD card is seriously damaged. That’s also the reason why your SD card not showing up or being recognized on Mac. To fix the issue, you need to reformat your SD card.

However, formatting an SD card will erase all data on it. So, it’s very necessary to recover data from your corrupted SD card first to avoid permanent data loss.

Step 1: Recover data from SD card

To recover data from an unreadable or corrupted SD card on Mac, you have to use data recovery software, such as iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

This Mac data recovery software supports recover files from unmounted, corrupted, unreadable, and inaccessible internal and external hard drives, like SD cards, memory cards, USB drives.

Hurry up! Watch this video – a stepwise SD card data recovery tutorial to recover the lost data from the SD card immediately.

Here are the detailed steps to recover data from SD card:

  • Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac.
  • Connect your unrecognized SD card to your Mac.
  • Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac and scan your SD card.
  • Click Preview to check the files on the SD card.
  • Click Recover to get data back.

After recovering data from your SD card, now you can continue to fix your unrecognized SD card.

Step 2: Reformat your SD card with Disk Utility

  • Select the SD card from the left-side bar of Disk Utility.
  • Click Erase on the top.
  • Set a name for your SD card, and select a file system and the Scheme.
  • Format SD card in Disk Utility
  • Click Erase and wait for the SD card being formatted.

If have any questions in SD card formatting, read: How to format an SD card on Mac?

Fix 9: Update the drivers on Mac

If the issue still exists, you can check whether the drivers on your Mac is renewed. If your Mac drivers are outdated, your SD card or other external hard drives will not be recognized by your Mac. Here are steps to update drives on Mac:

1. If you have upgraded to macOS Big Sur, you should choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Software Update to check for updates. If any updates are available, click Update Now to install them.

2. If you are using earlier macOS versions, launch the Mac App Store. Click the Updates tab on the top and check if any items need to be updated, then update them.

Fix 10: Send SD card to an expert for reparation

If your SD card not showing up in Disk Utility at all after trying all above methods, it means the SD card has some hardware problem so that Mac can’t detect it. In this situation, you have no choice but to send the SD card to an expert for reparation.

Fix 11: Replace SD card with a new one

If the warranty of your SD card is still valid, it’s most likely time to invest in a replacement or ask for a refund. Remember to recover your data before sending it for a replacement.

How to insert, find, and open an SD card on Mac?

You may wonder questions like “What is an SD card?” and “How to read an SD card on Mac?”.

SD card is a kind of memory card, which is typically used in digital cameras and other portable devices. The way to connect an SD card to your Mac is different from that of external hard drives.

How to insert an SD card into your Mac

To insert an SD card into your Mac, firstly, you need to know that whether your Mac, for example, the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, has an SD card slot or not.

Insert an SD card into Mac

Apple dropped the SD card slot in MacBook Pro starting with 2016 model. While MacBook Air 2015 and later MacBook never included an SD slot.

If your Mac comes with a built-in SD card slot, you can insert a compatible SD card. And note that:

  1. Avoiding using SD card that has a thickness greater than 2.1mm.
  2. Make sure that the metal contacts face down and point toward the computer when inserting SD card.

Then your computer will recognize SD card inserted into the card slot as a storage device. You can read and write to SD card just like any other external drive.

But if your MacBook Pro/Air has no SD card slot, you need to buy an SD card reader/adapter for your Mac and download its SD card reader drvier. Insert the micro SD card into the slot face up with the gold pins going first.

How to find and open an SD card on Mac

After SD card being insterted to your Mac, find out the place where it shows up on Mac and access data on it.

If you can see the SD card icon shows up on the desktop, double-click it to open it.

Or, open the Finder app, you’ll see your SD card listed under Locations in the left pane. Click the SD card and then view the contents on the SD card in the right pane. You can copy, move, delete, or share videos and photos on the SD card freely.

How to safely eject an SD card

After you finish your work on the SD card, you can remove it properly. But before that, you need to make sure that all data transfer to or from the SD card is completed. Then the SD card will work correctly next time.

To safely eject the SD card, right-click it and select the eject option, or drag its icon on the desktop to the Trash. After the icon disappears from your desktop, you can get down to remove the card from the slot.

You should avoid removing your SD card by direct taking it out of the slot or SD card reader/adapter.

Why is Mac not showing up, recognizing, or reading SD card

There are times when you insert an SD card into Mac, the SD card won’t show up on Mac. The SanDisk SD card that won’t work on your Mac toubles you deeply. You must have experienced such a situation or similar like this:

Wondering why the Mac not reading the SD card? Here are 7 common reasons why an SD card isn’t working on Mac.

  • USB port is not working or damaged.
  • SD card reader is not working.
  • SD card is formatted incorrectly (the file system is not compatible with macOS)
  • SD card driver is outdated.
  • SD card is corrupted.
  • SD card is physically damaged.

In a word, you’ll need to check whether your SD card’s error is due to a logical problem or a physical one. For the former, you can try to fix it with the mentioned solutions in this post, otherwise, you have to ask help from a trained expert.

Tips to prevent ‘SD card not showing up, reading or being recognized’ in future

SD cards are easy to be damaged, but using them in the right way, corruption can be avoided to some extent. Read on for 7 effective tips to prevent ‘SD card not working’ on Mac:

  1. Format the new SD card as soon as you get it. When you buy an SD card, you should format it on the device and make sure it is compatible with the device system.
  2. Always safely eject SD card from the device. You should avoid removing the SD card from the device when it is still accessed, such as transferring data or reading data, etc.
  3. Keep some space left on the SD card. Keep in mind that you should never run out of the space of your SD card.
  4. Turn off the device before removing the SD card. If you want to remove your SD card from a digital camera or mobile phone, ensure the device is entirely turned off. Otherwise, the SD card can easily be corrupted.
  5. Properly store your SD card in a safe place. Store the SD card in dry, cool space since dirt, moisture, and other factors could damage them.
  6. Stop using the SD card when getting any errors. As soon as you receive any errors when trying to access the SD card, such as “the disk you inserted is not readable by this computer”, you’d better stop all operations at once in case further damage will be made to the SD card.
  7. Install antivirus software and run it regularly. It’s important to running antivirus software to remove any malware on your computer and SD card. In this way, you can prevent malware and virus from damaging your SD card.

Conclusion

To deal with SD card not showing up on Mac, or Mac not reading or recognize SD card, there are lots of efficient solutions. You can begin by checking the connections and then try to fix the corrupted SD card. If your SD card is still not recognized by Mac, you should format the SD card on Mac to see if this fixes your issue.

If you experience any data loss issue during this process, the good news is that your data can still be recovered with iBoysoft Data Recovery software. This Mac data recovery software can recover deleted/lost photos from SD card quickly and easily, also compatible with Apple Silicon M1 Mac and macOS Big Sur.

Should you have any suggestion to fix SD card not showing up or working on Mac issue? Please feel free to contact us by sending an email.

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