How to Repair SD Card Not Showing Up or Reading on Mac

Is your Mac not reading the SD Card? Well, find out why and how to rectify it in our comprehensive guide below.

Oct 31,2019 • Filed to: SD Card Solutions • Proven solutions

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If it is your first time experiencing your SD card not showing up on your Mac, you are probably panic-stricken. My advice, relax, and read on.

You should realize that your SD card error can be a result of minor factors such as dust, any other substance coating the contact points, or imperfect insertion into the slot. These are usually the first areas to address before you even get worried.

There are also other causes surrounding the issue of your SD card not showing up on Mac which we will discuss below. But first, let's start with the basics.

Part 1. How to Find and Open SD Card on Mac

So, you have your SD card at hand, and you are stuck as the SD is not reading. Well, first things first, check on the following:

  1. Examine your SD card physically. Check that there are no damages on it, i.e., scratches on the shiny contact points or greasy coatings of any kind like food substances, dust or mud.
  2. Clean your SD card with a clean and soft dry cloth. Do it thoroughly, especially on the corners around the contact points. Don’t use water or lick the fabric with saliva. The moisture can destroy it when inserted.
  3. If you are using your SD card with a microSD inserted, make sure it is unlocked by the switch on the side.
  4. Now find the SD card slot on your Mac and insert the SD card. The slot is usually thin and wide. To embed, make sure the contact points are facing down, and they should go in first.
  5. Push in the SD card in your Mac. You will hear a sound produced if it is in securely. It holds the card so that it doesn’t slip out.

    sd-card-insert

  6. To find out if the SD is recognized by Mac go to disk utility. For that, type disk utility on the spotlight and click on the icon on the right or go through /applications/utilities/ then click on it to launch.

    sd-card-disk-utility

  7. If you’d like to see it on the desktop, change preferences on Finder Preferences. Under the general tab, select External disks. Do the same under the sidebar tab.

    sd-card-find-preferences

If you follow all these steps, your SD card should open by clicking on it from the desktop. You can also view media files such as photos from the photos app itself.

You can also access contents through the Finder app by:

  1. Clicking on the Finder icon on your dock.
  2. On the window that opens, click the driver assigned to your SD card.

On the right pane, contents get displayed.

However, if the above processes don’t work for you and your SD card is not reading, take a look at the next part.


Part 2. How to Fix SD Card Not Showing Up or Reading on Mac

The SD card, like every other advanced piece of technology, is bound to be affected by inevitable glitches in one way or another.

Furthermore, there are technical reasons that can be associated with causing your SD card not showing up on your Mac. These are:

  1. Damage to the SD card reader slot: It can be very frustrating because the damage might be too small even to notice. So how would you know? You can try inserting your SD card into another Machine and see if it responds.
  2. An OS issue is causing a system error: If your OS is what is preventing your SD card from being recognized, remove it and try restarting your Mac. It should generally solve the issue for you.
  3. Viral infection of the SD card: A virus can most likely affect your SD card if you share it with several people, especially windows users with no virus protection. Viruses are dangerous.
  4. An unsupported SD card format: Your SD card should conform to SD 1.x, 2.x and 3.x standards for it to work. To investigate this, check out your SD card’s manufacturer website. There are also file systems that your MacOS version might not support.
  5. Corruption of your SD card’s firmware: If your SD card gets corrupted, how would you know? The following are signs of corruption:
    • When a black screen appears displaying the error "SD card is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted or unreadable".
    • If your SD card is missing most of its contents.
    • Where an error message ‘Read/Write error on SD card’ appears. Happens when no folders can open.
    • When materials on your SD card are visible, but you can’t copy them.
    • If you are trying to access your images or files and an error message ‘memory card error’ pops up.
    • Where your SD card has been recognized but is blank even though you had data stored in it.

So, considering the issues mentioned above, how can you repair a corrupted SD card or perform any other fix? Looking at some of the possible solutions, they include:

1. Restarting your Mac.

There are three ways of doing so:

After that, try inserting your SD card once again. For most people, this is usually successful.

2. Mounting your SD card in Disk utility.

Even after modifying your Mac preferences, your SD card might still not be visible on the desktop. It means it’s only visible from the disk utility thus not mounted.

  1. You can access Disk Utility through the spotlight by simply typing it on the search box or using the shortcut command + space.
  2. On the left pane, select your SD card. The right side of the screen will display the details.
  3. On the top sections towards the right is the mount option. If mounted, there will be an option of unmount. Click on it to mount your SD card.

    recover-sd-card-mac-2

3. Perform a First Aid check on your SD card.

The First Aid check on Disk Utility is complete when you suspect something could be wrong with your SD card or any other external disk plugged in on your Mac.

To perform a first aid check, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Disk Utility.
  2. Select your SD card from the left pane.
  3. On the top options, First Aid is on the far left, click on it.

    recover-sd-card-mac-3

  4. Disk Utility performs a check on the partitions to verify their contents.

If the SD is going to fail, Disk Utility will inform you, and you should perform a back up before it’s too late.

4. Repair your SD card.

Perform a repair on your SD card if it did not mount successfully.

  1. Through Applications > Utilities open Disk Utilities.
  2. Select your SD card from the sidebar.
  3. On the details pane, click on the First Aid at the top and wait for the repair process to complete.
  4. When complete, a drop-down sheet displays detailed information. Select the Repair Disk option on the bottom right.

    recover-sd-card-mac-4

Disk Utility might in some cases also fail to repair your SD card. In such a case, it will warn you of failure so you can make a back up.

5. Repair disk permissions.

As from MacOS X Yosemite and earlier, you can perform a repair of disk permissions on your start-up disk. You should do this because your internal hard disk permissions could in some way be hindering your SD card from reading. To perform a repair:

  1. Launch Disk Utility, as explained before.
  2. Select your Hard Disk from the sidebar.
  3. On the details pane, click on First Aid.
  4. Under the drop-down sheet, on the left bottom side, click on ‘Repair Disk Permissions.’

    recover-sd-card-mac-5

6. Format your SD card.

The option to format your SD card certainly sounds scary. However, do not be dismayed. Formatting your device, even though you may not have been able to perform a back up, is not the end for you. The article later addresses a means to recover files.

So, to format your SD card:

  1. Go to the Utility Disk.
  2. After selecting your drive click on ‘Erase’ at the top.

    recover-sd-card-mac-6

  3. Disk Utility will choose a format for you. You can also select your preference depending on how you plan to use the SD card.

    recover-sd-card-mac-7

  4. You are required to name the drive. Let it be a memorable name.
  5. On the security options, move the slider to where it is least secure to allow you to recover any lost files. It is also the fastest way of performing the erase.
  6. After that, click on the erase button on the bottom right.
  7. When erasing is complete, you can now make the recovery of your files.

Part 3. What Is SD Card for Mac and How It Works

If you are still wondering how the SD card works, then you are in the right place. The SD card is a nifty little device that can pack a tone of storage capacities of more than 1 TB.

With an SD card adapter used together with a microSD card, it gives you the flexibility to also access files it may have from any other source.

But what does SD stand for? It stands for Secure Digital, a standard that describes non-volatile memory. Mac computers come with the SD card slot, also known as Secure Digital or Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) card slot through which you can insert your SD card.

connect-sd-card-to-mac-11

So, there are formats and standards discussed above. Also, the SD card slot has its measures such as:

The smaller micro SD cards also come in various versions such as:

You can use these cards with adapters that conform to the specified physical standard.

All these storage media use specified file systems for them to store data. File systems store data in a break down of various clusters, depending on the type of file system.

The most known files system is the FAT32 format. It is available up to 32GB in capacity. For media that exceeds this, uses exFAT file system. Cards of smaller size utilize the FAT16 file system.


Video Tutorial on How to Fix Corrupted SD Card

Recent Videos from Recoverit

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Part 4. How to Recover Data from SD Card on Mac

Recoverit Data Recovery software is an efficient software in the recovery of files from your SD card on Mac.

In this case, formatting was used as a method of restoring your SD card functionality, but you probably couldn’t view the files to allow you to perform a back up. Here Recoverit comes in.

https://recoverit.wondershare.com/

Its features include:

The process below shows how to recover files.

Step 1: Select a Location

Find and select your SD card from the Mac drives displayed on the screen.

select-scan-location

Step 2: Scan the Location

Click on Start for the software to begin scanning files.

scan-location

Step 3: Preview and Recover

The preview window in Recoverit 8.0 will help you get a better sneak peek of your data. On the left pane, you can choose your preferred files if you don't want to recover everything. Finally, press the Recover button on the bottom right of the interface.

recover-email

You also have the option of doing a deep scan on the files at the bottom.


Part 6. Tips Against "Can't Delete Files on Mac"

Some of the issues that you face with deleting files on your Mac and end up believing that they can’t be deleted is false. “Why so?” You ask.

1. Settle your mind.

First things, first, you needed to relax. Frustrations often lead to irrational behavior. When you feel like it’s becoming impossible and you have done everything don’t start throwing tantrums. Realize that some files can’t be deleted for a reason or you probably are yet to find out.

2. Research online on various methods.

To find out what kind of files you should or shouldn’t get rid of, check on sites and articles such as this one. You can look at various methods of troubleshooting for an easy time.

3. Use past experiences.


Conclusion

The process of troubleshooting an SD card can seem tedious, but it is enriching. Furthermore, the steps might seem much at first as this article goes out of its way to give extra details, but the information will always be useful in the longer run.

In case files are not visible on your SD card, don’t panic if you cannot back up. It is a common characteristic for an SD card that can’t read. Just follow the instructions, and an option to recover lost files will be available.

Lastly, if this article has been of any help to you, please don’t forget to share widely with everyone.

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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