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How to Fix SD Card Not Showing Up On Mac

SD cards have been around us for more than three decades now, and these portable storage devices have now become essential for memory extension and data sharing. SD cards not showing up on your Mac is a situation that no one likes to confront, and it occurs when you least expected it. There are various reasons for it, but the only ray of hope in this tricky situation is that a few methods will come in handy to fix this issue. In this post, we have jotted down some principal causes behind it and three primary methods to fix it and avoid data loss. We will also guide you about the most practical solution to retrieve your lost data too. So without any delay, let’s dive in.

Part 1:  What Might Cause SD Card Not Showing on Mac:

SD cards are compact memory devices compatible with a wide range of digital equipment. Whether you are using them in your music player, mobile phones, or camcorders, once in a while, you have to connect them to your Mac to transfer data to/from them. A fully functional SD card immediately shows up on Mac. Although, if there is an underlying issue with these nifty devices, it would probably not appear, leaving you worried about your valuable stored data. Despite being incredibly useful, SD cards are also prone to physical and technical damages causing irregular or no functioning. There are a handful of reasons why your Mac is not reading the SD card. Let’s have a look at some basic ones.

# Physical Damages to the Card/Slot:

Memory cards are delicate, and so are the embedded slots used to connect them with the Mac. Physical damages are one of the most common reasons why they won’t appear on Mac. These damages sometimes go unnoticed as they are so miniature. The shiny contact points on these multimedia storage devices get scratches, dirt, or any other solid particles, or the reader slot is internally damaged, resulting in poor contact. Consequently, the Mac is unable to read it. One good way to check if the reason behind it is physical is to clean the contact points with an alcohol-dipped cotton cloth, let it dry and insert it into another Mac to see if the card works. If it does, then, fortunately, your card is fine, but your Mac SD card slot is not and needs to be repaired by a professional.

# OS Errors & Infected Cards:

Once you have ruled out that your SD card or reader isn’t physically damaged, then there is an increased chance that your operating system cannot recognize it, causing the no showing up condition. Corrupted OS cannot read an SD card; therefore, you must fix it first and restart the Mac computer. This will most likely solve the problem for you only if your SD card is not infected by Viruses or Malware. Most memory card owners use these portable storage devices on more than one computer and have a habit of sharing them with others, increasing the risks of getting them attacked with viruses. Unprotected computer especially that runs on Windows OS are at an increased risk of getting infected with viruses/malware thus making your card unreadable on Mac.

# Incompatible SD Card Standard & Format:

Many versions of SD cards are available in the market with varying storage limits and sizes. Be sure that the SD card you are trying to read on the Mac computer is supported by it. Mac computers and laptops come with built-in card readers, but they can only read the ones supported by it. E.g., The MacBook Pro can read Standard SD (up to 2GB), SDXC (up to 2TB), and SDHC (up to 32GB), and to ensure that your SD card works; it must be in compliance with SD 1.x, 2.x, and 3. Standards. Another important thing we would like to mention here is the file systems. Some file systems are unsupported by specific macOS versions, which can also lead to your secure digital cards’ unreadability.

Part 2:  3 Tips of How to Fix SD Card Not Showing Up Mac

Regardless of the type of device you use to read the card content, an SD card not showing up is a fairly common problem. Before you jump to the conclusion that your SD is not functional anymore, there are some tips that you can try to fix the SD card not being read by Mac, but first, you must make sure that there is no connection problem with your SD card reader/ built-in slot and the card connectors. Try using it on another computer or connecting it via a card reader on an alternate USB port to check if it gets connected. When you are done with it, and the problem persists, there is something textbook that you must try. Yes, we are talking about restarting the computer here. Some running program prohibits the card from being recognized so it’s a rational approach to restart the computer as it closes all the back end running programs that might be the cause of the card not showing up. Rebooting helps plenty of times, and you don’t have to try out other more sophisticated methods. In any case, the top three tips to fix the issue are.

#Method 1: Change Finder Preference:

Often, your Mac computer doesn’t detect the SD card because the preference is set in a way that it doesn’t allow it to show external devices. You can modify this setting by and enable the external disk in a simple three-step process.

  • From the dock, open the finder and click on finder preferences.
  • Next, from the general tab of the finder preferences menu, click on the external disk box to enable it.
  • Repeat this procedure in the third tab on the top menu called “Sidebar.” Check the external disk option under the location dropdown.
  • In case this doesn’t work out for you, it means your SD card is corrupted, and another solution is needed.

# Method 2: Repair via Built-in First Aid Feature:

Another common situation that people face is that the external card shows in Disk Utility but is not mounting, so you couldn’t see it in the Finder option. If the card isn’t mounting, it means that it is corrupted, but fortunately, if the Disk Utility recognizes it, there are some things that you can try to fix it.

  • Try mounting it manually by right-clicking on it and selecting the mount icon, or you can select it and click on the mount option at the top of the Disk Utility window. 
  • Even if this manual mounting fails, then you can check and repair the unmounted SD card by the First Aid feature in disk utility. Go to the application section, click utility, and open disk utility. Select the external SD card and hit the First Aid button from the top toolbar. This is a very effective method and works in most circumstances.

# Method 3: Format the SD card:

When all other methods to fix Mac not reading SD card fails, formatting it is the last resort. When the card is seriously corrupted, nothing seems to work; restoring it to the original state is a viable option. The formatting process is a simple one. Follow the below-mentioned step to perform it successfully.

  • Open Disk Utility and Go to the View option from the top menu bar.
  • Click on the SD Card and hit the erase button. 
  • Wait for the OS to complete the formatting before removing the card.

Part 3:  Recover Lost Data from SD Card on Mac 

Most people dread the formatting option as they will lose access to the stored data, but a powerful recovery software like Wondershare Recoverit will help restore all your stored files. Wondershare Recoverit is easy to use software that allows you to get hold of all your formatted data in three simple steps. Download and install the Mac version of the software and follow these steps to restore the lost data.

# Step 1:  Connect & Select Memory Card:

Insert the SD card into the built-in slot or the connected card reader, select it from the external device menu, and then click on the start button on the page’s bottom right corner.

# Step 2: Scan The SD Card:

When you click the start button, let Wondershare Recoverit do its magic through a deep scan. The process takes a few minutes to complete, so; please be patient.

# Step 3: Preview & Recover Files:

Wondershare Recoverit is a user-friendly software that allows you to preview all your restored data, and then you can choose which files to recover.  This includes photos, videos, documents, and many other types of files, so you know what you are getting back.

The need for memory cards in the current times is real, so hopefully, this comprehensive guide about the SD card not showing issue has clear your view about it. With the solutions mentioned above, you can fix the problem without dealing with the hassles of reaching a professional. Above all, with Wondershare Recoverit on your side, you will never have to worry about recovering your lost data from a formatted memory card. You can also try more data recovery software for free in the market.

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