Mac won't read SD card, how to fix and recover lost data?

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery on November 12th, 2018 |

When you are so excited to insert an SD card and want to edit pictures you took during your last vacation, the Autoplay windows doesn't pop up as expected to present you with the content of your SD card. Time and again, the SD card is not showing up on desktop or Finder and there are no pop-up windows, no sound notification, nothing at all. Mac won't read SD card, how to fix? If unfortunately, you didn't back up before, how to get lost data back?

Why SD card is not readable on Mac?

Usually, there are many different reasons causing SD card not readable by MacBook Pro/MacBook Air issue, such as virus attack, sudden power failure, file system corruption, bad sector, Physical damage, etc. These reasons are possible to damage the Mac system, the SD card as well as the SD card reader. As a result, your SD card not showing up on Mac desktop or Finder.

Mac won't read SD card, how to fix?

If you received "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer" after inserting an SD card to your Mac, you can follow the solutions here to fix this error.

Solution 1: Check the SD card is connected properly

Sometimes, if your SD card is not connected properly, the card will be unreadable on Mac. Please replug the SD card to see if Mac can read SD card..

Solution 2: Check the SD card reader

After that, please make sure your SD card reader is in good working order. If you can, please try another SD card to see whether the reader is able to recognize the card. If it does, the reader is okay and it's the problem with your SD card. If it doesn't, the reader has some problems. To fix problems on SD card readers, go to the manufacturer's website and download the most recent drivers.

Solution 3: Modify Finder preference

If your SD card reader has no problem, it's possible that you have not set external disks on desktop. Therefore, the SD card is not showing up on Mac.

Step 1: Go to Finder > Preferences > General tab.

Step 2: Tick the "External disks" option to show the SD card on the desktop.

Step 3: Go to Sidebar tab, tick "External disks" under "Devices" to show your WD Passport hard drive for Mac in Finder.

Show SD card on desktop

Solution 4: Recover lost data from corrupted SD card

After leaving out the connection issue and SD card reader problem, you can be sure that your SD card is corrupted. Whatever it has logical or physical problems, you have no access to the data on the card. Have important files on the SD card but didn't make any backup? The first thing is to recover lost data from not readable SD card. Because in this situation, all data on the SD card is so fragile that any operation including disk repair will overwrite the original data.

Follow this short video tutorial to recover lost data from unreadable SD cards:

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is a free Mac data recovery software that can recover lost data from unreadable SD card, recover lost data from formatted SD card, recover lost data from unmountable SD card, recover lost data from corrupted SD card, recover deleted/lost files from SD card, etc. on macOS Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/10.12 Sierra and 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

Aside from SD card data recovery, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery also perform well in hard drive data recovery, external hard drive data recovery, USB drive data recovery, memory card data recovery, no matter which are video, photo, audio and email.

Tutorial to recover lost data from unreadable SD card on Mac with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery on Mac.

recover lost data from unreadable SD card on Mac

Step 2: Connect the unreadable SD card to Mac with a card reader.

Step 3: Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery, and select the unreadable SD card.

Step 4: Click "Next" to search for all lost files on the unreadable SD card.

Step 5: Preview the listed recoverable files, choose those we want, and click "Recover" button to get them back.

After data recovery, you can follow the solutions below to fix "Mac won't read SD card" issue. If you don't have any important data, please skip to the solutions.

Solution 5: Run Disk Utility to repair the SD card

Disk Utility's First Aid is a handy tool to verify and repair disk errors. Once you have any problem with your disks, you have a try of it.

Step 1: Go to /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility/, then click Continue.

Step 2: In the sidebar, select the SD card you want to repair.

Step 3: Click the First Aid button.

If Disk Utility tells you the disk is about to fail, back up your data and replace the disk. You can't repair the SD card. Otherwise, continue to step 4.

Step 4: Click Run.

Solution 6: Erase the SD card

If have no luck to repair the disk with Disk Utility, that indicates the SD card is severely corrupted. But don't be panic, any file system corruption can be solved by reformatting. The operation will erase all data on the card, please back up with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery firstly.

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility.

Step 2: Select the unreadable SD card on the left sidebar.

Step 3: Choose Erase, complete name, format, scheme, and then click Erase to reformat it.

Solution 7: Send the SD card to local repair center

If your SD card is not showing in Disk Utility, the card might be physically damaged and your Mac can't recognize the SD card. Under this circumstance, you can try data recovery software. If you are lucky enough, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can recognize the SD card. Then send it to local repair center or replace it with a new one.


Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.