How to Fix SD/Memory Card not Showing up on a Mac Computer?

By Molly | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, updated on Mar.20th, 2019 |

Today we're going to be looking at a common problem that many Mac computer owners often have to deal with, that is, the SD memory card not showing up on a Mac computer. Firstly, let's take a look at this example.

I have an SD Card (SanDisk Extreme, 60 mpbs, 64 GB, SDXC) that I have used for about two years on my computer. However, today it wouldn't show up in Finder but shows in Disk Utility. How can I fix if the SD card not showing up and get back all my pictures? I'm using MacBook Pro, 15-inch, Mid 2014.

Follow the details below, and your SD/memory card issues will quickly become a thing of the past. Besides, we are going to tell you how to recover data if your SD card is not showing up on Mac.

Table of contents
1. Why isn't my SD card showing up on my Mac?
2. How to show up an SD card on Mac?
3. How to fix the SD card not showing up on Mac issue?
4. Quick fixes to SD cards not showing pictures/videos on Mac
5. Conclusion

Why isn't my SD card showing up on my Mac?

Normally, when you connecting an SD card to your Mac directly or via an external card reader, it should appear in Finder, on the desktop and in Disk Utility. However, in most of the cases, you don't see your SD card show up on Mac because you haven't setup your Mac to.

What's more, there could actually be a number of other reasons for the SD card not showing up. A few possible candidates include:

  1. Virus infection
  2. System error
  3. SD card corruption
  4. Damage to the Mac card reader slot

In either case above, you can try out the following solutions one-by-one and your SD card should wind up safe and sound, along with all of the precious data that you have stored on it.

The worst scenario is, if you cannot see the SD card showing up in Disk Utility, it unfortunately indicates that your SD card isn't recognized. It could have sustained physical damage that is beyond our fixes here.

Thus, examine it carefully to see if you can see any noticeable damage to it. It could simply be overly dusty or greasy, so perhaps give it a quick wipe down with a clean, dry cloth and try again. If not, the card may be repaired by a professional company, although if there wasn't any very important data stored on there, you may simply wish to purchase a replacement.

How to show up an SD card on Mac?

By default, your Mac is set to show up connected external disks in Finder, on the desktop and in Disk Utility after detected, including SD card, memory card, external hard drives, USB flash drives and much more. However, sometimes such settings may have been changed by someone else. So, just check the following settings to make sure your SD card or other external drives can be shown up correctly on Mac.

Show the SD card on the desktop

  1. Go to Finder > Preferences > General tab.
  2. Tick the "External disks" option to show the SD card on the desktop.

Show SD cards on the desktop

Show the SD card in Finder

  1. Go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar tab.
  2. Tick "External disks" under "Devices" to show your SD card in Finder.

Show SD cards in Finder

How to fix the SD card not showing up on Mac issue?

If your Mac is set up to show up SD cards in Finder and on the desktop but you still cannot see it, there may be something wrong with your SD card. Probably, the file system of the SD card is corrupted. If that is the case, you could see the SD card detected or showing up in Disk Utility, but it is unmounted or greyed out.

Now, you can try the methods as below to mount the SD card or fix the corrupted SD card.

Solution 1: Mount the SD card manually

You can try to mount this SD card by clicking on the Mount icon beside it, or by clicking on the Mount button on the top of Disk Utility window. Either way, you may mount it and then access pictures, videos or other files stored on it.

Solution 2: Repair the corrupted SD card with First Aid

If you can't mount the SD card manually, then another very effective strategy that you could implement when it comes to the SD card not showing up on your Mac computer is to repair it with First Aid in Disk Utility. Disk Utility is there to repair specific disk-related issues with Macs. This does indeed include SD cards failing to show up on your Mac. To use the Disk Utility feature:

Step 1: Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Step 2: Select the SD card that happens to be unmountable and, at the top, click "First Aid".

Now, sit back and wait for the repair process to finish and hopefully work its magic.

Solution 3: Reformat your SD card

If you have still not had any luck in getting your Mac to read the SD card, it could be time for you to reformat. This is perhaps the most complex solution so far, but it gives unmountable (unreadable) SD cards the chance to rebuild and restructure the disk structures, while avoiding utilizing any bad sectors. If your SD card is not showing up on a Mac computer, it is a very sound strategy. Now, before we go any further, we need to talk to you about the data stored on your SD card. If there is any data stored on your SD card that you are desperate to keep, reformatting is not for you. Reformatting will erase all of the data stored on the card and will essentially wipe it clean. If you happened to perform a regular Time Machine backup beforehand, you should be able to recover data from Time Machine.

If not, you should utilize a reliable and trusted piece of data recovery software. iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, for example, comes very highly recommended and is proving to be more and more popular with each passing day.

About iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

There are many free SD card data recovery software out there for you to choose from, but some are unfortunately not very reliable or effective. Finding a reliable and trustworthy piece of free data recovery software is essential, which is why iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery comes so very highly recommended. It is considered by many to be the best FREE data recovery software option on the market today. This software supports the recovery of deleted photos, deleted videos, audio files, images, documents, and more.

These can be recovered from external hard drives including: USB drives, SD cards, memory cards, pen drives, and more. What's more, the software is even able to recover data from APFS formatted SD cards, corrupt SD cards, unmountable SD cards, inaccessible external hard drives on various Mac models, and much more besides. It is simple to use, very effective, and best of all is the fact that the software can be downloaded and installed completely free.

How to utilize iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery software?

Now that we've given you a reliable and effective solution, we're going to finish up by providing you with a step-by-step guide on utilizing the software in question. Follow these steps, and you'll recover your valuable data in no time at all.

Step 1: Begin by installing the iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery software above.

Install iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

Step 2: Launch the program. Select the SD card that is not showing up on your Mac and then click 'next'. From here, the program will begin scanning the SD card in order to locate any recoverable files.

Step 3: Once the scanning has been completed, and even during for that matter, you can click the files that the program has located, and you can preview them to see what they are.

Scan lost data from SD cards

Step 4: If you wish to take the file back and restore it, simply click 'Recover'.

Recover lost data from SD cards

Erase the SD card in Disk Utility

After recovering data from the SD card, you can now follow the steps below to reformat it.

Step 1: Make your way over to Applications, then Utilities, and then Disk Utilities.

Step 2: Select the unmountable SD card in question, and at the top, click the 'Erase' button.

Step 3: Simply follow the on-screen instructions in order to finish up the reformatting process

That should then be that.

Here is a short video showing you how to recover data from SD cards:

Quick fixes to SD cards not showing pictures/videos on Mac

1. Try a different card reader, a different USB port, even a different Mac computer or operating system and see if the pictures or videos on the SD card will show up. If yes, you're suggested to copy the pictures, videos and other files off the SD card.

2. Check if you have setup your Mac to hide files. You can follow the detailed steps to recover and show hidden files on Mac.


If you've been struggling with issues relating to your SD card, if you have followed the instructions in this article, hopefully things have now been resolved. After recovering the backup files and data from the SD card, thanks to the iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery software you can then copy the files back onto your now reformatted SD memory card and simply try again. Your issues should now hopefully be resolved.


Molly is an editor @iBoysoft who frequently shares useful tutorials about data recovery for Windows and Mac.

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