How to Fix SD Card not Showing Up on Mac, in Disk Utility or in Finder?

By Molly | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, updated on February 14th, 2020 |

Summary: SD card is not showing up on Mac? Can't see the SD card on desktop, in Finder or in Disk Utility? This post will tell you how to make the SD card show up on Mac again. If necessary, you can recover lost data from the corrupted SD card with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Today we're going to look at a common problem that many Mac computer owners often have to deal with: the SD memory card is not showing up when it is connected to Mac. Are you experiencing the same problem as the user below?

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.

With the help of this post, the SD card not showing up on Mac issue will quickly become a thing of the past. If necessary, you can also find the solution to recover lost data from the corrupted SD card.

Table of contents
1. Why is my SD card not showing up on my Mac?
2. How to show up the SD card on Mac desktop?
3. How to show up the SD card in Finder?
4. How to show up the SD card in Disk Utility?
5. Pictures/videos on SD card not showing on Mac, what to do?
6. Conclusion

Why is my SD card not showing up on my Mac?

Some users connect SD cards directly to the SD slot (if any) on their MacBook. And some access it through an external SD card reader. But either way, the SD memory card should appear in Finder, on desktop, and in Disk Utility. However, if you see your SD card not showing up on Mac, the reason might be that you haven't set up the desktop, Finder or Disk Utility properly.

Also, there are a number of other reasons for the SD card not showing up on Mac. Specifically, these factors might leave your SD card not recognized by the Mac.

  1. You use the SD card in the wrong way. When you insert the card into a card slot, make sure that the metal contacts face down and point toward the card reader. If you plug it in the wrong direction, not only will the SD card not show up but also the slot will be damaged. So, it's important to learn how to use SD cards on Mac in the right way.
  2. Your card reader is out of date. There are so many SD card manufacturers like Lexar and Sandisk. They produce new types of memory cards with new features all the time. So if you are using a relatively old card reader while the SD card is somewhat new, the old card reader may not work with your SD card. You need to replace that card reader.
  3. use SD card with right card reader

  4. The SD card format is not compatible with your card reader. There are various memory cards like Standard SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, and Micro SD cards. Many users need an extra adapter to access their SD cards. But different card reader has different specifications. So, you need to make sure that the card reader conforms to the SD card's transfer rate, dimension, type, storage capacity, etc.
  5. Other reasons. The SD card not showing up on your Mac can also be caused by virus infection, system error, or even an SD card corruption.

What's more, you should also examine the SD card carefully to see if it is overly dusty or greasy. If so, you can give it a quick wipe down with a clean, dry cloth and try again. Alternatively, you can try another SD card or another SD card reader/slot to decide which one is to be blamed for the issue.

If your SD doesn't show up on your Mac after you checked the things above, you can try the following solutions one by one. Hopefully, your SD card would appear safe and sound, along with all of the precious data that you have stored on it.

How to show up the SD card on the Mac desktop?

By default, your Mac is set to show up connected external disks on the desktop after they are detected. This setup works for SD cards, memory cards, external hard drives, USB flash drives and much more. However, sometimes such settings may have been changed by someone else. As a result, the external hard drive is not showing up on Mac as you expected. Therefore, just change the following settings to show up your SD card correctly on Mac.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click on the Finder at the top menu and choose Preferences….
  3. Click on the General tab.
  4. Check the External disks option.
  5. Show external disks on the Mac desktop

  6. Check if the SD card shows up on the Mac desktop.

How to show up the SD card in the Finder?

All attached and detected internal disks and external disks will show up in the Finder. If your SD card is not showing up in the Finder, you can also check if the sidebar of the Finder has been set up properly.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click on the Finder at the top menu and choose Preferences….
  3. Click on the Sidebar tab.
  4. Check External disks option under Locations.
  5. Show external disks in Finder

  6. Launch the Finder and check if the SD card shows up in the Finder sidebar.

If your Mac is set up to show up SD cards in Finder, you can check if you hide the storage devices by accident.

  1. After you properly connected the SD card to your Mac, wait a second so that Mac recognizes the SD card as an external drive.
  2. Then open the Finder by clicking the smile face on your desktop.
  3. Find Locations in the left sidebar. If no storage device is listed here, the SD card is hidden in the Finder.
  4. Simply point your mouse at the Locations, and then click Show. Then your SD card will show up and the option will become Hide.
  5. Show hidden SD card in Finder

Then the SD memory card will appear in the Finder. But if you still cannot see it on the desktop and in the Finder, you need to check if the SD card shows up in Disk Utility.

How to show up the SD card in Disk Utility?

You can launch Disk Utility by going to Launchpad and then Others. You probably will come across one of the following situations:

Let's take a look at each scenario one by one.

1. Your SD card doesn't show up in the sidebar.

By default, you will see a sidebar with all disks and volumes at the left in Disk Utility window. However, the settings are changed somehow and you will not see the sidebar or attached disks at the left. Then you might think your SD card is not showing up. In fact, you can show up your SD card in Disk Utility with a few steps:

  1. Launch Disk Utility.
  2. Click View at the top menu bar.
  3. Choose Show All Devices.
  4. Show all devices in disk utility

  5. Check if your SD card shows up in Disk Utility.

If you still see the SD card not showing up in Disk Utility, another option is to restart your computer. A simple restart may turn into wonder.

However, if both solutions fail to show up your SD card in the Disk Utility, it means that your SD card is not recognized on Mac. Alternatively, you can try to connect it to a Windows PC. Then you can check in Disk Management that whether the SD card is recognized. If unfortunately, the SD card is not showing up in Windows either, it is very likely that your SD card or card reader is physically damaged. You can try another card reader to access the SD card. If it is recognized and work, then it's the card reader that stops your SD card working normally

2. Your SD card is not mounted or greyed out in Disk Utility.

If your SD card is not mounted or greyed out in Disk Utility, it won't be shown up on the Mac desktop nor in the Finder. That's probably the reason why you can't see your SD card showing up on the Mac desktop or in the Finder. The unmounted or greyed out SD card might result from SD card corruption.

Luckily, since the SD card is detected, there is still hope to fix it and recover lost data from it.

Now, you can try the methods 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 is to repair it with First Aid in Disk Utility. First Aid is there to repair disk-related issues on Macs. This does indeed include SD cards failing to show up on your Mac.

To use First Aid:

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility by going to Launchpad and then Others.

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

Now, sit back and wait for the repair process to finish. Hopefully, it works its magic.

Solution 3: Reformat your SD card

If you still have not had any luck in getting your Mac to mount the SD card successfully, it could be the time for you to reformat it. Reformatting gives the unmountable SD card a chance to rebuild the disk structures. It is a very sound strategy to solve most of SD card problems like SD card not showing up on Mac properly. But before you go any further, you need to pause to think about the data stored on your SD card. The reason is that reformatting will erase all of the data stored on the SD card and leave you a blank SD card. So, do you have any data on the SD card that you are desperate to keep? If you have, directly reformatting the SD card is not for you. 

If you have performed a regular Time Machine backup beforehand, you should be able to recover lost data from Time Machine. If not, you should utilize a reliable and trusted piece of data recovery software to recover lost data first. iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, for example, is highly recommended here. Keep reading to see what it can do for you.

About iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is one of the best SD card data recovery software for Mac owners on the market. It can recover deleted/lost photos, videos, music, documents, audio files, emails, and almost all file types from SD cards including standard SD cards, microSD cards, and miniSD cards. Additionally, recovering lost data is possible even when SD cards are unmountable, unreadable, corrupted or formatted.

Besides SD card data recovery, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can recover deleted or lost files from Mac hard drive, USB flash drives, memory sticks, external hard drives and other storage devices. Most importantly, it allows users to create a bootable drive and recover lost data if the Mac fails to boot.

It is an effective data recovery tool for Mac. You can free download and install it on your Mac.

How to utilize iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery software?

We're going to provide you with a step-by-step guide on utilizing the software. Follow these steps, and you'll recover your valuable data shortly.

Step 1: Download, install and launch the iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Install iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

Step 2: Select the corrupted SD card and then click Scan. The program will begin scanning the SD card for lost files.

Scan lost data from SD cards

Step 3: Double click the files to preview.

Step 4: Select the files you want to recover and click on the Recover button.

Recover lost data from SD cards

If you are a video tutorial lover, here is a short video showing you how to recover lost data from SD cards with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery:

Erase the SD card in Disk Utility

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

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility by going to Launchpad and then Others.

Step 2: Select the unmountable SD card at the left sidebar and click on the Erase button at the top toolbar.

How to formate a disk in Disk Utility

Step 3: Give the SD card a name, choose a file system and a scheme.

Step 4: Click on the Erase button.

How to formate a disk in Disk Utility

Then you can reconnect your SD card to the Mac to see if it shows up on the Mac desktop, in Finder and in Disk Utility correctly.

Pictures/videos on SD card not showing on Mac, what to do?

Another trouble you might find yourself in is that your SD card is detected on your Mac but your pictures or videos files don't show up. It is common when you connect an SD card from a digital camera or a mobile phone. We also have included two quick solutions here to help you out.

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 copying the pictures, videos and other files off the SD card.

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

Conclusion:

Hopefully the SD card not showing up issue has now been solved after you have followed our instructions. If your SD card not showing up on Mac is caused by unmounted or greyed-out SD card, do remember to recover lost data from the SD card with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery before you reformat it.

Molly

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