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What is SD?
SD describes devices that conform to SD standards for non-volatile memory cards. See the SD Association website for details.
Are there size limitations for the cards that can be inserted into the SD slot?
Yes. The SD card specification for a memory card is 32mm by 24mm by 2.1mm. You can also use thinner cards, such as MultiMediaCards (MMC). Avoid using cards that have a thickness greater than 2.1mm, as they might damage the SD card slot if you try to insert them.
Which SD card formats work in the SD card slot?
Cards that conform to the SD 1.x, 2.x, and 3.x standards should work. The SD card slot can use:
- Standard SD, 4MB to 2GB
- SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity), 4GB to 32GB
- SDXC, 4GB to 2TB
- MMC (MultiMediaCards)
- UHS‑II, up to 2TB (iMac Pro only)
You can use a passive adapter like the one shown here to make MiniSD, MicroSD, and higher density formats like MiniSDHC and MicroSDHC conform to the width and thickness specifications listed above:
How fast can my Mac read or write to an SD card in the SD card slot?
Mac notebooks use the USB bus to communicate with the SD card slot. They have a maximum speed of up to 480Mbit/s. Mac desktops use the PCIe bus to communicate with the SD card slot. Desktops can transfer data at a faster rate.
Check the packaging that came with your SD media to determine the maximum transfer rate that your specific card uses.
To determine the maximum transfer speed of your Mac, you can use System Information. Choose Apple () menu > About This Mac and then click System Report.
If you use a Mac notebook:
- Select Hardware, then select USB.
- Select Internal Memory Card Reader and look for the Speed entry.
If you use a Mac desktop computer:
- Select Hardware, then select Card Reader.
- Look for the Link Speed entry. Computers that use the PCIe bus express their speed as GT/s.
Does the SD slot work with cards that exceed 32GB?
Yes. However, most media manufacturers preformat the media using common block-and-cluster sizes that don’t approach the theoretical limits of a given file system.
Most SD cards use the FAT32 file format, and preformatted FAT32 SD media is commonly available up to a capacity of 32GB. Media that exceeds 32GB usually uses the exFAT file system, while some smaller capacity cards use the FAT16 file format. Preformatted FAT16 media is generally available up to a capacity of 2GB.
If you use OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.5 or later, you can find out which file system you’re using:
- Insert the media into the SD card slot.
- Choose Apple menu > About This Mac.
- Click System Report.
- In the Hardware section, click Card Reader, and find the File System field.
Will the SD card slot work with SD cards that use the exFAT file system?
Yes. Any Mac that has an SD card slot and is running OS X 10.6.5 or later can use the exFAT file system.
exFAT is also supported in Boot Camp with Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 on any Mac made in 2011 or later with an SD card slot.
How do I insert media into the SD card slot?
When you insert the card, make sure that the metal contacts face down and point toward the computer. Don’t force media into the SD card slot, as this might cause damage.
How does my Mac use the media inserted into the SD card slot?
Your computer recognizes a card inserted into the SD card slot as a USB storage device. You can mount, read from, and write to the SD card just like you can with any other USB storage device.
I put the card in the slot, but it didn’t mount. What should I do?
Remove the card and insert it again. Sometimes the SD card won’t mount properly if you put it into the slot too slowly.
When I try to write content to the card, I get a 'cannot be modified' message. How can I fix this?
You see this message when you try to edit data on an SD card that’s locked. You need to use the lock slider to unlock the card before you can edit the data.
To eject the card, drag the icon that represents the card to the Trash. After the icon disappears from the desktop, you can remove the card from the computer. Adjust the lock slider tab to unlock the card, then reinsert the card into the slot. See the manufacturer’s instructions for the location of the slider tab.
Can I use Disk Utility to reformat an SD card?
You can use Disk Utility to partition and format an SD device as FAT32 (using the MS-DOS FAT setting) or Mac OS Extended. The Mac OS Extended format can be used only on Macintosh systems. Non-Apple systems won’t recognize cards formatted to Mac OS Extended.
You might have to format a card that’s larger than 32GB with exFAT if you want to use it with a digital camera, GPS, or another device. When in doubt, format the card in the device that you intend to use it with.
Can I install macOS on an SD storage device and use it as a startup volume?
Use Disk Utility to change the default partition table to GUID. Then format the card to use the Mac OS Extended file format.
How do I remove a card from the SD card slot?
Before you remove the card, allow any data transfer to SD media to complete. To eject the card, drag the icon that represents the card to the Trash. After the icon disappears from your desktop, you can remove the card from the slot.
Don't remove a card while your Mac is sleeping, as this could lead to data loss. Always wake your computer and eject the SD card before removing it from your Mac.
Can I use Secure Digital Input Output (SDIO) cards?
Can I use macOS to see the specifications for the interface hardware and media inserted in the SD card slot?
You can get information about the interface hardware and the media that you inserted in the slot from the System Information:
- Choose Apple menu > About This Mac.
- Click System Report.
- In the Hardware section of System Information, select USB.
- In the list of USB devices, select Internal Memory Card Reader to access information about the interface hardware and the media inserted into the SD card slot.
Can I use the SD card slot while running Windows using Boot Camp?
The SD card slot works with Boot Camp in all supported versions of Windows. You’ll need to download and install the Windows Support Software to use the SD card slot with Windows.
Learn more about using Windows on a Mac.
Can I use an SDXC card on my Mac with Windows?
You can use an SDXC card in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 with these Mac computers:
- MacBook Pro (Early 2011 and later)
MacBook Pro models from 2016 and later don't have a built-in SD card slot. You can use a USB-C card reader, or a combination of a USB-C to USB Adapter and a USB card reader.
- MacBook Air (Mid 2011 and later)
- Mac mini (Mid 2011 and later)
Mac mini (Mid 2010) doesn't support SDXC cards.
- iMac (Mid 2011 and later)
iMac (Mid 2010) doesn't support SDXC cards.
Can I use an SD, SDHC, or SDXC card to install Windows on my Mac?
No. You can’t use SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards with Boot Camp to install Windows software on Mac computers.
Summary: Is your SD card not working on Mac? Mac won't read SD card? macOS Catalina is not recognizing SD card? In this article, we will help fix Mac not reading/recognizing SD card issue.
Accidents happen at any time (For example: When I insert SD card nothing happens on Mac). When your SD card is not working properly, you can't open and access the files stored the SD card.
As you see SD card is not readable by your Mac, those are possible questions in your mind. Why is Mac not reading SD card and SD card not working? How do I get my Mac to recognize my SD card? How to do SD card data recovery?
This passage is a complete SD card troubleshooting guide to fix SD card not working issue, and recover lost data from SD card.
- Table of contents
- 1. How to fix Mac not reading/recognizing SD card?
- 2. Understanding why SD card not working/recognized on Mac
- 3. How to prevent 'SD card not working/recognized' in future?
- 4. How to use and open SD card on Mac?
How to fix Mac not reading/recognizing SD card?
As below, we have listed some feasible solutions to fix SD card not working/reading on Mac. You don't have to try them all, just work your way down the list until you find the one that works for you:
|SD card not working scenario
|SD card showing up in Disk Utility but not desktop
|Check your Finder desktop preferences. Full steps..
|SD card shows up in Disk Utility but not Finder
|Check your Finder sidebar preferences. Full steps..
|SD card showing up in Disk Utility but not mounting
|1. Restart your Mac
2. Check if SD card reader is not working. Full steps..
3. Check for the connection issue
4. Check if SD card is locked. Full steps..
5. Insert your SD card in different devices
6. Reset NVRAM/PRAM. Full steps..
7. Mount SD card in Disk Utility. Full steps..
8. Repair SD card via First Aid. Full steps..
9. Format your SD card. Full steps..
|SD card is not recognized/detected by Mac Disk Utility
|1. Restart your Mac
2. Check if SD card reader is not working. Full steps..
3. Check for the connection issue
4. Insert your SD card in different devices
5. Reset NVRAM/PRAM. Full steps..
6. Update the drivers on Mac. Full steps..
7. Send SD card to an expert for reparation
8. Replace SD card with a new one
Option 1: Check your Finder desktop and sidebar preferences
On Mac, you can choose to show connected items on the desktop, including hard disks, external disks, connected servers. Therefore, if you don't set the preference to show your SD card on the desktop, it won't appear on Mac. Easy to understand, huh? Let's see how to show SD card on the desktop?
Step 1: Go to Finder > Preferences > General, make sure the 'External disks' option is ticked. This will make the SD card show up on the Desktop.
Step 2: Select the Sidebar tab on the top, make sure the External disks option under Locations is also ticked.
Option 2: Restart your Mac
Whether the issue is related to networking, graphics, slow performance, faulty programs or macOS issue, a simple reboot can fix a computer issue 80-90% of the time. It also works when external drives are not recognized by macOS.
When your SD card is not reading on Mac, you can try to remove the SD card and then switch off the Mac. Leave it for a few minutes, turn it back on, and try again.
Option 3: Check if SD card reader is not working
To access an SD card, you usually need a card reader. When your SD card won't work on Mac, the first thing to check is whether the card reader is working or not. It doesn't matter that you access the SD card by the built-in slot on your Mac or a third-party one. Simply follow these steps to check if the SD card reader is recognized or not.
Step 1: Simply click Apple Menu > About This Mac > System Report.
Step 2: Find Card Reader under the Hardware list.
Step 3: If the card reader works, you can see its Vendor ID, Serial Number, and some other product information. When your SD card is inserted, it should also be listed at the right with specifications.
If unfortunately, the card reader is not recognized, it might be an SD card hardware issue. For a broken slot built-in your MacBook, you need to send it to a local Apple store for repair service. Instead, for a malfunctioned external SD card reader, you can simply replace it with a new one.
Option 4: Check for the connection issue
If the card reader is working fine, then you should check the connections. First of all, make sure you insert your SD card properly. (The metal contacts must face down and point toward your Mac). Secondly, you can test your SD card on a different card reader. If you can access the SD card then, it should be the card reader that has a problem.
Option 5: Check if SD card is locked
Another case for SD card not working on Mac is that the SD memory card is locked. When you try to write content to the locked card, you cannot modify the files on the locked SD card. To work on the SD card again, you need to safely eject the card and adjust the lock slider tab on the card to unlock the card. Then you can access the SD card after you reinsert it to the slot.
Option 6: Insert your SD card in different devices
Another very effective strategy that you can implement is to insert the SD card in different devices, such as phones, digital cameras, or other computers. For instance, you can remove the SD card from your Mac and insert it into your Android phone. If your SD card is still not detected or working on a phone, the card might be damaged or you need to try the following solutions.
Option 7: Reset NVRAM/PRAM
NVRAM/PRAM is a chip in Intel-based Macs used to remember the setting for your computer, including sound volume, display resolution, startup disk selection, time zone, peripheral devices and more. It's worth resetting whenever you find your computer's hardware acting in unexpected ways.
To reset NVRAM, you should shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold Option + Command + P + R. Keep holding down those keys for about 20 seconds. Then release the keys and allow your Mac to continue starting normally.
Option 8: Mount SD card in Disk Utility
After resetting NVRAM/PRAM, your SD card is still not recognized on Mac. You should go to Disk Utility again and see whether the SD card is listed. If you can see your SD card in Disk Utility, but the SD card is greyed out, that means the SD card is not mounting. Simply select the Mount option to see if the SD card will be mounted in Finder and desktop.
Option 9: Update the drivers on Mac
If the issue still exists, you can check whether the drivers on your Mac is renewed. If your Mac drivers are outdated, your SD card or other external hard drives will not be recognized by your Mac. Here are steps to update drives on Mac:
1. If you have upgraded to macOS Mojave, you should choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Software Update to check for updates. If any updates are available, click Update Now to install them.
2. If you are using earlier macOS versions, just launch the Mac App Store, click the Update tab on the top and then choose the 'Update All'.
Option 10: Repair SD card via First Aid
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Still, have no luck to get your Mac to read the SD card? The SD card may be corrupted and needs to be repaired. All portable hard drives have a limited life span, as wear and tear could bring bad sectors on the disk. Thankfully, macOS has a built-in repair tool - First Aid, which allows you to fix corrupted SD card on Mac.
Step 1: Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
Step 2: Select the corrupted SD card and click 'First Aid' on the top.
Step 3: Wait until the reparation process finished.
Option 11: Format your SD card
If unfortunately, you receive the error message: 'Disk Utility can't repair this disk. Back up as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk, and restore your backed-up files', the file system of your SD card is seriously damaged and you need to reformat it.
Step 1: Recover data from SD card.
Reformatting will erase all data on the SD card, so please recover important data from SD card first.
• How to recover data from SD card on Mac?
Step 2: Format your SD card with Disk Utility.
• How to format an SD card on Mac?
Option 12: Send SD card to an expert for reparation
If your SD card can't be seen in Disk Utility at all after trying all above methods, it means the SD card has some hardware problem so that Mac can't detect it. Best software for video filming on mac computer. In this situation, you have no choice but to send the SD card to an expert for reparation.
Option 13: Replace SD card with a new one
If the warranty of your SD card is still valid, it's most likely time to invest in a replacement or ask for a refund.
Understanding why SD card not working/recognized on Mac
However, there are times when you insert SD card into Mac, the SD card won't show up on Mac. Or what's worse, SD card won't work on your Mac. You must have experienced a similar situation. Don't be panicked, as you are not the only person, many Mac users have encountered this problem:
I connected my SD card to transfer some necessary files and folders, but my card is not recognized by MacBook Pro. I thought to check my card properly and I connected that SD memory card to my friend's machine but again card didn't get recognized on his Mac machine. Maybe there is a problem with my SD card? Any solution to resolve the issue?
Wondering why the SD card is not recognized by Mac? Go on, please.
SD cards are prone to be damaged. Here are 7 common reasons why an SD card isn't working on Mac.
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- USB port is not working or damaged.
- SD card reader is not working.
- SD card is formatted incorrectly (the file system is not compatible with macOS)
- SD card driver is outdated.
- SD card is logically corrupted.
- There are bad sectors in the SD card.
- SD card is physically damaged.
In a word, you'll need to determine whether your SD card's error is due to a logical problem or a physical one. For the former, you can try to fix it by yourself, otherwise, you have to ask for help from a trained expert.
How to prevent 'SD card not working/recognized' in future?
SD cards are easy to be damaged, but using them in the right way, corruption can be avoided to some extent. Read on for 7 effective tips to prevent 'SD card not working':
- Format the new SD card as soon as you get it. When you buy an SD card, you should format it on the device and make sure it is compatible with the device system.
- Always safely eject SD card from the device. On Mac, click on the Finder icon on the Dock. Locate the SD card from the left sidebar and click on the Eject icon next to the name of the SD card. As an alternative, you can drag the device to the Trash on the desktop to eject it. More specifically, you should avoid removing the SD card from the device when it is still accessed, such as transferring data or reading data, etc.
- Keep some space left on the SD card. Keep in mind that you should never run out of the space of your SD card.
- Turn off the device before removing the SD card. If you want to remove your SD card from a digital camera or mobile phone, you should ensure the device is entirely turned off. Otherwise, the SD card can easily be corrupted.
- Properly store your SD card in a safe place. Store the SD card in dry, cool space since dirt, moisture, and other factors could damage them.
- Stop using the SD card when getting any errors. As soon as you receive any errors when trying to access the SD card, such as “the disk you inserted is not readable by this computer”, you’d better stop all operations at once in case further damage will be made to the SD card.
- Install antivirus software and run it regularly. It’s important to scan an SD card for viruses and running antivirus software to remove any malware on your computer. In this way, you can prevent malware and virus from damaging your SD card.
How to use and open SD card on Mac?
Apple dropped the SD card slot in MacBook Pro starting with 2016 model. While MacBook Air 2015 and later MacBook never included an SD slot.
If your Mac comes with a built-in SD card slot, you can insert a compatible SD card, avoiding using SD card that has a thickness greater than 2.1mm.
When inserting SD card, you should make sure that the metal contacts face down and point toward the computer. Then your computer will recognize SD card inserted into the card slot as a storage device. You can read and write to SD card just like any other external drive.
• How to fix Mac not recognizing external drives issue?
But if your Mac doesn't have an SD card slot, you need to buy an SD card adapter. Insert the micro SD card into the slot face up with the gold pins going first.
How to open an SD card on Mac?
Step 1: Open SD card in Finder.
Click the Finder app, you will see your SD card listed in the left pane and then view the contents of the SD card in the right pane.
Step 2: Safely eject SD card.
After you finish your work on the SD card, you can remove it properly. But before that, you need to make sure that all data transfer to SD media is completed. Then the SD card will work correctly next time. To eject the card, drag its icon on the desktop to the Trash. After the icon disappears from your desktop, you are safe to remove the card from the slot.
You should avoid removing an SD card while your Mac is sleeping. It could lead to data loss. Always wake your computer, save your work, and then safely eject the SD card.
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How to deal with SD card not working or recognized on Mac? No matter what causes this problem, there are lots of potential solutions. You can begin by checking the connection and then try to repair the corrupted SD card. If your SD card is still not recognized by Mac, you should format the SD card on Mac to see if this fixes your issue.
Universal Sim Card Reader Driver
If you experience any data loss issue during this process, the good news is that your data can still be recovered with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac. This free Mac data recovery tool can recover deleted/lost photos from SD card quickly and easily.
Should you have another suggestion to fix SD card not working or detected issue on Mac? Or have any questions when you are using iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac? Please feel free to contact us by sending an email.