How to Fix It When SD Card isn’t Showing Up on Mac

One of the most frustrating experiences is when your SD card is not recognized by your Mac. However, the good news is that there are several things you can look at to find the root of the issue and there are several relatively easy fixes.

Hello folks! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional photographer and videographer I have been using Mac systems for well over ten years and I’ve had the mysterious “SD card not showing up” problem on more than one occasion.

In this article, I will go over some of the most common reasons why your SD card is not showing up. I will explain how to unlock an SD card, and how to detect if your SD card is damaged. Additionally, I will cover a few other areas including addressing outdated drivers, and what you should do if your card is incompatible with your system.

Key Takeaways

  • One of the first things to check is if your card is locked or if it is in Read Only mode.
  • Mac has a great feature called First Aid. Use this feature to check your SD card for the most common errors.
  • If your SD card shows signs of damage or data loss, consider using data recovery software.
  • When all else fails, seek the assistance of a professional. There are many times when they can fix problems that seem “impossible”.

1. SD Card is Locked

One of the first things you should do is to check that the switch on the card is not set to the locked position. Now, if that is not the problem, continue by ensuring that it is not set to read-only.

Right-click on the card and select the Get Into option. Under the Sharing & Permissions option, make sure the card is set to Read and Write and not to Read Only. 

2. Card is Hidden

If your SD card is hidden, you can make it visible by enabling External Disks in the Finder menu. Firstly, click on Finder (near the Apple logo) and go to Settings.

Now click to “check” the box next to External Disks.

3. Card is Damaged

Several indicators let you know if your SD card is damaged or otherwise compromised. You may notice things like missing files, failure for the card to be initialized by your system, and a black screen on your computer when you attempt to open files on the card.

Another sign may be a formatting error when you insert it into the computer, failure to re-write files to the card, or a “CRC” error when attempting to transfer files. If you notice any of these things, you may need to complete the recovery of data from the SD card.

4. Card Reader is Broken

If your card reader is broken or damaged, an SD may not show up on your Mac. Check the card reader port for dirt or debris and ensure that the port shows no physical damage.

Additionally, check the card adapter (if you are using one) to ensure that it is not damaged in any way. If possible check it on another computer, to see if it is working.

5. USB Port is Not Performing Correctly

Another consideration is to carefully look over your USB port to ensure it is not damaged, dirty, or filled with any foreign object in the port. You may want to use a can or Air Spray to attempt to blow out any dust or debris that may be lodged inside the USB port.

6. Outdated Drivers

If your drivers are outdated, you may need to reinstall or update them. You can update your drivers by going to the About This Mac menu and reviewing the System Report. Now, under the Hardware section, select the Card Reader option. Find the card reader from the list. 

Check the Driver Installed option to see if the driver is already installed on the system. Next, click the Update Driver button.

7. Incompatible Card Format

SD cards come in several formats that may not be compatible with your system. When formatting an SD card, a user can do so in MS-DOS (FAT), exFAT, OS X Extended (Journaled), OS X Extended (case sensitive, journaled), OS X Extended (Journaled, Encrypted), and OS X Extended (case sensitive, journaled, encrypted). 

Different Mac systems have different types of card reader slots. Some have SDXC slots, while others have SD. Newer Mac systems using SDXC slots do not support SDIO cards but they do support MMC, Default Speed, High Speed, UHS I, and UHS II.

8. Card is Corrupted

There are some tell-tell signs that your SD card is corrupted. These include a black screen on your computer, missing files, read errors, and other such indications. 

If it is the case, it is time to conduct First Aid. Do so by launching the Spotlight. Next type Disk Utility in the search bar and then click on it to open it.

Next, select the SD card and click on First Aid. Click Run to repair any found errors. Learn more about how to repair a corrupted SD card without formatting.

If you have tried all of these steps and your SD card is still not recognized, then it may be time to consult a professional for more assistance. You may try, as a last-ditch effort, to reformat the SD card.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has given you some things to look at when experiencing the “SD card not showing up” issue. I’ve spent some time trying to troubleshoot problems like this one, so I certainly understand the frustration. 

In most instances, one of these steps will solve your problem. In cases where you can’t resolve the issue, seek professional assistance.

Have you ever experienced this issue with your SD card? Was it difficult to fix? Share your experience in the comments below.

Until next time, let’s enjoy our systems to their fullest extent!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *