How to fix Mac not reading SD card problem?

Posted by Tim to Home > Mac Data Recovery Tips on September 28th, 2020

Don't go through the trouble of recovering an unreadable SD card without asking yourself a couple of questions first.

Is your SD card working on other connecting devices?

Try to connect your card to another computer or a different card reader. If it works, this means you have an incompatibility or driver-related problem. Reformatting the SD card, in this case, will not work.

Is there a chance your SD card is write-protected?

If your SD card is write-protected, you can't open, edit, copy or save photos, videos, or other files on the card. Most SD cards have a switch on the left side. Make sure to slide it up to disable write-protection.

Is your SD card encrypted?

If you receive disk unreadable error after inserting SD card, you need to find a app that can open this kind of encryption.

If your SD card is encrypted by BitLocker, try M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac to access BitLocker encrypted drive on Mac.

If the unreadable SD card is encrypted APFS file system, try M3 Data Recovery for Mac to recover data from that SD card.

How to fix unreadable SD card on your Mac?

So, if you've made these checks and you're sure you have an unreadable SD card on your hands, how do you fix it? There are several methods to repair the unreadable SD card on your Mac.


NVRAM/PRAM is a chip in Intel-based Mac used to remember the setting for your computer. It's worth resetting whenever you find your computer's hardware acting in unexpected ways.

To reset NVRAM, you need to shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold Option + Command + P + R. Keep holding down these keys for about 20 seconds. Then release the keys and allow your Mac to continue starting normally.

2: Update the drivers on your Mac

The unreadable SD card can also be caused due to an outdated driver on your Mac. You can check the drivers on your Mac and update them via the following steps:

Step 1: Go to Apple menu and select "System Preferences..".

Step 2: Click "Software Update".

Step 3: Check for any available updates for your system and applications.

3. Try First Aid

If you're operating a Mac and trying to recover an unreadable SD card, you can use the "Disk Utility" program that's a part of the OS X operating system.

This program will fix the card's file structure so that the SD card will work once again. The Disk Utility method is easy to follow for beginners and novices alike. To repair an unreadable SD card using Disk Utility, do the following:

  • Insert your SD card into your Mac.
  • Navigate to the "Applications" folder, then "Utilities".
  • Double-click the "Disk Utility" program.
  • Click once on the SD card's icon (in the left column).
  • Click the "First Aid" tab, then check the "Show details" box to see how Disk Utility is recovering the SD card.
  • Click "Repair Disk" at the bottom-right corner of the main screen.
  • Wait for the progress bar to be full.
  • Drag the icon of the SD card on the desktop to the "Trash" bin.
  • Wait for the SD card icon to disappear, then pull the SD card out of the slot.

4. Recover data from SD card

If none of these methods work for you, it might be time to try SD card data recovery software. If your SD card is still unreadable, all hope is not lost.

You can use a data recovery software as long as the SD card is not physically damaged or has not been overwritten.

M3 Mac Data Recovery, as a professional data recovery software which can recover data from unreadable SD card and other storage devices on your Mac.

Steps to recover data from an unreadable SD card on Mac:

Download and install M3 Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac.

Step 2: Insert the SD card into your computer via the card reader and then launch M3 Data Recovery.

Step 3: Select the unreadable SD card and click Next to scan the lost data.

Step 4: After your files are found, check, preview and recover them.

Recover data from SD card

5. Format the SD card on Mac

After data recovery is successfully done, it is time to format SD card and make it usage again.

  • Insert your SD card into your Mac.
  • Navigate to the "Applications" folder, then "Utilities".
  • Double-click the "Disk Utility" program.
  • Click once on the SD card's icon (in the left column).
  • Click the "Erase" tab.
  • Erase in disk utility

  • Complete the related information (name, format, scheme), then click Erase.
  • Wait for the process until it completes.

6. Consider a Replacement

Now that you know how to fix an unreadable SD card check to see if the warranty of your card is still valid. If it continues to give you problems, it's most likely time to invest in a replacement or ask for a refund.

7. Seek for help from a local specialist

If your SD card is not showing up in macOS Disk Utility, you have to send it to a local data recovery service for help if you need to recover important data.

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