SD Card Not Showing Up on Mac? All Quick Fixes Here!

Connie Wisley
November 22, 2023 Preview 9.6K Preview 2
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SD Card has greatly increased the capacity of our mobile device, allowing us to save files as many as possible in real time. However, most of us may have ran into a similar problem when trying to access to SD Card files on Mac: the SD Card is not showing up.

Methods to fix the “SD Card Not Showing Up on Mac” can be either easy or difficult basing on the causes. Here we collect a full guide to fix SD card not showing up on Mac, no matter you are using iMac, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, working on macOS Sonoma, Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur or earlier. Also, we will show you a recovery method if the videos or pictures in your SD card are not showing up on Mac.

Following fixes are in the order of complexity, from easy to complex cases, you are recommended to try one after one if the previous fix doesn’t get the error solved.


Why is My SD Card Not Showing Up on Mac?

There could be a number of reasons why your SD Card is not showing up on your Mac. Here are the likely ones:

  • The card isn't inserted properly into the slot.
  • The card is locked
  • The card reader cable is broken
  • The Mac card slot or USB port is bad
  • The card itself is physically damaged
  • Files on the card are corrupted
  • The format of the card is incompatible with your Mac
  • The card or your Mac is virus attacked 
  • macOS is configured wrongly
  • macOS is outdated


Fixes for SD Card Not Showing Up on Mac

Regardless of the reason, there are basic troubleshooting fixes to make an SD card show up on your Mac, in addition, macOS includes several ways to fix this issue and regain access to your SD Card, including Finder and Disk Utility.

1. First of All, Restart!

If you work with a Mac on a regular basis, it would be quite understandable to you that how magical the restarting can be. Personally, I prefer to restart my Mac when the system or programs work improperly, even crash. Most of the time, restarting works. No one can tell the exact reason why restarting help solving the problems, but it just works.

And here is another reason why we recommend to restart in the very beginning, the reasons causing SD Card Not Showing on Mac can be various and hard to pinpoint, while, restarting is the best way to make things extremely simple, always worth a try.

To restart, you need to disconnect the SD Card from your Mac, then restart Mac. Once the Mac runs properly, insert your SD Card into the Mac card slot or connect with a card reader again. Then wait upon for the magic. But if no magic, continue to read the following fixes to solve “SD Card Not Showing Up on Mac”.

restart mac


2. Restart Won’t Work? Check These Devices Carefully

When we read and write on a SD Card, there are 3 items required to complete this job: a Mac, an SD Card Reader and the SD Card itself. So, no matter what the ultimate reason is to lead to SD Card Not Showing up on Mac, it must be relating to any of these devices. Consequently, we need to check these devices carefully before using 3rd party tools.

First, check the Mac

Cause: Ineffective Mac USB Port

Test: Connect the SD card reader to your computer via different USB ports if your Mac doesn’t come with a card slot.

Solution: If the previously USB port is ineffective, change to another USB port, or connect your sd card reader to anther computer.

Then, check the SD card reader 

You may need a card reader to access to the SD card data on your Mac. And as time goes by, there will be dirt and dust accumulated in your SD card reader, which will adversely impact the contact between your SD card, SD card reader and the computer. In this case, lightly wipe your SD card reader with a cotton cloth soaking a little alcohol. Then try again to connect the SD Card to your Mac with the card reader and check if it works.

Finally, check the SD card itself

Cause 1: Poor contact of SD Card.

Solution: Same as that for SD Card reader, try to blow away the dirt or dust clogged deep in the slot of your SD card, or lightly wipe. 

Cause 2: The SD Card is locked

Solution: In this case, we need to first make sure that your SD card’s lock switch is in the “Unlock” position, otherwise, there will be meaningless to remove the write protections.
remove write protection


3. Scan Mac with Anti-virus Software

It could be also the reason that a virus is attacking your Mac and won’t show up the SD card. Run an anti-virus program on your Mac, scan your whole computer to check if there is virus stopping your device working properly.

There are a lot of anti-virus programs, for example, Bitdefender, Norton, McAfee, Malwarebytes, you can pick one that meets you budget and suits your needs.


4. Fix SD Card Not Showing Up on Mac in Finder

When connecting another hard drive or storage device to your Mac, if it shows up on your Mac, that means your Mac just cannot show up this particular SD Card. Then you can use Finder to get it solved.

  1. Open Finder from Dock.
  2. Go to Finder > Preferences.
  3. Check the box before "External Disks".
  4. Then go to Finder, check if the SD card shows up in the "Device" or on your up on mac


5. Fix SD Card Not Showing up on Mac in Disk Utility

Disk Utility on macOS is used to manage both internal and external storage devices, you can check the detailed information and status of a disk/card, you can also analyze, repair, format and partition the disk with ease.

There are 3 ways to fix SD card not showing up on Mac in Disk Utility, rename, repair or force mount.

Case 1: If the SD Card Drive Letter is blank or not readable, assign a new drive letter to your SD card may get this problem solved.


  1. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
  2. In the "External" menu, choose your SD card device.
  3. Right click on the SD card icon, choose "Rename" and assign a new letter to your SD card.rename letter on mac

Case 2: Still fail to show SD Card on your Mac? There may be errors on your SD Card and we can use Disk Utility to repair it.

Disk Utility is the system utility tool to perform disk related tasks on Mac, like create, convert, back up, encrypt, mount, check, format, repair and recover disks. 


  1. Connect your SD card to Mac.
  2. Go to Finder > Application > Utilities > Disk Utility.
  3. Select your SD card, click "Info" to check if your SD card is Writable or Not. If yes, go to next case.
  4. If not, go to "First Aid", and click "Run", it will fix the errors leading to such a write protection.

first aid on mac

Case 3: The SD Card doesn’t mount on your Mac and won’t show up? We can force amount this card in Disk Utility.


  1. Connect your SD card to Mac.
  2. Go to Finder > Application > Utilities > Disk Utility.
  3. Go to External device list and choose the SD card, and click Mount.mount sd card mac


6. Format the SD Card without Losing Files

If you have tried all these methods, but still cannot access to your SD card, then, your SD card is much likely to be corrupted or damaged. Or your SD card finally shows up on your Mac, but you found the videos or pictures just not showing up. Then, you will need to recover files from the SD card on Mac and backup, then format your SD card to check if it can be used again. That’s to say, there are 2 steps involved in this solution. To format the card, we can use Disk Utility, but to recover the data, we’d better use Cisdem Data Recovery.

Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac is the best tool designed to recover various files from SD card, Memory Card, Audio Player, Video Camcorder, USD Drive, Hard Drive and nearly all storage devices, no matter the data loss results from deletion, formatting, corruption, virus attack, etc. It can retrieve files in 1000+ formats and repair corrupted videos, photos, documents, etc.

(Also, you can format the SD Card first in Disk Utility, then recover the formatted data with Cisdem, if Cisdem cannot find your SD Card)

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery on your Mac, make sure you have connected the SD card to Mac.
    Free Download macOS 10.9 or later
  2. Choose the SD card where you stored the videos or pictures.recover from sd card mac 01
  3. Click "Search for lost files" to find the files on your SD card. Go to Type, check video or photo from Videos or Pictures folder. recover files from sd card mac 02
  4. Preview the found files, select them and click Recover button to restore files from your SD card.recover files from sd card mac 03
  5. Then open Disk Utility, select your SD Card from External list, then click Erase.format sd card mac

Also, you can check the video:


7.  Reset NVRAM

NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) stores critical system information even when power off, including BIOS settings, start-up configuration, firmware and system parameters. If an external storage device like SD Card cannot show up on your Mac, or you are experiencing some other weird glitches, you can reset NVRAM to fix any error or corruption that causes the issue.

For Intel Mac

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Press power button and hold down Command+Option+P+R for 20 seconds.
  3. Once your Mac restarts, connect your SD Card to the Mac to check if the issue has been solved.

For M1 Mac

Turn off your Mac, wait for 5~10 seconds, click the Power button to restart.


8. Repair SD Card

Corrupted SD Card can also trigger errors like not showing up, empty card, slow file reading, etc. If you want to fix SD card not showing up on Mac without formatting it, you can repair the SD card with a dedicated tool.

You can visit the official website or contact support from the supplier of your SD Card, they may offer recommendations.

9. Update macOS to the Latest Version

Keeping receiving notification that new macOS is available? Maybe it is time to update your macOS to the latest version, it might solve "SD Card not showing up on Mac", but also brings you more features, higher security, faster speed, better compatibility, even remedies some existing bugs.

  1. Open System Preferences, choose Software Update.update macos 01
  2. Click on the latest macOS and select Install Now.update macos02


As a SD card user, there are great chances that we may encounter with all kinds of problems, such as SD card not showing up, SD card is damaged, SD card is corrupted, etc. Sometimes, a little trick may help, but sometimes, any recommended fixes won't help even you are a tech professionals. When things come to this, we still have an ultimate tool to recover your SD card files on Mac, such as Cisdem Data Recovery.

While, the good habit of backup regularly will be substantially helpful when you are facing with different SD card problems, including SD card not showing up.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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Comments (2) Leave a Reply

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  • Dave

    My iMac does not recognize my SD cards when using the card slot in the computer but does recognize them when I use a card reader plugged into a USB slot. Any ideas? Thanks.

    1 years ago commonReply

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    • Joey

      Was the card seated in the slot properly? It might be the compatibility issue.

      7 months ago

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