SD cards are often used as an extension of your electronic device’s internal storage. These small, external memory cards greatly expand your capacity to take and store numerous digital photos and videos. Swapping cards in and out can allow you to create extensive libraries of photographs to be viewed at your convenience. They afford users great flexibility in the amount of storage space they carry on their device and therefore the number of photos and videos that they can store.


Why Would I Need to Recover Deleted Photos From an SD Card?

As with all digital storage media, there is the possibility that at some time in your use of a digital camera, phone or other camera-equipped devices you will need to recover photos from an SD card. You might need to enact an SD card photo recovery due to accidentally deleted photos or a simple mistaken click. Your SD card may have been formatted inadvertently or corrupted, making it impossible to access your photos. If these photos are important to you, these situations can be quite stressful.

3 Ways to Recover Deleted Photos From an SD Card

Way 1: Recovering from Your Device’s Internal Memory or Storage

The first place to look for photos that you have deleted from an SD card is at your device’s internal memory or temporary storage on Mac or Windows PC. When you delete a photo on your device, it is logically deleted and its storage space is freed up for future use. It is not immediately physically removed from your SD card.

❗ For this reason, stop using your device as soon as you notice that you have deleted a photo that you want to recover. This will give you the best chance of recovery before the storage that contained the lost pictures is overwritten.

Depending on the type of device you have, accessing the memory card or area where recently lost photos are made available for recovery will differ. For example, if you were using an SD card with an iOS device you would use the Photos to attempt recovery.

Once opened, navigate to albums and see if there are any photos in the recently deleted album. If so, you can move them back to the album of your choice.

photo recovery on Macbook

A similar procedure can be used on Android devices and many other digital cameras and mobile devices. Extensive use of your device after deleting a photo may make it impossible to recover in this way.

Way 2: Recovering from a Backup

An SD card can be used for long-term storage of digital photos or for expanded capacity on a photographic device. If you have just taken a photo and then deleted it there was probably no time to have taken a backup of your photos. On the other hand, if it’s a card you use for transferring photos to be viewed on different devices and the pictures have been resident on the card for some time, best practices would advise you to back that card up.

sd card

The manner in which you choose to back up the photos that live on your SD card are totally up to you. You might use iTunes or iCloud to protect SD cards used with your iOS devices.

Whatever way you choose to use, making backups of your data is not something that is restricted to desktop and laptop machines. You should be backing up the data on your mobile devices and that includes any SD cards that contain photos that you would like to protect.

In cases of loss or theft of an SD card, a backup may be the ONLY way that you can ever recover your photos. Take the above advice seriously and start backing up your data today.

photo recovery on Windows

Again, your exact procedure will vary based on the type of backups that you perform. Whether you have backed up to the cloud or an external storage device, there is a secure feeling that comes with knowing that you can recover all of your precious memories at any time.

Way 3: Recovering with the use of data recovery software

Sometimes, neither of the above solutions are appropriate for your situation. You may be among the many digital media users who believe that backups are for others and have not created a copy of your important photos. Maybe you only noticed that the photos were gone from your SD card after several days and they are no longer in your deleted photos. What can you do now?

The answer is to avail yourself of some high quality, photo recovery software such as Disk Drill. Let’s take a look at how easy it is to use this data recovery tool to recover deleted photos from an SD card.


How to recover deleted pictures from an SD card on Windows

Users of the Windows operating system should first opt for the free download of Disk Drill. The free version allows you to preview recoverable files and actually recover up to 500MB for free, without upgrading to the Pro version.

Follow these steps to recover deleted photos from SD card on Windows:

  1. Download and Install the Disk Drill software application under an id that has system privileges.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Attach the device containing the SD card to your Windows PC.
  3. Launch Disk Drill and select your SD card from the list of available disks.
  4. Click the ‘Recover” button and allow Disk Drill to scan your SD card for recoverable files.
  5. Select the files that you want to recover and choose a new location in which to store them. Avoid the original location to protect from overwriting. how to recover deleted pictures from sd card
  6. Click “Recover” to perform the actual data recovery. Disk Drill will recover all the photos that it can by scanning your SD card.recover deleted photos from sd card

How to recover deleted photos from an SD card on a Mac

Mac users can download a free version of Disk Drill that allows them to preview the files that it can recover before any financial investment is required. If the files you need are recoverable, you can opt to purchase the Pro version of Disk Drill and perform the actual data recovery.

Follow these steps to recover deleted photos from SD card on Mac:

  1. Download Disk Drill and install it. Provide your administrator’s password to allow the application to make changes to your system.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Attach the device containing the SD card that held the deleted photos to your Mac.
  3. Select the SD card from the list of disks presented by Disk Drill. Click the “Recover” button to see a list of the files and photos that are available to be recovered.recover photos from sd card
  4. You can now preview files you want to recover. recover pictures from sd card
  5. Upgrade to Disk Drill Pro if you want to recover the identified sd card photo recovery
  6. Select the files and a new storage location for them and click the “Recover” recovery on Mac


As you can see there are a variety of options available to you if you accidentally deleted some photos from an SD card on Mac or Windows PC. Depending on how long ago they were deleted and the availability of a backup, it might be a simple or more complex procedure.

Make use of the power of data recovery software by using Disk Drill for Mac or Disk Drill for Windows to recover your deleted photos. The free download lets you preview the files that can be recovered for you and Windows users can recover up to 500MB for free. Download a copy today and protect your important photos from accidental deletion.


Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole is a freelance content creator. He also has a more than 10-year experience in program development for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android.Arthur Cole is a writer with deep expertise in programming, who can easily...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.