Recover Deleted Files from an SD Card on Mac

Disk Drill is a perfect app to recover files from SD card on Mac OS X 10.5+. It can recover deleted files on SD card on Mac OS X including SDHC, SDXC, MicroSD as well as on CompactFlash Cards, XD Cards, Sony Memory Sticks, MMC Cards, and virtually any other card your Mac can read. MacOS Catalina Ready!
Disk Drill can recover Mac data from your memory card even if it was formatted or damaged. Still, as you probably know, there is a chance that your data is gone for good, since free memory card recovery for Mac depends on a lot of variables.

The good news is that for example when you need to recover photos from SD card on Mac, Disk Drill can scan a memory card and preview the recovered files for free. There is no need to upgrade to Disk Drill PRO until you are sure the files you need are recoverable. And Disk Drill will never write to your memory card during the recovery process, so it's really safe to use.

Read on for a quick overview of the steps for free SD card recovery on your Mac. For detailed tutorials, see How to Install Disk Drill and How to Recover Lost Files with Disk Drill Basic in our Knowledgebase.

#1 Things To Keep In Mind

Memory card recovery on Mac OS X: Keep in mind, the less you use the memory card you are going to recover your data from, the higher the chance of SD or CF card recover on Mac. Most cameras don't wipe pictures completely from your camera memory card upon deletion or formatting. In most cases, only filenames and file properties are erased, and your photos and video data remain on the memory card until they are overwritten. If you simply erased files on your memory card right from your camera, Disk Drill has a very good chance of recovering them. However, if you took more pictures and saved them to the same card after the initial deletion, you may have overwritten your old data, making it unrecoverable.

You can recover formatted SD card on Mac OS X even if it can't be read by your Mac – if it's shown as having no partitions or logical structure and you get a message saying it requires formatting, try Deep Scan. It will drill down to the data sectors of your memory card on a binary level to search for remaining pictures, music or other recoverable data.

#2 Get Disk Drill

Disk Drill requires Mac OS X 10.8.5 or newer to run and perform memory card recovery on Mac (there are older versions of Disk Drill available for older versions of Mac OS X). Once you are ready to recover deleted files on SD card on Mac, download the app and install it in your Applications folder, launch it and follow these steps to complete memory card recovery with your Mac.
  • 1Download Disk Drill
  • 2Drag to Applications Folder
  • 3Launch the app

#3 Connect Your Camera or Card-Reader

Once your memory card is mounted to your computer, you can start to recover files from SD card on Mac. Remember that you have to mount your SD, compact flash, memory stick, or other card in mass storage mode. (It needs to appear as a disk in your Finder window). If you can only communicate with the card via MTP-protocol, recovery will not be possible. Launch Disk Drill, find your mounted card in the list and select it.

#4 Scan Your Memory Card with Disk Drill

If you are new to memory card recovery on a Mac, the best option is to simply click the "Recover" button next to the name of your memory card. This will automatically go through each scanning method one by one.
But if you're an experienced user, just click the drop-down arrow on the Recover button to select the specific scan method you desire. If your memory card is formatted with an HFS+, FAT or NTFS file system, you can use Quick Scan to try and locate deleted files based on the data in your file system tables. This is fast, but won't be available for memory cards formatted in other file systems or in cases where there is more serious damage to your data than mere file erasure. If all you see is Deep Scan as an option, go for it. It will take more time to scan your memory card (especially if it's 32GB or bigger) but it is the most comprehensive. SD card recovery mac

Recover Deleted Mac Data From any Memory Card

  • SD Card
    SD Card
    SanDisk®, Sony®, Lexar®
  • SDHC Card
    SDHC Card
    PNY®, Genuine SanDisk®, Lexar®
  • microSD miniSD Card
    microSD/miniSD Card
    Delkin®, Verbatim®, Silicon Power®
  • MMC Card
    MMC Card
    Transcend®, Johnziny®, Canon®
  • xD Picture Card
    xD Picture Card
    Olympus®, xD-Picture®, Fujifilm®
  • CF Card
    CF Card
    MyMemory®, EgoDisk®, Delkin®
Tip: To recover data from a damaged SD card that cannot be accessed by your computer, contact Cleverfiles Data Recovery Center.

Protecting data in advance is the best solution

Unique features of Disk Drill are Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery. First option serves to create "maps" for Disk Drill to help it locate deleted files. Second option will create an invisible copy of each file moved to Trash. Protected files are recovered in the first place.

#5 Memory Card Recovery for Mac: Final Step!

Once the scanning is complete. You will see the list of files Disk Drill's memory card data recovery software has located. Deep Scan will be able to recognize many file formats when scanning your memory card in binary mode, including JPG, PNG, TIFF, MOV, MP4, and many RAW camera formats.
Find the files from the list that you are interested in and click the "eye" icon to preview them. Previewing them is the only way to ensure that they are not corrupted! Be sure to watch videos all the way through. When done previewing, select items you need recovered from your card, click the Recover button and follow the instructions.

That's it. That's how you recover photos and other files from an SD card on Mac.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

To recover deleted files from an SD card on Mac:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Connect the SD card to your Mac and launch the application.
  3. Choose the SD card from the list of available disks.
  4. Click Recover to initiate the scanning process.
  5. Preview the files that Disk Drill can retrieve.
  6. Select the items to restore and click Recover.

Deleted photos can be restored from an SD card with this procedure:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Connect the device with the SD card to your Mac.
  3. Launch the app and select the SD card.
  4. Hit the Recover button to start scanning for deleted pictures.
  5. Select the photos from the list of recoverable files.
  6. Click Recover to restore your images.

You have two options to try and recover deleted videos from a memory card for free. They are:

  1. Restore the files by using the Recently Deleted folder if it exists on the device which contains the card. Not all mobile devices offer this useful feature.
  2. Use a previously made backup of your data to retrieve the deleted videos.

Follow these steps to recover data from a corrupted SD card:

  1. Connect the device containing the card to your Mac.
  2. Launch Disk Drill and select the card from the disk list.
  3. Click Recover to scan the card for recoverable files.
  4. Preview the files that can be restored and make your selection.
  5. Click Recover again to get back your files.

Best 8 Free SD Card Recovery Software for Mac OS X:

  1. Disk Drill for Mac
  2. TestDisk for Mac
  3. M3 Mac Data Recovery
  4. iSkysoft Data Recover
  5. Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery
  6. Exif Untrasher
  7. Remo Recover Media
  8. PhotoRec Recovery for Mac

You have several options to try with an unreadable SD card including:

  1. Inserting the card into a different device or slot in a card reader;
  2. Using a card reader and attempting to assign it a new drive letter;
  3. Running the macOS Disk Utility and performing First Aid on the card;
  4. Rebooting your computer and trying to reconnect the SD card.
  5. Clean the SD card contacts to free them from dust.

Disk Drill is an ultimate choice for SD card recovery on Mac

Try Deep Scan of Disk Drill when everything seems desperate and there is hardly any file structure left. Whatever filesystem you have, Disk Drill will go through every bit of it applying its knowledge of file signatures and seeking for the known ones. Once it finds sought signatures recovering files like XLS, DOC, AVI, MP4, JPG, and others goes pretty fast.

Important! Protect your files!

Disk Drill 3
Recover deleted files on SD card on your Mac and get your important data back!
Can one also recover SD card on Windows? With Disk Drill for Windows, you can!
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