Recover Deleted Files & Photos from a microSD Card on Mac

Disk Drill is the best SD card recovery Mac app supporting Mac OS X 10.8.5 and even macOS Big Sur. Whether you have an SD card or a MicroSD card, Disk Drill can help you recover files from it.
If you’ve lost data on your SD card, there is a good chance Disk Drill can help you get it back – even if the card has been corrupted or reformatted. Of course, there are a lot of variables involved in SD recovery on Mac OS X and sometimes a file can be lost for good.

The good news is that Disk Drill allows you to scan your SD card or MicroSD card and preview the recovered files for free. Upgrading to Disk Drill PRO is not necessary until you are positive the files you need are recoverable.

Here is a brief overview of the steps for free Mac SD card recovery. For detailed tutorials, see the following two articles in our Knowledgebase: How to Install Disk Drill and How to Recover Lost Files with Disk Drill Basic.

#1 Things To Remember

Photo recovery from SD cards: the minute you realize you have lost data on your SD card, stop using your device. For example, if you realize you have lost a photo on your camera’s MicroSD card, take the card out of the camera immediately. The less you use the card, the higher the chance to recover files from memory card on Mac. Most cameras don't delete photos completely from your camera memory card upon deletion or formatting. In many cases, your photos remain on the SD card until they are overwritten. However, if you keep using your camera and continue to save new photos to the card, it is possible you may overwrite your old data, making it unrecoverable.

Broken SD card recovery: Even if your SD card can't be read by your Mac – or you get a message saying that the card needs to be formatted, try Disk Drill. Its Deep Scan method can examine your SD card on a binary level to search for your pictures, music or other recoverable data.

#2 Install Disk Drill

Disk Drill requires Mac OS X 10.8.5 or newer and is compatible with El Capitan and macOS Sierra. Once you've downloaded our free Mac SD card recovery software and saved it to your Applications folder, launch the app and complete the following steps to recover SD card on Mac.
  • 1Download Disk Drill
  • 2Drag to Applications Folder
  • 3Launch Disk Drill

#3 Connect Your Card-Reader or Device

Your SD card or MicroSD card needs to be connected to your computer before you can start the SD recovery on Mac. It needs to be mounted in mass storage mode (meaning it needs to appear as a disk in Finder). If you can only communicate with the card via MTP-protocol, SD card recovery on your Mac will not be possible. Once it is mounted, launch Disk Drill, find your SD card in the list and select it.

#4 Scan Your SD Card

If you are new to SD and MicroSD card recovery on Mac, your next step should be to click the "Recover" button next to the card name. This will automatically go through each of Disk Drill’s sophisticated scanning methods one after the other. If you’re an expert user, then you can click the drop-down arrow on the Recover button and choose the exact scanning method you wish to use.
Disk Drill is able to recognize many file formats, including JPG, PNG, TIFF, MOV, MP4, and many RAW camera formats. Scan Your SD Card

The best SD card recovery Mac method is protection!

Use unique SD card data protection possibilities of Disk Drill to keep your files safe and intact. These protection methods are Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery. Recovery Vault sketches a special "map" for Disk Drill to easily locate the lost files. The Guaranteed Recovery method keeps an eye on file operations and safely stores invisible copies of trashed files for a successful SD card recovery for Mac when needed.

#5 SD Card Recovery: Last Step!

Once the scan is finished, you will be shown a list of files Disk Drill has located.

Select a file and click the "eye" icon to preview it. Previewing each file is the only way to ensure they are not corrupted! Be sure to watch movies all the way through.
When you are done previewing, check the box next to the items you need recovered from your SD card, click the Recover button and follow the instructions. SD Card Recovery
That's it. You are successfully done using our SD card recovery Mac OS X app!

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

To recover deleted photos from a micro SD card:

  1. Attach the device with the Micro SD card to your Mac.
  2. Start Disk Drill and select the SD card from the disk list.
  3. Click Recover to scan the card for deleted photos.
  4. Preview the photos that can be restored.
  5. Select the pictures you want to retrieve and click Recover to perform the restore.

To recover pictures from a formatted SD on Mac:

  1. Connect the card to your Mac computer
  2. Launch Disk Drill and choose the SD card from the list.
  3. Click Recover to start searching for lost pictures.
  4. Preview and select the files that you want to restore.
  5. Click the Recover button to retrieve the deleted pictures from the formatted card.

You have two options for recovering deleted files from a Micro SD card for free. The first is to check the device that contained the card for a Recently Deleted folder. Many devices include this feature to minimize the damage of accidental deletion. The other option is to recover the files from a previous backup of the card’s data.

In this kind of situation, you need to find a way to get the microSD card recognized by your system so you can use data recovery software. Try accessing the card in a reader or alternate device. If that fails, you may need to use Disk Management and format the card to make it readable. Your data may be lost.

Use this procedure to recover files from a corrupted micro SD card:

  1. Create a byte-level backup of the microSD card to avoid further corruption.
  2. Connect the backup media to your computer.
  3. Launch Disk Drill data recovery software.
  4. Select the backup media as the recovery target.
  5. Click the Recover
  6. Preview and select the files you want to be restored.
  7. Click Recover again to restore the files to a new location.

Disk Drill is an obvious choice!

Are you in despair and thinking there is nothing left to recover from your SD card? Let us disagree! To recover files from SD card on Mac Disk Drill will use its Deep Scan that digs deep into core structure and can find remaining file chunks to put the files back together. Disk Drill works great with all sorts of file systems as well as file types including JPG, XLS, DOC, AVI, MP4.

SD card recovery on Mac can save the day!

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Recover photos from SD card on Mac and all other types of files!
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See how others use Disk Drill

  • Franklin Phan, SJSU
    Franklin Phan, SJSU
    The ability to find duplicate files is extremely handy. The recovery also proved very reliable as I accidentally wiped my hard drive and the program was able to recover almost all of my files.
  • THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I deleted by mistake M2T file 6 months ago. I have since uninstalled my hard drive waiting to find software that can help me. I bought Disk Drill and MIRACLE, I regained all my lost files. Christophe Esteve
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