Is Your SD Card Not Detected on Mac (Big Sur/Catalina)? Fix It Now

Is your SD card not detected on Mac after inserting it into the computer? Don't worry. On this page, we'll show you what the error exactly is and why did this issue occur, also, offer reliable fixes to make your SD card detectable again on Mac.

Table of Contents

"Help! When I insert sd card nothing happens on My mac."

Is your SD card not showing up or not detected on Mac? Can't find your SD card in Disk Utility nor Finder? This page covers everything you need to know about this issue. Follow the guide to learn how to fix SD card detected, bringing all SD card files back immediately. 

1. Error: SD Card Not Detected on Mac

SD card not detected on Mac is an error that occurs when you connect or insert an SD card to the Mac computer via an SD card reader. 

Normally, this error comes up with the following symptoms:

  • When you insert an SD card, nothing happens on Mac.
  • SD card doesn't or is not showing up on Mac Desktop.
  • Mac cannot read or recognize SD card.
  • SD card is unopenable and files are not accessible, etc.

So what should you do if you intend to fix this issue, open the SD card, getting back all SD card files? First, learn the causes and then check the state of your SD card. Then move further to fix this issue. 

2. Why Is My SD Card Not Detected on Mac?

When your SD card is not showing up or not detected on a Mac computer, any causes that are listed here can be the reason that makes your SD card unreadable or unrecognizable:

  • SD card, SD card reader, or SD card slot is broken. 
  • The file system of the SD card is not supported on Mac, like ext2/3/4, NTFS, etc.
  • The SD card is not mounted correctly or unmounted.
  • SD firmware or components are damaged or corrupted. 
  • SD card is infected with a virus or malware.

It doesn't matter if you don't know what caused your SD card not detected on Mac. Follow the Quick Fix and Full Solutions listed below to get rid of this error, making your SD card showing up again.

3. Quick Fixes - Check Undetected SD Card and Make Mac to Recognize It

Here are some quick fixes and we suggest you follow them one by one to check the state of SD card. Follow and see if you can make your Mac computer recognize it:

#1. Open and Check SD Card

  • Check if the SD card is physically damaged or broken. If yes, replace the SD card with a new one. 
  • Check if the SD card has scratches. If yes, take it for repair.
  • Check if the SD card is covered with dust or mud. If yes, clean it and re-insert to Mac computer.

#2. Check if the Physical Switch of SD Card Is Locked

l If the physical switch is at the Lockside of the SD card, slide the switch to the offside/

Unlock SD card on Mac

#3. Check If the SD Card Reader Is Broken or Not Inserted to Mac Correctly

  • Check if the SD card is correctly inserted into the SD card reader. If not, reinsert the SD card.
  • Check if the SD card reader is functioning with a new SD card. If not, replace it with a new SD card.

#4. Check If SD Card Shows Up in Disk Utility

  • Press Command + Space bar, type disk utility in the Spotlight Search menu, and hit Return.

Open Disk Utility on Mac

  • Check the left menu and see if you can find the SD card.
  • If not, enable it in preference: Open Finder > Preferences > On General, check External disks.

Enable SD card on Mac

#5. Reboot Mac Computer

When you restart the Mac computer, some of you may be able to see the SD card on the computer and you can open the card to use saved files. 

However, if the SD card is not physically damaged but still not showing up on Mac after trying the aforementioned quick fixes, a high reason is that the card is corrupted. Move to the next part for full fixes.

4. Full Fixes for SD card not detected Mac (Big Sur, Catalina)

In this part, we collected 4 fixes that can help you get rid of the SD card undetectable issue on Mac and make it show up again. Let's start.

Fix 1. Unmount and Remount SD Card

Step 1. Connect the SD card to the Mac computer, press the Command key and Space bar.

Step 2. Type disk utility in the Spotlight Search menu and press Return.

Step 3. Select the SD card on the left pane, click Unmount.

Step 4. Again, renter Disk Utility, select the SD card, and click Mount.

Mount SD card on Mac

Fix 2. Run First Aid to Repair SD card

Step 1. Open Disk Utility in the same way as mentioned above.

Step 2. Select the SD card, and click First Aid. Then click Run to confirm and repair the SD card.

Run First Aid

Step 3. Click Done to finish the repairing process. 

Finish repair SD card via First Aid

Step 4. Close Disk Utility and restart Mac.

When you are down with this, reconnect the SD card to Mac and check if you can view all the files.

Fix 3. Repair Disk Permissions for SD card

Starting with Mac OS 10.11 and later macOS, the repair disk permission feature is no longer available. Therefore, this feature only works on older Mac OS X. If you are with the latest macOS, move to the next fix for help.

Step 1. Open Disk Utility by typing Disk Utility in Spotlight and hit Return.

Step 2. Click on your SD card on the left pane, and click on First Aid at the top menu.

Step 3. Click Repair Disk Permissions under the drop-down sheet. 

Repair disk permission of SD card

If you are on a new macOS, you can try the following tips to ignore the ownership of files in your SD card:

Step 1. Select the SD card, choose File > Get Info.

Step 2. Expand Sharing & Permissions, select Ignore ownership of this volume. 

Ignore ownership of SD card on Mac

When you are done with this, reboot the Mac computer and reconnect the SD card to your computer. Then your Mac should be able to recognize the SD card again.

Fix 4. Format SD card

Formatting will erase all saved files on your SD card. Therefore, make sure that you will follow the next guide to scan and recover all essential files from your SD card after making it show up on Mac.

Step 1. Insert the SD card into your Mac.

Step 2. Open Disk Utility with Spotlight Search.

Step 3. Select the SD card on the left pane and click Erase on the top menu.

Format SD card

Step 4. Choose FAT32 (32GB or smaller size) or exFAT (64GB or larger size) as the new format for the SD card. 

Set new file system for SD card

Step 5. Click Erase to confirm the operation. 

Confirm to format SD card

When the process completes, your SD card will show up and become readable on a Mac computer again.

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5. Recover Lost Files from SD Card after Making It Detectable on Mac

Don't worry if your files get erased due to formatting SD card on a Mac computer. Stop using the SD card and turning to reliable Mac file recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac can maximize your chance of bringing SD card files.

Step 1. Select the SD card

  • Correctly connect your memory card to your Mac. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.
  • Go to "SD Card Recovery", find your Canon/Nikon/Go Pro/DJI/Sony SD card, and click "Search for lost files".
select a location and scan for lost SD card data

Step 2. Filter lost SD card data

After the scan, all files will be presented in the left panel in the scan results. Find wanted photos, videos, and other files.

filter lost data on your SD card

Step 3. Preview and recover data

Preview the SD card data and select the wanted files. Then, click the "Recover" button. Don't save the recoverable files to the SD card itself in case of data overwriting.

recover data from SD card Mac

After the SD card recovery, your SD card is now detectable on Mac and you can save files to the SD card again.

6. Tips to Prevent SD Card from Not Detected/Not Showing Up on Mac

With the aforementioned solutions, you should successfully fix SD card not detected or not showing up error on Mac computer. Here we have some bonus tips that can help you protect your SD card from not detected, not recognized, or not showing up error on Mac.

Let's see:

  • Format new SD card on Mac immediately.
  • Safely eject SD card from Mac computer.
  • Reserve some available space, don't use up all free space. 
  • Shut down or close devices before SD card removal.
  • Put up SD card properly.
  • Stop using the SD card immediately once an error occurs.
  • Run antivirus software regularly.


There are a variety of effective solutions that work to fix the SD card that is not detected on Mac error. 

Here is the right sequence of fixing this issue offered by EaseUS data recovery experts:

  • First, check the SD card connection issue.
  • Next, repair the corrupted SD card.
  • Next, if the card still doesn't show up, erase and reformat it.
  • Last, if some files were lost during the formatting process, recover them using file recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and loves various electronic products.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 10 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions to resolve Windows & Mac data recovery, data backup, partition management, data transfer, Windows update issues, etc.

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