How to Clone SD card on Windows and Mac?

9 minutes read

Cloning an SD card is crucial if you want to take a backup of your data or transfer the exact content to another SD card. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of cloning an SD card and provide you with a detailed guide on how to do it on Windows and Mac operating systems. Whether you’re a photographer, gamer, or simply someone who wants to keep the SD card data safe, this guide will help you clone your SD card with ease.

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SD cards are an essential component in many modern-day gadgets, including cameras, smartphones, and tablets. They are tiny, portable storage devices that can hold significant amounts of data, from photos and videos to music and documents. However, like any other technology, SD cards can fail or become damaged, leading to data loss.

Therefore, it is essential to have a backup plan to protect your precious data. One way to do this is by cloning your SD card. Cloning an SD card means making an exact copy of its contents onto another SD card, ensuring that your data is always safe and secure.

Before we jump into the ‘how,’ let’s take a quick look at the ‘why’ - Why is cloning important? Because there is nothing worse than lost family photographs from SD card, trust me! It’s very quick and simple, as you’ll see below, to clone your SD Card, so don’t delay!

Make sure before you start that you have a card ready to clone to, keep in mind that any data on the card you plan to clone to is going to be wiped, so if there’s anything on the target card, make sure you copy that data safely off to your computer.

If you’ve purchased a new card then you need not worry about copying data off, but you may want to go ahead and format the new card to make sure it’s all working correctly.

Steps to Clone SD Card on Windows

Step 1: Choose the Right Software

To clone an SD card, you will need the right software. There are several software programs available online, some free, while others require payment. One of the most popular and user-friendly options is Win32DiskImager. This software is compatible with Windows operating systems and is available for free download. It is also regularly updated, ensuring that it remains compatible with the latest SD card technology.

A small download and installation, and you’re ready to go. (This software is freeware and as such is free to install and use. Always make your own evaluations before installing software from the internet)

Step 2: Get yourself a Card Reader

To clone an SD card, you will need a card reader. Most laptops and computers come with built-in card readers. However, if your computer does not have one, you can purchase an external card reader. These are available online or in electronics stores and are relatively inexpensive.

Personally, I’ve used the ProGrade reader for a few years with no problems and can personally recommend it, though it is a little more expensive - buy well, buy once.

Step 3: Insert Your SD Card

Before you install or run Win32 Disk Imager, insert the SD card that you want to clone into the card reader. Make sure that your computer recognizes the card and that it appears in File Explorer on your Windows 11/10.

Note: You may need to format the SD card if it is new or has not been used in a while.

Step 4: Install and Run Win32DiskImager

Once you have downloaded Win32DiskImager, install the software onto your computer. After installation, launch the program. You may need to grant the software administrative privileges, depending on your computer's security settings.

using Win32 disk imager to clone SD card

Step 5: Select the Source and Destination

The next step is to select the source and destination. The source is the SD card that you want to clone (the one we inserted in step 3), while the destination is the SD card onto which you want to clone the data or the location you want to save the image file.

To select the source click on the ”Device" drop-down and select your inserted SD card, add the name of the file you’d like to create under ‘Image File’ and then click ‘Read’ to save the contents of your SD card to an image file. 

Make sure your destination location and ultimately your ‘destination clone SD card’ is big enough to fully accommodate the data on the source card!

Step 6: Clone the SD Card

After creating a backup image, it is time to clone it to your destination SD card. To do this you can click the blue envelope in Win 32 Disk Imager and navigate to the original .img file you created, then after inserting the destination SD card, select it in the ‘Device’ drop-down.

Click on the "Write" button in Win32DiskImager. This process may take several minutes, depending on the size of the SD card and the speed of your computer. Once the cloning process is complete, click OK.

Step 7: Verify the Cloning

After cloning the SD card, it is essential to verify that the cloning was successful. To do this, insert the newly cloned SD card into your computer's card reader and check that the contents are the same as the original SD card. You can also check the capacity of the cloned SD card to ensure that it matches the original.

Step 8: What if something goes wrong?

The main reason for needing to clone your SD card could be (but isn’t always, I guess!) that you have a backup of your files, but If you run into trouble throughout the process of backing up your card, all is not lost! You could use memory card recovery software like Remo Recover, it’s a complete data recovery package that allows you to recover 500+ different types of files from all types of devices (including SD cards!)  

You can download Remo Recover here -  

Steps to Clone SD Card on Mac

We talked about cloning your SD card for Windows devices above, however, If you’re using an Apple computer, you can very easily use the built-in tool, Disk Utility. After running Disk Utility, you select the SD card in the External menu on the left of the app, choose ‘File’ then ‘New Image’ and select ‘New Image…from whatever your SD card is named’

In the Save As field, give your cloned image file a name and choose a location to save it. Make sure the Format is set to "compressed" and the Encryption is set to "none". Then click the "Save" button.

Wait for the cloning process to complete. This may take several minutes or longer depending on the size of the SD card.

Once the cloning process is finished, eject the original SD card from your Mac and follow the below steps:

  1. Insert a blank SD card into your Mac's SD card slot or an external card reader.
  2. In the Disk Utility window, select the cloned image file you just created from the list of drives on the left-hand side of the window.
  3. Click on the "Restore" tab in the Disk Utility window.
  4. Drag the cloned image file to the "Source" field and drag the blank SD card to the "Destination" field.
  5. Click the "Restore" button and wait for the cloning process to complete.
  6. Once the cloning process is finished, eject the newly cloned SD card from your Mac.

You now have a cloned copy of your original SD card that can be used as a backup or to transfer data to another device.

You can see in my example image below. All of the steps above are similarly relevant, but obviously, the need for extra software is negated by having an option built into the Mac OS.

Disk utility to clone SD card

Why Should I Need to Clone My SD Card?

There are several benefits associated with cloning an SD card instead of copy-pasting every file and folder separately.

  • Faster than manually copying and pasting the SD card data.
  • Creates a Backup of your SD card data.
  • Expanding and upgrading the SD card capacity.
  • Preserving Customizations on your SD card.


Good luck with your cloning journey and always remember, a backup is only as good as your ability to recover that backup at a later date, so make sure to test your card after each clone or backup!

If something goes wrong while cloning the SD card you can always rely on Remo Recover to recover the lost data during the cloning process with just simple clicks.

About the Author: Simon Pollock

Simon Pollock is a Melbourne-based photographer specializing in creating content around cameras, photos, and everything around it. You can see his work on popular sites like Digital photography school, Digital Reviews, gtv one, think tank photo, and many more. At Remo Software, he is adding value from his experience to create valuable content.