SD Card Not Mounting on Mac or Won’t Show up – A Complete Guide

SD card won’t mount on a Mac is one of the most unusual errors on Mac. Considering, SD cards are widely used on cameras, or as a portable storage drive, the data existing on SD cards are more personal and even crucial. Also, there are multiple user cases where this error was encountered and users have completely lost access to the data existing on SD card. Read along to fix SD card is not mounting on Mac and understand the possibility of regaining access to an unmountable SD card.

Firstly, in this situation any of the following 3 devices can be at fault:

  • SD card
  • Card reader or SD card adapter
  • Mac or MacBook

Hence follow the order to verify, troubleshoot, and fix the device to access your SD card on Mac.

Expert Tip to Fix SD Card Not Mounting Mac Error

When SD card or any drive is not showing up on Mac the thumb rule to be followed before trying various methods to fix the SD card won’t show up on Mac is to “clean the SD card contact points”. It might be basic but it's definitely worth a try. Because, in the long run, your SD card or Mac might have developed a small layer of dust on the contact points resulting in this error.

Along with cleaning the SD card contact points also blow a gust of air into the card reader to clear out any existing dust. After cleaning the SD card and card reader insert it again check whether your Mac is recognizing your SD card. If your Mac does not recognize the SD card, the error might be critical. Please follow through the rest of the page to fix the error.

Warning: Under any circumstances, if you feel that the SD card is corrupted, your first priority should be to recover data from the SD card.

Check whether the SD card is working properly

If Mac is not recognizing the SD card it can be because the SD card is damaged or it might have encountered some error. The best way to make sure that the SD card is functional is by connecting the SD card to another Mac or Windows computer and troubleshooting it. (Make sure you also check the card reader along with the SD card)

Additionally, while troubleshooting the SD card on another computer, check for a few unusual errors that signify that the SD card is damaged.

For example, an SD card not formatting error is one such issue that will not allow Mac to mount the SD card. Next, the “disk utility can’t repair this drive error” is also an error that signifies that the SD card is completely damaged. So, look out for such error messages while the SD card is connected to another Mac.

If both SD card and card reader are working on another computer, then the error might be on Mac. If the SD card is not working on another computer, then remove the SD card and connect the card reader separately and check if it is working or not.

“When I insert SD card nothing happens on Mac” – Don’t worry you can easily fix it

Troubleshoot the Card Reader to Fix Mac Cannot Recognize the SD card

Here are the instructions to check the status of the card reader or SD card adapter. Connect the SD card reader without SD card to Mac. Now access Apple System Profiler or ASP.

  • Click on Apple menu > select About This Mac option

ASP contains details of all the hardware and software available on the Mac, such as serial numbers, version numbers, hardware details. So, if your SD card is working properly, ASP should also display details of the card reader.

Generally card reader details are displayed in the hardware section under the USB details with the title “Memory Card Reader”. If memory card reader details are displayed, everything is fine, if not, the card reader might be damaged so switch the card reader.

This concludes the troubleshooting SD card and SD card reader. If everything with respect to SD card and SD card reader is working, the error might be due to Mac.

Set the SD card to Show up on Mac

Actually, there is a difference between the errors SD card not showing up on Mac and SD can won’t mount on Mac. The difference is the SD card won’t show up means the Mac is just not displaying the SD card in the disk utility.

In case of SD card won’t mount Mac, the SD card will be displayed in the disk utility but, it will be marked as unmountable or not recognized.  Many users interpret both the issues as the same.

However, when the Mac is not displaying the SD card it might be because the external disks are disabled. If the external disks are disabled, then the SD card will not be showing up. Here are the details on how to fix it.

  • Go to > Finder > Preferences. In the preferences, window select the “General” tab where you can see the options
    • Hard Disks
    • External Disks
    • CDs, DVDs, iPods
    • Connected servers
  • If the option external disks are unmarked or unchecked. Select it and make sure that option has a tick mark next to it.

Now reinsert the SD card and check whether it is showing up. If the SD card is showing in the finder app check if it is mountable or not. If the SD card mounts Mac OS, all your errors are fixed.

However, if the SD card still doesn’t mount Mac then you can fix the error with the help of the first aid utility.

Precaution: As mentioned earlier, if you confirm that your SD card is damaged always prioritize to recover the data before repairing the SD card. Remo is one of the best SD card recovery software, no matter how severely damaged your SD card is you can still recover the data from it. With a dedicated photo recovery option, Remo data recovery software can even detect every RAW photo formats. So, check out the tool without fail.

How to Fix the SD Card that Won’t Mount Mac?

First aid is a streamlined tool that will troubleshoot and rectify all the errors on SD card. The following are the instructions on how to use it to mount your SD card on Mac.

  • Go to > Utility > Disk Utility and select the SD card that failed to Mount Mac
  • Click on First Aid option and wait for the process to complete
  • Once the process completes all your SD card related errors must be fixed.

Even if the first aid fails to fix the error, it leaves us with only one possible explanation. Your SD card is severely damaged. You have two options either recover data using Remo data recovery software or replace your SD card with a new one. Replacement is usually the case when the damage to SD card is more physical.

SD Card Not Mounting on Mac or Won’t Show up – A Complete Guide was last modified: November 17th, 2020 by John Harris

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