Last week I went camping with my daughters. You guys know how much I love camping, and I took a lot of photos with my Canon digital camera. Unfortunately, when I went back home and inserted the SD card on my Mac, I could not see my SD card on the screen. This was pretty weird and new to me because it never happened before. It seemed that the SD card was somehow malfunctioning. To save precious memories with my daughters, I was determined to solve the problem on my own and get those pictures back.

Worried and anxious, I soon ejected my SD card and checked if there was any external damage to my SD card, but the answer was no. It looked safe and sound. Compared with other external hard drives, the SD card is less likely to get physically damaged because, most of the time, it’s inserted in my digital camera and I read it through an SD card reader. Then I inserted it back to my camera. And my camera was able to detect my SD card but not able to show the photos. This meant my SD card was not physically damaged but did have something wrong with it.

Was a damaged card reader the trouble-maker? I didn’t believe so because I just got the card reader for a very short time. I went to Finder settings to make sure the computer was set to show external disks. But still, my memory card didn’t show up on Mac’s desktop. Then I realized that my SD memory card could be corrupted out of blue.

Since the SD card was probably corrupted, the errors must prevent the SD card from being read and mounted by the macOS. I chose to run First Aid in Disk Utility to fix the potential errors, making the SD card readable and mountable again. The First Aid can be found through Finder, Applications, Utility and Disk Utilities. First Aid will be the first tool in Disk Utility toolbar. Unfortunately, after I ran First Aid three times, the same message popped up saying First Aid can’t repair the disk. With no better options, I chose to format my SD card.

The macOS will write a new file system to the SD card by formatting the SD card. Therefore, all pictures I took will become inaccessible. Before I formatted the memory card, the first thing I did was to restore all lost pictures with purchasing a professional SD card data recovery app.

Then I started formatting my memory card. I still used Disk Utility, which is a perfect tool to format the storage devices on Mac. I clicked Erase to format my SD card. All I did was to fill in the information it requested, including the name, file system, and partition table. I typed Family Camping as the name and waited for the whole process to be done.

When it’s done with formatting, I tried to reconnect my SD card with the computer, and this time, it showed up on my Mac! I could successfully open my SD card and transfer the recovered photos to the SD card. I could upload them to my iCloud to make them more secure too.

When the SD card is suddenly corrupted, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your SD needs to be replaced or all data is forever gone. Moreover, an SD card doesn’t show up on Mac screen or Finder list, it could be a misconfiguration in Finder Preferences settings. Don’t forget to check there to make sure the external disks are not hidden from your access.