Fix Pictures on SD Card Not Showing Up on Mac

Updated to Troubleshooting Tips by Robert on May 13, 2023 | Approved by Cesar C

Why are my SD card phtos not showing on Mac? Many Mac users have experienced this issue and it can be pretty frustrating especially if you are in urgent need of the images. When you save photos on an SD card, it should ordinarily come up when you connect the card to a computer.

However, something may happen that you may discover that ‘I can see photos on my SD card on the camera but not on Mac’. This means that you can see the photos when you insert the card into a camera or phone but when you insert it into your Mac computer, you cannot see the pictures.

So, the next thing you would want to know is how to view SD card photos on Mac. This post provides the solutions that you can follow to fix the issue.

How to Fix Pictures on SD Card Not Showing Up on Mac

When you experience any problem with your Mac system, you should not panic. Whatever the problem is, you can be sure that there is a solution to it. So, if you have the problem of SD card photos not showing up on Mac from an SD card, you can easily and safely resolve it with simple steps. Here are tips that you can use in solving the problem.

Solution 1. Try a Different Card Reader for Connecting SD Card to Your Mac

If your SD card is accessible on your camera and you can view photos from it, then the problem of SD card pictures not showing up on computer may not be that the SD card is bad. It may be that the card reader has issues or is damaged.

To rule out dirt, you may want to clean out the card reader first with a brush to remove any dust or debris that may be hanging around it. When you are done with the cleaning, try it again to see if will work. If it does not, the best way to resolve this may be to try to use another card reader.

With this, you should be able to view pictures on SD card on Mac. If you can view the pictures in files, it means that the problem is with the previous card reader. If after trying this option, the problem persists, move to the next solution.

Solution 2. Enable Hidden Files on Mac

In some cases, pictures and other files on an SD card may be hidden. Even if the card reader is good but the files are hidden, you will experience the problem of the SD card not showing pictures on Mac. Therefore, you may want to try the second solution to see if you can unhide the photos and files on the card. To do this, follow the simple steps below.

  1. Connect the SD card with your Mac
  2. Open Terminal in Finder and then click on Applications and then Utilities.
  3. Paste "default write Yes" and "killall Finder" in the terminal.
  4. Click on Return.
  5. Hold the Option + Alt Key and then right-click on "Finder Icon" in the dock.
  6. Tap on Relaunch.

With this, the hidden files on your Mac system will show up. If the hidden files are corrupted, you may be unable to open them still. In this case, you would need to recover your document from the SD card. We will look at this later in this post. If hidden files are the problem, this should answer and resolve the question – why are my pictures not showing up on my SD card?’ if the problem is with hidden files. If the problem is not resolved, you should move to the next solution.

Solution 3. Remove Write Protection from SD Card

SD cards are generally write-protected but somewhere along the line, the write protection is removed and you can use your SD cards on any computer or camera. However, if the write protection is still in place, it will be impossible to see any files on it when you connect it to a computer.

Therefore, the first step you should take when you want to know how to see pictures from an SD card on Mac is to check if the card has a physical lock. A lot of SD cards, including flash drives, come with a physical lock switch that can be turned on for write protection. You have to ensure that the card does not have the lock enabled if you want to view photos on the SD card from your Mac. Also, your SD card may be in ‘Read only’ mode. If this is the issue, you can fix the problem through the Command Prompt. Follow the steps below to do this.

  1. Right-click on the SD card from the external devices list and select "Get Info".
  2. Click on "Sharing and Permissions" and then locate "Read Only" under the "Privilege" menu.
  3. Click on the lock icon and input the administrator password. This will unlock the settings.
  4. Click on "Read Only" to bring up a drop-down menu. Next, click on "Read & Write" from the menu to complete the process.

This should resolve the problem. However, if you are still unable to view photos from your SD card on your Mac after trying the above solutions, it may be that File Manager does not recognize your SD card. To resolve this issue, try the next solution.

Solution 4. Update SD Card Driver on Mac

The reason why the "photos not showing up on Mac from SD card" issue may occur can be because the SD card driver is out of date. Therefore, you need to update it. There are two methods to update the SD card driver on Mac, depending on your operating system. Follow the steps below to update the driver.

If your Mac has been upgraded to macOS Big Sur

  1. Select "System Preferences" from the Apple menu.
  2. Next, click "Software Update" to find updates.
  3. If you find any update, click "Update Now" to install the update.

If your Mac uses an earlier version of macOS

  1. Launch the Mac App Store.
  2. Select the "Updates" tab and check if you have any pending items to be updated.
  3. Click on the items and click "Update".

When you are done with this, check the SD card again to see if you can view it on your Mac. If you still have problem viewing photos from the SD card on your Mac computer, you should try the next solution.

Solution 5. Remove Virus or Malware to Fix SD Card

If after updating the SD card driver, you are still experiencing SD card pictures not showing up on computer issues, the next thing is to format the SD card to remove malware. One major reason why the file manager may not recognize an SD card is when the card has a virus. Since Mac does not recognize viruses and malware, you need to get someone to let you use their Windows PC to remove any virus and malware on your SD card. This process uses the Windows CMD command. However, if you cannot find a Windows PC, you should proceed with an alternative on Mac. To remove viruses and malware through your Mac system, you have to erase them from your SD card. Try to copy out other files from the SD card before you perform this step as it can delete other files. Let us see how to view SD card pictures on Mac by removing viruses or malware from the SD card.

  1. Navigate to Applications and then click "Utilities".
  2. Double-click on "Disk Utility" and check the sidebar. From here, click on the SD card and press the "Erase" option from the toolbar at the top.
  3. In the following screen, you can provide details such as name, format, and scheme. For SD cards, ExFAT and MS-DOS(FAT) file systems are preferable. You can select the according to the capacity of the SD card. For the scheme, choose either GUID Partition Table or MBR (Master Boot Record).
  4. You can set security options if you like to erase the contents securely. Use the slider to select the number of times you want to overwrite the data.
  5. Click on "Erase" to remove the virus or malware

Note that when you format your SD card, you will lose all photos and other data on it. However, you do not have to worry. You can recover lost photos with an advanced professional Apple data recovery software.

Solution 6. How to Recover Lost Photos While Fixing Photos Not Showing up on Mac from SD Card

Sometimes everything is OK with your SD card on Mac, but it is empty. All the photos and videos are missing suddenly. In this case, you should use iBeesoft Data Recovery software for Mac to recover lost photos while trying to fix photos not showing up on Mac from an SD card. The software is an advanced professional tool that efficiently and safely recovers lost data from any drives. It is 100% safe and highly efficient and it can recover any file type. Here are the simple steps to follow to recover deleted photos from SD card on Mac.

  1. Download and install the best free Mac SD card recovery software. Launch it and select the file types that you want to recover. Next, click "Start" to start the process.
  2. Select the SD card that you want to scan from the list of all hard drives that are generated in the next window and click "Scan".
  3. Preview the scanned photos and files to see that all photos and documents that you want have been found. Next, click "Recover" to save the photos on your Mac computer. If you need to find more files, click the "Deep Scan" button to perform a further search.

This post has looked at several solutions to how do I view photos from my SD card on my Mac device? It has also looked at how to recover lost photos while trying to fix the problem of photos not showing up on Mac from SD Mac. With these solutions, you should be able to resolve any issue that you may have with photos not showing on your Mac from the SD card.