How to Recover Photos from Formatted SD Card/After Formatting for Free

Updated to File Recovery Tips by Robert on Mar 02, 2023 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

"If you format SD card, can you get pictures back" could be a question thousands of people are asking on the internet. In fact, it depends on how you formatted the memory card. You need to know that formatting is not a simple process for emptying the SD card. It’s a process to change the file system for the SD card and sometimes even means zero fill in the SD card, namely, erase the data on the SD card completely and permanently.

Can you get photos back after formatting SD card?

There are basically 2 types of formatting. One is Quick Format and another one is Full Format. How to format an SD card will be the determining factor for photo recovery from a formatted SD card.

And another scenario is you have deleted the partition or volume of the SD card where your photos were. You can’t find the picture or sometimes the partition/volume becomes raw. In this case, you can also recover deleted files from SD card on Mac or Windows PC.

How to Recover Photos from Formatted SD Card on Windows/Mac for Free

Before getting down to the process of how to recover photos from SD card after formatting, you must know the point to increase the data recovery success rate. It depends on how much you have used the SD card after formatting. The more you have used it, the less chance to resume data from it. In this case, to recover photos from a formatted SD card free, you’d better:

  1. Stop using the formatted memory card right away after you realize you have formatted it. The data deleted due to the quick format will be there. Otherwise, they’ll be replaced by new data.
  2. Remove the SD card from the storage device until you’re ready to find photos from it by following the steps below. Any operation on the storage device will have an impact on the success rate of data recovery

Part 1. Free Restore Photos from Formatted SD Card on Windows PC/Mac with Software

Whenever you face a data loss issue, either by deletion or SD card formatting, the best and most effective way to get files back is by using professional data recovery software. Just get a comprehensive or free SD card recovery software tool to do the task for you. It will not only save the time for SD card photo recovery but also increase the file recovery success rate.

How to Recover Photos from SD Card after Formatting on Windows PC for Free

One of the best options to recover photos from formatted SD card on Windows PC is by using iBeesoft Free Data Recovery, which displays all the recoverable files for you to preview for completely free and it will let you get back photos from formatted SD card up to 2GB for free. This feature is seldom available for any other data recovery software tool. Besides, this free SD card recovery software for Mac or Windows will fix the corruption if photos get corrupted after deletion which you recovered by other app will not be opened at all. Here are the steps.

  1. Connect the formatted SD card with your computer, letting it be recognized as an external hard drive.
  2. Download and install iBeesoft Free Data Recovery on your Windows PC. It’s fully compatible with Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.
  3. Launch the data recovery software and click "Scan" beside the drive letter which stands for the formatted SD card. It will take a few minutes for the software to scan the formatted SD card.
  4. When the scanning is finished, then you can see the recoverable files are put into a directory. From there, you can open the found files to preview them.
  5. Select needed files and click "Recover". Find a new location on your computer or SD card to save the recovered files.

How to Retrieve Photos from Formatted SD Card on Mac for Free

iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac is a professional tool specially developed for Mac users to get back files lost or deleted on Mac internal disks or external hard drives for free. You can also use it to recover photos from formatted SD card on Mac for free. It will not only scan for the formatted SD card on Mac to show recoverable files but also fix photo corruption which is a common problem after photos deletion. What’s more, it lets you recover up to 200MB files for totally free. Here are the steps for how to use it to restore pictures from a formatted SD card on Mac free.

  1. Connect the formatted memory card with your Mac.
  2. Download an launch the data recovery software for macOS. From its main window, only keep "Pictures" selected and deselect other types of files.
  3. Next, click the "Scan" button beside the hard drive which represents the SD card. It will scan the formatted SD card for recoverable photos.
  4. When the scanning is finished, you can click "Pictures" in the left panel and preview the found pictures on the right side.
  5. Select needed photos, and click "Recover" to save them either to your Mac or the SD card.

Some people might wonder how iBeesoft Data Recovery fix corrupted photos from SD card. During the scanning process, it will collect, match the fragments of photos, and fix the corrupted photos with fragments. If you can preview the photos in the software, it means after saving them, you can open them normally on your computer.

Part 2. Recover Photos from SD Card Which Asked for Formatting (Raw SD Card)

Some people asked how to recover photos from formatted SD card with CMD (Command Line). it seems it’s magic that cmd can do the data recovery. Actually, it’s not. CMD can only fix the SD card which faces the error "SD card asking for format". After then, you can access the SD card and view photos there. Here in the following, let’s try it on Windows PC and Mac.

On Windows PC:

  1. Type in cmd in the search box and press Enter and run it as administrator.
  2. Type chkdsk F: /f/x/r (F means the drive letter for the formatted SD card. You should replace it with the right drive letter on your computer.)
  3. Press Enter to complete the process. After then, you can try to open the SD card, checking for the photos are there or not.

On Mac, you will need to use the Terminal app

  1. Go to the Utilities folder on your Mac to open the Terminal app.
  2. Type in the cd disk 2/ command. (disk 2 is your SD card)
  3. Enter mv filename ../ (replace filename with the name of the photo you wish to recover). Then press Return.
  4. Type Quit
  5. Go to the SD card to open it, looking for the photo you want to recover is there or not.

Part 3. Frequently Asked Questions for Formatted SD Card Recovery

  1. Can the photo be recovered after formatting?
  2. As I have mentioned, if the formatting is a Quick Format or the storage device asks for formatting and you haven’t formatted it yet, then it’s very likely you can recover photos from the device with iBeesoft Data Recovery software or fix the asking for formatting error with chkdsk in Windows or Terminal on Mac.

  3. Can you recover a fully formatted SD card?
  4. A fully-formatted memory card means the SD card is completely erased or removed, and the deleted files are replaced by zero filling in. There is little chance to find files from a fully formatted SD card.

  5. How can I recover data from a formatted micro-SD card?
  6. To restore files from a formatted micro SD card, you need the help of format recovery software. iBeesoft Free Data Recovery is a great choice since it can scan your SD card, looking for the recoverable files for free, letting you recover up to 2GB files for totally free.

    1. Download and install iBeesoft Free Data Recovery on your computer. If you’re a Mac user, you can also get the Mac data recovery for free for your Mac.
    2. Connect a micro-SD card with your computer. Launch the data recovery software.
    3. Click the "Scan" button beside the hard drive, letting the software scan and display all the recoverable files for you. After then, you can preview the files by opening them.
    4. Select needed files and click "Recover" to save them on your computer, not to the micro SD card again, preventing data loss issues.
  7. How do I recover photos from a formatted SD card Android?
  8. No matter whether the SD card is for your Android or camera, just make sure you’ve stopped using it right after the formatting. After then, try photo recovery software, like iBeesoft Data Recovery to scan the formatted SD card, looking for recoverable files. Preview and select recoverable files, saving them to your computer. That’s it! Don’t do any data recovery directly on the Android device. Otherwise, you will face the data overwritten issue, which means some data from the formatted SD card will be completely removed or erased.

When it comes to how to backup photos from a formatted SD card, you should take into consideration whether the SD card is formatted or just asking for formatting. If formatted, the formatting is a quick format or full format. For quick format or you just delete volume or partition of the SD card, just use iBeesoft data recovery to scan and recover files from formatted SD card. For asking for formatting errors from SD cards, you should try tools on Windows PC or Mac to fix the error, then you can access photos there.