How to Unformat an SD Card on Mac/Windows/Android Phone

Updated to File Recovery Tips by Robert on May 13, 2023 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

The SD card is a storage device that can be used in all sorts of portable devices like digital cameras, laptops, phones, and more. We use it every day for a wide range of various scenarios. However, it is common to get formatted unintentionally or on purpose. If you have a memory card with valuable data, You must be wondering how to unformat SD card successfully. Thankfully, the answer to that is yes for both Windows, Mac, and Android users, and we will be sharing the options you have in this article, so keep reading!

Quick Navigation
Part 1. Why does an SD Card Need Formatting?
Part 2. What Happens When You Format an SD Card
Part 3. Can You Unformat an SD Card from Camera/Windows/Mac/Phone?
Part 4. Some Alternative Methods for Recovering Data from a Formatted SD Card
Part 5. Tips For Keeping Your Data Safe and Preventing Data Loss in Formatting
Part 6. How to Repair Corrupted SD Card to Avoid Data Loss
Part 7. Frequently Asked Questions for Formatted SD Card Recovery

Part 1. Why does an SD Card Need Formatting?

Sometimes, SD cards can misbehave for various reasons. then, you have to format it to solve the problem. Some of the most common reasons why you may need to format their SD cards include the following:

Part 2. What Happens When You Format an SD Card?

You may think, like the "reset to factory settings" function on phones, computers, and more, formatting an SD card means you are deleting everything you have added to the card. However, the fact is your data is not gone permanently right after you format the SD card. Just only you can't see it. It still saves on your SD card with its once occupied space marked as storable and waiting to store new data. Therefore, if you, after formatting the card. Please start to unformat SD card as soon as possible. You still have a good chance of getting back your files.

Part 3. Can You Unformat an SD Card from Camera/Windows/Mac/Phone?

While formatting an SD card is quite easy, it is much more complex when you need to go in the opposite direction – the SD card unformat. What do you do when for some reason, you lose data that you needed and want to recover files from a formatted SD card? Most people would think of that as an impossible task, but they would be wrong. Although the memory card is wiped, we cannot see the saved data. However, professional software can help us discover and migrate them to a new location.

How to Unformat SD in Windows 11/10/8

The first option we are discussing is unformatting memory cards on Windows 11, 10, and more using iBeesoft Data Recovery. It has several great features, including support for multiple file systems and countless data formats. You can preview the recoverable files and repair corrupted videos and photos during scanning. The software is also available on both Windows and Mac, and to make your life easier, we are sharing the steps you need to take to undo format SD card through iBeesoft data recovery software. you need to take the following steps:

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery on your Windows PC.
  2. Connect the memory card to the computer using a card reader or USB.
  3. In the main window, hover the mouse over the SD card and click on the "Scan" button.
  4. After scanning, you will see all the found files from your SD card. You can use the preview option to check them.
  5. Once you have selected the files you need, click on the "Recover" button on the bottom right of the screen to save them.

How to SD Unformat on Mac

The second option is using iBeesoft data recovery software for Mac to restore files from formatted SD cards. It is an excellent option for anyone who wants to get back all their SD card data and potentially save money while they are at it. The software offers up to 500M free recovery for any device you want. The steps involved are as follows:

  1. Connect your card to the Mac laptop or desktop
  2. To begin the process, download and install the iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac.
  3. Click on the large "Start" button on the main screen to begin. You may also unselect specific file types if you only want to get back some files.
  4. On the next screen, find the card in the drive list and select it. After that, click on the "Scan" button on top to begin the unformat SD card Mac process.
  5. The results page will show all the files you can resume from your SD card after formatting. Once you select the target files, you can click the "Recover" button on top of the screen to save the files on your Mac or other drives.

This app also offers a Deep scan option to select if the initial scan does not show all the files you need to recover.

How to Undo Format SD Card on Android Phone

With Android, the solution is just as simple as it is on Windows and Mac. You need a good app like iBeesoft Data Recovery. Here, we recommend Dumpster to help you find all kinds of files from your formatted memory card on Android. To use it, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

  1. Go to Play Store to download and install Dumpster on your Android Device
  2. Please open it and go to the Deep Scan section.
  3. Once done, select the files you need to restore.

Part 4. Some Alternative Methods for Recovering Data from a Formatted SD Card

If you strictly follow the steps for unformat SD Card, the above solutions will help you. Provided that your data is not overwritten or fully formatted. There are still other ways to help you get back data lost from formatting memory cards. However, they require special conditions to work. Next, we will briefly introduce them.

Part 5. Tips For Keeping Your Data Safe and Preventing Data Loss in Formatting

No matter what causes data loss, you must to formatted SD card recovery. However, with a bit of care, you should be able to prevent data loss in many common scenarios. We share some valuable tips to ensure you do not lose data in formatting and keep it safe.

Part 6. How to Repair Corrupted SD Card to Avoid Data Loss

If your SD card is damaged, causing inaccessibility, files disappeared, etc. You might think all your files are lost. Thankfully, many ways to help you fix it and keep your data safe. We are sharing different methods that you can try to repair your corrupted SD card successfully.

  1. How to fix SD card not showing files
  2. A common reason for SD cards not showing files is that the files are set as hidden. The reason for this can be different for each user, but if you want to make your files visible, you need to do the following:

    1. Open the File Explorer and go to your SD card folder.
    2. In the ribbon on top, go to the View Tab > Show/Hide.
    3. In the list that appears, select the Hidden Items checkbox.
    4. Your files should now be visible. If they are not already, press the F5 key on your keyboard to refresh the screen.
  3. How to Fix SD card access denied and is the file system shown as RAW?
  4. Windows has a built-in error fixing tool, which is called CHKDSK. This can be used to fix errors on both internal and external drives, including SD cards. To fix SD card errors, you need to follow these steps:

    1. Type the CMD in the search box
    2. Click Run as Administrator
    3. In the command line, type the chkdsk X: /f and press Enter.

    Do not forget to replace the "X" in the command with the letter assigned to your SD card. Depending on the size of the drive, the process can take a few minutes and several hours. Once the process is complete, you should usually be able to access your SD card.

  5. How to remove memory card read-only protection
  6. Many people want to change the contents of their SD cards but cannot do so. This is usually because the SD card is running with read-only protection. To disable that, you can use the Command Prompt and follow these steps:

    1. Run Command Prompt on your Windows PC as Administrator.
    2. Type the diskpart and then press enter
    3. Type the list disk and press Enter again.
    4. From the drive list, find the Disk number for your SD card and then type select disk x, where x would be the number allotted to your SD card.
    5. Type the attributes disk clear readonly and press Enter.

Part 7. Frequently Asked Questions for Formatted SD Card Recovery


When you encounter the above memory card error, with our help, you can solve them well. When dealing with data loss issues, we recommend you to try iBeesoft Data Recovery to unformat hard drive, SD card or USB drive on Mac/Windows. It is highly versatile and capable for many users.