How to Unformat an SD Card on Mac and Windows 11/10

Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips Updated by Robert on May 27, 2024 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

In our fast-paced, digital society, we rely heavily on portable devices to capture and store our most treasured memories. The SD card is one of the most versatile devices used for this purpose. From digital cameras to smartphones, the SD card is a crucial component that facilitates the storage of our precious data. However, it's not uncommon to accidentally or intentionally format the SD card, leading to the loss of valuable data. This can be a frustrating and stressful experience, but the good news is that undo format memory card is possible. So, please sit back, relax, and read on as we explore how to unformat SD card in Windows 11/10 and Mac successfully!

Quick Navigation
Part 1. What is Unformat SD Card
Part 2. Can I Memory Card Unformat?
Part 3. How to Unformat SD Card in Windows 10/11 and Mac
Part 4. Tips to Avoid Data Loss by Accidentally Formatting a Memory Card
Part 5. Frequently Asked Questions

What is Unformat SD Card

When we say "formatting" a device, it means wiping out all the data and preparing it for new data storage. However, sometimes we may accidentally format our SD cards, losing valuable photos, videos, or other files. So, Unformat memory card means reversing the erasure of files due to formatting.

Can I Memory Card Unformat?

When you format an SD card, the system removes the files' entries from the file system index but not the actual data. It appears they have disappeared because they are no longer accessible through the index, but the data is still on the card until it gets overwritten by new files.

Therefore, if you accidentally format your SD card, it's crucial to stop using it immediately to avoid overwriting the old data. Then, use the method below to unformat SD card on Mac or Windows PC to regain its saved files. The sooner this procedure is initiated, the higher the chance of restoring most, if not all, of your files.

How to Unformat SD Card in Windows 10/11 and Mac

Losing files and important data can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you accidentally formatted your memory card. However, the good news is that there might still be hope for SD card unformat, albeit quite challenging. While it's not guaranteed that you'll be able to recover all of your files, it's always worth a try before giving up.

Ways 1. Unformat SD Card Free by CMD

  1. Hit the "Start" key on your keyboard and type "CMD."
  2. Find "Command Prompt. app" and click to run as administrator.
  3. Enter "chkdsk #:/f" in the opened window and press Enter. (# is the disk symbol of your SD card)
  4. After completing the progress, enter "attrib -h -r -s /s /d #:*.* " and press Enter again.
  5. Finally, reopen your memory card to check for missing items.
Pros:
It's a built-in program for Windows PCs and is free to use without installation. This way can also help you recover permanently deleted files using CMD.
Cons:
It doesn't work in all cases and can't unformat SD card on Mac.

Ways 2. Use Format Recovery Software

Compared with CMD, professional software has a special algorithm for formatting recovery to help you retrieve lost data better. For this, you can try iBeesoft Data Recovery, which not only has powerful recovery capabilities but also can automatically repair damaged files.

Your Safe & Effective SD Card Recovery Tool

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
  • It supports unformat and unerase more than 500 file types. Like, photos, videos, audio, documents, archives, emails, etc.
  • This tool work on almost all SD/CF/XD/MMC/SM/MS cards, Smart card,s, and other storage drives.
  • Fully compatible unformat SD card on Mac and Windows 11/10/7/8/XP/Vista.
Download for Windows Download for macOS
  1. Place your microSD card into a suitable adapter or card reader, and connect it to your computer.
  2. Download and install the correct iBeesoft Data Recovery version according to your system.
  3. After running it, move the mouse over the area where your memory card is displayed and click the "Scan" button that appears.
  4. When progress is complete, you will see all the items found on your SD card. You can use the preview to check them.
  5. Select the files you need and click "Recover" to save them.
Pros:
If you have not saved new data after formatting, you can almost 100% retrieve your lost files.
Cons:
Does not support Linux

Ways 3. Undo Format SD Card with Data Recovery Service

If the above unformat SD card methods fail, you may need to extract the formatted files by data recovery services. They are designed to help individuals and companies retrieve lost items, no matter how badly damaged. With their state-of-the-art technology and highly-skilled technicians, they can get your disappeared files from any device. Generally, you can use the following steps to obtain this service:

  1. Find a provider near you by searching.
  2. Reach out to the chosen provider for initial consultation.
  3. Following instructions, you must send your memory card to their lab.
  4. Once they receive the device, the technicians will perform a more in-depth analysis to determine precisely what's wrong and how best to recover the data. Then, they'll give you a quote for the job.
  5. If you agree to their quote, They'll start the SD card unformat process. This may take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the problem.
  6. Once they have recovered the data, they will usually save it on a new device and send it back to you, such as an external hard drive or via secure cloud storage.
  7. After the process, the damaged device, if not physically destroyed during the recovery process, will typically be sent back to you.
Pros:
Even if your memory card is physically damaged, it is still possible for this service to help you get back the data it saved.
Cons:
You must pay expensive fees, and privacy leaks may occur.

If you strictly follow the steps for unformat memory card, the above solutions will help you. The provided that your data is not overwritten or uses low-level formatting. However, these are ultimately only remedial measures. So follow the tips below to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

Tips to Avoid Data Loss by Accidentally Formatting a Memory Card

Accidental formatting of an SD card may lead to losing important data. Here are some tips to avoid this:

Remember, accidents can still happen despite all precautions. So, the most crucial tip is the regular backup. It might take time, but it can save you from a lot of trouble in the future.

Part 7. Frequently Asked Questions

Conclusion

Have you ever accidentally formatted your SD card and lost all of your precious photos and videos? Don't panic, and there is still hope. Unformatting an SD card may seem impossible, but you can recover the valuable data you thought was lost forever with the right ways and patience. Whether due to a faulty camera or a simple human error, formatting a memory card can be a frustrating experience. The first step in undo formatting SD card is to stop using it and avoid saving any new data immediately. Then, follow the steps provided in this blog to start the process. It just takes a moment to unformat an SD card and breathe new life into your cherished memories.