How to Recover Formatted SD Card for FREE 2023

If you accidentally formatted an SD card and want to recover the lost data, please stop overwriting on this card immediately. You need to use a reliable data recovery tool for help. No worries! This post introduces two free solutions that practically enable you to recover formatted data from SD cards on Windows and Mac. We recommend WorkinTool Data Recovery for you to restore the lost data in a few clicks.
1. 100% free to use with zero cost.
2. Quick and deep scan
3. Easy to operate for everyone
4. Detect all types of files and list them clearly

Last updated on Jan 10, 2023 by Eleanor Written by Eleanor
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How to Recover Formatted SD Card for FREE 2023 (Windows and Mac)

To begin with, we need to clarify the word “formatting”. Actually, it is not an intimidating technical term. Sometimes we need to format an SD card or external or internal hard drive to clear unnecessary information and prepare more storage space. However, what if you accidentally formatted an SD card and lost all stored data? Is there any way to repair the formatted SD card?

No worries! This post covers everything you need about formatted SD card recovery. We explain why an SD card is formatted, the possibility of fixing a formatted SD card, how to recover a formatted SD card for free on Windows using WorkinTool Data Recovery and on Mac via Disk Drill, and how to avoid an SD card from being formatted in the future. You can effortlessly bring all lost data back after reading this post.

How Does an SD Card Become Formatted?

An SD card may become formatted in many situations. It may accidentally become corrupted if it contains too much data. However, most SD cards get formatted because of users’ misoperation. The cases include but are not limited to:

  • Attacked by viruses or malicious software.
  • Accidentally formatted the wrong SD card.
  • Unplug your SD card directly before ejecting it.
  • Power off your devices when the SD card is in active use.
  • Allocate a new file system when changing managing devices.

Is It Possible to Recover Formatted SD Card?

Although you can’t find files in a formatted SD card, it does not mean all the data is erased. The SD card just applies a new file management system so that it can store new data and be compatible with different operating systems. The data structure and logical link changes will not damage the original file content. Therefore, it is possible to recover data from formatted SD cards, USB drives, or disks.

However, there is one important thing you must know before fixing formatted or corrupted SD cards. Subsequent use of the formatted SD card will change the data structure and overwrite the data on the device. In this case, there is no way to fix the formatted SD card or hard disk. You should immediately STOP USING when an SD card is formatted. Find reliable data recovery software to recover lost data before overwriting!

Recover Formatted SD Card on Windows

There are dozens of data recovery programs available for the Windows system, like WorkinTool Data Recovery and Recuva. If you don’t want to pay for Recuva Premium, you can try WorkinTool Data Recovery first. It almost contains all the features you need as a free file recovery software tool.

workintool data recovery software

WorkinTool Data Recovery can wholly and quickly recover all deleted files and data. It works well when recovering data from formatted SD cards, hard drive partitions, external hard drive devices, USB, the recycle bin on your Windows computer, and more. You can bring back any files you absent-mindedly deleted, like photos, videos, Adobe projects, and Office documents.

These practical features come with a simple and user-friendly interface with no ads. It offers two modes when you put it into use. The Wizard Mode allows you to precisely select the original data storage location. The Scene Mode simulates possible occasions you may meet when recovering files, including USB/Memory Card Recovery, Format Recovery, Deletion Recovery, Recycle Bin Recovery, and Disk Partition Recovery.


workintool data recovery

Features in Use

Let’s see how to recover formatted SD card data using WorkinTool. This method is also suitable for recovering data from a flash drive.

  • Plug a card reader with your SD card into a computer. And launch this recovery software and switch to Scene Mode.

workintool data recovery scene mode

  • Select USB/Memory Card Recovery, locate your SD card, and hit Start Scanning.

locate sd card and start scanning

  • You can see the file type list clearly. Select a file type and press Recover to set the directory of soon-to-be-recovered data.

select a file type and recover from formatted sd card

  • Or select Deleted Files, tick the files you want to bring back, and press Recover (You can quickly find the target file using the search box in the upper right corner).

select deleted files and press recover

Fix Formatted SD Card on Mac

Professional data recovery software is always our first choice. It is quick, comprehensive, and easy to operate. You can also get an easy-to-use SD card recovery tool on Mac. Disk Drill is such a program that can get your deleted files back on the Mac system. This tool helps to recover data from storage devices like an external USB drive and camera card. It also works well in processing data loss on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Disk Drill also presents tools and features to prevent data loss from happening in the future. The data protection and backup features can make your files bulletproof. It is really a one-stop shop for everything. Let’s see how to recover formatted SD card using Disk Drill on Mac.

Features in Use

  • Select your SD card in Disk Drill’s disk list. Then, choose the recovery method as Deep Scan or press Search for lost data to start a quick scan (Deep Scan takes more time but also reaps better rewards).

search for lost data from formatted sd card

  • Once the scan is finished, you can click on Review found items to review the files just as they never left.

review found items in formatted sd card

  • Verify and choose the files you wish to get back and click on Recover.

recover formatted data via disk drill

  • Choose the destination for the to-be-recovered files.

choose a destination for recovered files

Practical Ways to Avoid Accidental Format

Now that we’ve explained what kinds of situations will cause an SD card format, there must be ways to refrain us from doing that. The most efficient and reliable methods are as follows.

  • Install antivirus and firewall software on your computer.
  • Do not abruptly unplug an SD card without correctly ejecting it.
  • Do not power off your devices when the SD card is in active use. Make sure you fully charge your devices.
  • Don’t accept the command of formatting your SD card when a device asks for permission.


Here comes the end of this article. If you absent-mindedly format your SD card or suffer from a data loss on other hard drive devices, please try WorkinTool Data Recovery or Disk Drill to scan and recover formatted SD card immediately. Remember, don’t overwrite any new data on the SD card once it is formatted.

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