Top 10 Best SD Card Recovery Software Tools in 2022

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SD cards are now larger & faster than ever before, but their reliability hasn’t improved much. That’s why issues with SD card-related data loss are at an all-time high. The good news is that there are many excellent SD card recovery software solutions that can help you recover deleted files from SD cards without any expert skills.

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1
disk drill windows icon
Disk Drill
Platform:  macOS Windows
Distributed as: Freemium
2
r-studio icon
R-Studio
Platform:  macOS Windows Linux
Distributed as: Freemium
3
qphotorec icon
PhotoRec
Platform:  macOS Windows Linux
Distributed as: Free

What to Consider When Selecting SD Card Recovery Software

While there’s no shortage of great SD card recovery software, there are also quite a few bad apples that you should avoid to successfully recover lost files. Here’s what you should consider when selecting recovery software to recover deleted data from an SD card:

  • Supported file formats

    SD cards can be used for all kinds of wonderful things, from recording video to storing an entire operating system. Depending on what kind of files you’ve lost, you need to select SD card recovery software that can actually recover them because some applications focus only on certain file formats. For example, if you need to recover photos from an SD card, then your software should support all common image file formats, such as JPG and PNG.

  • Ease of use

    If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely not a data recovery professional, and this might even be your first time recovering lost files. Don’t make the situation more difficult than it already is by choosing a complicated tool that requires a lengthy manual for you to know how to use it.

  • Customer support

    It’s always nice to have someone you can ask for help when things go south, and that’s exactly what customer support is for. Unfortunately, free SD card recovery software rarely comes with professional support, which is one reason why spending extra money to recover important data makes sense—at least in some cases.

  • Price

    When selecting SD card data recovery software, you should always consider how much the software costs. Some companies rely on subscription-based pricing to generate a steady revenue stream, requiring you to renew your subscription each year, while other companies let you purchase a no-strings-attached lifetime license.

  • Compatibility

    Some of the best SD card recovery software applications are available for both Windows and Mac (and some even run on Linux), but that’s not always the case. Before you make your purchase, double-check if the solution you’ve selected is compatible with your operating system to avoid having to ask for a refund.

Top 10 Best SD Card Recovery Software

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Let’s see which memory card recovery software applications have the best rating.

Disk Drill Logo

1. Disk Drill

Top pick

3.84 Best choice for Windows users – The Windows version of Disk Drill empowers regular users to reliably recover all kinds of lost data with a few simple clicks.

Read full Disk Drill review
Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover up to 500 MB for free

Price range

$89...$598

Overview

Disk Drill is a free SD card repair tool that delivers powerful features in a sleek package, allowing anyone to quickly and easily restore lost or accidentally deleted data from SD cards. Here are just a few highlights of what makes it so great.

Top Disk Drill Pros
  • Two for one

  • Visualization of the scanning process

  • Mount results as a virtual disk

  • File previews

  • Raw photo support

Top Disk Drill Cons
  • Phone support

  • Linux and Apple file systems

  • RAID

  • Bootable disks

  • Recovery over a network

Overall experience

Disk Drill is an exceptionally versatile recovery software application because it supports all types of memory cards. Besides memory cards, Disk Drill can also recover data from traditional hard drives, modern SSDsUSB flash drives, and all other storage devices recognized by major operating systems.

In addition to extensive storage device compatibility, Disk Drill boasts the ability to recover hundreds of file formats, including all commonly used image, video, and document formats. It doesn’t matter if you’ve used your memory card to store photos taken with your digital camera or to extend the storage capacity of your smartphone, Disk Drill can help you recover deleted photos as well as all other files stored on your SD card.

Recovering lost or deleted files from an SD card with Disk Drill is so easy that anyone can do it—no expert skills required! From start to finish, the entire process takes just five simple steps, and the actual recovery is a matter of a simple click.

R-Studio Logo

2. R-Studio

Popular among professionals

3.08 Empowering professionals; intimidating home users – R-Studio for Windows is a powerful data recovery software application, but regular home users may struggle to master it and put its capabilities to good use.

Read full R-Studio review
Platforms

Windows macOS Linux

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover files smaller than 256 KB

Price range

$49.99...$899

Overview

R-Studio doesn’t hide the fact that casual home users are not its target audience. But if you consider yourself to be a power user who is always keen to learn new things, then this might just be the best SD card recovery software for you.

Top R-Studio Pros
  • Supports all major operating systems

  • Compatible with many file systems

  • RAID reconstruction module

  • Good performance of file system scanners

  • Network recovery

Top R-Studio Cons
  • Limited preview feature

  • Complicated

  • Unintuitive scanning process

  • Very complex scan results

  • S.M.A.R.T

Overall experience

You would be hard-pressed to find another SD card recovery software with support for NTFS, NTFS5, ReFS, FAT12/16/32, exFAT, HFS/HFS+ and APFS (Macintosh), Little and Big Endian variants of UFS1/UFS2 (FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD/Solaris), and Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 FS (Linux) partitions.

However, there are many other reasons why professionals love R-Studio. For example, the software can recover data from damaged RAID arrays, recover important files over network, clone hard drives and other storage devices, monitor disk health status, and perform in-depth file analysis, among other things. Sure, the more advanced features are included only in the most expensive version, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

PhotoRec Logo

3. PhotoRec

Open-source solution

2.29 Intimidating but rewarding at the same time – PhotoRec for Windows offers unbeatable value, but you need to overcome a steep learning curve to unlock it.

Read full PhotoRec review
Platforms

Windows macOS Linux

Distributed as

Free All features are provided free of charge, and the software can be used, studied, and modified without restriction.

Limitations

None

Price range

Free

Overview

PhotoRec is the king of open-source SD card recovery software. You can use it to recover an unlimited amount of data for free, but it won’t help you much if you don’t get used to its command-line user interface.

Top PhotoRec Pros
  • Completely free

  • Open source

  • Optional graphical user interface

  • Does not require installation

  • Capable signature scanner

Top PhotoRec Cons
  • Interface slows down during scanning

  • Window size settings

  • Rarely updated

  • No auto-update

  • Scan automation

Overall experience

If you’re a fan of open-source software, then you’ll love PhotoRec. Distributed as a companion program to TestDisk, this unassuming command-line application can deliver the same results when recovering lost data from SD cards and other storage devices as commercial alternatives. While its name implies a focus on picture file formats, PhotoRec actually supports more than 480 file extensions, including all commonly used video, audio, and document file formats.

As we’ve already mentioned, its biggest downside is the lack of a graphical user interface. While there’s a GUI version of the software, called QPhotoRec, it won’t help you unless you’re running Windows. And even if you are, you might still want to use PhotoRec because it offers more features.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Logo

4. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

3.01 Popular for its trial recovery capabilities – Easy to use and capable of delivering solid results, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is good at what it does.

Read full EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard review
Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover up to 2 GB for free

Price range

$69.95...$499

Overview

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard has been recommended as one of the best SD card data recovery software applications for years, and we have no reason to break this tradition. The software is packed with useful features, giving you everything you need to recover from data loss.

Top EaseUS Pros
  • Scan results

  • Scan speed

  • Free recovery

  • Support

  • Labeled results

Top EaseUS Cons
  • Pop-up ads

  • Inaccurate time estimations

  • Limited preview capabilities

  • Limited preview size

  • Recovery speed

Overall experience

As a user, you may encounter countless data loss scenarios, from accidental deletion to formatting to data corruption. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a complete data recovery suite that can address 100+ real-life data loss scenarios while providing a user-friendly approach to data recovery.

The free version of this SD card recovery software can retrieve up to 2 GB of data for free, which should be enough to recover at least some important files. Because EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard lets you save your recovery sessions for later, you don’t have to recover everything in one go. Instead, you can take your time, preview files one by one, and get back only what you really need.

Stellar Data Recovery Logo

5. Stellar Data Recovery

2.19 Frequently recommended – Stellar Data Recovery is a good example of data recovery software that doesn’t to anything exceptionally wrong nor exceptionally right.

Read full Stellar Data Recovery review
Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover up to 1 GB for free

Price range

$49.99...$599

Overview

Stellar Data Recovery is yet another SD card recovery software that doesn’t really need a lengthy introduction because it has been around since forever. Over the years, it has managed to convince countless users from around the world to use it as their data recovery software of choice, and it’s easy to see why.

Top Stellar Pros
  • Support

  • Repair of photos and videos

  • S.M.A.R.T

  • Preview in safe mode

  • Backup creation

Top Stellar Cons
  • Updates in the free version

  • Lost license information

  • Slow previews

  • Preview limits

  • Scanning speed

Overall experience

With the trial version of Stellar Data Recovery, you can recover up to 1 GB of data free of charge. The tool boasts a no-frills 3-step data recovery process that can be summarized as such: you select the type of data you want to recover, pick the folder or drive to scan, and select all files you want to get back.

The most expensive versions of Stellar Data Recovery bring to the table an abundance of features, including support for corrupted photo repair, virtual drive recovery, advanced RAID restoration, and compatibility with Linux and Mac drives. Unfortunately, most regular home users will never be able to justify spending money on them, especially considering that Stellar Data Recovery offers only subscription-based pricing.

Recuva Logo

6. Recuva

Frequently installed by Windows users

1.75 Good for basic data recovery jobs – Despite its age and lack of development, Recuva is still worth taking a look at—if only because it recovers an unlimited amount of data for free.

Read full Recuva review
Platforms

Windows

Distributed as

Freeware All features are provided free of charge without any limitations.

Limitations

None

Price range

$0...$34.95

Overview

Recuva is among the most popular truly free SD card recovery software applications, but its somewhat outdated user interface makes it clear that its development has been stagnating for the last few years. Still, you would be hard-pressed to find a more cost-effective solution for simpler data recovery jobs.

Top Recuva Pros
  • Completely free

  • Chances of recovery

  • Two operating modes

  • Secure file erase

  • Multilingual capabilities

Top Recuva Cons
  • No Enterprise license

  • Scanning/creation of images

  • Recovering structure and names

  • Recovery odds accuracy

  • Updating the list of drives

Overall experience

There’s a good reason why so many users rely on Recuva when it comes to performing SD card data recovery even though the tool was last updated in 2016: it just works. As long as you don’t need to recover newer file formats or address complex data loss scenarios involving partition loss, Recuva should be able to get the job done for free.

Its user interface clearly comes from the Windows XP era, which can be a good thing if you remember that particular era fondly. But if you’re used to modern software applications, Recuva will most likely leave you wishing for a more polished user experience.

Remo Recover Logo

7. Remo Recover

Decent recovery results

2.1 Suitable for basic data recovery tasks – We’re still testing this software. Wait until we’re done for our final verdict!

Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest.

Limitations

Preview only

Price range

$69.97...$199.97

Overview

Remo Recover, also referred to as Remo File Recovery Tool, is a great alternative to more popular SD card data recovery software tools, offering a well-rounded mix of features and the ability to recover files from any storage device.

Top Remo Pros
  • Recovers 300 plus file formats

  • Supports all commonly used Windows file systems

  • Can preview recoverable files

Top Remo Cons
  • Scans take a while

  • Expensive technician license

Overall experience

You don’t see Remo Recover mentioned on many lists of the best SD card data recovery software solutions, and we think that’s a shame. While it doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, it does everything you would expect a recovery application to do.

To be more specific, Remote Recover can undelete over 300 file formats, including photos, videos, documents, and file archives, from any storage device, and it can do so without requiring you to read a lengthy manual beforehand. Just know that its scanning speed isn’t the greatest, so you might have to wait a while to complete a scan of a large SD card.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery Logo

8. MiniTool Power Data Recovery

2.15 Does it have the power to recover your files? – MiniTool Power Data Recovery for Windows makes recovery easy for any user, but its price tag may not justify its abilities.

Read full MiniTool Power Data Recovery review
Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover up to 1 GB for free

Price range

$69...$499

Overview

There’s a lot that MiniTool Power Data Recovery does right and not much it does wrong. But it takes more than that to be considered one of the best SD card recovery software solutions available, and MiniTool Power Data Recovery has demonstrated again and again that it’s up to the challenge.

Top MiniTool Pros
  • Interface

  • Creating a bootable disk

  • Recover during a scan

  • Scanning speed

  • Support for soft RAID

Top MiniTool Cons
  • No HDPI support

  • Paid option to fix corrupted video files

  • Settings are not saved

  • All file types are not selected by default

  • No resizing of the main screen

Overall experience

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a venerable SD card data recovery software application that receives updates on a regular basis, allowing it to reliably recover even new and less commonly used file formats. The latest version lets you scan only specific folders, which can be useful if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to scan your entire SD card.

Just like many other leading SD card recovery tools, MiniTool Power Data Recovery employs a simple three-step recovery process, so even inexperienced users should feel right at home after just a few minutes. Besides the free version (limited to 1 GB), you can choose between two subscription plans (monthly and annual) and a lifetime license. Considering the lifetime options isn’t that much more expensive than the two subscriptions, we think that it’s the way to go.

Wise Data Recovery Logo

9. Wise Data Recovery

2.1 Suitable for basic data recovery tasks – We’re still testing this software. Wait until we’re done for our final verdict!

Platforms

Windows

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest.

Limitations

Recover up to 2 GB for free

Price range

$39.97...$49.99

Overview

Some SD card data recovery software applications are wiser than others, and Wise Data Recovery illustrates this perfectly. This Windows-only application supports more than a thousand different file types, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting back all lost data.

Top Wise Data Recovery Pros
  • Clear and simple user interface

  • Support for more than 1,000 file formats

  • Portable version

Top Wise Data Recovery Cons
  • Subscription-based pricing

  • icon cons Lacks file type filters

Overall experience

Wise Data Recovery can recover documents, graphics, videos, audios, emails, file archives, executables, and much more. It supports FAT, NTFS, HFS, HFS+, HFSX, Ext2, and Ext3 file systems, which is more than what we would expect from a Windows-only SD card recovery software tool.

The Quick Scan mode can analyze even a fairly large SD card in no time, saving you time for things that matter the most in life. Scanning results can be narrowed down using keywords, but the software lacks file type filters. It also lacks a lifetime license option, but at least the monthly subscription plan is fairly affordable, and you can cancel it at any time.

IObit Undelete Logo

10. IObit Undelete

2.1 Suitable for basic data recovery tasks – We’re still testing this software. Wait until we’re done for our final verdict!

Platforms

Windows

Distributed as

Freeware All features are provided free of charge without any limitations.

Limitations

None

Price range

Free

Overview

IObit Undelete is a good-looking SD card data recovery software application whose target audience are less experienced users who might feel overwhelmed by more complicated tools.

Top IObit Undelete Pros
  • Good-looking user interface

  • Capable of scanning a specific folder

  • Respectable scanning speed

  • Portable application

Top IObit Undelete Cons
  • Doesn’t do so well when recovering older files

  • Lacks advanced recovery options and features

Overall experience

If you’re a Windows user and are looking for the best SD card data recovery software that doesn’t overwhelm you with a ton of features, then IObit Undelete might just be the right choice for you. When you launch this application, you’re asked to select the file types you wish to recover. Once you’ve made your selection, you can simply click the Start button and go make yourself a cup of tea.

What’s great about IObit Undelete, apart from its simplicity, is the fact that you don’t even need to install it on your computer to use it. You can use it directly without installation to avoid overwriting deleted files. Of course, you still need to download IObit Undelete to a different storage device than the one on which your lost files are located, but that shouldn’t be a problem when dealing with SD card recovery.

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Comparison table

 #

The comparison table below provides an overview of all memory card recovery software applications that have made our list.

FeatureDisk DrillR-StudioPhotoRecEaseUS Data Recovery WizardStellar Data RecoveryRecuvaMiniTool Power Data Recovery
Total Score Free Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque.
Disk Drill 100% - Disk Drill

100%

R-Studio 80% - R-Studio

80%

PhotoRec 60% - PhotoRec

60%

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 78% - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

78%

Stellar Data Recovery 57% - Stellar Data Recovery

57%

Recuva 46% - Recuva

46%

MiniTool Power Data Recovery 56% - MiniTool Power Data Recovery

56%

RequirementsWindows 7-11Windows 2000-11Windows XP-10, 11 (unofficial support)Windows 7-11Windows 7-11Windows XP-10, 11 (unofficial support)Windows 7-11
Clever in-depth scan
Quick scan
Distributed as Freemium Freemium Free Freemium Freemium Freeware Freemium
Trial version available
Trial version limitations Recover up to 500 MB for free Recover files smaller than 256 KB Freeware. No limits Recover up to 2 GB for free Recover up to 1 GB for free Freeware. No limits Recover up to 1 GB for free
Starting price$89.00 / Perpetual$49.99 / PerpetualFree$69.95 / 1 month$49.99 / 1 yearFree$69.00 / 1 month
See Plans & Pricing Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details
Raw photo recovery
Video formats recovery
Document formats recovery
S.M.A.R.T.
Helpdesk support
Live chat
Phone support

Most Common Reasons for SD Card Data Loss

SD card data loss doesn’t happen without reason. Understanding the most common causes of SD card data loss can help you prevent it and keep your data safe.

  • Accidental Deletion: User errors are by far the biggest cause of SD card data loss. After all, it’s almost impossible to find someone who hasn’t accidentally deleted an important file before. But as long as you realize your mistake soon enough, you have a good chance of successfully recovering your files.
  • Formatting: It’s a good practice to format an SD card from time to time in order to avoid data corruption and issues with file system compatibility. The problem is that formatting is a fairly dangerous mass-delete operation, and all it takes for you to lose important files is one mistake, such as formatting the wrong SD card.
  • Logical Damage: The term logical damage encompasses a wide variety of data loss-causing events, ranging from data corruption to file system damage, and so on. While not as serious as physical damage, logical damage can still lead to permanent data loss if not addressed properly and in a timely manner.
  • Improper Use: Whoever engineered the first SD card clearly underestimated the destructive power of the average user. Not only are SD cards fragile and vulnerable to the elements, but they also need to be ejected safely when moved from one device to another—something not many users do.

Key Points for Successful SD Card Recovery

There are many variables when it comes to SD card recovery. By keeping in mind the following key points, you can maximize your chance of success and get your files back in no time.

  • Begin Recovery ASAP: Data recovery is a time-sensitive process, and the sooner you start, the better outcome you can expect. Disk Drill is available free of charge, and it can take as little as five minutes to recover SD card data with it. We recommend you use it before trying various SD card repair tools, many of which do more harm than good.
  • Avoid Physical Damage: Deleted and lost files can be recovered from SD cards because it takes some time for them to become overwritten. However, even professional SD card recovery software like Disk Drill, which can handle corrupted SD cards, can’t recover files from memory cards that have been physically damaged.
  • Get It Right on the First Try: Not all SD card recovery solutions are equally reliable, and some can even jeopardize your chance of successful recovery. That’s why you should always start with the most reliable solution you have at your disposal (hint: Disk Drill) and get it right on the first try.
  • Recover to a Different Storage Device: Never save recovered files to the storage device from which you’ve recovered them from. You could accidentally overwrite the very same files you’re trying to recover, which would result in their permanent and irreversible loss.
  • Create a Byte-to-Byte Backup: Before you begin the recovery process, it’s a good idea to create a byte-to-byte backup of your SD card. That way, you can recover your lost data from the backup and leave your SD card intact.
  • Back Up Your Files: Even though Disk Drill makes it easy to recover data from SD cards, you should still back up your files so that you always have an up-to-date backup ready in case something goes wrong. The good news is that the free version of Disk Drill comes with reliable backup features.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, SD card recovery software can really recover lost data from all types of SD cards, including microSD cards, standard SD cards, and miniSD cards. Just know that it can’t perform miracles, which is to say that it can’t recover data that have already been overwritten by new data.

According to our extensive research, which took into consideration supported file formats, ease of use, customer support, price, and operating system compatibility, the top three best SD card recovery software applications are:

  1. Disk Drill
  2. Recuva
  3. Remo Recover

Yes, there are several completely free memory card data recovery software solutions that can help you recover an unlimited amount of data. Based on our research, PhotoRec is the best one because it’s open-source, supports many different operating systems, and has a fairly intuitive step-by-step recovery process.

Mac users can choose from many different SD card recovery software applications, but their best option is Disk Drill for Mac. Why? Because using it to recover deleted photos from an SD card takes just a few simple steps, but the results it delivers are good enough even for data recovery professionals.

Several issues may cause this problem. Your phone might not read an SD card if the card is not inserted correctly. The card may need to have its contacts cleaned to eliminate debris. Another reason that your card cannot be read by your phone is that the card has become corrupted.

Yes, you can recover deleted photos from an SD card. When you delete a photo from an SD card, it remains physically present on the storage device until new data is stored in its place. Before that happens, data recovery software can find the deleted photo a get it back.

Yes, photos can be recovered from your phone’s SD card. The card needs to be connected to your computer through the phone or a card reader. Once the SD card is connected to the machine, your data recovery software application will identify the card as a disk and perform the restore.

Alternatively, you can download a mobile SD card recovery software app like Disk Digger, which lets you recover data directly on your phone. Just know that mobile recovery apps seldom deliver the same results as their desktop counterparts.

Absolutely! Formatting lets you quickly mark an entire SD card as empty, but, in most cases, it doesn’t overwrite the stored data. As long as you begin the recovery process soon enough, you should be able to get back all or most photos from the formatted SD card.

You have two options:

  1. Use a freeware SD card recovery software application, such as PhotoRec.
  2. Use a commercial data recovery tool that offers a free trial, such as Disk Drill.

Generally, freeware software applications don’t offer the same ease of use, polish, and features as their commercial counterparts, but they can get the job done when it comes to simpler data loss scenarios.

David Morelo
David Morelo
Author

David Morelo is a professional content writer with a specialization in data recovery. He spends his days helping users from around the world recover from data loss and address the numerous issues associated with it.

When not writing about data recovery techniques and solutions, he enjoys tinkering with new technology, working on personal projects, exploring the world on his bike, and, above all else, spending time with his family.

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Yevgeniy Tolkunov
Yevgeniy Tolkunov
Approver

Yevgeniy Tolkunov is Hardware Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Yevgeniy has a Master's Degree in Physics, Information Technology; 15+ years of experience.