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Top 10 Best SD Card Recovery Software in 2021 (That Are Actually Worth Trying!)

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.
last update icon Last Updated: Nov 8, 2021
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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

1. Disk Drill

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.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Pros
  • icon pros Recover up to 500 MB of data for free on Windows.
  • icon pros Preview an unlimited number of files.
  • icon pros Support for hundreds of file formats.
  • icon pros Compatible with all memory card types.
  • icon pros Ability to perform RAW SD card recovery.
  • icon pros Built-in data protection capabilities.
  • icon pros Intuitive user interface and one-click approach to data recovery.
  • icon pros Comes with a bunch of extra disk tools.
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Cons
  • icon cons No portable version.
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Disk Drill SD Card Recovery Software
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 SSDs, USB flash drives, and all other storage devices recognized by major operating systems.


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Choice of the Month FREQUENTLY INSTALLED BY WINDOWS USERS

2. Recuva

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.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows
Pros
  • icon pros Supports over 40 languages.
  • icon pros Offers completely unlimited recovery.
  • icon pros Features a handy recovery wizard.
  • icon pros Can securely delete sensitive files.
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Cons
  • icon cons Hasn’t been updated since 2016.
  • icon cons Outdated user interface.
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Recuva SD Data Recovery Tool
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.


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Choice of the Month DECENT RECOVERY RESULTS

3. Remo Recover

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.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Pros
  • icon pros Recovers 300 plus file formats.
  • icon pros Supports all commonly used Windows file systems.
  • icon pros Can preview recoverable files.
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Cons
  • icon cons Scans take a while.
  • icon cons Expensive technician license.
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Remo Recover SD Recovery App
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.


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4. Wise Data Recovery

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.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
Pros
  • icon pros Clear and simple user interface.
  • icon pros Support for more than 1,000 file formats.
  • icon pros Portable version.
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Cons
  • icon cons Subscription-based pricing.
  • icon cons Lacks file type filters.
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Wise Data Recovery
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.


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5. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

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.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Pros
  • icon pros Makes it easy to recover deleted data from SD cards.
  • icon pros Great data recovery performance.
  • icon pros Lets you filter out scanning results by file type.
  • icon pros Is able to recover lost partitions.
  • icon pros Supports 1,000+ file formats.
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Cons
  • icon cons Doesn’t accurately indicate how long a scan will take.
  • icon cons Many file formats can’t be previewed.
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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
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.


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6. Stellar Data Recovery

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.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Pros
  • icon pros Quick and deep scan modes.
  • icon pros Capable of scanning a specific folder.
  • icon pros Step-by-step recovery process.
  • icon pros Repairs corrupted photos.
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Cons
  • icon cons Slower deep scan.
  • icon cons Subscription-based pricing.
  • icon cons It costs a lot of money to unlock all features.
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Stellar Data Recovery
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.


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7. MiniTool Power Data Recovery

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.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Pros
  • icon pros Straightforward process to recover deleted files from an SD card.
  • icon pros Can deal with corrupted SD cards.
  • icon pros Frequently updated.
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Cons
  • icon cons Slow with large SD cards.
  • icon cons Expensive monthly and annual subscriptions.
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MiniTool Power Data Recovery
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.


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8. IObit Undelete

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.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows
Pros
  • icon pros Good-looking user interface.
  • icon pros Capable of scanning a specific folder.
  • icon pros Respectable scanning speed.
  • icon pros Portable application.
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Cons
  • icon cons Doesn’t do so well when recovering older files.
  • icon cons Lacks advanced recovery options and features.
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IObitUndelete
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.


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Choice of the Month POPULAR AMONG PROFESSIONALS

9. R-Studio

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.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Linux Linux
Pros
  • icon pros Professional features.
  • icon pros Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux file systems.
  • icon pros Built-in hex editor.
  • icon pros Recovery over network.
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Cons
  • icon cons Complicated user interface.
  • icon cons Less straightforward data recovery process.
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R-Studio
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.


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Choice of the Month OPEN-SOURCE SOLUTION

10. PhotoRec

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.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Linux Linux
FreeBSD FreeBSD
Sun Solaris Sun Solaris
Pros
  • icon pros Completely free and open-source.
  • icon pros Supports many different operating systems.
  • icon pros Step-by-step recovery process.
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Cons
  • icon cons Doesn’t have a graphical user interface.
  • icon cons The least user-friendly tool on this list.
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PhotoRec Recovery Software
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.


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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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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

Updated on by Pandora Recovery Team
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.