Formatting an SD card is often essential. Photographers usually do it out of necessity — sometimes to fix a virus-infected camera card, make space for storing more photos, fix an SD card error, or reuse an SD card as new.
But formatting in a hurry or accidental formatting without taking backup or transferring the files to another drive can become a big nuisance.
You may realize your mistake later and want to get back the photos deleted after formatting the SD card.
What Happens When You Format an SD Card?
After formatting, your SD card shows as empty. However, photos and other files are still there on the SD card unless you have overwritten them with new data.
Formatting removes the location information of those files and folders and thus, you can’t see the image files.
Can You Get Back Lost Photos From a Formatted SD Card?
Yes, formatted SD card recovery is possible. You can use photo recovery software that is effective on formatted storage media. A recovery software has algorithms that can locate the deleted files and folder information and recover as many photos as possible. The advanced recovery software can even recover the folder structure of your photos.
But before that, look for your lost photos in the backup drive, folder, cloud, Time Machine, etc. Just in case you have the required pictures in the backup folder.
How to Restore Your Pictures From a Formatted SD Card?
Whether you are using a Windows or Mac computer, none of them has a feature or technique that can restore photos from a formatted SD card, drive, or volume.
If you don’t have a backup, the only solution is to use a photo recovery software compatible with your formatted SD card and supports your Windows or macOS.
An efficient photo recovery software can easily get your deleted pictures back after formatting, irrespective of SD card brand and capacity.
But you have to be careful here. Once you recognize data loss due to formatting, stop using the memory card immediately. This will further prevent overwriting of the storage card, which can reduce the chances of data recovery.
Here we share how a commonly used Stellar Photo Recovery software restores photos from a formatted SD card. The software has both Windows and Mac versions. You can download it as per your system.
Stellar Photo Recovery can scan and recover from all types and sizes of formatted SD cards. You can get back pictures of any file format, including JPEG and uncompressed RAW image formats. The software doesn’t hamper the original picture quality after recovery. It can restore raster and vector files as well. Plus, it can recover deleted videos and audio files.
The Mac version of the software supports all Mac systems, such as MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. It is compatible with the latest macOS BigSur, Catalina, Mojave, and below versions.
Steps to recover photos from formatted SD card using software:
- Download Stellar Photo Recovery on Windows PC or Mac.
- Connect the formatted SD card to the computer and launch Stellar Photo Recovery.
- On the first screen, select your formatted SD card for the scan. Turn on ‘Deep Scan’ at the bottom-left.
- (Optional) You can also go to the Advanced Settings icon on top. Click on the File List icon, and check photo formats. Next, close the dialog box. This helps in faster scanning and accurate recovery results.
- Click Scan to begin the scanning process.
- The list of recoverable photos from the formatted SD card appears. Preview and select the image files and folders, which you want to restore. Click Recover.
- In the dialog box, click Browse to select a location to save the photos. Prefer saving the pictures at a different location and not in your formatted SD card from where you recovered them.
It’s annoying to lose valuable pictures, but, fortunately, we have tools that can recover digital photos.
Ideally, a backup should be your resort to recover photos after accidentally formatting an SD card that contained important pictures. Nevertheless, you can rely on professional photo recovery software.
Since there are so many photo recovery tools available, make sure to pick the one that can restore pictures from formatted SD cards.
A professional tool is secure for both Windows and macOS. It safeguards the original picture quality upon recovery. It is recommended to first use the free version of the software, which can scan and let you preview the recoverable pictures from the formatted SD card.