How to Unlock SD Card on Windows/Mac/Android in 5 Ways

To figure out how to unlock SD card, you can follow this guide with 5 provided methods. And we also provide 1 tip for you to recover SD card data easily.


By Kelsey / Updated on April 3, 2024

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How do I remove the lock on my SD card?

SD card is a convenient storage device that is easy to carry and compatible with various devices. When an SD card is locked, you will not be able to view, delete or edit the data stored on it or upload new content to the SD card.

How to unlock SD card? Usually, locked SD cards result from the lock switch being on, selecting the wrong permission option, etc. As long as the SD card is not physically damaged, you can follow the methods in this guide to make memory card unlock hassle-free. If you want to perform corrupted memory card data recovery, you can go to the linked page for answers.

How to unlock SD card/ memory card in 5 ways

Here are several solutions on how to unlock memory cards so that you can read or transfer files again. You can try them one by one until your worries are released.

Method 1. Unlock SD card with lock switch

Generally, micro SD cards, SD cards, or memory cards would have a physical switch on the side or bottom that allows you to turn it on or off. When your SD card is locked, please first check if there is a switch on it. If there is, you can unlock your SD card manually by flipping the switch.

Unlock Sd Card

If the lock switch is loose or the switch will automatically stay in the locked position, the SD card may be damaged.

Method 2. Unlock SD card with password

How to unlock SD card without switch? If you are using an SD card on an Android phone, you can use your password to unlock the memory card. Here we take the Samsung mobile phone as an example to show you how to unlock an SD card with password:

Step 1. Open the “Settings” app, head to "Lock screen and Security", and then "Decrypt SD card".

Decrypt Sd Card

Step 2. Input your password, PIN or pattern, and wait for the decryption process to complete.

Method 3. Unlock SD card through CMD

If your SD card is on write protection and there is no physical switch, it is a feasible way to unlock the SD card using CMD. CMD, also known as Command Prompt, is a native application of the Windows operating system that you can use to recover data from hard drives, both for local disks and external drives.

Complete guides on how to unlock micro SD card are instructed as follows:

Step 1. Connect the SD card to computer and make sure it is recognizable.

Step 2. Press Windows + X on the keyboard and select “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” from the pop-up menu.

Step 3. Then, type the following command line in turn. Remember to press “Enter” after typing each command line to execute the command.

  • diskpart 
  • list disk
  • select disk # ( here # refer to the number of your SD card from the list disk command)
  • attributes disk clear readonly

Diskpart List Disk Command

When it reports “Disk attributes cleared successfully”, you can exit the command prompt and check if the above how to unlock write-protected SD card guide has worked.

Method 4. Unlock SD card with Disk Utility

If you are running on a Mac, don’t worry. You can change the read-only properties of your SD card data using Disk Utility. Read on and follow the details below to learn how to unlock SanDisk SD card on Mac devices:

Step 1. Plug in the SD card to your Mac.

Step 2. On the “Go” menu, click on “Utilities”, and then run the “Disk Utility” program.

Step 3. Locate and choose the SD card, tap on “First Aid” on the top, click “Run”, and then follow the on-screen guide to troubleshoot your SD card.

Click Run First Aid

Method 5. Unlock SD card by formatting

If unfortunately, none of the above methods worked on how to unlock an SD card for camera, the SD card may be infected with a virus. The last solution you can try is to format the SD card.

In fact, formatting your SD card doesn't mean all your files will be lost. In the following content, we will continue to introduce a method to retrieve SD card data after format. Now, let's have a look at how to fix a locked SD card by formatting.

Step 1. Insert the infected SD card into your computer. For security, it is better to run your antivirus software to remove viruses or malware from the SD card to avoid infecting your computer.

Step 2. After that, open the Windows Files Explorer and find the SD card drive. Right-click on it and click the “Format...” button.

Format On File Explorer

Step 3. Then, select the “Quick” option and tap OK.

Bonus tip: How to recover data from formatted SD card

After you format your SD card, it will be unlocked with all files gone. It should be noted that data recovery from formatted SDs is not promising and no software can guarantee 100% recovery of formatted data. But you can have a try at MyRecover, which allows you to easily recover formatted SD card data with a few clicks. This powerful world-class data recovery tool is safe and easy to use. It offers you lots of benefits:

  • Recover formatted, deleted, and lost files from SD cards, laptop/PC, and internal & external drives.

  • Retrieve photos, videos, music, videos, documents, excels, and other types of files completely and effectively.

  • Recover data from Recycle Bin after empty, from system crash, from partition loss, and various data loss situations.

  • Fast and deep scanning for lost files and convenient previews for file recovery.

Follow the simple recovery steps below and start to get back formatted data from the SD card now.

Step 1. Connect your SD card to your computer.

Step 2. Download and Run MyRecover on your PC. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Select Partition To Scan

Step 3. Subsequently, this tool will begin to scan your lost and missing files.

Scan Lost Data

Step 4. Select the wanted files from the list and tap on “Recover x files”. Please note that it is preferable to recover files to another secure location instead of the SD card location.

Recover Lost Data

The bottom line

This article explains 5 solutions to how to unlock SD card. You can try the first four methods to unlock an SD card first. If none of them works, you could format the SD card to unlock it. The MyRecover software is easy and efficient to recover files from formatted hard drive. So, you don't need to worry about file loss.

Kelsey · Editor
Kelsey is an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She is passionate about helping people find effective ways to deal with all problems in computer. She has great insights into data backup and recovery, disk partition and clone, and other data protection measures. She likes learn computer skills to improve herself and enjoy quality time with family and friends.