SD Card Slot in New MacBook Pros Supports UHS-II With Speeds Up to 250 MB/s [Updated]

Apple has confirmed to The Verge's Dan Seifert that the SD card slot built into the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models supports UHS-II, and while this could theoretically allow for read and write speeds of up to 312MB/s with USH-II SD cards, Apple has since confirmed that the reader supports up to 250MB/s of data transfer.

macbook pro ports hdmi sd
Some people had hoped that the SD card slot would support UHS-III with read and write speeds up to 624 MB/s, but this is not the case.

Users can take advantage of the SD card slot for additional storage space, with UHS-II-compliant SD cards available in capacities such as 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The return of the SD card slot will be particularly useful for professional users like photographers and video producers, allowing them to quickly transfer files without needing to use an adapter.

The SD card slot is one of three ports that returned to the new MacBook Pro models after being removed in 2016, alongside an HDMI 2.0 port and MagSafe. The notebooks also have three Thunderbolt 4 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

2021 macbook pro ports
In addition to the expanded connectivity, key features of the new MacBook Pro models include Apple's next-generation M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, mini-LED displays with ProMotion for up to a 120Hz refresh rate, up to 10 hours longer battery life per charge, full-size physical function keys instead of a Touch Bar, and more.

The new MacBook Pro models have been available to order since Monday and will begin arriving to customers and launch in stores on Tuesday, October 26. Pricing starts at $1,999 for the 14-inch model and at $2,499 for the 16-inch model.

Update: The SD card slot on the new MacBook Pros supports up to 250MB/s of data transfer with UHS-II SD cards and up to 90MB/s with UHS-I SD cards, according to information shared by Apple after this story was published.

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Related Roundup: 14 & 16" MacBook Pro
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

zorinlynx Avatar
9 months ago

Anybody planning to use a 1TB SD for Time Machine?
If you decide to do this, encrypt the backup, use two of them, and swap them occasionally. Keep the one you're not using in a different location.

Now you have offsite backups.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zdigital2015 Avatar
9 months ago

Still kinda outdated just as pros are moving over to CFExpress and with SDexpress coming up.

And the HDMI should have been an Input to record video from pro cameras.
SD Card is outdated or the read speed of this new slot is outdated? Again, single use ports are a waste of time, but people cried and whined and stomped their feet to get these ports back, and Apple caved, so basically I don’t want to hear anyone complaining anymore. They wanted them they got them, suck it up buttercups.

Please tell me which single HDMI port on what device allows both In and Out? I’ve never seen that before on any device that I own. I have several monitors with HDMI In/HDMI Out as separate ports. You’re basically asking for Apple to make an Atomos Ninja and give it away for free to customers, which isn’t going to happen.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
giggles Avatar
9 months ago
Anybody planning to use a 1TB SD for Time Machine?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
theluggage Avatar
9 months ago

But now we lost one TB3 port for a HDMI port that most will never use or at best use infrequently.
Ah, yes, the mythical "stolen TB3 port"...

Each TB/USB4 port on the new M1 machines now has its own, dedicated controller on the SoC, c.f. the old intel machines where each pair of ports shared the bandwidth of a single controller. So the M1 Pro/Max machines actually have 50% more Thunderbolt bandwidth than the old 4-port Intel MBPs, and the ports now support the new TB4 hubs, so each of those 3 ports can now run a hub with 4 TB4 ports that can be used for TB/USB or DisplayPort.

...according to Apple, the M1 Pro/Max chips have 3 Thunderbolt controllers. There's no evidence of a 4th TB controller that has been stolen by the restored ports. The SD slot just needs a USB 3.0, HDMI just needs a spare eDP 1.2 stream, and the MagSafe doesn't need any CPU resources whatsoever (maybe a USB 2or IIC or suchlike for control). An extra full function TB4 port needs a huge amount of resources in comparison.

Also: take an old 4-port Intel MBP, connect a charger, plug into a data projector or TV (a pretty common scenario) and count how many TB ports you have free for other things - 2. Now do the same with the new M1 Pro Macs - the charger goes into MagSafe, the TV goes into HDMI and you still have all 3 TB ports left. Yes - you could carry a multiport dongle, but now you don't need to - and if you are prepared to carry a hub around you can now use a TB4 hub that gives you 4 extra TB ports, a bunch of USB 3 and still leaves two of the original built-in TB ports free.

This is the problem with the whole USB-C concept: one port for all sounds cool, but it actually means funnelling several scarce but unrelated resources: PCIe/USB3, video streams and power input/output - through a single connector and creating an artificial bottleneck. Plug a charger in and you can't use that port for data or video, plug a display adapter in and you can't use it for video and data.

It would be fine if you could have 6-8 of those universal ports in those machine so there were plenty of holes to go around - but that's far more expensive and complex than adding dedicated ports for the most common requirements. Or it's fine if you are going to carry around multi-port hubs - but that's a disadvantage for an ultra-portable laptop.

The HDMI and SD slots aren't there for your super HDR 6k display or the CF super-express-plus-bingo camera body you're going to buy in 2 years' time - they're for boring but common scenarios, like when you want to want to plug into a data projector at a meeting or a hotel room TV, or offload photos from your camera or drone to free up space in a muddy field and it's really, really convenient not to need an adapter.

What the new MBPs have done is to give you fewer, higher bandwidth bandwidth "universal" ports that can be used with hubs, docks & daisy chains to efficiently drive multiple devices, plus a reasonable selection of single-use ports so you don't have to waste the universal ports on single use devices.

It's a pity they couldn't have stretched to HDMI 2.1 and/or squeezed in an extra USB-only port, but bandwidth doesn't grow on trees, and maybe they would have had to steal from TB (particularly for the HDMI 2.1).
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SuprUsrStan Avatar
9 months ago
Was hoping for UHS-III but I can settle for just UHS-II. Theres not that many UHS-III cameras out there yet. At least its not a case of outdated spec like the HDMI port.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheSynchronizer Avatar
9 months ago

Apple's Pro Machine finally has the quantity and range of ports that the Air should have! The pro devices should have a ethernet port as well. It looks as though the height of the base of the laptop is perfect for it. Lots of valid 'pro' use cases that need the reliability of ethernet. Pretty much any industrial process can't (or shouldn't) be run over WiFi. So nearly perfect.
I feel like ethernet ports on laptops in 2021 is such a niche requirement that you may aswell just buy an ethernet to usb-c adapter and leave it attached to your ethernet cable
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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