Some SD Cards Not Working Properly With 2021 14 and 16-Inch MacBook Pros

The SD card reader slot on the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models is not functioning as expected with some SD cards, according to multiple reports on the MacRumors forums.

2021 MBP SD Card Error Feature
In a long complaint thread, MacRumors readers have detailed the issues that they're having with some SD cards, and there seems to be little consistency between reports and affected SD cards. Some SD cards crash and can't be accessed, while some have unusually slow transfer speeds. MacRumors reader Wildct explains the issue:

Same issues with 14" M1 Pro. Just seems to be super flakey and inconsistent. Half the time it'll recognize the card successfully (though it takes anywhere from 30s to 1m) and half the time it'll throw an error. These are all Sandisk Ultra cards, both XC and HC, that were formatted in my camera. I tried reformatting them w/ the MBP and that didn't seem to make a difference. All my cards work as expected in my 3 other USB card readers.

In some situations, there's just an error message when attempting to use the SD card, sometimes Finder crashes, and sometimes the SD card takes many minutes to be accesible. From MacRumors reader 2Stepfan:

It's very frustrating. I was hoping that import from SD card including preview of images would be quick on my new 14" MBP. I have a fairly new 64GB SD card which had been working fine. But Photos on the MBP using the internal SD card slot takes minutes to show photos and sometimes crashes half way through. Sometimes the Finder crashes too.

Based on the thread, formatting does not appear to be the issue, though it could be a factor. There also does not seem to be a common thread between which cards work and which do not, but multiple users have reported that using an SD card reader over USB-C works when the SD card slot does not. From MacRumors reader wilberforce:

I tried many cards, and could find no pattern of brand, size, type, format, age. Seems to be completely random. The only thing that is consistent is that if a card works, it always works, and if a card does not work properly it never works properly. Reformatting, even to all other possible formats, makes no difference. Sandisk, Sony, Samsung, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, UHS-I, UHS-II, micro-SD, FAT32, exFAT, makes no difference. 100% of my cards work perfectly via a dongle.

Some readers who have contacted Apple have been told that the company is aware of the issue and that a fix is coming in a future software update, but it is not clear if this is a hardware issue or a software issue. Some users who had problems replaced their MacBook Pro and did not continue to have issues, so it's not known exactly what might be going on.

Many of the reports are about older SD cards and there may be a particular issue with some 128GB cards, but for the most part, complaints are all over the place in terms of SD card brand, speed, and capacity.

One user reported that the macOS Monterey 12.1 beta had fixed the issue, but another person on Reddit said that the most recent beta did not address it, so we also don't know if macOS Monterey 12.1 might have a fix.

Those affected who are unable to use their SD cards with the SD card slot can access their cards by using an SD card reader dongle, which is not an ideal solution but at least provides a way to get SD card content onto an M1 Pro or M1 Max Mac.

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

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 17 Pro Max Will Be First Model to Feature Three 48MP Cameras

Thursday July 11, 2024 12:20 am PDT by
Next year's iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Tetraprism camera for enhanced photo quality and zoom functionality, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his n-iphone-tetraprism-upgrade-ca62dd37e364">latest investor note published to Medium, Kuo said the key specification change would be a 1/2.6" 48MP CIS sensor, up from the 1/3.1" 12MP sensor expected to be used...
iPhone 16 Pro Front Update Blue

iPhone 16 Pro Rumored to Support 40W Fast Charging and 20W MagSafe

Wednesday July 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will support 40W wired fast charging and 20W MagSafe charging, claims a rumor currently swirling around China. Right now, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models are capable of up to 27W peak charging speeds with an appropriate USB-C power adapter, while official MagSafe chargers from Apple and authorized third parties can wirelessly charge...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Beta Firmware With Support for iOS 18 Features

Tuesday July 9, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released a second beta firmware for the AirPods Pro 2, including both the Lightning and USB-C versions. The updated firmware has a build number 7A5244b and it is available to developers at the current time. This is the second firmware update that Apple has released since announcing new AirPods Pro 2 features in June. There are several new features that are coming to the AirPods...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

iPhone 16 Models Rumored to Have Face ID-Related Design Changes

Tuesday July 9, 2024 9:15 am PDT by
iPhone 16 models coming later this year could have some Face ID-related "design changes," supply chain publication DigiTimes said this week. The original source of this information is British newspaper The Telegraph, which six weeks ago reported that Face ID component supplier Coherent was considering selling or repurposing a manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, a small town in...
orka desktop

MacStadium Releases Free Orka Desktop macOS Virtualization Software

Wednesday July 10, 2024 6:55 am PDT by
Mac cloud services provider MacStadium today unveiled Orka Desktop, a free virtualization tool that allows Mac users to create and manage macOS virtual machines locally via an easy-to-use admin panel. Orka users can create or download custom macOS images locally for their own personal use, or to collaborate with team members using a familiar workflow, versioning, audit, and review controls....

Top Rated Comments

Michael Scrip Avatar
34 months ago

This sounds about right for SD cards. They are slow and prone to fail.
So wait... you're blaming this problem on the cards themselves?

Not these new Macbook Pros?

How do you explain when a card works fine in an external card reader... but not in their $2,000 Macbook Pro?

Is it still the card's fault?

:P
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Scrip Avatar
34 months ago
SD card slot finally comes back... Hooray!

SD card slot doesn't work properly... D'oh!

:(
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radeon85 Avatar
34 months ago
How the hell can Apple break something as basic as an SD Card reader?. Most likley a software issue as Apple seems to have a lot of those latley.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sideshowuniqueuser Avatar
34 months ago

Each microSD card has its own controller and there are dozens of companies making their own controllers, each with different firmware.

This is probably why Apple hates add-on storage. They're used to coding for only Apple approved vendors.
And yet other companies can make external card readers that "just work" with every card. Sigh, bring back those days for Apple.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
boss.king Avatar
34 months ago

This sounds about right for SD cards. They are slow and prone to fail.
I’ve literally never had an SD card fail on me in all the years I’ve used them. I get that they’re not the most robust storage system in the world but you make it sound like storing anything on them is a total gamble.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bart4u Avatar
34 months ago
I am sorry but an SD card reader is such a basic thing to add to a computer. Even the cheapest card readers on Amazon will read all SD cards. How could apple blow this. Did they not test a variety of SD card manufactures cards with their computers. I rather an another input port on my computer than having to deal with Apple's SD card reader. It looks like that cannot get that one right.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)