SD cards, just like USB pen drives or external HDDs, pose a very handy way to manipulate your data. You can use it as temporary storage, transfer data from one device to another, or even permanent storage, hidden away until you need it. But what if you were unpleasantly surprised to find that data seems to be gone? Whether the SD card itself is to blame, another person who had access to it, or even a software error, you’re left with nothing. Fortunately, you’re not out of options, and there’s plenty you can do. Here’s our list of the best data recovery software for the SD card.
We consider EaseUS the most complete data recovery software. It’s thorough, simple to use, works on internal and external devices, and supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. What more can you ask? We recommend first attempting to connect your SD card to a Windows computer, through an adapter or a port on the case of your computer. That way, you’ll have 2 GB of free data retrieval. Of course, you can always try the smartphone version that corresponds to your operating system. Keep in mind, only the scan and preview are free in that case, and you’ll have to pay for a Pro license to recover data.
We struggled with deciding whether this one deserves the first spot or not. First of all, the creators of the software have a plethora of experience in this field. This is primarily because it used to be 2 separate companies, Pandora Recovery and Disk Drill, which decided to merge into Disk Drill and tackle the problems together. What earned it the second place is that you can only recover 500 MB of data from your SD card before paying the full price on a Windows computer. As for Mac, Android, and iOS, trying out the software and seeing the results is free, and recovery requires a license.
Here’s an alternative that can come useful. We recommend purchasing an SD card to a USB drive adapter online or in a local computer shop. With that, you can take advantage of two things. First of all, computers will typically have an easier and faster time completing a search due because their hardware is more powerful. Secondly, you can take advantage of Stellar’s offer of recovering up to 1 GB of data completely free of charge, which isn’t present on Android. Furthermore, the preview process will be much easier on a larger screen, and the number of features is greater.
FonePaw is an easy-to-use freeware that also comes with a premium version. The software offers fast scan speed and recovery for over 1000 types of files. Generally, people think freeware is subpar at any task but enjoy a high success rate for recovering deleted SD card photos, videos, audio, and even emails. Other features include one-click restoration, deep scan, multi-language support, and data recovery for up to 1 GB. Currently, the software can run on all desktop platforms, including Linux. And those interested in purchasing a paid version can enjoy it for only $7.45 per month.
The fourth software on our list is created for both Android and iOS devices. We’ve moved on from computer software because all other companies require you to pay to retrieve even a single file. For that reason, there’s no reason to jump through additional hoops and hassle. With that in mind, the app covers all the major issues, your SD card’s data might be gone. Physical damage, rooting error, operating system crash, virus attacks, accidental format, forgotten password, etc. After the scan is over, the app can also help you back up the newfound data, so this never happens again.
Next up is Wondershare dr.fone which was the first data recovery software in the world. They also claim to have the highest success rate of retrieving data in the industry, and we tend to subjectively agree. Furthermore, it supports more than 6000 Android devices and covers all major causes of data loss. The only problem is that the Android app makes you run in circles. It essentially requires you to connect your Android phone to your computer, and then run their Windows software. For users that are on-the-go and have suffered SD card failure or accidentally deleted the data, this might not be the go-to app.
We didn’t mention the issue of rooting because it wasn’t as important. Well, with Tenorshare Data Recovery, although the app does great without administrator privileges, we found the number of files significantly increased when they were present. They also claim to have the highest data recovery rate and support for more than 6000 Android phones, which is hard to prove. But as long as it recovers files from your SD card, that’s all that matters, right? To avoid the risk of bricking your device, we suggest trying to scan while it isn’t rooted. Only proceed with rooting if the files weren’t discovered in the scan.
Going back to the topic of using computers, we can’t miss Recuva. Created by the same company that helped millions keep their computers clean with CCleaner, they also help them undelete files. And buying an SD to USB adapter isn’t expensive nor a huge hassle, as it’s available in any computer shop. The software is lightweight, which renders the chances of overwriting old data nearly impossible. Furthermore, the graphic interface is very simple, making it a standard choice for those that aren’t tech-savvy. Although it probably doesn’t dig as deep, the process of undeleting files is free.
The above-mentioned software hails itself as a professional solution to data recovery. And while we might not agree, the features are good enough to be worthy of a hefty price tag. The software comes for $7.5 for Windows and $10.9 for iOS. These prices scale to $99 for a year and $159 for life. Although a free version is also available for Windows, it can only recover around 100 MB of data. Recoverit offers a sleek and cluster-less UI and a decent speed of restoration. Users also have the option to utilize the deep scan feature. However, on the other side, you can’t always preview the file you are about to restore.
A software that typically takes between 2 MB and 2.5 MB of space on your hard disk is Puran File Recovery. Once again, it requires the use of an adapter for it to read your SD card. It has two main modes of work – Quick Scan that only scratches the surface but won’t take long, and Deep Scan that intelligently and diligently scans the memory of your SD card. Furthermore, you’ll get a list of full paths of deleted files at the end of the scan, helping you remember where they were located. This might sound funny and redundant to you, but the software is also compatible with Windows XP, released in 2001.
Here’s something for the photographers and cinematographers out there, whether professional or amateur. PhotoRec is free, open-source software that doesn’t have an interface and looks like a command prompt window. However, restoring files is unlimited, and not limited to photos or recovering videos deleted from your SD card – you can also recover archives and documents. Best of all, it uses read-only access so overwriting files is impossible. The software is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
In the end, we need to mention something different. While not exactly a data recovery app in the same sense, it’s not a lie either. In essence, the app acts as a Trash Can on your Mac OS X and Recycle Bin on your Windows. Why Android doesn’t have this by default, it boggles our minds. With it, you can pre-emptively prevent data loss by backing up files from your SD card, and easily recovering them when you need them. Our recommendation is to buy a separate SD card and place the backup there. That way, the files aren’t cluttering your main SD card and can be retrieved with ease.