How to Delete Files from Your SD Card on a Mac

The SD format is a standard used by devices such as digital cameras to store files like digital photos, although like HDDs and flash drives the SD card can contain any file as long as they can fit in its memory. SD cards are non-volatile memory cards when compared to flash drives, which are volatile. It’s this stability that gives the SD format a solid reputation in the digital storage industry.

What You Need

You will need the following:

How to Delete Files from Your SD Card on a Mac
Image Credit: by George Scott
  • SD card
  • Passive adapter
  • Laptop or MacBook computer
  • PC or desktop Macintosh computer

Steps Involved in Deleting Files from Your SD Card Using a Mac

  • Step 1: When deleting files from your SD card using a Macintosh computer like the iMac or a MacBook Pro, you should connect your SD card to your Mac PC or laptop through the SD slot. It should be on the sides of your MacBook laptop or the front/back of your iMac desktop tower. This process is true of any removable disk.
  • Step 2: If your computer lacks a small enough SD slot for certain cards, you can still access the SD using a passive adapter. This adapter allows Macs to access small SD cards like MicroSD and MiniSD as well as their higher density equivalents like MicroSDHC and MiniSDHC by confirming with the thickness and width for these cards. Once the SD card is accessed, your desktop should then feature a drive icon. At any rate, double click the drive in order to access its files.
  • Step 3: You can select the files you wish to delete by mouse then right-click for the dropdown menu (or press Ctrl and click) and pick delete. Or you can highlight them all and then push the delete button for good measure. In order to not need to manually highlight the files, just push Cmd+A in order to select all files then delete them by a right-click menu command or by pushing the delete button, whichever you prefer. All the files will now end up in the Trash program.
  • Step 4: You also have the option to click and drag your files for deletion to the Trash. Just remember to empty the Trash for your memory card to regain full capacity. You can also preview the thumbnails of the files to pick and choose which ones you’d rather save and which ones you’d rather be rid of. Just hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on the Trash icon, and then select Empty Trash for permanent deletion.
  • Step 5: Speaking of permanent deletion, you also have the option to outright reformat your SD card from your Mac. Just click on the dropdown menu for Format, select MS-DOS (FAT) if your card is 32 GB or smaller and ExFAT if it’s a 64 GB card. You will be asked if you’re sure if you want to erase the partition followed by the SD card’s name. Click Erase and you’re through. Formatting the card will clean up your SD card as though it’s never been used.


If you have a vast quantity of files to delete it’s more practical to reformat your drive. The same could be said of your Macintosh HDD, to be honest. Your Mac’s SD slot should be able to carry standard 4MB- 2GB standard SD cards, SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) 4MB-32GB cards, 4GB-2TB SDXC, MMC (MultiMedia Cards), and UHS-II (up to 2TB) but the last one only works on iMac Pro.