How to Recover Photos/Files From Locked SD Card

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Modern SD card comes with a lock switch on the left edge. When this lock switch is turned on by sliding it down, users is restricted from modifying or deleting data stored in the SD card. This design is useful for protecting data indeed, but sometimes it makes it tricky to unlock the SD card while one is in urgent need of accessing the data.
If you are struggling to recover photos from a locked SD card, know that you are not alone. There are scores of people out there stuck trying to recover photos/files from locked SD cards as well. Fortunately, this article walks you through some of the best ways to unlock your SD card and recover your photos and files.

Part 1: How to Unlock SD Card

Solution 1: Unlock SD Card Manually

Firstly you can try to unlock an SD card by manual means. As many SD cards come with locking buttons on their left edges, make sure you slide the button up to change the lock position. If the switch is slid downwards, the SD card is locked. Don't confuse the two.

unlock sd card manually

Solution 2: Unlock SD Card With CMD in Windows 11/10/8/7

If your phone or camera displays the message warning that the disk is write protected, you need to unblock it with the help of CMD. This method works well for annoying locked SD card issues.

Step 1. First, insert your blocked SD card into a suitable card reader and then connect it to your computer.

Step 2. Now press the combination of Windows key and R to open the Run box. On this dialog box, select or enter "CMD command" and press "OK" to open the administrator CMD command prompt.

If you are using Windows 8, you will have to press the Windows key plus S and then enter the "CMD command" in the dialog box. Right-click on the result and choose "Run as admin".

Step 3. When the CMD opens, first type the word "diskpart" and press Enter. Again enter the command "list disk" and press Enter. You should then see the disks available on your computer listed alongside information like disk number, size, and free space.

Step 4. Now enter the command "select disk @" where @ stands for the disk number. Press the Enter key. Finally, enter the command "attributes disk clear readonly" and press Enter to clear disk attributes and unlock the SD card.

unlock sd card with cmd

Solution 3: Unlock SD Card on Mac

If you are using Mac, you can first check the SD card information in order to remove the restriction. Make sure that the permission is not chosen as "Read only". If so, remember to change it to "Read & Write".

If otherwise there is nothing wrong with the SD card's read and write permission, then it is locked probably due to some error. In the case, we can fix the issue with Disk Utility.

Step 1. Navigate to the Spotlight. Enter the word "Disk Utility" in this search bar and then double-click to open it.

Step 2. Here, select the SD card and then click the "First Aid" button at the top. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the error fixing process.

first aid disk utility

Part 2: Recover Photos/Files From Locked SD Card

If your SD card is locked, you might get extremely worried about the data stored it. Don’t worry though, you can make it with help of a perfect data recovery tool -  AnyRecover. This great file recovery program allows users to retrieve over 1000 different kinds of files across diverse media, including a locked SD card.

AnyRecover deleted file recovery tool


Features of AnyRecover

  • Recover photos or any other lost files from any storage device irrespective of the data loss situation.

  • High recovery rate and fast scanning speed ensure smooth performance.

  • Preview and selective recovery function are well-supported for convenient use.

  • Recover your data without overwriting the original data. It's 100% safe to use.

  • Super easy operating steps. Only a few simple clicks is needed.

  • Free trial is available and every user can scan, preview and recover 8 files for free.

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Steps to recover photos/files from a locked SD card using AnyRecover

Step 1. First, open AnyRecover on your computer and insert the SD card that you want to retrieve photos/files from, then select it and click "Start".

select location

Step 2. The program will immediately commence scanning your SD card for files. With the deep and all-around scan, the target photos/files will be displayed in their respective file type categories when it is completed.

scan files

Step 3. Preview the photos/files and choose what you need to recover.

preview and recover

Part 3. Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I recover my photos from SD card after accidental formatting?

When you accidentally format your SD card, there are still chances to get the data back. All you simply need is a suitable file recovery tool. The best of this kind is AnyRecover due to its powerful function, high recovery rate, fast speed, and ease of use.

2. How to unlock memory card in Android with password?

If you used an Android phone to lock your SD card before, you need to decrypt it to unlock it. It is important to note that it is impossible to decrypt the SD card on another phone because encryption algorithms vary with phones. If you used one Android phone to encrypt the SD card, then you have to use the same phone to decrypt it.

In most cases, simply insert the SD card into the Android phone, go to the settings tab, find the option concerning decrypting SD card, and enter the password if prompted.


This article has showered you with plenty of plausible ways to recover photos/files from a locked SD card, and it is time to put locked SD card recovery issues to rest. You might need to try a suitable method based on your own issue because not all these methods would work for you. However, one thing is for sure - AnyRecover is a universally applicable option and will never let any user down.

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By Scott Tarmey , to Hard Drive Recovery

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

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