How to Recover Photos & Videos from a Formatted SD Card

In today’s digital age, losing precious memories stored on SD cards can be a nightmare. Accidental formatting is one of the most common causes of data loss. Fortunately, with the right tools and techniques, you can recover photos and videos from a formatted SD card. 

This guide will walk you through the process of SD card data recovery and the importance of professional data recovery services.

Understanding the Basics of SD Card Formatting

When you format an SD card, the data isn’t immediately erased. Instead, the file system marks the space as available for new data. Until new data overwrites the old data, it’s possible to recover the lost files. However, this process can be tricky and requires specific tools and expertise.

Immediate Steps After Formatting

  1. Stop Using the SD Card: The moment you realize the SD card has been formatted, stop using it immediately. Continuing to use the card can result in new data overwriting the old files, making recovery impossible.
  2. Don’t Save New Data: Avoid saving new photos or videos to the SD card. The more you write new data, the less likely you can recover the old data.

Tools for SD Card Data Recovery

Several software tools can help you recover photos and videos from a formatted SD card. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  1. Recuva: This free tool is user-friendly and effective in recovering a wide range of file types, including photos and videos. It works well with various storage devices, including SD cards.
  2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard: Known for its powerful recovery capabilities, EaseUS can recover data from formatted SD cards with a high success rate. It offers a free version with limited features and a paid version for more extensive recovery options.
  3. Disk Drill: Disk Drill is another excellent option for SD card data recovery. It supports various file systems and offers a user-friendly interface.
  4. Photorec: This open-source tool specializes in recovering photos and videos. While it may not have the most polished interface, it’s highly effective and supports a wide range of file formats.

Steps to Recover Photos and Videos

Using Recuva:

  1. Download and Install Recuva: Visit the official website, download the software, and install it on your computer.
  2. Connect the SD Card: Use a card reader to connect your SD card to the computer.
  3. Launch Recuva: Open the software and select the type of files you want to recover. In this case, choose photos and videos.
  4. Scan the SD Card: Select the SD card from the list of available drives and start the scan. Recuva will search for recoverable files.
  5. Preview and Recover: Once the scan is complete, preview the files to ensure they are intact. Select the photos and videos you want to recover and save them to a different storage location.

When to Seek Professional Data Recovery Services

While DIY software tools can be effective, there are instances where professional data recovery services are necessary. Here are some scenarios where you should consider seeking expert help:

  1. Physical Damage: If the SD card has physical damage, such as a broken connector or water damage, professional services are your best bet. Attempting DIY recovery in such cases can worsen the damage.
  2. Failed DIY Attempts: If you’ve tried multiple software tools and still can’t recover your data, it’s time to consult professionals. They have advanced tools and techniques to recover data that DIY software can’t.
  3. Critical Data: If the lost data is of high importance, such as wedding photos or crucial work videos, don’t take any risks. Professional data recovery services offer the highest chances of successful recovery.

Choosing the Right Data Recovery Service

When selecting a data recovery service, consider the following factors:

  1. Reputation: Look for companies with a solid reputation and positive customer reviews. A good track record indicates reliability and expertise.
  2. Experience: Choose a service with extensive experience in SD card data recovery. Experienced professionals are more likely to recover your data successfully.
  3. Cost: While cost shouldn’t be the only factor, it’s essential to find a service that offers transparent pricing. Avoid companies with hidden fees or those that charge excessively high rates.
  4. Data Security: Ensure the company follows strict data security protocols. Your data should be handled with utmost confidentiality and care.

Preventing Future Data Loss

While recovering your photos and videos is crucial, taking steps to prevent future data loss is equally important. Here are some tips:

  1. Regular Backups: Regularly back up your data to multiple storage devices or cloud services. This ensures you have copies of your data in case of accidental formatting or other issues.
  2. Handle with Care: Handle your SD cards with care. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures, water, or physical damage.
  3. Use Reliable Devices: Invest in high-quality SD cards from reputable brands. Cheap, low-quality cards are more prone to failure and data loss.
  4. Avoid Frequent Formatting: Only format your SD card when necessary. Frequent formatting can increase the risk of data loss.


Recovering photos and videos from a formatted SD card is possible with the right tools and techniques. While DIY software tools can be effective, professional data recovery services offer the highest chances of successful recovery, especially in cases of physical damage or critical data. By taking preventative measures, you can minimize the risk of future data loss and ensure your precious memories remain safe.