How to import photos from an SD card


Someone recently handed me some photos on an SD card.  Importing them was easy – the macbook has an SD card  port that I had not even noticed before.  I could plug the SD-card straight in!

The little slot in the diagram above, between the headphone port and the USB port, is an SD-card slot.

I grabbed the SD Card (it came out of a Canon EOS camera) and put it in this port. Photos app opened automatically and asked if I wanted to import the photos.


I did not want these pictures in my Photos app because they were for a special purpose. So I closed the Photos app and went looking for the pictures.

This is how you can find them:

Open up any window in finder. (For example click on a folder, or select “File” and “New Finder Window”)



You should see a list of folders, and down the bottom under ‘Devices’ you can see your SD card! (If you can’t see a side pane on the left of the window, go to ‘View’ and select ‘Show Sidebar’)

In this case my SD drive is called “SD MEMORY”

Click on your SD drive to look at the contents of the drive.


Now on a Canon card the Photos are in the folder called DCIM.

If you have a different camera and are unsure of where to find them, go ‘View’, ‘Show View Options’ then click the box that says ‘calculate all sizes’. This will show you the size of the folders, and the biggest folder will be the one with the photos in it. Otherwise you can just go looking!

Inside the ‘DCIM’ folder are 3 more folders:


The photos were in the folder called ‘100CANON’


Finally – the photos!

You can just drag and drop these across to your computer now just like you would copy any normal file.



5 responses to “How to import photos from an SD card”

  1. erik fierens

    my mac is an I mac, not a mac book!-> got no such port…

  2. erik fierens

    there is goddammit no slot like this on the simple I Mac you nerds sold me!

  3. Susan McCully

    I forgot to select “import” after getting my photos from my SD card. I left iPhotos and when I came back, the photos were no longer available to import. Now I’ve formatted that card. Is there any way those photos are still in my computer?

    1. There is no way those photos are on your computer if they were not imported. But there is a possibility that they may be still recoverable from the SD card – especially if you have not taken any photos on it since you have formatted it. If all you have done is format the card then the photos will probably still be there, but if you have taken new photos on the card they will have overwritten the old ones.

      The way to check this is to either take it into some local person who specialises in data recovery, or buy some software to do it.

      I have used some software on my Mac to Rescue files from a damaged hard drive and it worked, it was called “data rescue 3” by “pro-soft engineering.” They also make some software called “photo rescue.” It might be worth a try but I have not tried it.

      Let me know how you go!

  4. Vicki Wells

    THANK you SO Much! I have been working on trying to import photos from my Canon to my iMac for days via Canon and other Mac instructions. THIS is how I thought it SHOULD be!!

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