New MacBook Pros reportedly having issues reading some SD cards

MacBook Pro 16-inch ports shown including SD card slot
(Image credit: Future)

New MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch laptops are reportedly having some problems when using SD cards.

This comes from MacRumors, whose readers have recently been posting on the site’s forum to air their difficulties when using some SD cards with these MacBook Pro models.

Note that it is just some cards which are affected, far from all of them, and the gremlins encountered differ, and include the card failing to be read at all, or perhaps merely suffering from sluggish transfer speeds. There doesn’t appear to be anything in common between the types and models of affected SD cards.

One reader writes: “I have tried 9 SD cards. When using the MBP [MacBook Pro] SD slot 6 work and 3 do not. All work when used with the Apple USB-C SD reader. For some reason the dongle is better than the new MBP slot. The 3 that the MBP cannot read are 128GB cards. The ones that it can read are 64GB.”

Another joins in: “Same problem here (new 16 inch MacBook Pro). Using older Sandisk 64GB and Panasonic GH5s the built in SD reader is slow as molasses, often fails. With USB-C dongle SD reader, the card works perfectly.”

And another reader notes: “My 32GB Sandisks (2 of them) worked, albeit slow as molasses on a cold day. My 64GB Sandisk works like lightning. Dumped the 32GB Sandisks for 2 more of the 64GB variety and the SD cards all work like a champ. Gotta be a software issue hiding in here somewhere.”

The original thread is now nine pages long, so it seems there are a number of folks experiencing some kind of issues with their MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch portables.

Similar posts can be found on Reddit along the lines of ‘so far, only half my [SD] cards work’.

Analysis: Software bug, maybe – and one that’s already fixed in testing?

The general theory of what might be the problem – and remember, this is just guesswork from those affected – is that it could be a software bug in macOS Monterey, which seems like a possibility, certainly. And better than the potential alternative that there’s some very odd flaw with the actual SD card slot itself.

Of course, we must remember that these are just reported issues at this stage, but there seems to be quite a lot of them across various online forums, so you’d imagine that this is something Apple will be looking into.

There’s one bright spot here, though, namely one contributor to the MacRumors thread observing that they just updated to macOS 12.1 beta 4, and SD cards which were previously problematic are now working fine, suggesting that maybe Apple has already addressed the issue in testing.

They said: “Yep, no issues for me. Tested two drives I had issues with before. Write/read speeds are according to specs for those drives. Looks like they did it. But let’s wait on comments from other folks to celebrate it.”

That’s just a single report, of course, and as the poster notes, it’s certainly too early to celebrate, but this is hopefully a promising sign.

We’ve contacted Apple and asked the company to clarify this matter, and will update this story if we hear back.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).