Best SD Card for MacBook Air and Pro

Most of us are aware of the frustration that a MacBook running out of space causes. Let’s take a look at the Best SD Card for MacBook Air and Pro.

The cloud is more and more part of our daily lives but transferring the data to the cloud and hard drives are many times not the best solutions.

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You might have considered buying a new MacBook but that’s of course not very feasible for everyone. But guess what? Buying a new MacBook is not the only possible solution to your storage problems.

In this article, you’ll learn how to take advantage of your MacBook Air SD Card slot, the same applies for the MacBook Pro.

Best SD Card for MacBook Air and Pro

You want to know what is the best SD card MacBook Pro 2015, MacBook Air and many others?

In this article, we’ll see how you can add an SD Card in MacBook Air or an SD Card into MacBook Pro.

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We’re providing a list with the best adapters for each MacBook laptop by model and year, to make things easier for you:

Upgrading your MacBook storage: the options

In this article, we will specifically talk about MacBook storage upgrading options!

You have two options to upgrade your storage capacity. If you’re confused about what’s best for your MacBook, this buying guide will clear all your confusion and help you make the ideal decision given your needs.

First, we could consider using a regular SD card on your SD card reader on MacBook Pro and Air. Although it’s possible, the slot is small and part of the SD card will be left out of your MacBook’s case limits. That’s a big no-no if you want to expand your storage permanently.

Secondly, upgrading your SSD drive is very expensive, difficult or time-consuming.

Two types of SD Cards alternatives

Keeping in mind the whole experience, we’ll explore other options. These are the ones I suggest:

  • Buying a card which is designed specifically for the MacBook;
  • Alternatively, we can buy an SD card adapter for MacBook Air and Pro which fits the notebook’s slot size and has itself a slot to insert a common micro SD Card.

In this article, we’ll go over cards ready to plug and play and also adapters which do not contain memory. If you opt for an adapter without memory, by the end of the article we’ll go over various SD Cards which you can use, according to your needs.

Getting this kind of MacBook Air Memory Card slot adapter can make a huge difference. The same goes for the MacBook Pro, of course.

Let’s find out the best SDXC Card for MacBook Air and Pro.

Upgrade options for your MacBook Air and Pro

The huge issue with expanding your storage is having many options to choose from and the best one for the specific use or application which is at the top of our priority list.

So we have provided a solution for you by listing main features along with the pros and cons of each product for you to find a suitable SD card adapter for MacBook Pro and Air.

Product comparison table:

Product Capacity Built-In
Memory
Model Compatibility
Transcend JetDrive Lite 130 64GB, 128GB or 256GB Yes MacBook Air 13” (2010 – 2017)
Transcend JetDrive Lite 330 64GB, 128GB or 256GB Yes MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)
Transcend JetDrive Lite 350 64GB, 128GB or 256GB Yes MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (Mid 2012 – Early 2013)
Transcend JetDrive Lite 360 64GB, 128GB or 256GB Yes MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (Late 2013 – Mid 2015)
8MOBILITY iSlice (MPR13A) Up to 256GB No MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)
TarDisk 256GB (A13A) 128GB or 256GB Yes MacBook Air 13″ (2010 – 2017)
TarDisk 256GB (R13A) 128GB or 256GB Yes MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)
TarDisk 256GB (R13X) 256GB Yes MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)
TarDisk 256GB (R15B) 256GB Yes MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (Late 2013 – Mid 2015)
BASEQI (103A) Up to 1TB No MacBook Air 13″(2010 – 2017) and MacBook Pro 13″/15″ (Non-Retina)
BASEQI (303A) Up to 256GB No MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)
BASEQI (503A) Up to 1TB No MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (Mid 2012 – Early 2013)
BASEQI (504A) Up to 256GB No MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (Late 2013 – Mid 2015)
Nifty MiniDrive Pro Up to 200GB No MacBook Pro 13″/15″ (Non-Retina), Pro Retina 15″ (late 2013)
Nifty MiniDrive Retina 15″ Up to 200GB No MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (late 2013 – onwards)

 

All of the reviewed adapters fit flush into your MacBook, pairing with its design and without protruding from its body. You just need to choose the right one to fit your MacBook Air or Pro model from one of the available manufacturers.

Also, some brands include flash memory integrated into their adapters, available in a range of storage capacity. Others just don’t include memory and you need to buy a separate memory card which you’ll insert into the adapter.

Let’s take a look at what those brands have to offer.

Transcend products

Product Image Product Name and Compatibility
Transcend JetDrive Lite 130

Designed for MacBook Air 13” (2010 – 2017)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

Transcend JetDrive Lite 330

Designed for MacBook Pro with Retina display 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

Transcend JetDrive Lite 350

Designed for MacBook Pro with Retina display 15″ (Mid 2012 – Early 2013)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

Transcend JetDrive Lite 360

Designed for MacBook Pro with Retina display 15″ (Late 2013 – Mid 2015)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

Transcend is an established manufacturer, well known for producing memory cards and other media support. With the JetDrive Lite models, this brand provides a range of expansion cards that can be inserted easily in the memory card slot for instant use with a flush fit, offering seamless integration with your MacBook.

Transcend includes flash memory in all of their MacBook adapters, offering the right solution for you. Its JetMemory modules are fully compatible with MacBook, and offer up to 128GB of expanded capacity.

They offer great quality NAND flash memory cells and can achieve read speeds of up to 95MB/s and write speeds of up to 55MB/s.

Also, these chips are manufactured using advanced COB (chip-on-board) technology, making them water, dust, and shock-resistant.

It is an excellent way to boost the performance of your Mac laptop and it’s very easy to install. You simply need to insert the JetDrive card into the card reader of your MacBook and immediately boost your storage capacity.

PROS:
  • Easy installation
  • Includes flash memory (up to 128GB)
  • Water, dust, and shock-resistant

CONS:
  • None to state

8MOBILITY iSlice (MPR13A)

Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!

8Mobility offers this MPR13A adapter which is specially tailored for your MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015).

It fits flush your laptop without protruding and matches the color of your MacBook. Also, it’s easily removable with your fingernail or using a credit card or paper clip.

With this adapter, you can expand your MacBook Pro Retina 13″ storage up to an additional 256GB. Bear in mind it is just the adapter without flash memory integrated. You’ll have to buy a separate microSD card for it.

PROS:
  • Easy installation and removal
  • Supports microSD cards up to 128GB

CONS:
  • Doesn’t include flash memory. You need to buy an SD card separately

TarDisk products

Product Image Product Name and Compatibility
TarDisk 256GB (A13A)

Designed for MacBook Air 13″ (2010 – 2017)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

TarDisk 256GB (R13A)

Designed for Macbook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

TarDisk 256GB (R13X)

Designed for MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

TarDisk 256GB (R15B)

Designed for MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (Late 2013 – Early 2015)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

TarDisk offers a wide range of models, granting a flush, seamless integration into your MacBook’s SD card slot. There is a different available TarDisk adapter for each MacBook model. You just need to pick the compatible one.

Also, the installation is quick and easy. You just need to connect SD card to MacBook Pro or Macbook Air and it’s ready for use.

If features integrated flash memory up to 256GB with precision UniBody Aluminum enclosure. It is cut from a single block of aluminum, its enclosure adds rigidity, helps in heating dissipation,  and features a near-perfect color matching.

All of these cards electrical contacts were immersed in 14kt gold for more accurate and reliable data transfer. Also, TarDisk is water-proof, temperature-proof (-13°F to 185°F), shock-proof (500Gs), immune to airport X-rays, and magnet-proof (3000 Gauss).

In the market for the fastest SD card for MacBook Pro and Air? The write speed value throughout the range is also a great attribute of this manufacturer. TardDisk offers fast SD card for MacBook Pro and Air.

PROS:
  • Includes flash memory (up to 256GB)
  • Above-average write speeds
  • Water, temperature and shock-proof

CONS:
  • None to state

BASEQI products

Product Image Product Name and Compatibility
BASEQI (103A)
Designed for MacBook Air 13” (2010 – 2017) and MacBook Pro 13″/15″ (Non-Retina)(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)
BASEQI (303A)
Designed for MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (Late 2012 – Early 2015)(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)
BASEQI (503A)
Designed for MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (Mid 2012 – Early 2013)(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)
BASEQI (504A)
Designed for MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (Late 2013 – Mid 2015)(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

This brand also offers a wide range of adapters that seamlessly integrate into your Macbook, keeping its aesthetic. With these, your SD card flush with MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

They’re made from aluminum and perfectly match the color of the MacBook they’re designed for.  No tool is needed to eject the card, just the fingernail.

These adapters don’t include any flash memory, you need to buy an SD card separately.

BASEQI (103A) and BASEQI (503A) support up to 1TB SD cards while BASEQI (303A) and BASEQI (504A) support up to 256GB.

PROS:
  • Easy installation and removal with just a fingernail

CONS:
  • Doesn’t include flash memory. You need to buy an SD card separately

Nifty products

Product Image Product Name and Compatibility
Nifty MiniDrive Pro

Designed for MacBook Pro 13″/15″ (Non-Retina), Pro Retina 15″ (late 2013)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

Nifty MiniDrive Retina 15″

Designed for MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (late 2013 – onwards)

(Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!)

Nifty adapters feature a hand-polished aluminum front that is color-matched to your MacBook. Made from high-grade aluminum to ensure the fit and finish matches your MacBook.

It is very easy to eject from your laptop. You just have to stick a finger or a paper-clip through the specially designed eyelet at the front of the device to pull it out.

Have in mind those are just adapters without flash memory included! You have to buy a separate SD card for storage. It is compatible with any brand microSD card (up to UHS-I only).

Nifty MiniDrive Pro

Designed for MacBook Pro 13″/15″ (Non-Retina), Pro Retina 15″ (late 2013)

Nifty MiniDrive Retina 15″

Designed for MacBook Pro Retina 15″ (late 2013 – onwards)

PROS:
  • Nice aluminum material matching the MacBook
  • Very easy to eject

CONS:
  • Doesn’t include flash memory. You need to buy an SD card separately

Best SD Cards to use in your adapter

Some of the suggested adapters you’ve just read about don’t include memory. If you choose one of those you also need an SD Card.

We’ve also only considered micro SD Cards because they have the smallest form and you can easily use their bigger forms with adapters.

Let’s see some great choices on the best SDXC Card for MacBook Air and Pro for extending your storage space.

64GB and 128GB SD Cards

You’re seeing these two memory sizes together for a simple reason: we don’t recommend them.

These days if you’re in need of extra space it’s quite easy to use up 64GB or 128GB in a few months. What happens then? You have to spend money again to replace them with a bigger card. Not only you spend more money but you will also have to move the files from the smaller card to the bigger one.

For that reason, we don’t recommend SD Cards for MacBook Air or Pro with this storage size.

But if you’re absolutely sure that you need a lot less space than 64GB or 128GB, by all means, go ahead. There are a few good options:


Click the images to check the price on Amazon now!

256GB SD Cards

Now we get to our recommendation for most people.

You’re expanding your storage because you want to end your days of worrying about space. Most likely, 256GB will be enough.

Check out these options:


Click the images to check the price on Amazon now!

Are you thinking that 256GB just won’t do it? Or that it might be enough but then it might not?

If you want a safer bet for the future, let’s head on the 512GB SD Cards.

400GB to 512GB SD Cards

We’re getting to a level that is usually reserved for more demanding users. With these SD cards for MacBook Air and Pro you won’t run out of space easily.

If you work with larger files or have large libraries of high-resolution photos, these are our recommendations:

Click the images to check the price on Amazon now!

1TB SD Cards

Bear in mind that the adapters mentioned didn’t support 1TB SD Cards as this article was written. If in the future they get an upgrade and 512GB just doesn’t cut it for you, this is our 1TB SD Card suggestion:


Click the image to check the price on Amazon now!

Massive options: 2TB or 4TB SSD’s

If that still isn’t enough for you then we have another suggestion, but it’s just not an SD Card.

Replace your SSD for a 2TB or 4TB unit. You’ll not only get the massive storage you’re looking for but also with the added benefits of SSD’s lightning speeds.

2 TB Units:

Click the images to check the price on Amazon now!

4 TB Units:


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Like mentioned before, if you need storage space but don’t mind using an external unit, check out great external SSD options.

Wrap-up

Upgrading your SSD is probably the best option if you’re looking for massive storage at the fastest speeds. But you might want a simple alternative that can be working in a few minutes.

Using the products suggested in this article you can upgrade your storage in a lot easier, simpler and cheaper way than going for a new SSD. Especially if you’re not a tech expert. And these options perform really well.

If you need a permanent upgrade and merged storage, and you’re willing to lose your SD card slot then TarDisk is what you should consider. This way you will convert your SD card to MacBook Pro and Air permanent storage.

Do check out our review on the MacBook Air 11.6 Laptop.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why is it important to use a flush fit SD card adaptor for MacBook Air and Pro?

If you need to have something semi-permanent attached to your laptop – like an SD card playing the role of providing extra storage – it is important that it does not protrude from its chassis. Not only for a matter of aesthetics but also not to compromise its portability and usability.

If there is some protrusion, you can easily damage both the SD card as well as the SD card reader in MacBook Pro or Air.

Is there an SD card slot on MacBook Air?

It depends on the year. Every MacBook Air features an SD card slot until 2018.

Where is the SD card slot on MacBook Air?

The built-in SD card reader on the MacBook Air can be found in the form of a thin slot located on the right side, near the USB port. After 2018, there is no SD card slot present.

Where is the SD card reader on MacBook Pro?

The MacBook Pro laptop comes with a built-in SD card reader so you can insert and use compatible SD cards. It is a thin slot located on the left side of the MacBook Pro until 2013. In 2013 and later models you can find it on the right side. Bear in mind that there is no SD card slot on MacBook Pro after 2017.

How to use SD card reader on MacBook Pro and Air?

It’s very straightforward. First, locate the SD card reader slot on your MacBook, depending on the model, as explained above. Then you just have to gently insert a compatible memory card into MacBook Pro or Air making sure the metal contacts of the card are facing down. The SD card appears as a “Removable Disk” on your desktop.

What is the MacBook Air SD card slot speed? And what about the Pro?

MacBooks use the USB bus to communicate with the SD card slot. They have a maximum speed of up to 480Mbit/s which is roughly 60 Megabytes per second. It’s a fairly fast SD card reader.

My MacBook Air SD card reader not working, how can I solve it?

Start by checking the contacts on the SD card. Use a clean pencil eraser and lightly rub the gold contacts. They won’t work as they should if there is any dust.

Sometimes, the switch present in the Mac Air SD card slot that detects when a card is inserted gets clogged by dust or jammed, resulting in not recognizing the card. Use a toothpick to carefully clean or toggle the switch.

If none of those work, try to insert the SD card at an angle. Try restarting the laptop and also try another SD card.

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