Best SD card for my MacBook Pro

What is the best SD card for my 14" MacBook Pro M1 Pro?

Despite my MBP’s 1TB SSD, I seem to always be bumping up against the limits of internal storage. I do have a 2TB external SSD, which helps a lot, but it is external and so less convenient for travel. I have never used the SDXC slot on my MBP, and I’m really only vaguely familiar with SD cards in general. In my case, I’d want to get the best-performing and highest-capacity card. Appreciate any advice on specific products, or generally refining my expectations whether this is a viable means to add additional “internal” storage.

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Jeff: Here is a suggestion (a bit unusual). The Transcend JetDrive Lite 330. It comes in 512GB and 1TB sizes. It fits in the MBP SD card slot (and is almost flush, so it can be left in place). I have used both sizes and the 1TB drive is now my Time Machine volume on my MBP16. It is formatted as APFS and it works flawlessly. It has been very reliable - no problems at all. Inexpensive ($99 for the 1TB drive on Amazon now).



That’s an option I was unaware of, thanks.

So trying to educate myself (again SD card novice), I’ve discovered the following:

  • My MBP’s SDXC card slot supports UHS-II cards, which have a theoretical max speed of 321 MB/s.
  • For 1TB of storage, the best UHS-II card I could find was $179, and claimed 270/170 MB/s R/W speeds.
  • However, an inserted SD card sticks out from the slot about 3/4", which looks a little fragile if I want to leave it in when the MBP is stuffed in my backpack.
  • The JetDrive, as you point out, mounts flush. It’s max speed, though, is 95/75 MB/s R/W.
  • I couldn’t find any high-capacity (256GB or more) USB-C flash drives that were even close to flush-mounting, which is too bad because their max theoretical speed (USB 3.2) is 10 GB/s.

So, I guess I have to do some prioritizing. My top priority is the ability to leave whatever I get in the USB-C or SDXC slot without fear of breaking while in my backpack. Second would be “fast enough” data transfer (maybe put my Photos library on there, or maybe videos I want to watch?). Third would be enough capacity (my Photos library, for example, is 100GB). And fourth would be price.

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I was going for convience and something fast enough for Time Machine. It is. It should be fine for your photo library but not best for videos.


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I am no expert, but I picked up somewhere that you could get adapters for MicroSD cards that are near flush. Maybe worth looking into? Hope I am not sending you on a wild goose chase.

This isn’t an SD card, and it needs to be plugged in, but it’s still pretty portable, even compact - and yes, it costs more, but you get much more. Here it is, and see how it can be attached to a Mac if you want to do that.:

I got an OWC Envoy Express and fitted it with a 1 TB OWC Aura P12 Pro (very fast, very easy installation; they also sell these pre-equipped up to 8TB), on which I created 3 volumes, Windows, Stacks (for sundry stuff, no programs), and a bootable clone (which boots nearly as quickly as my Mac).

I know that’s not your need, but just shows what can be done with it. But what you need can be done with it, too, and it’s fast as blazes. Now I have a 1.5 TB MBAir rather than just my built-in 512 GB, at an additional price of €225.00. And if I ever need to have to even more external storage space (I don’t think I will), Aura P12 Pro’s come in up to 8 TB.

I’ve bought a lot of stuff from OWC over the years, always been advised well, and never been disappointed. They also sell memory cards, so you ought to look at those, too.

Indeed. That’s such a logical product that I was surprised to find only one source (BASEQI) out there. $35 seems awfully expensive for a microSD card adapter, but maybe that’s just lack of competition.

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That and the fact that it’s a very limited market. A short adapter like this can not be used in any computer with a full-size SD socket, because it wouldn’t reach all the way to the connectors.

Given the fact that, by its nature, a product like this is going to have a small market, the price needs to be higher so the company can recoup its R&D costs before the product reaches end-of-life.

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Got one of those Transcend JetDrive Lite 360 today and at first couldn’t figure out how to format it with APFS. It comes with exFAT.

In Disk Utility go ERASE
If you then straightaway try to select the desired APFS from the FORMAT menu, you won’t see it offered, not even greyed out. One menu below is SCHEME that must be set to the partition scheme GUID, then open the FORMAT menu and you’ll find APFS offered.
Sounds sort of obvious if you think about the difference between MASTER BOOT RECORD and GUID.

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I ended up getting a JetDrive Lite 330 (thank you @dredfearn). It has worked like a charm for a couple weeks. Photos loves it, and I haven’t had any data transfer speed related issues, despite it testing out at only 90/50 MB/s R/W. However, I restarted my MBP for what was apparently the first time since initially inserting the drive (to install Ventura 13.4.1 (c)), and was disappointed to see the drive was not auto-mounted on reboot. It didn’t even show up in Disk Utility. I had to remove it and re-insert it (no mean feat, since I keep my fingernails trimmed pretty short). But it showed up immediately after that, with no apparent ill effects.

So I guess the question is, any ideas for ensuring it mounts on a restart? Or is there a magic terminal command that would force the Finder or Disk Utility to recognize the card is in fact inserted in the SDXC slot?

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Mine mounts without problem after rebooting. After a system update however the OS will ask for credentials but I think that is due to the fact I am using it for Time Machine. I don’t reboot very often.

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David, can it be used as a startup disk on a OS Ventura M2 Mac, do you think?


David, disregard. R/W speeds way too slow. Sorry to bother you! Lee

That’s what I was going to say! It works fine for situations where R/W performance is not critical. Works fine for Time Machine.

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You can get a SanDisk adapter from Amazon for $4.49. It is the size of a standard SD card and accepts microSD, microSDHC, & microSDXC cards.

You can also get 1TB microSD cards for under $50 from Amazon.

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