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MacBook Pro 2021 models reportedly hit by SD card reader problems

MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) on a patio table
(Image credit: Future)

Owners of the new 14-inch MacBoook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro are reportedly having issues when using the SD card reader. That's according to a long discussion thread seen on the MacRumors forum page.

The SD card reader was one of the most exciting features that made a long-awaited return after six years of absence in the MacBook Pro models. However, it seems like wreaking havoc. 

Multiple users have pointed out that their machines aren't functioning properly when an SD card is inserted. What's curious is that there's little-to-no consistency in the complaints as issues appear to differ depending on certain SD cards. 

"I tried many cards, and could find no pattern of brand, size, type, format, age. Seems to be completely random. The only thing that is consistent is that if a card works, it always works, and if a card does not work properly it never works properly," one user said.

The MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch)

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

Some reports highlight that users are unable to access files, while others discuss "unusually slow transfer speeds." Curiously, one user said that they experienced similar issues with the old MacBook Pro with M1 when using an external USB-C SD card reader.

"Just seems to be super flakey and inconsistent. Half the time it'll recognize the card successfully (though it takes anywhere from 30s to 1m) and half the time it'll throw an error," the user explained. Apparently formatting the card doesn't seem to help and users have specified that their cards "work as expected" with other readers.

Another user reported issues such as constant error messages, slow loading speeds when reading an SD card, and even the Finder tool crashing - all despite using "a fairly new 64GB SD card which had been working fine."

There's also no clarity on what cards seem to work fine and which are problematic. And based on the inconsistency of the reports, it's hard to distinguish what seems to be the primary cause behind all this. However, many users agreed that using an external SD card reader via USB-C seems to be working better than the actual SD card slot in the MacBook Pro.

According to MacRumors, Apple has responded to some of the reported complaints and said that "the company is aware of the issue and that a fix is coming in a future software update." However, at this stage, it's hard to say whether the problem is hardware-related, considering some users were able to fix their issues by replacing their MacBook Pros.

This wouldn't be the first time we're hearing of problems with the new MacBook Pros. Just a week ago, we reported on users having problems with MagSafe charging and external monitor connectivity on their 16-inch MacBook Pros. Hopefully similar issues don't crop up in the rumored 2022 Pro XDR display with custom Apple silicon.

We've reached out to Apple for additional comment and will update this article should we receive a response. In the meantime, if you're considering buying this machine, make sure to take a look at our in-depth 14-inch MacBook Pro review and 16-inch MacBook Pro review for more guidance.

Denise Primbet

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.