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Overheating SD Cards and microSD Cards: Causes and Solutions

December 18, 2023

While SD, microSD, and related formats are generally reliable, no storage device is perfect. One common cause of data loss is overheating — or, rather, damage to the components of the card caused by overheating.

Heat issues are often caused by the card reader, not by the card itself. SD card sockets may short; if this is the case, the only solution is to read the card in another device. We recommend paying extra for SD card readers from well-known manufacturers. While cheap USB card readers are available, they’re more susceptible to the shoddy engineering that allows for shorts.

SD and microSD cards may also overheat due to physical damage. If the card has a crack — even a hairline crack that’s barely visible — the damage needs to be treated in a professional data recovery lab. 

If your SD or microSD card has any signs of physical damage, do not attempt to read the card in another computer or with another card reader. This could cause permanent data loss. provides full repair and recovery services for all SD technologies, and with real laboratories at every location, we’re ready to help. Call 1-800-237-4200 or get a risk-free price quote online.

Why does physical damage cause SD cards to overheat?

When an SD card is damaged, there’s a good chance that the contacts inside of the card are also damaged, or that they’re shorting. 

Generally, though, the chip that actually stores the data will remain intact — and the card may still be temporarily readable, though it may build up excess heat during the read process. 

The cost of professional data recovery will be much lower if you can provide the SD card to the engineers in this state. If the contacts “melt” to the point that they’re no longer reading the memory chip, the chip will need to be removed and read separately. This is an intensive process that requires specialized equipment, so it’s often fairly expensive.

Related: Why Did My SD Card Fail?

Can a camera cause an SD card to overheat?

SanDisk 1TB microSD card, designed for professional applications.

Yes. Many professional cameras have modes that take a large number of pictures quickly. Generally, the camera will store this data in some onboard RAM before writing it to the SD card — but writing a large amount of data very quickly can certainly cause heat issues.

This is particularly the case if the SD card isn’t designed for professional use. The hardware (in this case, the camera) may force data transfer rates at higher speeds than the SD card’s rating. If the hardware fails to vent the excess heat, you’ll get damage to the card’s contacts.

Standard SD cards have an operating range of around -25C to 85 Celsius (-13 to 185 Fahrenheit). Quickly writing data could push the card above this limit, depending on the engineering of the camera.

High-endurance microSD and SD cards have a wider range of operating temperatures, and some have additional features that limit the potential for data loss (for example, water resistance). 

Trust the leaders in SD card data recovery. provides transparent pricing, a no data, no charge guarantee, and full support for all solid-state storage technologies including SD, microSD, microSDHC, and micro SDXC. 

To learn more, call 1-800-237-4200 to speak with an expert or schedule an evaluation online.