Time Machine does not allow the inclusion of an SD Card in a backup. It is automatically listed in the exclusion list and cannot be removed.

Is there any way to force Time Machine to 'see' the SD Card and back it up?

I use a 128gb SD Card as additional storage in my MacBook Air and would like to have the data on it automatically backed up to my Time Capsule.

  • 2
    Is the SD card formatted to the Mac OS (HFS)? It will need to be for Time Machine to consider backing up to it.
    – vcsjones
    Jan 22, 2013 at 17:28
  • @vcsjones great point, I believe it's exFAT but I could try reformatting it to HFS+ to test Jan 22, 2013 at 18:02
  • It's not fixed in Mavericks August 14 though. David
    – user87637
    Aug 13, 2014 at 11:03

4 Answers 4


Three things will need to come together for this to work:

  1. The Filesystem on the SD card needs a .fseventsd hidden directory and the system to track all changes (which typically gets created automagically when you format the card as HFS+) I haven't seen anyone hack Time Machine to back up filesystems that don't register with Apple's file system events API.
  2. Make a test backup once you've gotten the filesystem into one that Time Machine supports. You can then check if /Volumes/SD is included in the files for that backup by inspecting the preferences for that backup
  3. If you need to manually include the system, you can add it by changing either the metadata flag that is causing the item to be skipped or by editing the system exclusion lists.

You will need to pick parts of these two questions and answers to find both the settings for a specific backup as well as where the various system exclusion rules are stored and configured.

In short, it might be easier to use rsync or some other tool to copy the SD card contents to a drive that already is being backed up, but as long as you have total control over the drive and the system, you should be able to bend it to your will and get the SD card to be seen and backed up every time it's present and a backup happens.


Try reformatting the card as a mac file system, its probably formatted as FAT off the shelf.

Also, if you don't mind me asking, why do you need to back up to an SD card? Are they not limited to 64GB? Why not a flash drive?

  • 1
    Not backing up TO SD, rather using SD as additional storage and want that to be backed up via TM Jan 24, 2013 at 1:03

None of this is necessary. Just format the SD Card to Mac and it will automatically include it in your backup. If it doesn't, you will be able to take it off the exclusion list.


Fixed in 10.9 Mavericks. Just tested :)

  • How is your card formatted? Oct 24, 2013 at 17:45

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