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    Photo Repair

    How To Repair Corrupt RAW Files on Mac?

    Table of Content

      Summary: RAW image files are popular among photographers for their stunning details and color range. But file corruption can badly mess up these pristine photos. Read this blog to learn how to repair corrupt RAW files on Mac.

      “I took about 100 shots in RAW format using my Nikon D500 on a 4GB SD card. The pictures were fine on camera. But when I tried to see the NRF files on my Mac after transfer, some showed a blank screen. Why can’t I view the pictures in the program?”

      The RAW file format is popular among photographers for all the right reasons. These uncompressed images are minimally processed and contain more data than the traditional JPEG files. This allows for smooth compression, editing, or conversion into other image file formats in a lossless manner.

      Photographers can easily adjust RAW image data in image-editing software for brightness, contrast, color balance, exposure, etc. without changing the image. Such images offer great detail, a wide color range, and greater control over adjustments.

      Hence losing such files to corruption can lead to a great deal of frustration. There have been reports of users experiencing issues after taking photos in RAW mode on their cameras and later transferring them to a Mac. When they attempt to edit these images in the Photos app, the photos become corrupt.

      Symptoms of RAW File Corruption

      Look out for these symptoms of RAW file corruption on Mac:

      • RAW files do not preview or open on your Mac.
      • They show abnormal file size.
      • They contain greyed-out or blank spots.
      • They are rendered blurry or pixelated.

      In this blog post, we have compiled a list of solutions you can use to restore your RAW files from corruption. The solutions mentioned here are specifically directed at Mac users, so let’s look at some common symptoms of RAW file corruption on Mac.

      How Do RAW Files Get Corrupted?

      There can be many reasons why RAW files get corrupted, but here’s a list of the most prominent ones:

      • Presence of virus or malware on your storage media.
      • Incorrect SD card ejection.
      • Interruption during download or transfer.
      • Shooting images with a low camera battery.
      • Shooting images with low storage space on an SD card.
      • The system crashes during transfer or while the SD card is still mounted.

      Methods to Repair Corrupted RAW Files on Mac

      The quickest and most straightforward way to fix corrupted RAW files on Mac is to use a professional photo repair softwareStellar Repair for Photo. The software is specifically designed to repair NEF, ARW, BAY, DNG, ORF, SR2, and other RAW formats with corrupt headers and data, invalid file structures or markers, missing SOS markers, etc. It extracts the embedded thumbnails of severely corrupt photos without losing any visual fidelity and converts your unreadable image files to a readable state.

      Method 1: Repair Corrupt RAW Files Using Stellar Repair for Photo

      Step 1: Download, install, and launch Stellar Repair for Photo on your Mac.

      Launch Stellar Repair for Photo

      Step 2: Next, click Add File to add corrupt RAW photos you want to repair.

      Click Add File

      Step 3: After adding the files, click Repair to start the process.

      Click Repair

      Step 4: After the RAW images are repaired, Preview the repaired images and click Save Repaired Files to move them to a desired location.

      Preview and click Save Repaired Files

      Method 2: Repair Corrupt RAW Files Using Apple Photo Repair Tool

      Certain issues with the photo library on Mac can corrupt the RAW files stored on it. We recommend using Apple’s image repair tool to fix this issue. This tool can swiftly detect and resolve issues within the Photos app. Follow the steps below to use the Apple Photo Repair tool:

      Step 1: First, open the Photos app on your Mac and exit it.

      Step 2: Press and hold the Command and Options keys together.

      Step 3: Next, select the photo thumbnails you want to repair.

      Step 4: Finally, click Repair to start fixing the images.

      Click Repair to start the process.

      Depending on the image file number and size, the process may take some time. You can read here to learn more about how to repair photos library in detail. Lastly, check if your files are repaired, if not, try the next method listed below.

      Method 3: Repair Corrupt RAW Files by Reducing Noise

      Another method of fixing corrupt RAW images is minimizing noise from them using noise reduction plugins. Plugins such as Topaz DeNoise, Skylum Luminar, Affinity, Noise Ninja, etc., are specifically designed for this purpose. The only bottom line is you need a certain level of technical expertise to use them effectively.

      Method 4: Repair Corrupt RAW Files Using Photo Editing Software

      You can also use image editing software to fix corrupt RAW files. Software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can help you reduce noise from the images and fix grain, spots, and other color-related issues with your corrupt RAW files.

      Image editing software can also help convert corrupted RAW files to other formats, making them readable on Mac. And while you are at it, you must learn how to avoid common photo editing mistakes.  

      Better Safe Than Sorry: Best Practices to Avoid RAW File Corruption

      Now that I have outlined the workable solutions to repair corrupt RAW files on Mac, let me share some valuable tips that will help you avoid getting RAW files corrupted in the future:

      • Only use SD cards from a reputed brand.
      • Ensure there is enough free space on your storage media.
      • Avoid using the camera when the battery is low.
      • Ensure safe mounting and unmounting of SD card.
      • Ensure there is enough space on the SD card while shooting.
      • Ensure the connection is stable when transferring or downloading RAW files on Mac.

      Summing Up

      RAW files often get corrupted on Mac when editing them in the Photos app. But you can still fix them. After reading this guide, you’re better equipped to deal with this issue in the future. But if you still find corrupted RAW images on Mac that need repair, we recommend you use a professional photo repair software –Stellar Repair for Photo. It will save you much time and hassle of going through other complex methods that require considerable technical expertise.


      Q. Why can’t I open RAW files on my Mac?

      A. Find the RAW file using Finder, then right-click and choose Open With > Preview. If the file isn’t opening, it’s likely due to the unsupported RAW format in your macOS version. Try updating macOS or opt for a third-party app.

      Q. How do you convert Raw files on Mac?

      A. To convert RAW files on Mac using Preview:

      1. Right-click on the RAW image icons to open them in Preview.

      2. Select all the images and go to File > Export Selected Images.

      3. From the options, select JPEG format and hit Choose.

      Q. How do I edit RAW files on Mac?

      A. To edit RAW files on Mac:

      1. Double-click on the image to open it.

      2. Then select the Edit button in the toolbar.

      3. Finally, select Image > Reprocess RAW.

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      About The Author

      Rishabh Singh

      "Rishabh is a senior content specialist at Stellar Information technology where he writes about data care technology. As a technology writer and marketer with over five years of experience, he has covered frontier technologies like AR/VR, IOT, AI, Blockchain and more. Outside of his professional pursuits, he loves reading fiction and critical theory."


      1. I had lost 3GB of data on a corrupt file that will take from my Gopro camera. I need to figure out a way to fix it. Any suggestion would be appreciated!

        1. Hi Alison, I would suggest you can try our software demo version and see the preview of repaired file. Thanks!

      2. Hi Sumona, I had couple of corrupted CR2 files, I’m travel photographer and have various states pictures. I didn’t know reason of corruption? I just want to know that your program will works on CR2 Files? Any suggestion would be appreciated!

      3. I had a several corrupted files in my Canon 5d camera SD card. Some of files I deleted during shooting. I used your software it’s helpful for me but some of images still corrupted 80/100. How can fix it? Please help!

        1. Hi Adrian, if the repaired file won’t open it means these files severely corrupted or damaged or it can’t be repaired. For more information, you can contact our support team through email support[@] or call at +1-877-778-6087.

      4. I had also struggling with corrupt raw files, I have formatted my SD card and having same issue. Jpg doesn’t have this issue but I would prefer to edit in raw. I used Sony 128 GB memory card on my Mac. Please help..

        1. Hi Andrew, There may be the reason behind your storage or media drive have a virus, abrupt system shutdown. As we discuss in our blog, you can try our software demo version and fix your corrupt raw files. Thanks!

      5. I had the same issue and didn’t get the success to fix corrupt raw images. I just returned from my holiday and I used a SanDisk and Lexar SD card using Nikon DSLR. When I checked the images found corrupted. I didn’t know what causes this? Any suggestion would be appreciated!

        1. Hi Laurie, I would like to suggest you can try our software demo version and see the preview of the repaired file. For more information, you can contact our support through email support[@] or call +1-877-778-6087. Thanks!

      6. I had a same issue when I returned home almost 2 months holiday trip to Europe. As you can imagine, I was captured all sorts of wonderful sights i used two cameras of Fuji Xt30 and X-T2. I used mixed SanDisk and Lexar SD card all images in .mov files corrupt on my mac when I open all of which return unreadable. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

        1. Hi Bob, I would like to suggest, you can try our software demo version and see the preview of the repair files. Thanks!

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