You might insert an external hard drive into your Mac, but it won’t show up. Do not panic! You can repair and repair any external hard drive that shows no problem with the Mac. Not sure where to start? We’re here to help.
Make it easy yourself and follow our guide to checking your connections, macOS settings, and, as needed, the external hard drive itself. The external hard drive will then reappear on the Mac. First, let’s see why the external hard drive doesn’t show up.
Why is the External Hard Drive Not Showing up on Mac?
Most of the time, Macs don’t recognize the external hard drive due to hard drive failure and incorrect connections. Other factors can make external hard drives invisible on your Mac.
The reason external hard drives, pens, and SD cards don’t show up on a Mac differs from case to case. You are:
1. The USB cable is damaged.
2. USB port not working.
3. The USB adapter is not working properly.
4. The external hard drive is not formatted properly.
5. Hard disk driver hardware and software need updating.
6. The file system on the external hard drive is damaged.
As a result, you plug in an external hard drive to your Mac, but nothing happens. Mac cannot read your external hard drive. Hard drives do not appear on the desktop or in the Finder. However, that doesn’t mean your Mac won’t recognize the hard drive.
Guide to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing up on Mac
What if your external hard drive isn’t recognized by your Mac? Just follow our step-by-step guide to find and access this external hard drive on your Mac.
Check the connection on the external hard drive
External hard drives such as Buffalo Ministration, WD, Samsung, Seagate, and Lacie connect to Macs using USB cables and connectors. However, if the connection fails, your external device will not appear on the Mac.
If your Mac doesn’t see your external hard drive, use the steps below to make sure the external hard drive is properly connected.
Step 1: Check the power connection
External hard drives require electricity to light, play, and transfer data. If the external hard drive runs out of power, it won’t appear on your Mac. You can do these things to check the power supply.
- For external desktop hard drives such as Seagate Backup Plus and WD Elements Desktop, ensure that the external hard drive is connected externally to a power outlet.
- For a portable USB external hard drive, ensure that the USB port is not blinking, dusty, loose, or deformed. If the USB port is not working and is not getting enough power, you can try another USB port.
Look at the Mac external hard drive with the correct USB connection
When working on a MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, there are two things to note.
- First, make sure your Mac isn’t in sleep mode. The external hard drive will not work if the USB port is not sufficiently charged.
- Then make sure the USB hub and USB-C adapter work if your Mac uses a Thunderbolt port. 3. While the actual USB Type-C adapter is better, you’ll run into problems plugging Thunderbolt directly into the Mac portable hard drive on your Mac.
Check for incompatible applications with the external hard drive
Some programs may stop loading your external hard drive. These incompatible programs could be USB security applications, encryption programs, or anti-virus software that was recently installed. If so, you can try restarting your Mac in Safe Mode, which will only run the basics of macOS.
Step 1: Restart your Mac (some Macs will play a startup sound).
Step 2: Immediately hold down the Shift key and release the Shift key when you see the progress bar.
Step 3: After restarting, reconnect your external hard drive to the Mac and see if it is recognized. If the external hard drive is recognized by macOS in Safe Mode, you will need to start your Mac in normal mode and then remove the suspicious program you just downloaded.
Make sure the external hard drive is installed in Disk Utility
If an external hard drive is found in Disk Utility, it means that your external hard drive has been recognized by your Mac. However, since you won’t be able to see and open the hard drive, as usual, we need to confirm more information that will appear in Disk Utility.
- Expand the Display options and select Show all devices.
- Find and select the external hard drive that doesn’t appear on your Mac.
- Select Mount in the top menu bar.
You may not see the partitions in Disk Utility, but the manufacturer’s names are WD and Seagate. This means that the partition table (the data unit that describes hard drive partition information) is damaged or missing. As a result, macOS can’t recognize the external hard drive. In this situation, we recommend that you first recover important data and then reformat this hard drive.