“Help! Why is my external hard drive not showing up on my Mac? I needed to access my files but I couldn’t open the drive! What should I do?”

Sometimes, errors like “hard drive not showing up on Mac” occur due to unknown reasons. And when issues like this happen, the safety of the files within the drive is at risk.

If you’re currently stuck in this situation, don’t worry, we are here to help. In this article, we discussed the possible reasons why your external hard drive is not showing up on your Mac and the ways to fix the error. Read on!

External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac Poster

FYI: Reasons Why the External Hard Drive is not Showing Up on Your Mac

There could be a number of reasons why your hard drive cannot be found on your Mac. We listed some possible reasons below.

  • Issues with the USB cord or port – The USB cord or the USB port might be faulty and cannot connect the drive to your Mac properly.
  • The Mac preferences are changed – There is an option on your Mac that lets you hide certain features/apps on the desktop. Maybe the settings were altered and your hard drive was hidden by mistake.
  • Your drive is not supported by macOS – Some of the system formats are not supported by Mac such as NTFS and HFS+. It would then be impossible for the computer to read the drive.
  • The drive is corrupted or damaged – Once the file is corrupted, it could affect its whole system, and maybe that is why it’s not showing up on your Mac.

Now that we know the possible reasons for the issue, let’s head on to solutions.

How to Find the External Hard Drive on Mac

Not seeing your hard drive on your Mac doesn’t mean that the drive is broken, maybe you just don’t know where to find it. Here is a quick guide to help you out.

Step 1: Connect the external hard drive on your Mac. Make sure that the USB cord is securely plugged into the port.

Step 2: On your Mac, go to Finder > Go > Disk Utility. From there, you will see all the storage devices connected to your Mac.

If you can’t see the target drive, there’s a chance that something is wrong with your Mac or hard drive.

Method 1: Check Ports and Cable to Fix the “External Hard Drive is not Showing Up on Mac” Error

The first thing you can do is perform troubleshooting on the cord and ports used to connect the drive to your Mac. As I said, these two could be faulty which is why the drive cannot connect properly to the computer. Here’s what you can do to fix it.

  • Use another USB cord and try to connect the drive to another computer. If it works, then the cord is at fault.
  • If not, check the port of your Mac. If it’s dirty, try to clean it using a Q-tip. You may also try using other ports and see if it works.

If the error still occurs, it’s possible that the error is caused by your hard drive or your Mac.

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Method 2: Check Mac Preferences to Find the External Hard Drive on Mac

Your Mac might have read the external hard drive, but it might be hidden which is why it’s not showing up on the screen. Here’s what you can do to fix that.

Step 1

Access Finder > Preferences > General > Show these items on the desktop.

Step 2

From there, tick the box beside the External Disk option.

Edit Preferences on Mac

Step 3

Open the Sidebar tab found on the top bar, and select the External Disk option.

Step 4

After that, check your Mac and see if the hard drive appears.

Method 3: Format the Hard Drive to Fix the “External Hard Drive is not Showing Up on Mac” Error

If your hard drive is unsupported by Mac, then you could change its default file system format by formatting it. This way, you can change it into something that works with your computer.

Formatting your external hard drive can also fix system errors and remove a virus-infected file that has caused the issue. But keep in mind that this process will delete everything stored within your drive. Create a backup first before you proceed.

For this method, you will need a Windows PC that supports the current format of your drive.

Step 1

Connect the hard drive to the Windows PC and open File Explorer.

Step 2

From there, go to My PC and find the target drive.

Step 3

Select the drive and right-click on your mouse. Choose Format, then on the floating window set exFat as File System then hit OK.

Set Up Format Preferences

Step 4

When the process is done, connect the hard drive to your Mac and see if the error still occurs.

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Method 4: Fix the “External Hard Drive is not Showing Up on Mac” Error via Terminal

Another way to resolve this issue is to repair the drive using the Terminal app. This feature lets users enter commands that make changes or repair something in the computer system. We already provided the commands, so just follow the steps below.

Step 1

Go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

Step 2

From there, type “diskutil list” then hit Enter. You will then see a list of all the connected drives on your Mac.

Step 3

Next, type the command “/dev/disk* (external, physical)”, and change the asterisk to the number assigned on the target drive from the list. After that, press Enter.

Fix Hard Drive Using Terminal

Step 4

Then, enter the command “diskutil info disk*” and replace the asterisk again with the number assigned to the drive. Press Enter again.

Step 5

If the system recognizes the drive, you will see information about it and how to fix it. After that, you then enter this command to eject the drive: “diskutil eject disk*”. Don’t forget to replace the asterisk.

Bonus: Recover Files from External Hard Drive

After repairing your hard drive, there’s a huge chance that you will lose all the files stored on the drive. But, there is a way you can recover those deleted files, and that is through 4DDiG Data Rescue.

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Final Thoughts

If none of the methods above worked on your external hard drive, we suggest that you visit the repair center and let the technician handle it. There might be a hardware issue on your hard drive and it’s best if you let the professional check on that.

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