When you connect an external hard drive to your Mac’s USB port, it immediately mounts on your desktop home screen or appears on your Finder window.
However, in some instances, the hard drive might fail to show up on your Mac. This problem may occur if you have faulty cables, outdated operating software, incorrect finder settings, and so on.
So, without further delay, let us explore more about the potential causes and fixes for the hard drive not showing up issue.
Why is My External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac?
There could be several reasons why your Mac might not recognize your external drive. The most common causes are:
- Physical Damage to the Hard Drive
- Outdated Operating Software
- Issues with Mac’s USB port
- Loose or faulty connector cables
- Incorrect Finder Settings
- Power Supply Problem
- The drive format is not compatible with macOS.
How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac?
Before we look into the advanced fixes for this issue, here are some basic checks you can perform.
- Properly plug in your external device to your Mac.
- Check the connecting cable for any wiring damages.
- Use another USB port on your Mac.
- Ensure the external drive is powered adequately.
- Reboot your Mac device.
If the above methods do not work out for you, we suggest you move ahead with the below fixes.
Check Volume Folder
Due to certain settings on your Mac, the external drive might get hidden. As a result, it might not mount on your desktop. The volume folder contains all drives including your internal and external hard drives. So, to view the volume folder,
- Open up Finder and Navigate to the Go menu.
- Select the Go to Folder option.
- In the address field, type in /Volumes/ and hit the Go button.
- You should be able to see all the available hard drives on your computer.
- For ease of access, you can also drag the external disk in the location section of the Finder.
Edit Finder Preferences
If your external hard drive is not showing up on your desktop home screen or the Finder window, there are high chances that it is hidden in your Finder settings. To unhide this option, you will have to configure it through your Finder preferences. Here is how you can do it.
- Open up Finder and head over to the menu bar.
- Click on the Finder menu and select Preferences.
- Under the General tab, check the External Disks option.
- Next, switch to the Sidebar tab and ensure you have checked the external disks option.
Mount through Disk Utility
If the external hard drive still does not show up, you may need to access it through the Disk Utility. Here are some steps you can follow:
- Go to Finder and click on Applications from the left panel.
- Double-click on the Utilities Folder.
- Then, open the Disk Utility app.
- Here, if the drive is not physically damaged, you should see it under the heading External.
- Select the drive and click on the Mount option from the menu bar.
Also, if your Mac is set to show mountable drives, please ensure that you have selected all devices. To do so,
- Open the Disk Utility App.
- Head over to the View menu bar.
- Select the Show All Devices from the list of options to view both the mountable and non-mountable devices.
- Now, select your external drive from the list of options.
- Click on the Mount option from the top menu bar.
Run First Aid
In rare cases, you might not be able to mount your hard drive with the Disk Utility app. Usually, this occurs when the external drive is corrupted. The best solution for this issue is to run it in First Aid. This method checks for errors and performs the necessary fixes.
- Use the Shortcut Command + Space bar to open up the Disk Utility.
- From the left panel, select your external hard drive.
- Now, choose the First Aid option from the top menu bar.
- Click on the Run button to confirm your action.
Change Drive Format
If you cannot run first aid on your external drive, the drive is likely formatted in a file system that the Mac cannot read. In these cases, we need to change the driver format. Here are some steps you can follow.
- From the left panel, select your drive in Disk Utility.
- Click on the Erase button from the menu bar.
- Then, rename your disk.
- Under the format section, select the ExFAT option to ensure it is compatible with PC and Mac.
- Otherwise, Mac OS Extended (Journaled) option is preferred.
Note: Please be aware that formatting will erase all the data stored on your drive. So, think twice before initiating this process.
Use Safe Mode
Sometimes, certain programs or applications might conflict with your hard drive. As a result, the hard drive might not show up on your Mac. A quick way to resolve this issue is to boot your device through safe mode. This mode allows Mac to run only essential MacOS items and disregards installed third-party applications.
Depending upon your Mac processor, here are some step-by-step guides you can follow.
Apple M1 Processor
- First, shut down your Mac.
- Now, press the power button to open the Startup options window.
- Click on your Startup Disk.
- Hold the Shift Key and click on Continue in the Safe Mode option.
- Finally, log back into your account.
- Shut down your Mac and wait for 10-15 seconds.
- Press the power button to turn on your Mac.
- Now, immediately press the Shift key.
- Keep holding down the Shift Key until you see the login screen.
If rebooting in safe mode resolves your issue, you might want to boot your Mac in normal mode and delete any suspicious apps from your Mac.
If you are still experiencing issues with your hard drive not showing up, you may want to reset the NVRAM and SMC of your Mac. These troubleshooting methods are known to resolve minor issues occurring on your device. So, it is worth a try.
To reset NVRAM,
- First, Shut down your Mac.
- Press and hold the Command + Option + P + R key for about 15-20 seconds.
- Now, release these keys after you hear the startup sound.
To reset SMC,
- Shut down your Mac.
- Now, press the Shift + Control + Option + Power button simultaneously.
- Release the key and turn on your Mac.
Note: Please note that the steps might vary depending upon your device and macOS version.
Update Operating Software
In some instances, outdated operating software might face compatibility issues while connecting to a new external drive. Although it may seem like a simple process, updating your macOS operating system might help resolve your issues.
Here is a step-by-step guide on updating your macOS operating system.
- Navigate to the menu bar and click on the Apple logo.
- Select the System Preferences option.
- Double-click on the Software Update icon.
- Click on the Update Now, if any updates are available.
If you’re still facing issues with your external hard drive not showing up, then we suggest you check the hard drive to another mac. If the problem persists, there might be technical issues with your external drive. So, we advise that you visit a repair store for further assistance regarding this matter.