Fixing An External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac

Adding extra storage space to Mac can cost a pretty penny. Therefore, most Apple users prefer using an external hard drive as it’s easy to use and cost-effective. 

Usually, when an external disk drive in inserted via a USB port, it displays on the screen under the devices’ list. In case the external drive is not recognized by Mac, chances are it has been incorrectly inserted, formatted, corrupted, or is faulty. 

Why Is My Mac Not Recognizing The External Hard Drive?

Well, there are a plethora of reasons why an external drive might not be appearing on your Mac screen when plugged in. One of the common causes of this issue is – USB cable is not connected correctly, to Mac, drive, or maybe both.

Alternatively, this can happen due to:

  • Non-functional USB port. 
  • Faulty USB cable. 
  • Physical damage to the hard drive. 
  • Device incompatibility. 
  • Partition map damage. 

Now that you know all the potential causes of “External Drive Not Showing Up On Mac,” scroll down to the next section, where we discuss all the troubleshooting tips to fix the issue. 

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How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Recognizing On Your Mac?

Before you try advanced troubleshooting workarounds, we suggest you start with the basic methods. You never know, certain simple tweaks could help you fix the problem without putting much effort. 

  1. Quickly check that the hard drive is securely plugged in. 
  2. Replace your USB connector if it is damaged or broken. 
  3. Try plugging in your external hard drive into a different outlet. 
  4. Try inserting the external disk drive to another USB Port. (You never know if it’s a hardware issue)
  5.  Check your hard drive on a PC. (Chances can be it is not readable for Macs)
  6. Reboot your Mac. 

If none of the tips mentioned above helped you, you could try the following workarounds to make your hard drive show up, so that you can successfully gain access to it. 

Best Workarounds To Fix An External Disk Drive That Refuses To Show Up On A Mac

Walk through the steps, and hopefully, you will be able to fix the problem that makes your external drive not show up on your Mac. 


1. Check System Information


External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac



  • It is important to check System Information & see which USB devices are connected to your Mac. Simply go to the Apple Menu.  
  • Click on About this Mac option. 
  • And select System Report. 

There can be chances that you may find the USB external drives in System Information, but they aren’t showing up for multiple reasons. In such a case, disconnect then and try remounting the external disk drive using Terminal


2. Edit Preferences


External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac



  • Go to Finder. 
  • Navigate to the Preferences. 
  • Hit the General tab > Make sure the External Drive section is checked. 

In case the External Drive option was already enabled & still your Mac isn’t recognizing the drive, you have to mount the external disk drive manually. 


3. Mount External Hard Drive


External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac



  • Navigate to the System Preferences and click on Disk Utility. 
  • You need to check whether the External drive is listed in the left section or not. 
  • At this point, highlight your drive storage and choose the option, the  Mount. 
  • As soon as you do that, the external disk drive should now appear under the device in the Finder. 

If you are still struggling with the “External Drive Not Showing Up On Mac” issue, then its time to run the Disk Utility to fix the problem. 

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4. Run Disk Utility


Disk Utility


  • Locate Disk Utility from Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. 
  • Alternatively, you can find the Disk Utility via Spotlight and search for Disk Utility program. 
  • The new window looks in the left column to see if the external hard drive shows there. 
  • If you can see the connected external hard disk drive, you need to check it for a volume. If it is there, you need to hit the Mount button. (With no volume, the Mount option will appear greyed out.)
  • In case your Mac already mounted the hard drive, you’ll be shown the Unmount option. 
  • Next, you need to run the First Aid tool successfully. 
  • The feature is dedicated to scan for disk errors & repair them instantly thoroughly.   

Once this built-in utility runs, it would potentially fix all the issues that might be hampering your overall experience and causing the issue “External Drive Not Showing Up On Mac.” 


5. Reset NVRAM


External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac


For some users resetting NVRAM on Mac is a helpful solution to get rid of the “External Drive Not Being Recognized on Mac” issue. Read our dedicated guide on What, Why, When & How To Reset NVRAM?


6. Try Using Data Recovery Solutions


If no workaround helped you to resolve the ‘External drive not showing up on Mac’ problem. Maybe you need data recovering utilities that hold strong potential to retrieve data from inaccessible, corrupted, formatted, or faulty external hard drive. Here’s our complete round of Best Data Recovery Solutions For Macs.

Was This Helpful? Let Us Know Your Thoughts In The Comments Section Below! 

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  • comment_avtar
    Thankyou for providing me with these tips. I could now fix external hard drive not showing up.

    4 years ago
  • comment_avtar
    Gajendra singh
    Thanks for the guide. Now it works

    4 years ago

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