External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac? Here’s a Fix

Mac have a reputation for being the robust and stable systems offered by Apple. Not using the third-party hardware and software guarantees that there is minimal scope for problems or issues, with their products. Mac owners proud themselves of being a part of the esteemed community of Apple product users. The smooth running of hardware and applications adds to the overall productivity. But at times you may not be able to fix the error of external hard drive not showing up on mac.

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There are few things as solid as an Apple Mac, however occasionally comes the time when a mac user is faced with some issues. And these can take up a whole lot of time trying to get around the problem and finding a solution. One of this happens to be the external drive not showing up on MAC.

Here we are offering you some possible causes of the problem and solutions on how to fix external hard drive not showing up on mac issue. Let’s go through them one by one. Using external hard drives for storing data is very common practice.

It is good for keeping backups or accessing data on the move. It is also economical without having to expand internal hard drive when you have an external hard drive handy. You connect it with a USB and have it appear on the finder. If for some reason it doesn’t show up in finder you can check it in the Utilities.

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3 Ways to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac

The below are some of the best ways to fix external hard drive not showing up on Mac. So without any delay, let’s have a look at them.


Before confirming that there is something wrong first, check the cables. See if the USB cable is in good condition and is connected correctly. Change the cable with a spare if you need to. Check if the external hard drive is fully charged or if it needs power.

If you are using the USB port through a hub, check if the hub is working correctly. Also, check the USB slot of your Mac by plugging another device to see if it is working.

Even rebooting your mac may also help in case if there is some background application running. Just to be sure if there is a problem with the drive, connect it to a different computer, and if it still doesn’t work, then it confirms that it needs fixing.

Depending on what you may find going through the basic steps, it could be the problem with the system or the drive. If none of these steps work, try the next option.

Check if your Mac is set to show connected devices on the screen. Click on Finder, and go to Preference. In the dialogue box, click on the General tab. And there make sure that the ‘External Disks’ checkbox is checked.

Once checked it would show up on the desktop and the Finder menu. Not having this checked could also be the reason that your External Hard Drive is not showing up on the screen.

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Format the External hard drive

See if the drive is formatted entirely, if not maybe you need to format the drive. Sometimes your mac may not be able to identify or reformat the disk because it may be formatted in a different file system, which the mac is unable to read.

Format the External hard drive
Format the External hard drive

Check if it is formatted in the windows system, by plugging it in a windows machine. If it appears there, you can save your data in the windows system and empty your external hard drive, for it to be reformatted to a mac system.

Some hard drive may be formatted to be able to read by both windows and mac systems, using exFat or FAT32 formats. Most probably this will fix external hard drive not showing up on mac error.

See also: Fix: Laptop Won’t Recognize External Hard Drive Error

Run First Aid

This method is our last way to fix external hard drive not showing up on mac.

Try running the first aid by clicking on the ‘First – Aid’ tab. Mac may find some error in the disk which you may fix by clicking the option repair disk.

If the external drive is empty, or if you do not need the data in the drive you can just erase and reformat the drive or restore if you need the data.

Run First Aid
Run First Aid

In the future, be mindful of when you are removing the drive. Don’t just unplug the USB, without first unmounting it properly. To unmount right-click on the External Drive icon and click eject, and then unplug the USB cable.

We hope you found some of these options helpful and were able to fix the issue with your External Hard Drive not showing up on the desktop or finder.

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Mac systems are not known to give the many problems to their users and are quite self-sufficient. Do not take any shortcuts in running or unplugging your devices.

Some processes may take longer time than the other. A lot of trouble that happens also depends on our handling of the system or trying to use incompatible devices. Keep your devices fully charged, and your USB ports and Hubs working correctly and be patient using your machines. Hope it solves external hard drive not showing up on mac issue.


We hope these three ways to fix external hard drive not showing up on MAC helped you to resolve your problem. However, if the problem pertains, then try contacting the Apple support for reference. Do not forget to visit us for more guides and article.

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