[Fixed]External Hard Drive Is Not Showing Up On Mac


Using an external hard drive gives you the option of more storage for your files and data. The hassle you face when your external hard drive is not showing up on Mac can be quite frustrating. Generally, some common issues are responsible for this error.

Here, we will be looking at how to fix the external hard drive not showing up on Mac and issues with your Mac not recognizing your external hard drive. The very first step in this troubleshooting process is to understand why your hard drive is not showing up on your Mac. In addition, this article addresses how to perform Mac data recovery in cases where the external hard drive needs a fix.

Troubleshoot the Root Cause

Several reasons can lead to Mac not recognizing an external hard drive. The top of this list is the error due to faulty connection or total hard drive corruption. Of course, the other reasons are serious reasons that are tangible enough to cause your hard drive not to show up on Mac.

Some of the other top reasons include broken USB cable, malfunctioning USB port, faulty USB adaptor, incorrect formatting of external hard drive and so much more reasons. For these reasons, you might not necessarily get any feedback when you plug in your external hard drive into your Mac. This does not mean that your Mac does not recognize the input, but it means the connection is faulty.

How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac Issue

The steps below details how to get your Mac to recognize your hard drive if it is having any of the above issues

1. Check Your Hard Drive Connection

External drives need cables to connect with your Mac. External drives from Samsung, Seagate, Lacie and other external drive producers require a cable connector to connect to your Mac. If this connection fails, there is every reason for the external drive not to show up on your Mac.

To solve this, make sure the USB cable connection from your portable external hard drive properly connects to your Mac. Check if the connection to or from the USB is loose at the port. Also, check for any form of deformity. Just to be extra sure, try to use another cable to establish this connection.

2. Incompatible Application with External Hard Drive

Another major reason why your external hard drive is not showing up on your Mac may be due to the application through which you wish to access it. There is also a huge chance that some programs on your Mac are restricting your external hard drive from loading.

These programs could be USB security programs, encryption programs or antivirus programs that have noticed malicious contents on your external hard drive. In cases like this, you can use the safe mode option to reboot your laptop, so you can access those essential macOS items.

To do this, you need to restart your Mac. On startup, immediately press and hold the shift key. Once you notice the progress indicator, you can release the shift key. After the restart, you can connect your external hard drive. You should be able to see your external hard drive show up on your Mac.

3. Alternative Access

In some rare cases, you can find your external hard drive showing up in the /Volumes/folder directory on your Mac. In most of the situation, your Mac will show all the volume of the external storage connected to your laptop in this directory. If you are lucky, you can access your external hard drive via this route.

To use this route, launch Finders and click ‘Go’ in the top menu bar. Type /volume/ and hit return. You should see the volume folder with the list of all drives connected to your Mac. If you have your external hard drive as an option here, you can directly access it by clicking on it from here.

4. Disk Utility

In some cases, your external hard drive could be mounted from the Disk Utility. To check whether your macOS is detecting your external hard drive in Disk Utility, navigate through Application > Utility and access if your Disk Utility is picking up your hard drive.

The first situation is the case where you try to access your hard drive but you see no partition showing up. In this case, you might have to format your hard drive to solve this issue. The second scenario is to check if the file system of your hard drive is not recognized.

The file system controls how and where your hard drive data management takes place. This system must work perfectly. Again, if your Mac is unable to fix your hard drive via the first aid option in your Disk Utility, you might need to reset your hard drive.


Your external hard drive not working will make you anxious. The above recommendations are some of the steps you can take to manage and solve the situation. There are data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac you can use to recover your files in cases where your hard drive is not showing on your laptop. You can also use the different available software options to recover your file with easy steps.