external hard drive mac

Summary: This article explains how to resolve an external hard drive not showing up on Mac computers and how to get back the files in it.

Why is External Hard Drive not Showing up on Mac?

Is external hard drive not showing up on Mac? This can be one of the scariest things from External storage that can happen especially when you have very important files in it or you’re doing something urgent.

But there is no need to be scared about it, really. It can happen due to various reasons. Some issues are with the hard drive itself, some are with the computer. Some issues can be with the hardware, while some are within the software.

At first glance, it won’t be easy to determine what causes these issues. But the good thing is that there are very easy and simple steps that anyone can do to find out what’s wrong. And even for certain software issues, you can resolve them yourself.

Easy steps to fix external hard drive not showing up on Mac

Try Another USB Port

This may sound like an obvious thing to do, but among the possible reasons why your hard drive is not appearing, a faulty USB port just might be the most desirable one. Try plugging in your external hard drive to another USB port and see if it works.

Try another Storage Device

If you have tried all of your computer’s USB ports and still your external hard drive not showing up on Mac, you can try using another storage device, such as a flash drive or another external hard drive from another brand. If these work, then there must be something wrong with your external hard drive. No reason to panic, though. You can still resolve this with the next steps.

Try Another Computer

One reason why your external hard drive is not showing up on your Mac computer can be compatibility issues. To see if this is the case, try plugging in your external hard drive to another computer with another OS. Find a Windows or Linux computer and test if your external hard drive appears. If it does, then it might not be compatible with Mac and you will need to format it.

NOTE: Format your external hard drive will erase all of the data on it, so make sure to backup your files before doing so.

OS X, the operating system for Mac computers does not officially support the NTFS format for storage devices. If your external hard drive is in NTFS format, then you will need to format it into the exFAT format, since this is the one supported by both OS X and Windows.

But it’s better for you to process next step first before formatting.

Use Bitwar Data Recovery to Recover Data firstly from inaccessible External Hard Drive

In order to recover your files, you can download and install Bitwar Data Recovery for Mac. It supports all latest version of Mac OS and you can use in any disk. With this data recovery software, you can get your files back in three simple steps:

We are also offering solutions on fixing external hard drive not showing up Windows 10, you can visit this tutorial to give a try.

Step 1: Select Partition Or Device

Your external hard drive should appear on the list of drives here. Simply select it and click the “Next” button.

Step 2: Select the Scan Mode

The Quick Scan is always the first choice when recovering your files. Aside from being the fastest option, it recovers your files in its most recent version–with the filenames, time of the last edit, etc.

If not all the files you need turn up in Quick Scan, you might want to go for Deep Scan. This searches the inner sectors of your drive not accessed by Quick Scan and therefore produces more results. However, the results yielded through this scan mode will have generic filenames.

The Formatted Recovery, as the name suggests, is for recovering data lost through formatting your hard disk. Just in case you missed a file you needed before formatting your disk, you might need this scan mode.

Step 3: Select the File Type

This step makes the data recovery more efficient by narrowing down the scan into specific file types. You can simply tick the boxes of the file types you want recovering. If you’re going after all file types, though, you can tick “Select All File Types” and click the “Scan” button.

Step 4: Preview and Recover the Scanned Files

You will have an option to preview the files being scanned. We highly recommend doing this in order to check the integrity of the files. Some data in the drive might have been damaged or corrupted, which will give you a popup window like this:

Still, you can browse through the scanned files and preview. If the preview indicates that the files are still very much functional, then you can click the “Recover” button and save the files.

PLEASE NOTE: Save the recovered files in ANOTHER drive, NOT the one being scanned.

After you have recovered all the files that you need using Bitwar Data Recovery, it is now safe to format your hard drive. Make sure that it is in the exFAT format so that would be readable on your Mac computer.

Steps to Fix External Hard Drive not Showing up on Mac with Disk Utility

If it’s not compatibility issues with Mac, there might be a need to repair your external hard drive. To do this, you will need to open Disk Utility. Your unreadable drive should appear on the panel to the left. Select it and click the First Aid tab on the top part of the window.

A popup window will open containing the Repair Disk button.

Click that, and your external hard drive should be visible again.

Convert Your External Hard Drive to exFAT

In some rare cases, the external drive still doesn’t appear in Disk Utility or even after repairing the disk. If this is your case, it may be necessary to format your external hard drive to the exFAT format.

Again, this will delete all of the data in your drive, so you should perform data recovery with Bitwar Data Recovery for Mac first and then format your external hard drive and convert it to exFAT.

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