How to Solve “Mac Not Detecting External Hard Drive” Error

Updated on April 7, 2021 | Blog   | No Comments  

Overview of Mac Not Detecting External Hard Drive in Details

You have connected the external hard drive to Mac but it’s not getting detected. Hey, there is no need to panic. There are ways to fix the problem. Don’t know how? That’s what we are here for. With VikMajra Mac Data Recovery Software, it is a very simple process of data recovery from an external hard drive.

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We have compiled this article to help you when your external hard drive doesn’t show up on Mac. But first, you need to know why Mac is not detecting the external drive. There can be multiple reasons that are explained below.

  • The USB cable port is not functioning adequately, or the USB cable is broken. 
  • The USB adapter is malfunctioning.
  • The software and hardware require an update.
  • The external hard drive hasn’t been formatted adequately.
  • The file system within the external hard drive has been corrupted.

The outcome of any one of these issues can be your external hard drive going undetected on Mac. The Mac hard drive won’t be shown on Finder or desktop.

How to Solve the External Hard Drive Not Detected Error on Mac and Recovering Deleted or Lost Mac Data?

So, what should you do if the external drive isn’t detected by the Mac? Simply follow the fixes we have listed below.

#1)Check the Connection of Your External Hard Drive

External hard drives are connected to Mac with the help of USB ports and cables. Nevertheless, if the connection fails, the external hard drive fails to show up on Mac.

So, when Mac doesn’t detect the external hard drive, check if it’s connected properly. To do so, follow the instructions we have listed below.

#2)Check the Power Connections

The external hard drive needs a power supply to spin, light up, or transfer data. When the external hard drive lacks power, it fails to show up on your macOS. To make sure it’s getting an adequate power supply, follow these steps.

2.1)In case, it’s a desktop external hard disk, check if the hard disk is connected to the power socket, externally.

2.2)If it’s a portable USB hard disk, check if the USB port isn’t loose, unstable, deformed, or dusty. In case you find that the USB port isn’t working or not getting enough power supply, try some other USB port.

In case you are using a MacBook Air, MacBook, or MacBook Pro models, there are 2 things to consider.

  • Check if the Mac is in low power mode. If there isn’t enough power supply in the USB port, your external hard drive won’t work.
  • Check if the USB-C adapter or USB hub works if the Mac device has Thunderbolt 3 port. Albeit, USB type-C adapter is a good choice, users will encounter fewer problems if they directly connect the Thunderbolt portable hard disk to Mac.

#3)Check All Other Connections

When the external hard drive doesn’t get recognized by Mac, you should check other connections, too, especially if the external hard disk light is one, but it is still not showing up on Mac.

3.1)Find out if the external hard drive’s wire is broken.

3.2)Connect it to some other PC or Mac. It might be an incompatible drive. So, the portable hard drive doesn’t work. 

3.3.)Look for the USB port on the enclosure case of your hard drive. At times the external hard drive not getting recognized is because of a faltering SATA connection. You can open the external hard drive enclosure case to check. 

After you have checked the connections, check if Mac detects the second hard drive.

#4)Check If Mac Settings are Enabled to Show Connected External Hard Drives

At times, the external drive doesn’t show up on Mac because it hasn’t been set to. So, if you see Mac not recognizing the external drive, get Finder to locate it for you. To do this, follow the instructions we have listed below. 

4.1)Show the external HDD on the desktop: To set this, go to ‘Finder’ and then to ‘Preference’. Under this, go to the ‘General’ tab to find the option ‘External disks’. Check the box to ensure it shows up on the desktop. 

4.2)Show External HDD in Finder: Go to ‘Finder’ and then select ‘Preference’. Under ‘Sidebar’ check if ‘External Disk’ listed under ‘Locations’ is checked. This ensures that the external disk shows up in ‘Finder’.

#5)Check the Applications that are Incompatible with Your External Drive 

Some applications can stop an external drive from loading or showing up. The incompatible programs can be the encryption programs, security apps, or an antivirus software app that you have installed. In case this happens, reboot the Mac in Safe mode so that it only runs the macOS or Mac OS X items that are essential.

5.1)Restart Mac. 

5.2)As soon as it does, press the Shift key and hold it for a few seconds. Thereafter, release it gradually, if you see the progress indicator. 

5.3)After restarting, reconnect the external drive to Mac and see if it shows up. In case it shows up in Safe Mode, start Mac in normal mode and uninstall the program that is causing the issue. 

#6)Use Terminal to Check and Fix the Problem

If an external hard drive doesn’t show up on Mac, you can use Terminal to check and fix it. 

6.1)In the Mac Disk utility, open ‘Terminal’ and type ‘diskutil list’. After this, hit ‘Return’. 

6.2)Look for the disk number on your USB flash drive. Next, you have to type diskutil info disk2, and hit ‘Return’. Make sure that you write the disk number of the hard drive in place of 2.

6.3)Next, type ‘diskutil eject disk 2’, and hit ‘Return’.

6.4)Lastly, type ‘diskutil list’ and hit ‘Return’. As the USB port disappears from the Terminal list, just close the window.

6.5)Close the ‘Terminal’ and open ‘Console’ for checking the drive errors. 

6.6)Click on ‘Errors and Faults’ to look for errors. 

6.7)Ultimately, reconnect the USB flash drive back to Mac. In case no error shows up, you will know that the flash drive is safe.

#7)Use VikMajra Mac Data Recovery Software 

It is a powerful and award-winning data recovery tool. If you are not ready to go through the additional hassle, just use this software when Mac doesn’t recognize the external drive. It will recover lost data from unmountable, formatted, or unreadable drives. It is an incredibly useful tool for Mac hard drive recovery when the external drive is not responsive even after trying all the steps.

Final Conclusion

No doubt it is one of the easiest ways to recover the lost data using VikMajra Data Recovery Software for Mac. If your files have been lost many days or months ago, it might take a little longer time to recover those files but for sure you will get satisfactory and authentic results.

About The Author

Poonam Yadav

Poonam Yadav is an expert technical writer and editor with over 10+ years of experience. She has deep knowledge about Software, IT Companies, Tutorials on Different Topics. She loves to explore new technology and DIY tools.

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