External hard drive not showing up? It can be really hard to fix a problem with external hard drives for non-tech savvy users.

But there’s no need to worry about it! You just need help from real Pro, and it is not difficult to find them.

In this article, we are going to provide a solution to your problems. And if you are eager to fix this bug yourself, keep reading this article. We outline a range of straightforward solutions for you to external hard drives not showing up on Mac in the given sessions.

Here’s what to do!

When you plug in a hard drive into your Mac, you always expect it to pop-up in Finder’s location that is next to your Remote Disk and computer itself.

But what can you do if it’s not there? There can be several reasons for a Mac not able to read it. The reasons can be Faulty cable, corrupt hard drive data or Poor Connection.

No matter what happens, there are always solutions to your problems.

1-External hard drive not showing up: Edit Preferences.

If it is not your first time to use an external hard drive and experiencing such a problem, it is not likely to have an issue with you. 

However, there is one thing you can do, that is checking your Preferences.

It is a possibility that your setting might not be set to display external hard drives on your Desktop.

How to fix it?

  1. Open the menu bar at the top of your screen.
  2. Click on Finder Button.
  3. Open preferences.
  4. Click o general.
  5. Tap on “ show these items on the Desktop”.

After setting this up, go to your sidebar and check External disk and Hard Disk.

hard drive not showing

2- Make sure your cable has Enough Power.

Some of the hard drives require more supply power as compared to others, multiple types and brands of cables provide less or more energy. 

Usually, a device requires more than 500 mA, which can be provided by a standard USB 1.0 or 2.0.

But, if your Hard Drive needs a stronger power output, it is a possibility that it may work slower than expected or will not connect at all.

Check out that your USB cable is delivering sufficient power to your hard drive and if needed, it can swap to a powerful connector, or to a different USB port on your Mac.

You can also use an external power source, or even a self powered USB Hub, that will add its power to power up your Mac that can resolve the issues. 

Don’t forget to connect your Mac to the charger.

3- Other devices for Power Supply.

If you have tried all types of cables, but it still does not work, and your hard drive still not showing up, that problem can be in your Mac’s Hardware.

In this case, try to use another window device, or Mac.

If it only works on a PC, it can be your hardware that is not formatted to be launched on macOS devices.

4- Use the Terminal.

Terminal app is a last resort solution for average users because they tend to find it complicated.

But, can almost and always be effective and also, it is not that bad if you follow all the steps carefully.

Open terminal.

   For opening terminal.

  1.      Open Applications.
  2.      Tap on Utilities.
  3.       Click on Terminal.

Type in diskutil list.

            ( it is common to extract information from the system to analyse any volumes and drives attached to your Mac).

  1. A list of your disk will appear.
  2. Search for line with dev/disk.

           The underscore signifies a digit assigned to your disk’s identifier.

  • Type another command. “ diskutil info disk”.

             With the digit of the external disk that you are interested in, in place of underscore.

  1. If your system is able to recognise the drive, then this action should reveal all the information about your drive.
  2. After that, you can eject it by typing in diskutil eject disk, with your driver’s assigned digit in the place of underscore.
  3. Now, you can type the diskutil list command again.
  4. If you see that the drive is gone from the list, you can remove it from the USB port and reconnect it.

 It should now be able to mount normally.

hard drive not showing

If you are running Catalina or macOS Mojave , you might come across the Operation not permitted error when operating a Terminal Command.

No, this is not a software bug, it occurs due to additional system integrity Protection security measures that Apple introduced in the newer version of the operating system.

It locks down certain areas of the system. It relieves locking during the updates.ft corner of the window.

How to Fix this Error?

For fixing this error you need to Grant Terminal full disk Access.

  1. Quit terminal.
  2. Go to Apple Menu.
  3. Open system preference.
  4. Tap on Security and Privacy.
  5. Click on Privacy.
  6. Scroll down the menu, and click on Full Disk Access.
  7. Click on the lock symbol in the bottom left corner.
  8. Enter your password
  9. For adding new utility to the list, click on the Plus button.
  10. Tap on Utilities.
  11. Click on the padlock again to disable access to editing, once you added Terminal.

5- Engagement of Disk Utility.

Disk Utility sometimes becomes the ultimate fix for a lot of Mac’s problems. It includes those related to External hard Drive not showing up.

It can help to repair and access some disk issues by checking the partition Mac’s and also by performing the additional checks across the system.

How to use Disk utility?

For this, follow these steps given blow,

  1. Go to Applications.
  2. Click on utilities.
  3. Tap Disk Utility.
  4. Open View.
  5. Tap on Show all Devices.
  6. You will be able to see the hard drive on the left sidebar.
  7. For the menu to appear, click on volume.
  8. If your device has been mounted, you will be able to see the option for unmounting the device.
  9. If you are not able to see the volume list, it means that your Mac is not able to access the drive at all, so you will not be able to Mount your Device.

6- Change your HD format.

Windows computers employ NTFS whereas Mac uses HFS= OR APFS format.

Both mac and window devices are able to recognise FAT32 and exFAT.

How can you check the Mac Formatting?

  1. Open the Apple menu present at the top of your screen.
  2. Tap on About this Mac.
  3. Click on storage.

You can change you Mac’s format if you see that your Mac’s Format is not Mac friendly:

  1. To the port of your Mac, plug in the connector of your Device.
  2. Go to Applications.
  3. Open utilities.
  4. Tap on Disk Utilities.
  5. Under the external heading in the left sidebar, you will be able to see the external device.
  6. For drive’s information, click on it to open it.
  7. Click on Erase present at the menu bar at the top of the window. By this you will be able to choose the format compatible with your Mac device.
  8. Initiate the reformatting.

Note: all of your device’s content will be erased during this process.

hard drive not showing

If you want to save your data present on the disk, you can reformat it by using a Windows Device.

  1. Connect your drive with your Window’s PC.
  2. In the File Explorer, Locate the driver in the sidebar.
  3. In the separate folder on PC, copy all the connect.
  4. Right click o Drive’s icon.
  5. Choose format from the Drop down Menu.
  6. Choose a format that is compatible with both of your Mac’s and windows devices.
  7. exFAT is preferred and modern.
  8. In the volume label window, ame your hard Drive.
  9. For initiating formatting, click on “ Start”.
  10.  It will only take some seconds, until it’s done. Then you can use your Hard Drive on Mac’s Device.
  11. Make sure to transfer data back to the disk, from the folder you have created.

7- Run First Aid.

This is a good option, as you can always run the First Aid Program.

Why This? Because it checks the disk for any error that could potentially cause the external hard drive not mounting on your Mac. it will then try to repair them.

If you right click on the Device icon, then the First Aid Bar will appear in the Drop down menu.

You will also see the option in the drop down menu. An option for Erase and Restore will also appear, they act to clear ant data from the hard drive. So, if you store important documents there, you should refrain from choosing those.

hard drive not showing

Launch First Aid by clicking Run and Continue. As a result of screening, you will be advised of any errors that your Mac finds in the disk.

If the program finds an ‘ Overlapped extent allocation ‘ error, it is possible that some of your Files are corrupted.

In the damaged files folder in your drive, you can see the list of damaged files. You should delete those files.

And if those files contain any useful information, you should make sure that they are not corrupted.

If the First Aid process fails, then you have two more options here.

  1. Run the program again and repair your disk.
  2. Change the format of the disk and reinstall your current operating system, to back up all the data you possibly can.

After that, you will be able to recover the data you’d backup.

8- Reset NVRAM.

NVRAM stands for non-volatile random access memory. It stores local settings such as screen resolution, hard drive information and volume, such as before it starts booting when you restart it.

It makes sure small details like keeping your time zone consistent or keeping the volume muted when restarting your Mac.

NVRAM bugs are actually the source of many glitches, that includes a USB flash drive not showing up.

Restarting it is generally easy and harmless. Although it may mean that you have to reset basic custom settings you have on your device.

For this;

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. Hold the command+option+P+R, when you hear the startup sound.
  3. By this your Mac will start again.
  4. When you hear the startup sound for the second time, you can release the keys.

Note: On newer Macs, it is not necessary to restart your Mac, you can just press down the combination for 20 to 30 seconds. By this your NVRAM will be reset.

9- Try Plugging it slowly.

There is one strange feature regarding USB cables. Sometimes it can function better if you plug it in more slowly.

This is because of a design flaw in power up sequences of some of the USB drives.

The power contacts present in your USB connector are basically designed to make contact with the USB port first.

Plugging in slowly applies the power to the USB device and it gives the device an extra time to initialize.

1- Try a different drive.

If you have tried all the methods given above, and still your External hard drive is not showing up, then try to isolate the problem by plugging in a different external hard drive.

If you noticed that another drive is recognised, then it is obvious that problem is in your drive itself.

Have you recently subjected it to water damage or dropped it accidently? Check for any hardware issues. 

Here are a few SSDs and hard drives that you can use with Mac.

  1. WD My Passport HD.
  2. Portable Samsung T5 SSD.
  3. G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3HD.
  4. Adata SD700 External SSD.

We hope you find this article external hard drive not showing up helpful. Let us know if you have any further query or comment regarding this topic.

Looking forward to your reviews.