[Solved] External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac

External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac. There's a Super Easy Fix

Is your external hard drive not showing up on Mac or perhaps, it’s visible in Disk Utility, though not appearing in Finder? It’s a terrible fact, especially with important files at stake. But don’t stress. 

We have come up with five solutions aimed at solving different instances where your external drive doesn’t appear on Finder or Disk Utility. You’ll also figure out how to regain data from your unrecognized external drive and prevent it from disappearing again from your Mac. So, read out till end!

Part 1: Why Is My External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac?

If you’re pondering, ‘Why is my external hard drive not showing up on Mac’ there’s not one but many reasons why this could happen. However, most frequent ones are:

  1. Improperly ejecting an external drive has corrupted its file system.
  2. Your drive’s file system is incompatible with macOS.
  3. Damaged or loose cables.
  4. USB cable, port, or adapter are damaged or not functioning properly.
  5. There’s a hardware issue in drive.
  6. Your external drive is running on an outdated macOS.

Part 2: Recover Data From Unrecognized External Hard Drive on Mac

First thing first. Step one is to recover data from ‘external hard drive not showing up on Mac Disk Utility’. Reformatting your drive might be required to solve this problem. Therefore, instead of losing files permanently, you should recover, and save them in a secure place as 4DDiG Mac Data Recovery will do. This tool can obtain data from various data loss situations like formatting, deletion, corruption, etc. Check out key functionalities of this tool:

  • Helps retrieve 2000+ file types such as videos, documents, archives, images, and so on.
  • Regain files from internal & external Mac-based storage devices such as HDDs/SSDs, USBs, SD cards, drones, digital cameras, etc.
  • Assists in restoring data from crashed Macs, lost partitions, virus attacks, etc.
  • Lightning-quick scanning and high recovery rate.
  • Supports Mac with T2, and M series chip.
  • Compatible with macOS up to Sonoma.
  • Suitable for Mac users with limtied computer skills.

Follow steps below to recover data with this tool when ‘external hard drive not showing up on Mac:’

Step 1: Download and install recovery tool on your Mac. Run it and choose your external drive that’s not showing on your Mac. Once drive is recognized by tool, press “Scan.”


Step 2: After scanning, review results by clicking on categories like “File View” and “Tree View.” 


Step 3: Select files you want to save. Click “Recover,” and choose a different location to save them, other than your external drive. 


Part 3: How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing up on Mac?

Here are 5 ways you can fix ‘external hard drive not showing up on Mac Disk Utility.’ Try them out depending on whether your drive is appearing on Finder or Disk Utility. And if it’s showing up on Disk Utility is it appearing mounted or unmounted:

Way 1: Examine Connections

If your external hard drive is not showing up on Mac, anywhere, the first thing you should do is to make sure you have connected it well. Then, restart your Mac. If this doesn’t solve problem, switch to a different USB port. Or, use a new cable to check whether this is a connection problem or not. Make sure desktop drives have power, and for laptops, check if USB ports are functioning and not in low-power mode. 

If swapping cables or ports doesn’t help, and you still get a ‘Seagate external hard drive not showing up on Mac’ error, plug in drive to another Mac or PC. But, if it still doesn’t show up, it might be physically damaged and need repair.


Way 2: Check Finder Preferences

Sometimes, your Mac needs adjustment to display external drives. You can change these settings in Finder to ensure you don’t get ‘Mac not detecting external hard drive’ issue on your desktop and in Finder. To do so:

Step 1: Open “Finder” and next, head to “Preferences.” 

Step 2: Choose “General.” Then, check “External disks” to display external hard drives on desktop.


Step 3: In “Finder Preferences,” click “Sidebar.” Make sure to select “External disks” under “Locations.” This makes your external hard drive visible in Finder windows.


Way 3: Reset NVRAM & SMC 

The NVRAM & SMC functions can stop your external drive from being recognized leading to an ‘external hard drive not showing up on Mac Disk Utility’ error. NVRAM is a type of memory in your Mac that stores settings even when device is turned off. While Macs with an M-series chip reset NVRAM automatically, Intel users have to reset it manually. If you’re also an Intel user, here’s how to fix ‘WD external hard drive not showing up on Mac’ issue by resetting NVRAM:

Reset NVRAM:

Step 1: Shut down your Mac or restart it.


Step 2: Hold down “Option + Command + P + R” keys for 20 seconds in same sequence.


Step 3: Release keys after second startup sound.

Reset SMC:

The System Management Controller (SMC) manages power and hardware communication, including USB ports and power. Any issue in communication can result in ‘WD external hard drive not showing up on Mac’. 

Resetting SMC can fix glitches preventing your Mac from recognizing your external drive and ensure proper power delivery to it. However, resetting it varies by model, so you should check with Apple Support for specific instructions.

Way 4: Update Mac 

A conflict between your macOS and file system of external drive can lead to ‘Seagate external hard drive not showing up on Mac Disk Utility.’ For instance, your Mac running on an outdated macOS might not recognize an APFS-formatted external hard drive. So, only updating your macOS can resolve this issue. Here’s how to update Mac to fix ‘external hard drive not showing up on Mac’ Disk Utility by updating macOS:

Step 1: Right-click Apple logo at top left. Select System Preferences. 


Step 2: Open Software Update to check for new macOS updates. But back up your important files and follow prompts to update your OS.


Way 5: Mount External Drive Manually

Sometimes, you might be left wondering, “Why is my external hard drive not showing up on Mac but appearing unmounted on Disk Utility?” This means your Mac detects your external hard. Hence, it’s visible in Disk Utility but in unmounted condition. If it doesn’t appear in Finder, and you still get ‘Seagate external hard drive not showing up on Mac’ error, mount it manually in Disk Utility. Here’s how to do that: 

Step 1: Open “Applications.” Following that choose “Utilities” and open “Disk Utility.”

Step 2: Click “View” and select “Show All Devices” to see all drives.


Step 3: Find and choose your external drive external hard drive that’s not appearing and hit “Mount” to make it visible.


Way 6: Format External Drive

Is your drive visible as unmounted even after mounting it in Disk Utility? It may be due to your drive not being formatted, with any file system recognized by your macOS, or it could be due to a corrupt file system. In such a case, you’ll need to reformat to fix ‘WD external hard drive not showing up on Mac.’ To do so: 

Step 1: Open “Applications.” Following that choose “Utilities” and open “Disk Utility.”

Step 2: Open “View” menu and select “Show All Devices.” 

Step 3: Choose unmounted external drive which will appear as greyed out and click “Erase.”

Step 4: Select a suitable scheme and format (APFS for macOS) and give a new name to your external drive.


Part 4: How to Avoid External Hard Drive Not Showing up on Mac?

The solutions above explained how to fix ‘external hard drive not showing up on Mac’ issue. But what’s to stop it from cropping up in future? To prevent it, you’ll need to take some preventative measures such as following:

  1. Handle carefully – Avoid dropping or bending your external drive. Use appropriate cable and ensure secure connections.
  2. Properly eject – Always use “Eject” function in Finder before disconnecting an external drive to prevent data corruption.
  3. Regular updates – Keep your Mac’s software updated to avoid compatibility issues with external devices.
  4. Ensure power supply – Use correct power adapter or a USB port that provides enough power, especially for larger drives.
  5. Try different outlets – If your drive uses a power adapter, connect it to a different power outlet to rule out power issues.
  6. Use compatible formats – For drives used on both Mac and Windows, format with ExFAT for compatibility.


Hopefully, we’ve provided a satisfactory answer to your query, “Why is my external hard drive not showing up on Mac?” This issue can emerge from USB connection problems, file system and macOS compatibility issues, hardware failure, or corrupt formatting. However, you can solve ‘external hard drive not showing up on Mac’ issue by checking connections, adjusting Finder preferences, and resetting NVRAM & SMC. Updating macOS, and manually mounting an external drive might also fix this problem.

If all else fails, you may need to reformat drive which will cause data loss. Therefore, to recover your data first, we recommend 4DDiG Mac Data Recovery as it can extract data from unrecognized, inaccessible, formatted, and corrupted drives with a high success rate.

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