Can't see files on USB drive Mac, how to fix?

Posted by Katrina to Mac Data Recovery on January 29th, 2019

Summary: Don't worry if you can't see files on a USB drive on Mac. This article will show you solutions fix files not showing in USB drives as well as tutorial to recover lost files from USB flash drive with free Mac data Recovery software.

Problem: Can't see files on USB drives on Mac

I have an 8 GB USB drive that when I plug it into my MacBook, the flash drive shows up but files disappeared from the drive. The "get info" tab shows that there is about 5 GB of files stored on the flash drive. How do I recover these files?

In general, when you connect a USB flash drive on the Mac, the drive will automatically mount and you are able to view files on it. But sometimes your USB flash drive or other external drives files is not showing up on Mac. This is a common problem, which is caused by various factors, such as mistaken deletion, hidden files, wrong file system and virus attack, etc. Please calm down and follow the solutions below.

First of all: Recover data from USB flash drive on Mac

When you finally find some files are disappeared from flash drive on Mac, if you didn't back up important data, you must conduct data recovery on the USB drive right away. Because any further operation will input new data into the USB drive and overwrite the original data. If you don't care about data on the drive, please skip to solutions to fix USB drive files not showing up on Mac.

When it comes to data recovery, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is your best assistant. It is free and easy to use that you can recover data from unmountable, corrupted, unreadable, inaccessible, formatted USB flash drives, external hard drives, hard disks, SD cards, memory cards, etc. on macOS Mojave/High Sierra/Sierra and OS X 10.12/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7. It is able to recognize 550+ file types, including documents, pictures, music files, videos, emails, etc.

Step 1: Connect the USB flash drive that is not showing files on Mac.

Step 2: Download, install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Step 3: Select the USB drive, then click "Next" to start scanning for lost files.

Recover data from USB flash drives on Mac

Step 3: Preview the scanning results, choose files you want to recover, and then click "Recover".

How to fix USB files not showing up on Mac?

Solution 1: Show hidden files on flash drives

If your Mac is hiding files from you, then you can't see files on USB drives on Mac. How to see hidden files on my flash drive on Mac? Here are two options:

Option 1: Use a keyboard shortcut

Step 1: From the Finder of Mac OS, navigate to any folder where there might be hidden files.

Step 2: Now press Command + Shift + Period to instantly toggle to show hidden files.

Option 2: Run command lines

The Terminal is a default Apple application which allows you to make different operations. To show hidden files on Mac using command line, just follow these 2 steps as below:

Step 1: Open the Terminal application from Launchpad.

Step 2: Copy and paste the following command into the Terminal window, one at a time, pressing ENTER after each one.

  • defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true
  • killall Finder

Note that this command causes the Finder to quit and restart. When the Finder reappears, you will see hidden files if any exist.

Solution 2: Run First Aid to repair the USB drive

If your USB drive has a corrupted file system that is unrecognized by the operating system, files is not showing the USB flash drive. First Aid is a built-in tool in macOS to repair disks error, you can try out it.

Step 1: Go to Utilities, find Disk Utility and run this program.

Step 2: Click "Show all devices" in View option and select this USB flash drive in the left sidebar.

Step 3: Click "First Aid" in the top menu of Disk Utility.

Step 4: Click "Run" to check and repair errors in this drive.

Repair USB flash drives via First Aid

Solution 3: Reformat to fix USB files not showing up on Mac

If the file system of USB drive is seriously damaged, you have to reformat the drive to make it usable again. But this operation will remove all files stored on the USB. Thus, please make sure you have backed up important data or restore lost data with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery. Go to Disk Utility and click the USB drive in the left sidebar. Click "Erase" and fill in the information that the wizard asked, then click "Erase" to complete this process.

Final thoughts

Can't see files on USB drive? Hope you have effectively solved this issue through the solutions mentioned here. If it works for you, please share with your friends. Of course, if you have any good solutions or have any question, please feel free to contact us.

Still have questions?