How to fix external hard drive not showing up on Mac?

Posted by Katrina to Mac Data Recovery on February 1st, 2019

Generally, when you plug in a Seagate, WD, Toshiba external hard drive to your MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini, you will see it mount on the desktop. You can also see it in the left-hand column of Finder. Sometimes, when you desperately need to access some data stored on the external hard drive, but the drive is not showing up on Mac. What should you do in this situation?

Reasons for an external hard drive not showing up on Mac

There are a number of reasons why an external hard drive might not be recognizing on Mac. This could be caused by incorrect formatting, corrupted file system, a broken cable or a faulty USB port, hardware problem or something else. Lucky for you, there are methods you can implement to fix the problem.

Quick tips to Mac not showing external hard drive

Before you delve into some methods for troubleshooting the system, you should begin with the basics first.

  • 1. Make sure the external hard drive is really plugged in properly.
  • 2. Check the USB port and cable. You can try a different cable/port or plug the external hard drive to another Mac devices.
  • 3. Reboot your Mac computer. Simply turn off your Mac devices and turn it again to see if the external hard drive can be detected.
  • Troubleshooting to external hard drive not showing up on Mac

    If you have done everything above, but nothing happens, it’s high time to follow the solution as below.

    Solution 1: Modify settings of Finder

    One of the common reason why Mac doesn’t recognize external hard drives is the Mac system isn’t set up to show it on Desktop. Here are some steps to fix this issue:

    Go to Finder > Preferences > General and make sure the "External disks" option is checked. You'll see the external hard drive showing up on Mac desktop.

    Show Toshiba external hard drive on the Desktop

    Solution 2: Mount the external hard drive manually in Disk Utility

    If you have made sure that the feature of external disks is activated, but the external hard drive is still not showing up on Mac. The next step is to mount the drive manually in Disk Utility. Visit Disk Utility, examine if the external hard drive can be found on the left sidebar. Right click the external hard drive and click Mount. If the drive is successful mounted, then you can see the drive in the Finder.

    Important: Data Recovery from the external hard drive

    If unfortunately, the external hard drive won't mount, the drive may have some file system errors that your Mac cannot recognize it. Under this circumstance, all of files within the external hard drive are still there, but they are so fragile that any operation will overwrite them. So before repairing/fixing non-mounting external hard drive on Mac, if you didn’t back up important data, please recover lost data from the drive.

    iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is free and professional data recovery software that is able to recover deleted/lost photos, videos, documents, music files from unreadable USB flash drives, unmountable SD cards, memory cards, external hard drives, and corrupted, damaged, formatted, inaccessible drives on macOS Mojave/High Sierra/Sierra and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

    Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

    Step 2: Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

    Recover data from not showing up Toshiba external hard drive

    Step 3: Select the external hard drive and click "Next" button to scan all lost data.

    Step 4: Preview the searching results, choose files you need, and click "Recover" to get them back.

    Solution 3: Run First Aid through the external hard drive

    First Aid is utilized for verify and repair various issue with regards to apps errors and file system corruptions. You would use this tool to fix the external hard drive not showing up issue.

    Step 1: Launch Disk Utility.

    Step 2: Choose the grayed out external hard drive from the left sidebar.

    Step 3: Click the 'First Aid' tab on the top.

    Repair unmountable external hard drives via First Aid

    Solution 4: Reformat to fix the external hard drive not showing up on Mac

    If First Aid fails on the external hard drive, the file system of the drive may be seriously damaged. You can reformat to fix Mac not showing the external hard drive.

    Step 1: Launch Disk Utility.

    Step 2: Select the external hard drive from the left sidebar of the window.

    sTEP 3: Click the Erase button on the top of the Disk Utility window.

    Step 4: Complete the related information (name, format, scheme), then click Erase.

    Solution 5: Send the external hard drive to a professional disk reparation center

    If the external hard drive is not showing up in Disk Utility, that indicates the drive has been physically damaged. As none of software can solve hardware problems, the only solution is to send the external hard drive to a professional disk reparation center.

    Still have questions?