External hard drive stopped working on Mac, how to fix it?

Posted by Katrina to Mac Data Recovery on March 7th, 2018

External hard drives suddenly stops working is a common problem, especially if the external hard drive is plugged in and out between different machines. Once the external hard drive stops working, you have no access to the files stored in it. In this article, we will show you effective solutions to fix the not working external hard drives, as well as USB flash drives, SD cards, and memory cards, etc.

Fix external hard drive not working on Mac if the drive can show up in Disk Utility

Tips: Before fixing the not working external hard drive, please confirm it's external hard drive's issue.

Connect our external hard drive to a new USB port or a new computer to check out whether it really stops working, or just a damaged USB port that disallows our drive to show up on Mac.

If the external hard drive can be found in Disk Utility, the drive may have some logical problems that the drive can't be mounted, read or accessed. We can follow the below solutions when external hard drive stopped working on Mac.

Solution 1: Mount external hard drive in Disk Utility

Sometimes, external hard drives cannot be automatically mounted on Mac. So we need to mount external hard drive manually in Disk Utility:

Step 1: Open Disk Utility.

Step 2: Right click the external hard drive from the left sidebar and then click the Mount button.

Solution 2: Repair external hard drive via First Aid

If the external hard drive is greyed out in Disk Utility, we have no choice to mount it. In this situation, we can try First Aid in Disk Utility to check and verify errors on the external hard drive.

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility.

Step 2: Choose the grayed out external hard drive.

Step 3: Select First Aid in the top center and click Run.

Solution 3: Reformat external hard drive

If the above solutions fail to fix external hard drive stopped working on Mac, the last choice is to reformat the external hard drive. But reformatting will result in irreparable data loss on the external hard drive. If we care about files on the external hard drive, we should perform data recovery before reformatting.

Step 1: Recover data from external hard drive with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

All we need is iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, a free & professional Mac data recovery software that that can recover deleted/lost files from emptied Mac trash, recover data from formatted, inaccessible, corrupted, unmountable, unreadable hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, memory card, etc. in macOS High Sierra/10.12/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

Follow the steps below to recover data from external hard drive:

1. Free download, install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on Mac.

Recover data from external hard drive on Mac

2. Select the external hard drive and click "Next" to scan all lost files.

3. Preview the scanning results, choose files we need, and click "Recover" to get them back.

Step 2: Reformatting external hard drive

After successful data recovery, we can reformat the external hard drive. If data stored on the external hard drive are not useful, we can reformat the external hard drive directly.

1. Launch Disk Utility.

2. Click the icon of the external hard drive on the left part of the window.

3. Click the Erase on the top of the Disk Utility window.

4. Complete related information (name, format, scheme, etc.), and then click Erase button.

Fix external hard drive not working on Mac if external hard drive doesn't show up in Disk Utility

If external hard drive doesn't show up in Disk Utility, it means the drive can be recognized by Mac computer. Unfortunately, the drive may have some serious hardware problems.

Solution 1: Try iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

Sometimes, when Disk Utility can't recognize external hard drive, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery software can still detect the drive. So we can use iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery to recover data from external hard drive.

Solution 2: Send it to a local technician for help

If unfortunately, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can't detect external hard drive, we'd better look for help from a local data recovery company.

Still have questions?