How to fix USB drive files not showing up on Mac?

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery on January 30th, 2019 |

Summary: Files disappeared/missing from flash drives on Mac? Can't see files on USB drive? Don't worry! From this page, you will learn how to fix USB drive files not showing up on Mac. Besides, data recovery from USB drives is also mentioned.

Although a USB flash drive makes it extremely convenient for people to transfer or carry their data, sometimes, when you open a USB drive and find nothing in it or some files are missing. There is no need to worry as none of the drive space is changed. That is to say all missing data still remain on the USB drive. Go ahead to see how to fix files not showing in USB Mac.

This passage will show you the following contents:
Part 1: Why you can't see files on USB drive files Mac?
Part 2: Recover data from the USB drive
Part 3: How to fix USB files not showing up on Mac?
Part 4: Final thoughts

Why you can't see files on USB drive files Mac?

Generally, there may be various issues that can arise and cause USB drive files not showing up on Mac, such as mistaken deletion, hidden files, wrong file system, and virus invasion, etc.

First of all: Recover data from the USB drive

If those disappeared files are important for you, you must feel so anxious and wonder how to get them back. It's strongly advised that you should recover data from the USB drive firstly. Because in most cases, USB flash drive not showing files on Mac is caused by the corrupted file system. If you continue to make further operations on this drive, it's possible to write over the original data, making lost data irreparable. Therefore, please recover data from corrupted USB drives as soon as possible.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is the best free Mac hard drive data recovery software that can recover data from unmountable, corrupted, unreadable, inaccessible, formatted USB flash drives, external hard drives, hard disks, SD cards, memory cards, etc. on macOS Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/10.12 and 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

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 hides some files, you can't see them from USB drives. Here are two options to show hidden files on the flash drive on Mac:

Option 1: Use a keyboard shortcut

Step 1: From the Finder of macOS, 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 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 the USB files are still not showing up on Mac, it may be damaged by some file system errors. You can run First Aid to repair the corrupted USB drive:

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 First Aid failed to repair the disk, the USB drive is seriously corrupted. Under this circumstance, you can only reformat the drive. 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

Hope these solutions mentioned above have helped you to fix USB drive files not showing up issue on Mac. If you have any good solution, welcome to email us. If you are fed up with the similiar issue of external hard drive, please click here to see how to fix external hard drive files not showing up on Mac.


Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.

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