External Hard Drive No Longer Recognized Mac

Have you tried a new cable? Are these drives USB or FireWire?

If you use Bitlocker to encrypt your hard drive, you may meet the problem that external hard drive recognized but not accessible and your important files cannot be used. Besides, there are many other reasons could cause your external hard drive inaccessible, like hard drive broken, the USB power supply of removable device is insufficient, etc.

You might also try resetting the SMC and pram

  • How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Recognized on Mac Step 1 Look for Your External Hard Drive in 'Finder' Interface. First of all, click on File, and then press the New. Step 2 Make Sure the External Hard Drive Is Properly Connected to Mac. If the external drive is not there, make sure.
  • The causes for external hard drives, USB pen drives, and SD cards not showing up on Mac could include: The USB cable is broken. The USB port is malfunctioned. The USB adapter is not working properly. The external hard drive is not formatted incorrectly. The hardware and software like disk driver need an update.
  • No matter what computer you use, Windows or Mac, accidentally unplugging an external hard drive without safely ejecting will easily cause serious problems, such as the external hard drive not recognized, lost data, corrupted file system, crashing programs or Windows not booting up.

To reset the SMC

on MacBook and MacBook Pro.

Shut down the computer.

Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer, if it's connected.

Remove the battery.

Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.

Release the power button.

Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.

Press the power button to turn on the computer.

Resetting PRAM and NVRAM

Shut down the computer.

Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.


Turn on the computer.

Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.

Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.

Release the keys.

Dec 8, 2012 12:23 PM

Data on your Mac is stored on a hard drive, whether it’s internal or external. If this hard drive isn’t showing up on your system, some deeper issues might need to be fixed. Depending on the severity of the issue, you might need to replace your hard drive — luckily, there are a number of things you can try before doing this.

Learn how to fix your harddisks not showing up on Mac using built-in tools such as the Disk Utility or the Terminal.

How to fix internal hard drive not showing on Mac

The internal hard drive in your Mac is called Macintosh HD or startup disk. It’s used to store your operating system files, as well as other data. Without an external hard drive attached, this is likely the only drive on your Mac. Below are the methods to address the internal hard drive not showing up on your macOS computer.

Method 1. Change settings to show the internal hard drive

If your internal hard drive is not showing up in the Finder or on your desktop, but your computer boots up, you might just need to adjust your settings a little.

External Hard Drive Suddenly Not Recognized Mac

  1. Open a Finder window, and then use the bar on top of your Mac to open the Finder menu. Here, choose Preferences.
    Finder menu > Preferences ' width='512' height='456'>
  2. Switch to the General tab. Ensure that the box next to Hard disks is checked in order to show your internal hard disk on the desktop.
    finder > sidebar > locations ' width='328' height='512'>
  3. Switch to the Sidebar tab. Under Locations, make sure to enable Hard disks. Doing so will show the internal hard disk in the Finder window’s sidebar.
    hard disks' width='512' height='316'>
  4. If both options are enabled but the hard drive is still not showing up, ensure that the Locations section isn’t hidden in your Finder. If it appears to be hidden, hover your mouse cursor over it and click the Show button.

Method 2. Boot in Safe Mode

You can try booting your Mac in Safe Mode in order to fix the internal hard drive not showing up on Mac. This method might allow you to do some extra troubleshooting in case your computer doesn’t boot up normally.

  1. Power down the computer.
  2. Press the Power button, then immediately press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard.
  3. Release the Shift key when the login screen is visible. Sign in using your details and see if the internal hard disk is visible in Safe Mode.

Method 3. Repair with macOS Recovery Mode

If your Mac won’t boot up as it detects the startup disk is missing, try using Recovery Mode by following the steps below.

  1. Boot into Recovery Mode using the methods below, depending on the chip in your computer:
    1. Apple Silicon M1 chip (2020 and later); Here are the steps to boot your Mac in Recovery mode if you’re using an Apple chip:
      1. Turn off your computer.
      2. Press and hold the Power button until you see that the device is booting into Recovery Mode.
      3. Click on Options, and then click on Continue.
    2. Intel chip (more common); More common in computers or Macbooks made before 2020. Use any of the following keyboard combinations while your device is booting:
      1. Command + R
      2. Command + Option + R
      3. Command + Shift + Option + R
  2. Once in Recovery Mode, select Disk Utility from the macOS Utilities menu.
    first aid' width='512' height='337'>
  3. If visible, select the internal hard-drive from the left side panel by clicking on it once. Next, click on the First Aid button to begin the repair process.

How to fix external hard drive not showing on Mac

External Hard Drive No Longer Recognized Mac Os

There are a number of reasons why an external hard drive connected to your Mac is not showing up. Find out how to fix this issue by taking a look at our tips and guides.

Method 1. Common issues and physical damage

Before you begin troubleshooting on your Mac, check the physical disk itself for any form of physical damage. You can also perform tests and connect it to a different Mac, in case something is wrong with your hardware.

Here are some of the most common damages users notice while examining faulty external drives:

  • The drive isn’t properly plugged in. If the external device isn’t connected to your computer the proper way, you’ll experience connectivity issues. Make sure to check that the USB cable or HDMI cable used to connect the hard drive is properly plugged into your device.
  • The connection cable is damaged. If the cable used to connect your Mac and the external hard drive is damaged, it’s not going to allow a connection. The damage might not be visible to the eye - try using a different cable for testing.
  • Your Mac hasn’t been restarted. In some cases, Mac computers may start to experience issues due to not being restarted in an extended period of time. Try giving your device a restart by holding down the power button, or choosing Apple menuRestart.
  • Faulty hardware. If possible, try connecting a different external hard drive to your Mac to check if the same issue happens. If the other drive shows up with no problems, the problematic drive may be damaged. Otherwise, your Mac could be experiencing damage that causes the connection to fail, such as a bad USB port.

Method 2. Repair the external drive with First Aid

The First Aid tool allows you to potentially fix a failed external drive and recover data from it. The tool is able to identify issues and attempt fixing them — this may help you save your data before it’s too late.

  1. Click on the Launchpad in your dock.
  2. Search for the Disk Utility application and open it once located. You can see the current icon for the application on the image above.
  3. Select the external hard disk you’re having issues with by clicking on it in the left-side panel. Next, click First Aid and then click on Run. You’ll be notified if the system detects any issues with the hard disk.
  4. If the process fails, you have two options: either try to repeat the steps and run First Aid again to attempt recovery, or save as much data as you can and attempt formatting. (See details in Method 4.)

Method 3. Use the Terminal to troubleshoot

Using the Terminal, you’re able to potentially eject the drive and reconnect it properly. This can be done by entering a few commands.

  1. Open the Terminal from your Launchpad or by navigating to ApplicationsUtilitiesTerminal in a Finder window. You can see the current icon for the application on the image above.
  2. Type in the following command and press the Enter key to execute it: diskutil list
  3. You’ll see a list of your hard drives. Search for a header line that says “/dev/disk* (external, physical)” with the asterisk being your disk’s identifying number. (See image above for examples of header lines.)
  4. Type in the following command, but replace the asterisk with the identifying number of your disk: diskutil info disk*
  5. If your system is able to recognize the drive, it’ll display further information about it. In this case, type in the following command to eject the drive. Make sure to once again replace the asterisk with the identifying number of your disk: diskutil eject disk*
  6. Check if the drive is gone from the list, then plug it out of your Mac. Try plugging it in once again to mount it with a fresh connection.

Method 4. Format the external hard drive

Users have reported that after formatting the hard drive, it properly connects to their Mac without any issues. This happens because some hard drives aren’t formatted to be Mac friendly, meaning that the system is unable to recognize them. Here are the steps to format your external hard drive.

  1. Plug in the hard drive and ensure it’s plugged in correctly. This will establish the connection between the external drive and your Mac.
  2. Open the Disk Utility from your Launchpad or by navigating to ApplicationsUtilitiesDisk Utility in a Finder window. You can see the current icon for the application on the image above.
  3. Select the drive you’re having issues with from the left-side panel, then click on the Erase button. (See image above)
  4. Open the Format drop-down menu and select any of the Mac OS compatible formats. Keep in mind that formatting the drive will erase all of its contents!
  5. Click on the Erase button to begin the formatting process.

Method 5. Reset NVRAM

The nonvolatile random-access memory (NVRAM) stores the local settings of your Mac. Sometimes, the NVRAM might experience issues or bugs which lead to your external hard drive not showing up in the system. Luckily, you can reset this easily by following the steps below.

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top menu bar of your screen, then choose Restart.
  2. As your computer is booting up, hold the Command + Option + P + R keys on your keyboard simultaneously.
  3. This is going to cause your computer to restart again. When you hear the restart sound again, you can release the keys and let your Mac reboot.

Note: On new generation Macs, you don’t have to restart the computer. Simply press down the keyboard combination for about 30 seconds and your NVRAM will be reset.

External Hard Drive Not Detected Mac Mojave

Final thoughts

If you need any further help with Mac, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service team, available 24/7 to assist you. Return to us for more informative articles all related to productivity and modern day technology!

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