- May 11, 2021 If your external hard drive appears there but is not mounted, you can click the Mount icon then the external hard drive will be mounted in macOS Catalina/Mojave. However, if the external hard drive appears in Disk Utility but is unmountable or no volumes of that external drive listed, you got both good news and bad news.
- I have the same problem. I have the very newest MacBook Pro, my WD External hard drives won't mount. In Disk Utilities, the drives are visible, however, 'first aid' is unsuccessful and they won't reformat either. In my case, the lights on the external drive flash, and you can hear the internal discs spinning normally.
- My Hard Drive Won T Mount Macbook Pro
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Get a data lifeguard for Mac
- Make sure your Mac is connected to the external storage device (for example, using a USB cable or over a network). Click the Finder icon in the Dock to open a Finder window, then do one of the following to move your files. Move files to the storage device: Select one or more files on the desktop or in a folder, then drag them to the storage device, listed below Locations in the Finder sidebar.
- Select the unmountable WD external hard drive and click 'Erase' on the top. Provide a name and a format to erase the drive. When finished, you can mount your WD external hard drive on Mac and use it again. Hope this tutorial can help to fix WD external hard drive not mounting/showing up/recognized/detected on Mac.
- Dec 10, 2018 Check that the external hard drive has power if it needs it. Check the condition of the cable and swap it if you have a spare. Change the hard drive power cable if you have a spare. Try a different wall outlet if there is one nearby. Reboot your Mac to see if it was an open program or app stopping the drive being detected.
- None of the HD I would like to connect to this Mac have a Thunderbolt connection but that is helpful if the hard drive you would like to connect have that connector. Yes, USB Sticks seem to work fine, I had a crash from connecting one stick and the Mac rebooted but they mount.
Why is my external hard drive not readable on Mac? Your external hard drive is not readable on Mac because it is formatted in NTFS, HFS+, or another format not supported by macOS. A loosely connected or frayed USB cable is another possible reason the external drive is not recognized by your Mac. Change the cable to fix the issue.
Most of the time, when you connect an external hard drive to your Mac’s USB port, you soon see it mount on the desktop. Apple likes to ensure these are easy to find, so they also appear in the Finder in the left-hand column under Devices, since Mac’s treat them the same way as another computer.
However, sometimes, an external hard drive doesn't show up. It’s annoying, especially when you need to transfer something right then. And besides, there can be a risk that data on the external USB pen, hard, or flash drive is corrupt, which means you can’t transfer what you need between devices at all.
It should only take a minute or two for the drive to be erased and reformatted. Now your drive is ready for OS X. Install OS X. There are two ways you can install OS X on to your external hard disk: by reinstalling OS X from the OS X Utilities repair screen or by downloading OS X.
Corrupt data can be one reason your Mac won't recognize an external drive, but there are other reasons too. Let’s take a look why this is happening and how you can get an external drive to appear on your Mac and get recover data to access to your documents.
How to fix an external disk drive that won't show up on a Mac
Why an external disk drive is not showing up? There could be a few reasons why a USB flash drive isn’t making an appearance.
Open an External Drive Not Showing on Mac
Get a huge set of top utilities for troubleshooting external hard drives not mounting on a Mac
Start with the basics:
- Check whether the drive is properly plugged in. It sounds obvious, but since this relies on a wire - either a USB cable or HDMI cable - if it’s not connected properly then it won’t appear on your desktop.
- Faulty cable. Assuming it’s plugged in correctly, not wobbly or loose, the cable could be at fault. Try connecting the same device with a different cable.
- Damaged USB or flash drive port. It could be a hardware issue with the Mac. If you’ve got another port, try connecting the device to that one.
- Reboot your Mac. Sometimes, if a USB disk won't boot, the cause is macOS issue. Hopefully, some data damage that can be fixed by restarting. Choose the Apple menu > Restart. Or press and hold the power button and, when a dialog box appears, click the Restart or press R. Restarting your Mac essentially clears your macOS’s memory and starts it up fresh.
- Incorrectly formatted drive. Not every external drive is optimized for Macs. It could be that you are trying to connect something only fit to interact with Windows devices. If you’ve got a PC or laptop, it’s worth connecting and seeing if you can access the files through another device. The best way to look for an incorrectly formatted drive is to go to
Apple (in the top toolbar menu) > About This Mac > Storage.
See if the external drive shows up here. For more information, go to the same menu option, then select System Report.
- Mac not formatted to display external drives on the desktop. It could be that your Mac already recognizes the device, but just isn’t showing its icon on the desktop screen. Even if that is the case, the drive will still appear in the left-hand column of the Finder menu under Devices. You should be able to access your drive that way, and, in the Finder menu under Preferences > General, you can check External Drives to ensure that from now on it shows up on your desktop too.
- Reset NVRAM. To do this, shut down or restart your Mac, switch it back on and immediately press these four keys together for at least 20 seconds: Option, Command, P, and R. It should look as though your Mac has started again; if it has, release the keys when you hear the second startup chime. Hopefully, the hard drive has shown up now.
- Check Apple’s Disk Utility to see if an external drive is showing up. Disk Utility is within System Preferences, or you can find it using Spotlight. If it is visible, then click the option to Mount, which should make it visible on the desktop and in the External Drives option in the Finder menu.
Unfortunately, if none of those options has worked and the external drive still isn’t visible, then it could have crashed, or be well and truly broken. But there might still be a way you can recover the data on the external drive.
How to show connected devices in Finder
- Go to the Finder menu and select Preferences (Cmd+comma).
- From General tab tick External disks to ensure that from now on it shows on the desktop.
In the Sidebar tab you can choose which folders and devices will be shown in the left-hand column of the Finder window.
How to add cloud storages to Finder
You can also mount cloud storage as local drive on your Mac. By connecting Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon to your computer, you get more space for securely accessing and sharing files. For your ease, add cloud drives to Finder with CloudMounter app, so that you keep them close at hand. You can read detailed instructions on managing cloud storage as local drives here.
Repair the failed external drives with First Aid
If your drive is having problems, you can try to fix them yourself with First Aid and therefore get access to your files. First Aid tool will check the disk for errors and then attempt a repair as needed. It helps to verify and repair a range of issues related to startup HD and external drive problems. If you are able to fix the hard drive or SSD in your Mac (or an external drive) using Disk Utility you will hopefully be able to recover your files.
To run Fist Aid on an external hard drive:
- Open Disk Utility. You can searching for it using Spotlight Search or via Finder > Application > Utility
- Check on your external hard drive, click the First Aid tab and select Run to start running diagnostics.
If First Aid successful in fixing errors, the external drive should be available to mount. If the utility unable to repair issues, your drive truly is broken or formatted using a file system that the Mac cannot read - in this way we suggest you follow the next steps to recover data from a damaged disk drive.
How to recover data from a crashed drive
Thankfully, there is an app for that. Disk Drill is the world’s premier data recovery software for Mac OS X. Powerful enough to retrieve long-lost, mistakenly deleted files from Macs, external hard drives and USB drives and camera cards.
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An easy way to recover lost files on an external hard drive
Providing you already have Disk Drill Pro version, which you can get automatically by downloading from Setapp:
- Connect your drive to the Mac.
- Quit all other applications on the Mac, especially those that may be trying to access the external drive (e.g. iPhoto, Words)
- Launch Disk Drill.
- Click on the external drive that you are trying to recover files from. If it has partitions, you will see all of them. If, however, you still don’t see any volume to the external drive then you may need to try some of the steps above again or read the Disk Drill Scanning FAQs.
- To avoid the external drive being accessed during the recovery process, click Extras next to the drive or drive partition or file, then select Remount Volume As Read Only. A padlock will appear, protecting the drive during the process.
- Now click Rebuild (or Recover) next to the file(s) you are trying to recover. Once the scan is finished - it may take some time if the files are large - a list of files will appeal.
- Next, click Mount Found Items as Disk button on the bottom-left below the scan results.
- Disk Drill “strongly suggest saving the files to a different drive than the one you are trying to recover files from. Saving to the same drive substantially lowers your chances of recovery.”
- A drive icon will appear, which once you double click will give you the option to open the files as you would do before they were lost. Drag them to another location, such as your desktop or a folder on your Mac.
- Open the files to ensure they have been recovered properly and safely eject the external drive.
Disk Drill does have other ways to recover lost files but assuming there aren’t complications, this method is the most effective. Disk Drill Pro recovery app is available from Setapp, along with dozens of Mac apps that will make your life easier. Never have to worry about a crashed or corrupted external drive again.
A few more tips on getting your files back
- Macs and third-party apps that look after Macs, such as Disk Drill and iStat Menus come with a S.M.A.R.T. (also known as Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) status monitor. If a SMART check reports errors, then it could mean the hard drive is at risk of failing completely. Within Disk Utility and Disk Drill, there are several solutions for this: Repair Disk Permissions and Repair Disk. If neither work, it’s recommended that you backup all of the data from the disk, erase, then run a SMART check again. The external hard drive should show up as Verified.
- Partitions can get lost within hard drives, temporarily hiding all of the information contained within. Disk Drill can help to identify and restore this information.
- Within Disk Drill, you can restore data when a hard drive is damaged or add formatting, which is also something Disk Utility can help with.
- CleanMyMac, another useful app available from Setapp, can help you identify external hard drive errors and repair them. It is an essential tool worth trying when you’re having external hard drive difficulties.
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Alternative ways to recover data from an external hard drive
Reset the System Management Controller (SMC) if your Mac shuts down when you plug in an external hard drive. Then use a different port to connect the external hard drive. If you’ve got a battery that you can’t remove:
- Shut down and unplug the power adapter
- Press Shift-Control-Option and the power button at the same time. Do this for 10 seconds
- Release all keys
- Plug the power adapter back in and switch your Mac back on
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For Macs with removable batteries, you need to switch them off, remove the battery, then press and hold the power button for 5 seconds. After that, put the battery back in, plug in the power adapter and switch the power on again.
What’s your file format? One reason your Mac isn’t recognizing the hard drive is the file format. Windows uses NTFS file formats, while Macs, up until the introduction of Sierra, have used HFS+. Now, Apple has introduced the Apple File System (APFS) for newer operating systems. It is possible to format a hard drive so it can be read on Mac and Windows computers, providing you format using exFAT. However, if you’re having problems accessing the files and the issue is due to formatting, you will need to connect it to a device it can be read on, and then format the files correctly for the computer you are going to use it on next.
Mac External Disk Won't Mount
How to make Ext2/Ext3 drives readable on Mac
The common issue is Ext2- and Ext3-formatted drives are not readable on macOS. There are two ways to access such external drives on your Mac – via Linux OS or FUSE system. The easiest would be installing Linux to a secondary drive or virtual machine.
If you go with Linux installation, dual boot your Mac with Linux on another drive and use FAT32 as a transfer intermediary. If you don’t have a drive to install Linux to, use virtual machine as an interface for it. Transferring can be done the same way – with FAT32, or via network.
Another option for reading Ext2/Ext3 disks is mounting disk with Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE). Basically, it works as an extra interface enabling file system access via specially installed modules. Here’s how to mount drives with FUSE:
- Install FUSE for macOS or MacFUSE as well as fuse-ext2 module.
- Use the following Terminal command to enable Disk Utility’s debug menu and see all partitions: defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled 1
- Attach your Ext2/Ext3 drive and locate the device name via Disk Utility.
- In your user account, create a folder to be used as a mount point.
- Use the following Terminal command to mount the drive as read-only: fuse-ext2 /dev/disk2s2 /Volumes/mountpoint
- For write support, use the command: fuse-ext2 -o force /dev/disk2s2 /Volumes/mountpoint
And that’s not the only case where Terminal helps you access external drive.
Employ the handy all-powerful Terminal, which always comes forward with solutions for difficult problems. Especially if System Information does recognize the USB or hard drive, but continues to hide it from you, disconnect the drive and try to find it using the Terminal, which you can find in Applications > Utilities.
- Once in the Terminal, type in the command diskutil list
- A list with information about volumes and drives should appear
- Look for a section labelled /dev/disk_ (external, physical)
- Make a note of the whole line after the word disk
- Now put the following command into the Terminal diskutil info disk followed by the number or digits assigned to that disk
- Now you should see detailed information about the drive, therefore confirming that your Mac can and does recognize it
- Eject using the Terminal by entering the command diskutil eject disk followed by the number or digits assigned to that disk
- Physically remove the disk from you Mac
- Plug it back in and your Mac should recognize it
Console is also reliable when it comes to solving tricky problems, although it isn’t always that easy to use. You can find Console under Applications > Utilities > Console. Console shows if an external drive or any error is detected under the Errors and Faults tab. If no errors show up, then the problem is not caused by the device.
To sum up, there are lots of potential solutions for a Mac not reading an external hard drive. If we were to pick one, Disk Drill seems to be the most well-rounded, offering plenty of customizations and power in an easy-to-use interface. Disk Drill Pro recovery app is available via Setapp, along with 150+ Mac apps that strive to make your life much much easier. At the very least, you’ll never have to worry about a crashed or corrupted external drive ever again.
I have a 1 TB WD external HD that won't mount. I connect it via firewire to my MacBook Pro running OS 10.13 High Sierra. My mac sees the drive, it just won't mount. I've also tried to mount it via USB, but again, my system sees the drive, but won't mount it. Does anyone have any suggestion what I can do?
Generally, when you connect an WD, Seagate, Toshiba, Samsung external hard drive to Mac, it will be automatically mounted, then you can perform read and write operation on it. Alternatively, you can also select the disk and click on Mount to make it accessible by the operating system using Disk Utility.
However, it may happen that your WD external hard drive won't mount on Mac, usually when you desperately need to access some data stored on it. Remain calm, all data on WD external hard drive is still there. This article will explain how to fix WD My Passport not mounting/showing up/recognized/detected.
WD external hard drive won't mount on Mac, how to fix?
First of all, if your WD external hard drive is listed on the left-hand-side menu of Disk Utility, you can make sure it doesn't have any hardware problem. Why the WD external hard drive won't mount? It is because the file system of the disk has been corrupted, preventing the disk from being accessible on Mac. Just try these solutions below.
Solution 1: Run Disk Utility to repair the WD external hard drive
No matter what problems you are meeting on a disk, First Aid is your first choice to repair it.
Step 1: Launch Disk Utility.
Step 2: Choose the unmountable WD external hard drive.
Step 3: Select First Aid in the top center and click Run.
Solution 2: Reformat to fix WD My Passport not mounting
If Sometimes, the Disk Utility may not function as desired. In this situation, the only solution is to reformat the WD external hard drive. But reformatting will remove all data on the disk. In order to avoid data loss, you have to recover lost data from unmountable external hard drive as soon as possible.
Step 1: Recover lost data from unmountable WD external hard drive on Mac
As the best free Mac data recovery, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is able to recover lost data from unmountable, unreadable, corrupted, inaccessible external hard drive, hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, memory card, etc. It supports to recover documents, photos, music files, videos, emails on macOS Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/Sierra 10.12/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.
1. Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac on Mac.
2. Launch this program. Select the unmountable WD external hard drive and click 'Next'. The program will start scanning this drive for recoverable files.
3. After the scanning process finishes, you can click the found files and preview.
4. Choose what you want to get back and click 'Recover'.
5. Go through the recovered files and make sure all desired files are back.
Step 2: Fix WD external hard drive not mounting/showing up/recognized/detected on Mac by reformatting
1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
2. Select the unmountable WD external hard drive and click 'Erase' on the top.
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3. Provide a name and a format to erase the drive.
4. When finished, you can mount your WD external hard drive on Mac and use it again.
Hope this tutorial can help to fix WD external hard drive not mounting/showing up/recognized/detected on Mac. If you have any question, please feel free to contact us.
Also read: Can't See External hard drive showing up on Mac, What to do?
Still have questions?
Summary: This article clearly states why the WD My Passport for Mac drive is not mounting on Mac and how to fix this issue. If you worry about losing data, you can recover data from the WD hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.
This page will analyze why WD My Passport drive won't mount on Mac, and provides 7 possible solutions to this issue.
- 1. Show the mounted WD My Passport for Mac hard drive on Mac desktop
- 2. Force Mount the WD Mac hard drive in Disk Utility
- 3. Run First Aid to fix WD My Passport for Mac not mounting error
- 4. Check the power supply of the WD My Passport for Mac drive
- 5. Check the USB cable
- 6. Check the USB port of your Mac
- 7. Check for driver update
Quick way to fix WD My Passport for Mac hard drive not mounting error
If WD My Passport for Mac hard drive won't mount on Mac, the fast solution is to reformat the hard drive. But reformatting will delete all data stored on the hard drive, and most of the time, many important files are stored on the WD My Passport for Mac hard drive.
If you haven't backed up important files, how can you recover files from the WD My Passport drive? It's high time to recover lost data from the unmounted hard drive first.
Step 1: Recover data from the unmountable My Passport hard drive
As for Mac data recovery, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is highly recommended as it's a free Mac data recovery software. It can easily retrieve files from WD Passport drives. This software can recover lost data from corrupted hard drive, unreadable hard drives, formatted hard drives, unrecognized hard drives, unmountable hard drives, inaccessible hard drives, and recover lost data from uninitialized hard drive.
You can use this hard drive data recovery software on macOS 12 Monterey/macOS 11 Big Sur/Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/10.12 Sierra and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7 and on M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max Mac.
- 1. Free download and install iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.
- 2. Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac and select the unmounted WD My Passport for Mac hard drive.
- 3. Click 'Scan' to search for all lost files on this drive.
- 4. Preview the listed scanning results, choose files we want, and click 'Recover' button to get them back.
Hopefully, you'll get all your files off after the WD My Passport is not working nor mounting.
Step 2: Fix WD My Passport for Mac drive not mounting error by reformatting
After getting lost files back, you can fix WD My Passport for Mac hard drive not mounting error by reformatting without worrying about losing data. This will reset the WD My Passport hard drive.
• Guide to reformat WD My Passport for Mac external hard drive
How to fix the unmounted WD My Passport hard drive on Mac?
The connected WD My Passport drive should be automatically mounted on the desktop, in Finder and Disk Utility. When it won't mount on Mac as you expect, you can try these methods.
1. Show the mounted WD My Passport for Mac hard drive on Mac desktop
Sometimes, the My Passport drive is recognized and mounted by the Mac, and you just don't see it. You can go to Finder > Preferences and confirm if the 'External Disks' under 'Show these items on the desktop' is selected. This will ensure if the external drives connected to this Mac are allowed to show on the desktop.
But if your WD My Passport drive is not even showing up, it's reasonable that you can't see it mounting on Mac. Then, you shoud check the connections and some hardware issues.
2. Force Mount the WD Mac hard drive in Disk Utility
You can go to Utility and see if this hard drive appears in the left sidebar. If your WD My Passport for Mac drive for Mac is not mounting but grayed out in Disk Utility, you can right-click and select the 'Mount' button to force mount the hard drive. However, if this external hard drive is corrupted, the 'Mount' button will not be available and you need to try the next solution.
But sometimes, you can't mount a hard drive on Mac because of internal disk errors like file system corruption, partition table lost, the directory is corrupted, etc. You WD My Passport for Mac drive won't be recognized by your Mac in these cases. Fortunately, you can fix the hard drive not mounting issue with the native disk repair tool, First Aid.
3. Run First Aid to fix WD My Passport for Mac not mounting error
First Aid is a Mac built-in tool to verify and check minor problems of a hard disk. Whenever you can't mount a WD hard drive or My Passport for Mac is not working, First Aid should be a good disk repair tool.
- Step 1: Go to /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility/, then click Continue.
- Step 2: In the sidebar, select the unmounted WD My Passport for Mac hard drive.
- Step 3: Click the 'First Aid' button.
- Step 4: Click Run.
If Disk Utility reports that the WD My Passport for Mac hard drive appears to be OK or has been repaired, you're done. Otherwise, this WD My Passport drive has been corrupted. You have to retrieve your data from this corrupted hard drive as soon as possible.
When those methods didn't make any difference and the WD My passport for Mac hard drive is not mounting still, you need to check some hardware issues that get involved in the disk connection.
Let's start with some basics factors.
4. Check the power supply of the WD My Passport for Mac drive
It's well known that insufficient or no power supply in USB ports could also lead to hard drive not mounting issue. Therefore, you should make sure the WD My Passport for Mac hard drive is getting the appropriate power. If the drive came with a Y-cable, use both USB connectors. Moreover, do not connect the drive through a USB hub, connect it directly to the Mac. Make sure the power adapter is connected directly to a wall outlet, not to an extension cord.
5. Check the USB cable
When external hard drive is not showing up on Mac, ensure the cable is properly connected to both the drive and computer. Then try connecting your WD My Passport for Mac hard drive with a new USB cable if you can fetch another one.
6. Check the USB port of your Mac
If the problem still continues, try using a different USB port. Perhaps your Mac has two USB port - the back and front ones. Assuming the My passport driveis plugged in the front USB port, try to insert the drive to the back USB port.
7. Check for driver update
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If the hardware seems to be OK, let's check the software that related to this disk problem. The My passport disk driver, a software component, bridges the operating system and the drive to communicate with each other. But the files of My passport driver could be deleted, outdated, or corrupted for virus invasion or misoperation.
So, when the WD My Passport drive is not working or the external hard drive won't mount on Mac, check the disk driver.
- Step 1: Click the Apple icon and select 'App Store…'
- Step 2: Click Update (NOT UPGRADE!) to install a specific update or Update All to install all available updates.
Sometimes, WD My Passport for Mac driver, software, and WD disk tool are needed, especially when you want to open a WD My Passport for Mac drive that is locked. You can go to WD official website and download software for WD My Passport troubleshooting and for WD My Passport driver update.
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What does it mean by mounting a WD My Passport drive on Mac?
The WD My Passport for Mac hard drive is specially designed for Mac mini computers, iMacs, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. You can access My passport for Mac drives only when macOS recognizes the format of the drive. This process is called mounting.
However, once your computer fails to recognize that format (also known as file system), the WD My Passport for Mac hard drive is not mounting on Mac computer.
Why is WD My Passport for Mac not mounting?
What To Do When A Hard Drive Won't Mount
WD hard drives, including My Passport and Easystore, won't mount on Mac when the disk format is not recognized. Such error could be caused by virus infection, sudden power failure, sudden power outage, unwanted interruption during transferring data, etc. If the external hard drive won't mount, you can't open this WD My Passport for Mac drive and access your important files.
Here is one typical case from forums:
WD My Passport for Mac hard drive (2 TB) won't mount on my MacBook Air, grayed out in Disk Utility. I have 1 TB family photos on this hard drive, which are very precious for me. How to fix if WD My Passport for Mac not working on Mac? Any data recovery solution? Thanks a lot!
If you haven't got an effective workaround when WD My passport hard drive fails to mount in Finder or Disk Utility, this page will help. You'll know how to mount the Western Digital my passport drive on Mac again.
WD My passport for Mac hard drives always offer quick and easy way to expand the storage space of your computer. It has amazing features like cloud storage, password protection with hard drive encryption, and compatibility with Apple's Time Machine backup software, so that you can store a massive number of photos, videos, music and documents.
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But the WD My Passport for Mac drive not mounting issue will call a halt on all these good things. You need to repair the WD My Passport for Mac that is not working or corrupted first, and recover data with the assistance of data recovery software from iBoysoft.
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For any questions or suggestions, please email us below.