Thumb Drive Not Showing Up On Mac

  1. Using Flash Drive On Mac
  2. How Do I Find My Thumb Drive On A Mac
  3. Flash Drive Files Not Showing Up On Mac
  4. Thumb Drive Not Showing Up On Mac Keyboard

As mentioned, outdated Lexar USB driver is responsible for the problem of Lexar Jump drive not showing up on Windows and Mac in most cases. It is a tiny program that enables your Lexar USB flash drive to communicate with your computer. Jun 15, 2010 The drive is probably now formatted for a Mac only file system. To format for a PC: Insert the drive in the Mac and start Disk Utility (Utilities folder). Select the drive in the left column. Be sure to select the drive (all the way to the left) not a volume (indented below the drive name). Select the 'Partition' tab.

Before we start

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However, if you're eager to fix this bug yourself, keep reading. We outline a range of straightforward solutions to an external hard drive not showing up on Mac in the following sections.

Your external drive not showing up on Mac? Here’s what to do

When you plug in a hard drive into your Mac, you expect it to pop up in Locations in Finder — next to your remote disk and the computer itself. But what if it’s not there? There can be many reasons for a Mac not reading a hard drive — poor connection, faulty cable or, in the worst-case scenario, corrupt hard drive data. Whatever happens, there are always ways to deal with it.

1. Edit your preferences

If this is not the first time you’re using an external hard drive and experiencing such a problem, it is not likely to be an issue for you. However, you could still check your preferences — just in case.

Your settings might not be set to display external hard drives on your desktop. To fix that, go to Finder and click on the Finder button in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Follow PreferencesGeneral Show these items on the desktop. Make sure you tick the boxes next to External disks and Hard disks. Then go to Sidebar and check Hard disks and External disks there as well.

2. Ensure your cable has sufficient power

Some hard drives require more power supply than others, different types and brands of cables provide more or less energy. Normally, a device requires up to 500 mA, which can be provided by a standard USB 1.0 or 2.0.

However, if your hard drive needs a stronger power output, it may work slower than expected or not connect at all. Check that your USB cable is delivering enough power to the hard drive and, if need be, swap to a more powerful connector or to a different USB port on your Mac.

You could also use an external power source or even a self-powered USB hub — adding its power to the power of your Mac might resolve the issue. Don’t forget to have your Mac connected to the charger.

3. Try Other Devices for Power Supply

If you find that no matter what type of cable you use, the hard drive is still not showing up, the problem might be in your Mac’s hardware. Try using another Mac or Windows device — if it only works on a PC, it’s likely that your hardware is not formatted to be launched on a MacOS device.

4. Use Terminal

Thumb Drive Not Showing Up On Mac

For average users, the Terminal app is a last-resort solution because they tend to find it complicated. However, it’s almost always effective and isn’t actually that bad if you carefully follow the steps:

  1. Open Terminal by following ApplicationsUtilitiesTerminal
  2. Type in diskutil list - a command that extracts information from the system to analyse any volumes and drives attached to your Mac
  3. A list of your disks will appear — search for a line with /dev/disk_ (external, physical) — the underscore signifies a digit assigned to your disk’s identifier
  4. Type in another command — diskutil info disk_, with the digit of the external disk that you’re interested in in place of the underscore
  5. If your system recognises the drive, this action should reveal the information about your drive. Then you can eject it by typing in diskutil eject disk_, with your drive’s assigned digit in place of the underscore
  6. You can now type in the diskutil list command again — if the drive is gone from the list, you can remove it from the USB port and reconnect it. It should now be able to mount normally

If you’re running MacOS Mojave or Catalina, you might come across the “Operation not permitted” error when entering a Terminal command. This is not a software bug — it occurs due to additional System Integrity Protection security measures that Apple introduced in the newer versions of the operating system. It locks down certain areas of the system and only relieves the lockdown during updates.

To fix this error, you need to grant Terminal full disk access:

  1. Quit Terminal and go to the Apple MenuSystem PreferencesSecurity and PrivacyPrivacy
  2. Scroll down the menu on the left until you see Full Disk Access
  3. To make changes to the list of apps that have the permission, click on the lock symbol in the bottom left corner of the window and enter your password when prompted;
  4. Click on the Plus button to add a new utility to the list. Look for Terminal in ApplicationsUtilities
  5. Once you’ve added Terminal, click on the padlock again to disable access to editing.

5. Engage Disk Utility

Disk Utility often becomes the ultimate fix for a lot of Mac problems, including those related to external drives. It can help to access and repair some disk issues by checking partition Macs and performing additional checks across the system.

To use Disk Utility, follow these steps:

  1. Go to ApplicationsUtilitiesDisk UtilityViewShow All Devices
  2. The sidebar on the left will display any external drives — you should be able to view your hard drive there
  3. Click on the volume for a menu to appear. If the drive has been mounted, there will be an option to unmount the device. If you can’t see a volume list, your Mac can’t access the drive at all and you won’t be able to mount it

6. Change the format of your HD

Macs use HFS+ or APFS format, whereas Windows computers employ NTFS. FAT32 and exFAT are recognised by both Mac and Windows devices. You can check the formatting by going to the Apple menu at the top of the screen and following About This MacStorage.

If you see that your device’s format is not Mac friendly, you can change it through the following steps:

  1. Plug in the connector of your device slowly into the port of your Mac — this ensures proper initiation
  2. Go to ApplicationsUtilitiesDisk Utility
  3. You should be able to see the external hard drive under the External heading in the sidebar on the left. Click on it to open the drive’s information
  4. In the menu bar at the top of the window, click on Erase and choose the format compatible with your Mac device
  5. Initiate reformatting. Bear in mind — all of your hard drive’s contents will be erased during the process

If you can’t sacrifice the data on the disk, you can reformat it using a Windows device:

  1. Connect your drive to a Windows PC
  2. Locate the drive in the sidebar in the File Explorer
  3. Copy all of the drive’s contents into a separate folder on the PC
  4. Right-click on the drive’s icon and choose Format from the drop-down menu
  5. Choose a format that’s compatible with both Mac and Windows devices — exFAT is the most modern and preferred one
  6. Name your hard drive in the Volume label window
  7. Click Start to initiate formatting. It should only take a few seconds until it’s done, and then you can use your hard drive on a Mac device
  8. Make sure to transfer the data back to the disk from the folder you’d created

7. Run First Aid

Regardless, you can always run the First Aid program. It checks the disk for any errors that could potentially cause the external hard drive not mounting on your Mac. It will then attempt to repair them. If you right-click on the device’s icon, the First Aid bar will show up in a drop-down menu. You will also see the options Restore and Erase — they act to clear any data from your hard drive, so if you store important documents there you should refrain from choosing those.

Launch First Aid by сlicking Run and then Continue. As a result of the screening, you will be advised on any errors that your Mac finds on the disk. If the program discovers an “Overlapped extent allocation” error, it’s likely that some of your files are corrupted. The list of affected files will be displayed in the DamagedFiles folder in your drive — you should delete them. If, by chance, they contain important information, make sure they’re not corrupted.

If the First Aid process fails, you have two options: run the program again and repair the disk, or to back up all the data you possibly can, change the format of the disk and reinstall your current operating system. After that you can recover the data you’d backed up.

8. Reset NVRAM

Nonvolatile random-access memory (NVRAM) stores local settings such as volume, screen resolution, and hard drive information. Mac’s firmware can primarily access this information, such as before it starts booting when you restart it. It ensures such small details as keeping your time zone consistent or keeping the volume muted when restarting your Mac.

NVRAM bugs are the source of many glitches, including a USB flash drive not showing up. Resetting it is easy and generally harmless, although it might mean that you’ll have to reset any basic custom settings you have on your laptop.

  1. Restart your computer
  2. When you hear the startup sound, hold command + option + P + R
  3. This causes your Mac to restart again — when you hear the startup sound for the second time, you can let go of the keys

On newer Macs, there’s no need to even restart the computer — just press down the combination for 20-30 seconds and your NVRAM will be reset.

9. Try Plugging It In Slowly

A strange feature regarding all USB cables — sometimes it may connect and function better if you plug it in more slowly. This is due to a design flaw in the power-up sequence of some of the USB drives. The power contacts in your USB connector are designed to make contact with the USB port first. Plugging in slowly applies power to the USB device and it gives the device extra time to initialise. This assists the proper order of events and hence mounting of your hard drive.

10. Try a Different Drive

If you’ve tried all the methods described above, isolate the problem by plugging in a different external hard drive. If another disk is recognised, the problem might be in the drive itself. Have you recently dropped it or subjected it to water damage? Check for any hardware issues. In the worst-case scenario you’ll have to replace the drive.

Here are a few reliable hard drives and SSDs that you could use with a Mac device:

  1. WD My Passport HD. 4TB capacity, USB 3.0 Interface — $120
  2. Portable Samsung T5 SSD. 200GB - 2TB capacity, USB 3.1 (2 generation) interface — $220. USB-C/USB-A
  3. G-Technology G-RAID With Thunderbolt 3 HD. 8TB — 24TB capacity, USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3 interface — $690. Also has a USB-C port
  4. Adata SD700 External SSD. Up to 1TB capacity, USB 3.0 interface — $90

How to avoid external hard drive not mounting on Mac

You now have a clear idea of how to access an external hard drive on Mac and what to do if it won’t mount. To make sure that you don’t face the same problem in the future, always check that the disk is in the right format for your operating system, that it has a strong enough power supply, and that the connector of your USB cable is not damaged. However, there are several additional things that you can do to avoid future complications.

1. Make sure the USB port is clean and properly connected

Dirty or loosely connected USB ports can create short currents, external hard drive's not showing up on Mac and struggling to read data. It’s common for a connector to get a bit wonky if you’ve used it for a while — the power contacts won’t align correctly.

In this case, your only option would be to get a new cable or, if you’re very persistent, get it fixed. If the connector or the USB port is dusty, you can clean it by blowing compressed air into the port and gently swabbing it with a cotton bud dipped in alcohol solution.

2. Always properly eject the device

Removing the drive without safe ejection can corrupt data on the device, which in the future can make your Mac unable to recognise it. Any operating system employs write caching — files are not immediately written on your hard drive when you transfer it or back it up, but are cached until all the side writing and reading operations are finished.

If the USB device is not safely ejected while the cache is in use, data can become damaged. Contrastingly, removing it safely clears the cache and stops background operations in the device, therefore protecting it.

3. Keep your operating system up to date

An out-of-date operating system causes problems for all areas of your computer’s functioning. Updates improve stability and performance, as well as ensuring your Mac’s security and minimising the risk of your files getting corrupted.

To install the latest version of your operating system, go to the Apple menu at the top of the screen and select System PreferencesSoftware Update. If an Update button is available, make sure all of your important work is saved before you click it as it restarts your computer.

4. Try a data recovery app

If you’ve tried launching First Aid and reformatting your drive and it’s still not detected on your Mac, the device itself is most likely broken and needs to be repaired or replaced. But even if the drive is broken, it still stores some, if not all of the information that you’ve backed up on it. Check out some of the apps here.


What do I do if my external hard drive is not detected?

If your external hard drive is not detected, follow these steps to fix the issue:

  • Go to Applications and open Utilities
  • In the Utilities folder, select Disk Utility
  • In the View menu at the top of your screen, select Show All Devices
  • Select your external drive and click Unmount
  • Connect your external drive again

If your external Mac hard drive is not detected, try changing its format to APFS, FAT 32, or exFAT. Note, however, that this fix requires reformatting your drive, which will delete all its content in the process. Therefore, back up your drive before following these steps:

  • Plug the external drive into your Mac
  • Go to Applications and open Utilities
  • Launch Disk Utility and select your drive in the External section of the left sidebar
  • At the top of your screen, click Erase and select a preferred format

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.

If your external hard drive is not readable on Mac, try plugging it in slowly. USB 2.0 connectors, which can be found on older external drives, have a design flaw making the slow connection necessary.

How do you connect an external hard drive to a Mac?

Connect the hard drive with a clean USB port on your Mac via a suitable cable (preferably the one that came in a package with it). If your Mac has a different port, such as Thunderbolt or Firewire, make sure you get an adaptor for it. The drive’s icon should appear on your desktop or under the Devices heading in Finder. You can then open the disk and use it for backup or view its contents.

How do I revive a dead hard drive?

If you find your hard drive breaking down while it’s connected to your computer, it’s best to stop using it as soon as possible. To check if the problem is in the device itself, try connecting it to a different port or even a different computer. Try a different cable as well.

If these simple operations don’t work, you’ll have to open and examine the disk. Pay attention to the sounds that it makes when activated. For instance, a clicking noise indicates a malfunctioning head assembly — the part of the hard drive that reads data off its platters. Most of the time, the recommendation is to have it fixed by a professional. You shouldn’t attempt to repair the drive at home as there is a low chance of success and you’re likely to damage the data stored on the disk.

How do I back up my hard drive?

You can back up all your valuable data on Mac by using Time Machine. It’s a handy tool that comes with each Mac device by default for data maintenance, recovery, and backup. It will be useful if you need to bring back the files you lost after emptying the Trash or to be more efficient with your storage space.

To launch Time Machine backup, connect your hard drive disk to your MaBook and go to the Apple menu at the top of the screen. Go to System Preferences and find the Time Machine icon. Click on Select Backup Disk. A window will appear where you can select your external hard drive for backup.

Why does my Mac shut down when I connect a hard drive?

Just as some hard drives are not recognised because they don’t get enough power, some of them drain too much from your Mac. In this case, the system management controller will automatically shut the laptop down to protect it. If you think that that’s the case, try connecting the disk to an external power source such as a USB hub and reset your SMC.

If your Mac has a removable battery, use these steps to recent the SMC:

  1. Shut down your Mac and disconnect it from all sources of power, including the battery
  2. Hold the power button for 5 seconds
  3. Reconnect your Mac to the power source and put the battery back in
  4. Turn the Mac back on

If your battery is unremovable:

  1. Shut down your Mac and disconnect it from the charger
  2. Hold Shift + Control + Option + Power button for 10 seconds
  3. Release the keys and reconnect the Mac with the power source
  4. Turn the Mac back on

Sep 14, 2021 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

Is your Mac not recognizing USB Flash drive and restricted your access to the data? Read on to know about how to find USB Flash drive and access the data on Mac.

A USB drive has become an inevitable necessity for our modern life. This amazing electronic tool is used to store data, transfer files, and various other files. While Flash drives easily connect with Mac, sometimes it doesn't. It's a common problem with nothing serious to worry about. The article features everything you need to know if USB won't show up on Mac.

Part 1: Why Mac doesn't recognize the USB drive

You might have come across a situation where your friend has sent you photos on a Flash drive. But when you plug it in, your Mac doesn't recognize USB. While the reasons could be many, but first, it is essential that you rightly assess the situation.

So let's have a look at all the signs that indicate that your MacBook Pro not recognizing USB drive.

1. Symptoms of Mac not recognizing USB Drive

When you face such a situation where USB won't show up on Mac, you must check all your connections first. It includes if your USB Flash is perfectly attached to the system or not. You might check some internal settings, scan hardware setup, and examine the situation from every possible angle. It is an obvious confusion because you don't know the actual source of the problem.

But few signs directly imply that USB not showing up on Mac.

  • When you plug-in a Flash drive, you get a notification about the connection on your system. If you don't get the notification, it could be a sign of possible of your Mac not recognizing USB device.
  • All Macintosh operating systems are equipped with a default file manager and graphical user interface, named Finder. When you connect a USB Flash drive to a system, a message pops on the Finder. If you don't see a message, it means that Mac is not reading USB.

2. The cause of Flash Drive not showing up on Mac

There are numerous reasons could be responsible that your USB Flash drive is not showing up on Mac. Here is the list of possible factors that might be leading to the glitch.

  • Port Related Issue: A loose or broken port connection might be leading to the situation. But how to find a USB on Mac in such cases? Just gently wiggle the connection of the port. If it briefly connects with the system, you will be aware that the problem lies with the cable or the port.
  • USB Formatting issue: If the Flash drive wasn't formatted before the first use, it could lead to a USB detection problem later.
  • Driver Issue: Outdated or corrupted Flash drive could lead to USB drive not showing up on Mac.
  • Hard Drive Related issue: A minor glitch on your system's hard drives can result in Mac not detecting USB.
  • Operating system related issue: If you are not regularly updating your Mac OS, it may affect your system's ability to recognize Flash drives.

Part 2: How to fix Mac not recognizing USB Device

It is quite reasonable for various electronic components of any system to lose its integrity over time. Hence, if you come across a loose cable or imperfect alignment of the Flash drives to the port, don't be surprised!

If you want to know how to find a USB on Mac, start with an examination of different parts of the system. Just follow the steps mentioned to find the source of the problem.

Step 1: Scan USB and USB ports

Thoroughly check the USB device. If there is a broken or malfunctioned wire, you can replace it with a new one to fix the issue. Make sure you check all the different ports of your system are in working condition.

Step 2: Restart Mac or use a different Mac system

Often, Flash drive doesn't detect the Mac due to some power connectivity issues. Restart the system to see if the problem persists or not. If it does, then try connecting the Flash drive to a different Mac system. This way, you will know whether the problem lies in the Mac system or the Flash drive.

Step 3: Check Finder Preferences

Open the menu bar on your Mac computer and go to Finder. When you click on the Preference option, you will see four tabs, including general, labels, sidebar, and advanced. Click on the 'General' tab and ensure that the box next to the external disks option is ticked.

If the option is not ticked, Finder will not be able to pop up any detection of external disks or Flash drives.

You'll also see the 'External disks' option in the Sidebar option. Make sure that the option is marked there as well.

Step 4: Use Disk Utilities to Repair USB drives

If you want to know about how to find the device on Mac, you can use disk utility to fix the issues related to external drives.

Plug-in the USB device to your Mac system and select 'Initialize' from the prompt box. It will lead you to disk utility application.

As an alternative option, you can directly access utility application from Finder.

Select the 'View' tab from the utility application, and tap on the option 'Show All Devices.' Now, from the sidebar section, click on the device that was unreadable on the system. Tap on the 'First Aid' option. Now, click on the 'Repair Disk' tab and see if the issue persists.

Step 5: Re-format the USB drive

Using Flash Drive On Mac

Although Flash drives are formatted by default for Windows, it's not the same case with Mac. If Mac is not detecting USB, you might have to do it manually before using it for the first time.

Follow the steps to see if that works for you.

Thumb drive not showing up on mac pro

Click on the 'Disk Utility' Interface option. Open it, and you will see a list of drives on your system.

Step 1: Select the 'USB drive' option.

Step 2: On the right side of the panel, you will see an 'Erase' tab. Click on it.

Step 3: Now, choose a format option that is compatible with Mac OS.

Step 4: Select a name for the USB drive and click on the 'Erase' tab located at the lower bottom of the screen.

Step 5: Re-check the whole process before formatting. Once you are sure of the process, initiate format.

Part 3: How to Access Flash Drive data after detecting USB

Considering that you have followed all the steps mentioned in the article correctly, you might have find USB on Mac. It doesn't mean that you will be able to access all the data on the Flash drive as sometimes, the data gets lost in such cases.

You can still be able to access the lost data on the Flash drive using recovery tools. But we will discuss that later!

1. How to find USB Flash drive and access USB files on Mac

When you connect the USB Flash drive on the system, Mac OS will automatically read the content of the Flash drive. A window will pop-up showing the content of the drive. If you are not able to see it, you can access it through Finder.

How Do I Find My Thumb Drive On A Mac

The following steps will guide you to find the USB Flash drive and access the files on Mac.

Click on the option 'Devices' on the upper-left side of the Finder window.

If you have correctly inserted the device to the system, you will see a temporary drive icon. It will be saved by the name of your Flash drive.

To access the files of the USB Flash drive, double-click on the drive icon.

Temporary hard drive icons are white, whereas permanent drive icons are gray colored.

2. How to access hidden, deleted or lost USB data on Mac

Numerous factors contribute to the loss of data from USB Flash drives. It could be malware intrusion, system crash, USB formatting, and various other reasons. But, can you recover your data from the Flash drive? Yes, you can!

There are certain things that you need to make sure if you have lost your data. For instance, you must ensure that you don't save any new data on the same drive as it may overwrite on the lost data.

Flash Drive Files Not Showing Up On Mac

If the USB drive is recognized, but you can't open and access USB files, you can use data recovery tools to help you restore USB files.

You can use Recoverit data recovery tool for Mac that can handle various kinds of data loss scenarios. Whether it is audio, video, outlook, or graphic files, it works best to recover all your data and information.

The list of instruction will help your recover data from Recoverit app on the Mac computer. Firstly, download the Recoverit app and connect the Flash drives to one of the ports of your system.

Step 1: Launch the Recoverit app

After you launch the app on your system and select the USB Flash drive from where the data was lost in the first place. Click on the 'Start' button after selecting the device.

Step 2: Start the scanning process

As you click on the 'start' tab, it will initiate the scanning process on the USB Flash drive. It may take some time to be completed.

Step 3: Preview and recover Lost files

Once the scanning is completed, you will be able to see all the lost files in the results.

Part 4: How to Prevent Flash Drive not showing up on Mac

Even when you have fixed the issue, it can happen in the future as well. Hence, you must take some precautionary steps to prevent Flash Drive not showing up on Mac.

Update Firmware and OS

Regular updating of the firmware and operating system of your Mac works best to fix various functionality issues. Sometimes when you experience a USB not connecting to the system, a quick update may fix the issue instantly. Whether it's your internal or external drive, timely updates ensure the best performance of your system.

Avoid Imperfect Ejection of your USB Flash Drive

Often people pull out their Flash drive even when it is connected to the system. A forceful pull out can easily damage the Flash drive and could be a possible reason why your Mac not recognizing USB. You must follow a proper way of ejection of the Flash drive. Before removing the Flash drive from the port, request for a safe ejection procedure. Take it out once you get the confirmation from the system.

Reset Mac's Configuration

A faulty configuration may also lead to USB Flash drive connectivity issues. You can reset Mac’s configuration to fix the issue. Follow the steps to conduct a proper reset.

Step 1: Shutdown the system

Step 2: Disconnect all the power cables and reconnect it

Step 3: Press Shift key, Control key, and Power key at the same time and release them

Step 4: Start your Mac system

Now, check if the USB issue is solved. Also, if you come across disabled USB accessories, fix them.

Timely Maintenance of your System

Thumb Drive Not Showing Up On Mac Keyboard

As mentioned earlier, parts of your Mac system might lose its efficiency over time. A routine checkup of your Mac system at the service center can significantly help you. Moreover, it will get you to notice all the loose ports, electrical, or mechanical faults in your system.

Closing words

Your Mac not recognizing USB is a common issue that can affect your seamless experience on the system. Moreover, it can also lead to loss of data and important files.

Thanks to the Recoverit Data Recovery app, you can retrieve the lost data from the Flash drive. If you want to know how to access Flash drive on Mac, you can take the help of the steps mentioned in the article.

Video tutorial: How to Fix Pen Drive/USB Not Detected Issue?

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