My External Hard Drive Is Not Working Mac

Whenever you plug in an external hard drive to your Mac computer, it should show on the desktop or Finder. If you are unable to mount the drive or external hard drive not recognized on Mac, this might be an indication of a hard drive being corrupt or faulty.

  1. External Hard Drive Not Detected Mac

What if you have your important data on the external hard disk? how would you recover data from the corrupt external hard disk?

This issue could be the result of an unsafe external hard drive ejection, virus attack, system crash, file system corruption and some hardware problems, etc.

This blog provides you a clear insight on different methods to solve external hard disk not recognized on Mac issues.

Your Mac not recognizing an external hard drive can be cause for panic. But try to remain calm — it’s unlikely that anything has happened to your files. All of your data will still be on the hard drive, it just that, for whatever reason, you can’t access it. If the drive is recognized, copy your entire data from it. Detach the drive and format it on your host Macintosh (on which your drive was not detected). In case, your drive fails to show up on any other Mac machines then it seems like the problem lies within the ExFAT drive. It might be corrupted or became unreadable. Still don’t worry. It might be possible that your external hard drive is formatted to work on Windows PCs and not on Mac devices. Another thing you can do is to simply turn off your Mac device and turning it on again. Simple rebooting can do wonders on your Mac. You can also try to reboot USB drives.

Case 1: Mac external hard drive is showing up in Disk Utility

Case 2: External hard drive is not showing up on Mac disk utility

Let us start with the first scenario that is the external hard drive is not recognized on Mac but it is mounted in Disk Utility.

Scenario 1: Mac not recognizing the external hard drive

If Mac external hard drive is not mounting on a desktop or in Finder. The next step is to verify the state of the external hard drive in Disk Utility.

macOS Utility is part of the built-in recovery system of your Mac, from which you can boot into Mac and use its utilities (Disk Utility) to repair certain logical errors of the hard drive.

Note: You can make use of all the below-mentioned methods to solve external hard drive not recognized on Mac if and only if it is mounted in Disk utility.

Solution 1: The external hard drive shows up in Disk Utility


Step 1: Go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar/General tab.

Step 2: Select Device < External disks(or you can find external disks under Show these items on the desktop).

This is the easiest method to make an external hard drive mount on Mac. If there are any logical errors or corruption in the disk, an external hard disk won’t be recognized on Mac.

You can try fixing external hard drive not recognized on Mac with First Aid in Disk utility.

Solution 2: The external hard drive not mounting on Mac

The issue that Mac doesn’t recognize the external hard drive could be fixed with Disk Utility under Mac Recovery Mode.

Step 1:Restart your Mac and immediately press and hold Command + R keys to get into Recovery Mode, release the keys when you see the Apple logo.

Step 2: Select Disk Utility in macOS/Mac OS X Utilities and click Continue

Step 3: Select the external hard drive mounted and run First Aid to check and repair errors in this drive.

What if you have accidentally deleted the Mac HD in disk utility? Do not worry, click on the given link to fix the issue and recover the data from the Mac drive.


However, if you are unable to recognize the external hard drive on Mac even after performing all the above-mentioned methods, this might be due to severe corruption in the drive. This can be easily solved by reformatting explained in the next solution.

Solution 3: Fix Mac not recognizing external hard drive by reformatting

Note: Reformatting will erase all your data stored on the drive. If you have any important files on the external hard drive, you need to restore data before reformatting. You can recover data using a safe and secure hard drive recovery tool.

Before you face a hard situation of data loss from your external drive use SFWare hard drive recovery tool. The tool is explicitly designed to recover data from all data loss situations from external hard drive including formatting or corruption on the drive. It supports APFS, HFS, HFS+, exFAT, FAT32 file system drives on all versions of macOS.

Once you are ensured all your important data is recovered from external hard drive, try fixing Mac doesn’t recognize external hard drive by reformatting.

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility

Step 2: Select the Mac not recognized external hard drive from the left part of the window

Step 3: Click the Erase on the top of the Disk Utility window

Step 4: Complete the related information like name, format, scheme, then click Erase

Reformatting will surely help you in mounting the external hard drive on Mac if it is mounted in Disk Utility. What if the external hard drive is not showing up on Mac in disk utility?

Scenario 2: External hard drive not showing up in Mac Disk Utility

Let us start with some basic tests to make sure the external hard drive is connected securely.

Some initial tests to make your external hard disk recognizable on Mac

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  • Check whether the external hard drive is properly plugged in.
  • Assuming the hard drive is properly plugged in and an external hard drive is still not mounted on Mac try using a different USB cable and port to ensure that they are not at fault.
  • See if you can access the external hard drive on another Mac computer
  • Try resetting NVRAM by restarting your Mac. Press Option, Command, P and R keys together for 20 seconds. Leave the keys if Mac has started again normally and you hear the second startup sound.

Performing these basic tests should make your external hard drive recognized by Mac. If you are still unable to mount the external hard drive on Mac or Disk utility the drive might have serious hardware problems that cannot be fixed with the above-mentioned methods. It is recommended to fix your hard drive with the help of a local hard drive technician.

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My External Hard Drive Is Not Working Mac


It is always rewarding to have back up of data as you never know when you might encounter data loss. However, there are few manual methods that can help you regain access to your external hard drive that is not recognized on Mac. This article also provides you a way out to recover data from the external hard drives if you fail to mount your external hard drive on Mac.

SFWare hard drive recovery tool that supports recovery from all kinds of external hard drives including Seagate, Samsung, WD, Transcend, Toshiba and other external drives.

If you were successful in fixing external hard drive not recognized on Mac issue with the help of this article, do let us know in the comment section below.

External Hard Drive Not Detected Mac

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