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“Hi, my WD my passport and Seagate portable SSD are not showing up on my Mac. I can’t find them on desktop, Finder or Disk Utility. Is there any way to fix this issue?”

external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card not showing up on Mac

Most of Mac users own one or several external storage devices such as external hard drive, memory card, USB flash drive. These external storage devices can be used for data backup, data transfer, etc. Normally, when you connect an external hard drive, USB flash drive or memory card to your Mac, you can find it on the desktop, Finder and Disk Utility. If you can’t find the external storage device, just follow the guide below to fix this issue.

Why isn’t the external hard drive, USB flash drive or memory card not showing up on Mac?

Normally, the reasons below would result in a external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card is not showing up on your Mac.

  • Bad USB cable or Thunderbolt port. macOS or software update issue.
  • Mac is infected by virus files or malware.
  • Motherboard issue.
  • The external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card gets damaged.

How to fix an external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card that won’t show up on your Mac?

Solution 1. Check Finder Preferences.

If your external hard drive, USB flash drive, memory card is not showing up in Finder and Desktop, it's possible that the configuration of the Finder Preferences is stopping your external storage device showing up. In other words, you didn't allow the connected external hard drives showing up in the Finder or on the Desktop. Try the following to make sure your Mac is set to show mounted drives on the desktop.

1. Open Finder.

2. Click on Finder in the menu at the top of your screen.

external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card not showing up on Mac

3. Choose Preferences > General and make sure that there is a tick beside External Drives.

external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card not showing up on Mac

4. Go to Sidebar tab, tick "External disks" under "Devices" to show your external storage devices on Mac Finder.

external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card not showing up on Mac

Solution 2. Check your USB cable, Thunderbolt port or try another Mac/PC.

Just check your USB cable, Thunderbolt port. Test, change, restart your Mac, reconnect your device, etc. Or you also can try to connect the device to another Mac, PC to check if it can be recognized.

Solution 3. Check the external hard drive, USB flash drive, memory card on Disk Utility.

Open Disk Utility on your Mac, if the external storage device is showing up on the left sidebar of Disk Utility, just select it, then click on “Mount” to let the external storage device mount on your Mac.

external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card not showing up on Mac

Run First Aid by clicking on First Aid button - find logical errors on your external storage device and fix them.

external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card not showing up on Mac

If the methods above still do not work, just try to format the external hard drive, USB flash drive or memory card. Just choose the external storage device, and then click on “Erase” button.

external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card not showing up on Mac

Solution 4. Change the external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card’s file system.

In some cases, the file system on the external storage device gets corrupted - so your Mac can’t recognize the it. Or the file system of the external storage device is incompatible with Mac OS, NTFS, for example. You can format the external storage device to resolve this problem. Here are three methods you can try to format your external storage device.

  • Format your external storage device with Disk Utility.
  • Format your external storage device on a Windows PC.
  • Format your external storage device with third-party disk formatting software - such as DoYourData Super Eraser for Mac.

How to Fix External Hard Drive/USB Flash Drive/Memory Card Not Showing up on Mac?

Recover lost data whether you format the external storage or not

When your external hard drive, USB flash drive, memory card is not showing up on your Mac, you should find a way to recover your data whether you’ve formatted the external storage device or not. Just follow the steps below.

Step 1. Download the best Mac data recovery software - Do Your Data Recovery for Mac. Then run it on your Mac, it will automatically recognize the external storage device.

Step 2. Choose the external storage device to start data recovery.

Recover lost data whether you format the external storage or not

Step 3. Click on Scan button to scan the external storage device. If the quick scan can’t find all lost files, just try advanced recovery mode to find more lost files.

Recover lost data whether you format the external storage or not

Step 4. Once the scan is completed, just preview all recoverable files. Then select the wanted files and save them.

Recover lost data whether you format the external storage or not

Some useful tips:

Apparently, most external hard drive not showing up issues are caused by unsafe ejection and sudden power outrage. Some useful tips to against this error happening again.