Fixing External Storage Not Showing Up Issue on Mac

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One of the most common issues Mac users face is that External Hardware not showing up on Finder. Sometimes a simple eject and plug fix the issue, but it starts to get more annoying if it doesn’t fix the problem. Let’s talk about common issues and fixes.

Please note that if your problem is only that the External Drive is not showing on the Desktop, you can fix it by following these quick steps:

  • Launch Finder app
  • Click on the Finder Option in the menu bar (located on top left corner by default) and select the Preference Option
  • Now you can check the External Disk option to make it appear on desktop
Showing disk on desktop

What can prevent USB or External Storage from Showing up within Finder and How to fix?

Usual Bug and the Fix

Usual Bug is something that doesn’t require anything technical to do. If your external storage is not showing up, you can simply eject / unplug the external drive and then plug it again. It should start showing up itself. It’s not magic, it happens with all type of gadgets.

Damaged USB Port and Solution

Damaged USB Port is one of the most common reasons that Mac will not recognize external hardware. All the MacBooks or iMacs come with more than 1 USB port. If one of them is not working, try with another. If all of them stop working, you will need to get them replaced. If you need some data urgently, the best possible thing to do is use another computer to put those required data on the Cloud (e.g. Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.) and access them from your computer via the Internet. You can also use another computer and transfer data wirelessly using Airdrop or any third-party application if both the computers are connected to the same WiFi.

Temporary Disk Issue and Quick Repair

Sometimes you can fix the issue just by using quick repair option on Mac. Follow these instructions:

  • Open Disk Utility App on Mac
  • Select the External Storage that is not appearing within the Finder App
  • Click the First Aid option and then hit the Run button. It will not delete any data, but just run a repair to fix the issue.
  • Wait for the first aid to complete and then recheck the finder app.
Run Repair

Reformat the Disk (Backup to save data)

Sometimes external storage used on Windows Computers fails to show on Mac. You can easily connect it back to Windows and try to take a backup before reformat on mac. If this is not the case and you still want to take backup, you will need a professional application that can help you back up the storage even when it is not appearing on Mac.

Once backup is ready follow these steps to reformat that will wipe all data:

  • Open Disk Utility App on Mac 
  • Select the drive you want to format
  • Select Erase option
  • Name the file you want. Anything you like but no spaces and special character
  • Under the Format option, select MS-DOS (FAT) if you want to use this external drive on Mac as well as Windows. If you want to use on Mac only, select MS OS Extended (Journaled) option (you can also select the same option with the encrypted word if you want the disk to be password protected)
  • Finally, hit the Erase button and wait for the Erase to be completed. Please note that if you have selected the Encrypted option, it will take a little longer. Don’t stop in the middle. Let it finish.