6 Fixes: External Hard Drive Not Recognized On Mac

Ah, the quintessential Macintosh dilemma – an external hard drive that refuses to cooperate! You’ve meticulously ensured it’s plugged in, all wires firmly attached, yet it remains stubbornly invisible. Today, we’ll embark on a twelve-step journey to decode this digital impasse and render your external hard drive perceptible to your Mac.

1. Restart: The Universal Panacea

Often, a simple restart can resolve many hardware recognition issues. To restart your Mac, click the Apple icon on the top left corner of your screen and choose ‘Restart’. Do the same for your hard drive—unplug it, wait a moment, then reconnect it.

External Hard Drive Not Recognized On Mac


2. Check the Cable and Ports

Confirm that the cable you are using isn’t damaged or worn out. A good way to test this is by using the cable to connect a different device. If it works with another device, the cable isn’t the problem. Also, check your Mac’s ports for any visible damage or debris and ensure your hard drive’s connector is securely attached.

3. Test with Another Mac or PC

Connect your hard drive to another computer. This can help determine whether the issue is with the hard drive itself or your Mac. If the hard drive isn’t recognized on another machine, the hard drive may be faulty.

External Hard Drive Not Recognized On Mac

4. Ensure the Hard Drive is Powered On

If your hard drive requires an external power source, ensure it’s plugged into a power outlet and turned on. Some drives have an LED indicator—this should be lit when the drive is powered on.

5. Review Finder Preferences

Your Mac’s Finder Preferences might be set not to show external drives. To change this, open Finder, click on ‘Preferences’ in the menu, then click the ‘Sidebar’ tab. Make sure the ‘External Disks’ checkbox is ticked.

6. Disable Energy Saving Features

Disabling energy-saving features on your Mac can sometimes resolve issues with an external hard drive not being recognized. These features, while intended to conserve power, might interfere with the consistent operation of external devices. Here’s a more detailed explanation:

  1. Accessing Energy Saver Settings: To disable energy-saving features that might affect the connectivity of your external hard drive, start by accessing the Energy Saver settings on your Mac. You can find these settings in the System Preferences menu.
  2. Identifying Relevant Options: Within Energy Saver settings, there are various options that control power management for different components of your Mac. Look for settings that specifically relate to hard drives or power-saving options that might affect USB ports.
  3. Disabling Sleep Features for Hard Disks: Typically, there is an option labeled “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” within the Energy Saver preferences. Unchecking this option prevents the Mac from putting external hard drives to sleep when they’re not actively in use. This can ensure continuous power to the drive, preventing it from being disconnected or unmounted unintentionally.
  4. Preventing Sleep for USB Ports: Some Mac models offer a separate setting to prevent USB ports from entering a low-power mode that could potentially cause connected devices, including external hard drives, to disconnect or become unrecognized. Look for settings related to USB or system sleep and ensure they are appropriately adjusted.
  5. Saving Changes and Testing: After making these adjustments, save the changes in the Energy Saver preferences and restart your Mac. Reconnect your external hard drive and check if the issue persists. This process might help in maintaining a consistent connection between the Mac and the external drive.
  6. Considerations and Reversibility: While adjusting energy-saving features, it’s essential to understand that disabling these settings may slightly increase power consumption. If you’re troubleshooting, it’s advisable to re-enable these features after determining if they were the cause of the problem or not.
  7. Alternative Approaches: If specific options in the Energy Saver settings don’t directly resolve the issue, consider other power-related settings within the System Preferences or explore third-party apps that can fine-tune power management for connected devices.

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Benjamin Johnson

Hey there, I'm Ben, the tech-savvy Founder and CEO of WinFixo.com. I've dedicated my life to helping fellow Windows users optimize their PCs for peak performance. Join me on this journey as we unlock the full potential of your Windows devices together!

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