Connecting an external hard drive to the USB port of your Mac and accessing the content stored there should be a very simple process. In a matter of seconds it will appear on your desktop. And you can open the folder with all your files, photos and videos.
If that is not the case and you can not find it in the column on the left of your Finder, just below the title of ‘Devices’, you can begin to suspect that something is wrong. Luckily, we know how to solve this problem and access external storage that is not recognized by your Apple computer or laptop.
In the event that this happens, you should follow the steps indicated below. If you do not solve the problem, for bad luck you should consider buying a new external hard drive.
- 1 Step 1. Check the configuration of your Mac
- 2 Step 2. Verify that the external disk is properly connected
- 3 Step 3. Check that the USB cable is not defective
- 4 Step 4. Check that your Mac’s USB port works
- 5 Step 5. Connect the external memory to another computer
- 6 Step 6. Access the ‘Disk Utility’ of your Mac
- 7 Step 7. Repair the hard drive from ‘Disk Utility’
- 8 Step 8. Use a professional
- 9 Step 9. Format the external memory
- 10 Step 10. Avoid problems with your memory in the future
Step 1. Check the configuration of your Mac
First of all, you should take a look at the configuration of your Finder, since the option that prevents external connected memory from appearing on the desktop may not be selected.
In this sense, open your Finder folder, click on the ‘ Finder ‘ tab of the upper toolbar, click on ‘ Preferences ‘ and open the ‘ General ‘ section of the new floating window. Finally, check that the option ‘ External disks ‘ is selected.
Step 2. Verify that the external disk is properly connected
Although it may sound obvious, it is worth disconnecting and reconnecting the external hard drive to the Mac. Often, the problem is that it is not properly plugged in and therefore does not receive the necessary power to operate.
Also, you should check if your computer requires that you have two USB cables connected to be able to use that external memory – some old models need it – or if the hard disk must also be plugged into the power.
Step 3. Check that the USB cable is not defective
On the other hand, it is just as important to make sure that the USB cable that connects the external memory to the Mac is not damaged. If so, that could be the reason why the computer detects it.
If the cable is in bad condition or you suspect that the problem is there, we recommend trying to use another cable compatible with your Mac and with the external hard drive you are wanting to use.
Step 4. Check that your Mac’s USB port works
If the problem is not with the USB cable, what may not really work is the USB port of your Mac or MacBook. You can try connecting the memory to another port or plugging another device into the one that does not detect it.
Step 5. Connect the external memory to another computer
Another way to check if the external hard drive is broken is to plug it into another Mac or MacBook. If it does not detect it either, try connecting it to a PC. Maybe the problem is that this memory is only compatible with Windows.
Step 6. Access the ‘Disk Utility’ of your Mac
It is possible that the external disk does not appear on the desktop or in the ‘Devices’ section of your Finder but the Mac itself has detected it. To check if this is the case, you will have to access the ‘Disk Utility’ of your computer.
You can simply use Spotlight to search and find this program, or open your ‘ Finder ‘ folder , select ‘ Applications ‘ on the left, double click on the ‘ Utilities ‘ folder and finally locate ‘ Disk Utilities ‘.
Once you have opened the program, you should see if it appears in the list on the left. If so, click on the external memory and click on ‘ Mount ‘. If you can not click on this option, it means you do not have access to the disk.
Step 7. Repair the hard drive from ‘Disk Utility’
In the case of not being able to mount the hard disk, you will have the possibility to choose between these three options:
- ‘ First aid ‘, to check errors on the disk and solve them if possible
- ‘ Restore ‘, to erase all data saved on the disk and replace them with others stored on another device
- ‘ Delete ‘, to permanently remove information from your hard drive
Step 8. Use a professional
External hard drives that can not be repaired using the ‘Disk Utility’ may be formatted with a file system that Mac can not read or that is really broken. If so, it is advisable to take it to a professional.
Step 9. Format the external memory
There are several types of file systems. While Windows computers use NTFS, Macs prior to macOS Sierra use HFS +. To complicate it further, Apple has introduced the new Apple File System.
Now, it is possible to format a disk so that it can be read on both Windows and Mac devices using exFAT or FAT32. If you suspect that your memory uses another system, connect it to a compatible computer and make a backup copy .
Step 10. Avoid problems with your memory in the future
Looking ahead, it is advisable to follow some precautionary measures so as not to have this same type of problem again. Thus, always run the disk before disconnecting it from the Mac, since not doing so is usually the main cause of broken external memories.
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