How to Troubleshoot USB Drive Not Showing Up on Mac?

Pay Per Download Websites

Nowadays, many of you may choose external storage media to store your data. One of the most commonly used one is the USB drive since it’s very easy to carry. However, when connected to your Mac, sometimes the USB drive is not recognized. How to fix this issue? Let’s go for the solutions.

Solutions to make the USB drive visible on Mac

Solution 1: Check USB connection, USB port, and USB cable.

It’s possible that the peripherals and improper connection stop your USB drives from working, including the USB connection, the ports, and the cable. Therefore, before going any further, you can check the peripherals and the connection by doing the following:

Re-plug your USB drive into the Mac

When you plug in the drive at the first time, you might fail to do it in a right way. Therefore, a quick reconnection might solve the problem. Just simply unplug the drive, then re-plug it into your computer. Remember to do it tightly. Hopefully, it will show up this time.

Change another USB port

Be it a laptop or a desktop, Mac computers have more than one USB port. When the USB drive is invisible on your computer, it’s likely the port is dusty, damaged, or lack of power. At this time, you just need to change another USB port to give it a try.

Try another USB cable

The same solution works for the USB cable. If you have used a USB cable for years, it makes sense that it’s worn out or broken. Under this circumstance, you just need to replace it with a new one.

Solution 2: Change the setting to show USB drive on Mac desktop

By default, the Mac will automatically list all detected and mounted external storage devices on the desktop. However, it could happen that your Mac does detected the USB drive but doesn’t show it up on Mac desktop. In that case, you should go to Finder > Preferences > General and make sure the “External disks” option is checked. Then you’ll see the connected USB drive showing up on Mac desktop.

finder preferences

Solution 3: Change the setting to show USB drive in Finder

To do this, you should Go to Finder > Preferences, switch to Sidebar tab, and check “External disks” option under Locations.

External disks

Solution 4: Reinstall or update the USB driver

One possibility is that your USB driver is out of date and needs updating. Check the steps below:

Step 1: Click on the Apple in the upper left corner of the screen.
Step 2: Select “Software Update…”
Step 3: Any updates available will be listed and able to be downloaded or you will be told your software is up to date.

Solution 5: Repair corrupted USB drive with First Aid

Once situation is that, you can see your USB drive but it’s unmounted in Mac Disk Utility. That means the USB drive could be corrupted and luckily, you can repair it with Apple’s built-in disk repair tool, First Aid, in the Disk Utility. Here are the detailed steps:

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility from Utilities in Applications folder.
Step 2: Select the corrupted USB drive from the sidebar.
Step 3: Click First Aid at the top of the window, and then click Run, wait until the reparation process is done.

Disk Utility from utilities

Tips of USB drive maintenance

While the USB drive is convenient for normal users, it’s also fragile because of its special memory units and shape. Hence, we offer some useful tips to help maintain your USB drives.

• Don’t unsafely eject the USB drive. Though the drive is plugged in and out frequently, you should always eject it properly.
• Create a backup of your data. The USB drive has a limited life span and, to avoid an unexpected data loss, you should take a backup.
• Don’t place the drive in the pocket of your pants. This could avoid a sudden break off of your USB drive when you sit down.

Melina Richardson is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cybers Guards & w-se. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.