External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Apple Silicon Mac, Fix It



updated on 2022-09-12 to How To

Macs are generally trustworthy machines that perform well under difficulty. They're reliable workhorses that keep going when a Windows PC would freeze. Although problems are uncommon, they sometimes arise and are unavoidable in technology.

Because of their rarity, these problems are quite irritating and may need some investigation. If your Apple Silicon Mac doesn't recognize your external hard drive, it's one of the most annoying problems you may encounter. Even after trying the most fundamental fixes, it may still refuse to show up. How to make your external hard drive show up is covered in detail here.

fix external hard drive not showing up on Apple Silicon Mac

Reasons Why Your Mac Won't Read An External Hard Drive

It seems that the drive isn't firmly connected. Your computer will not be able to communicate with the external device if it is not linked to it correctly. Verify that the hard disk utility's connection cable (either a USB drive cable or an HDMI cable) is securely inserted into your device.

It might be that the connecting cord is broken or the cable itself is malfunctioning. A connection will not be established with a damaged external hard drive. Use a separate cable to test since the damage may not be readily apparent.

No restart has occurred on your Mac. If you don't restart your Mac every once in a while, it might start having problems after a while. If your device is acting up, try restarting it by pressing and holding the power button or selecting the Apple menu Restart.

Problems with your Mac's hardware, including a faulty power supply or a malfunctioning USB port. If you can, check whether the problem persists when you attach a different external disk to your Mac. If the drive seems to function normally, the damaged drive might be at fault.

The data on your external hard drive is corrupt, or the device is damaged.

Fixing A Mac That Won't Detect An External Hard Drive

Here are several potential solutions to the problem of an external hard drive not being recognized by Mac OS.

Ensure The Drive Is Firmly Connected

The drive won't appear on your computer until its cable (USB or HDMI, depending on your setup) is plugged in and correctly positioned. The cable may be at fault unless the plug is loose or faulty. You might try using a different cable to connect the same gadget.

Change Your Settings To See External Drives

External hard drives don't always appear when you plug them into a Mac because the system isn't properly configured. If you have an external hard drive and can't seem to locate it, you may force Finder to show it to you.

You may follow these steps to make your external hard drive appear on your computer's desktop and in the Finder window:

Select "External disks" in Finder's General preferences to make external hard drives visible in the Finder's sidebar.

fix external hard drive not showing up on Apple Silicon Mac

Ensure the "External disks" checkbox in Finder's "Locations" preferences is selected in the sidebar. The Finder window will then display your external hard disk.

fix external hard drive not showing up on Apple Silicon Mac

Examine the Desktop or Finder to see whether the external hard disk is recognized. Whether it doesn't, you may download and install the data recovery tool on your Mac and see if your external hard drive is recognized.

If the recovery software recognizes your external hard drive, you may recover your data by following the on-screen instructions.


The NVRAM is responsible for saving several settings, one of which is the starting disk selection. Because of this, resetting the NVRAM may often correct the incorrect settings. When you switch off the power to your computer, NVRAM keeps certain data in memory.

Resetting the NVRAM may help your Mac identify the external hard drive if you have problems connected to these saved settings.

Turn off or restart your Mac.

To do this, quickly hit Command + Option + P + R.

Hold onto the keys for at least 20 seconds after the second chime, at which point you should release them.

When you let go of the keys, your Mac will restart, and you may check to see whether the drive is now recognized.

Some useful tips:

Recover lost data when the external hard drive is not showing up on Apple Silicon chip Mac >>

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Finding out why a connected external hard disk isn't being detected by macOS is a challenging problem to solve. Before continuing, if you're afraid of losing data, you may try to retrieve it from the external hard drive using Mac data recovery software.

It's also important to always properly eject your external disks to avoid issues not appearing in macOS. Finally, it is possible to avoid recovery operations altogether by maintaining a regular offsite backup of all essential data.

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