Wd External Harddrive Mac Software

Summary: This post shows how to access a WD hard drive when it's not recognized by Mac. To fix WD external hard drive not recognizing error without data loss, you can recover lost data from the unrecognized hard drive for free with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

Just like Seagate external hard drive not recognized on Mac, Western Digital hard drive not recognized on Mac is another frequently asked question in Apple related forums.

Nov 14, 2019  Alternative ways to recover data from an external hard drive. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC) if your Mac shuts down when you plug in an external hard drive. Then use a different port to connect the external hard drive. If you’ve got a battery that you can’t remove: Shut down and unplug the power adapter.

So, if you are wondering:

  • Why is the Mac not recognizing my WD hard drive?
  • How can I make the unrecognized WD hard drive work on Mac again?
  • Can I fix this issue without losing my important data?

You are in the right place for a solution!

How Mac recognizes a WD external hard drive?

The process of Mac recognizing an external hard drive is a little complicated even though you can't see it. Specifically, when you plug a WD hard drive into a Mac computer, macOS would be notified. Then macOS will call all related hardware and software to read, recognize, and show this hard drive on the Desktop and in Finder, so that finally you can access your data on the drive on your Mac computer.

So, we usually simplify this process in 4 steps:

  1. The WD hard drive is supplied with power.
  2. macOS reads partition information of the WD hard drive.
  3. macOS recognizes the file system of each volume.
  4. Users access data on the WD hard drive.

However, if any part of this process goes wrong, Mac won't recognize your WD hard drive. As a consequence, you can't access, copy, write to or transfer data stored on it.

Guide to Fix Mac not recognizing WD hard drive

So, based on the process of Mac recognizing a WD hard drive, we need a thorough check to know which part makes the WD hard drive not working on Mac, and then fix it in the following part.

Quick fixes of WD hard drive not recognized on Mac error

A proper connection is the most basic condition that Mac can access the WD hard drive. Or else the external hard drive would not even show up in Disk Utility. When your Mac can't recognize an external hard drive, you can always do the following quick fixes at the very beginning.

  • Make sure the WD hard drive is externally plugged into a wall outlet if it's a WD desktop hard drive like WD Elements Desktop and My Cloud.
  • Connect the WD hard drive USB cable directly to the computer and do not use a USB Hub.
  • Try a different USB cable and port for power and data supply, especially if the My Passport external hard drive is not showing up in Disk Utility.
  • Try a different USB-C adapter to connect the WD hard drive if your Mac only has the Thunderbolt 3 port.
  • Try to connect the WD hard drive with a different Mac computer to check if the WD hard drive can be recognized on that Mac.
  • Try to plug the WD hard drive in to a PC to check if the file system of the WD hard drive is not compatible with Mac.

The WD hard drive lights on but is not recognized by Mac still? Wait! Do you allow your Mac to show the recognized WD hard drive in the Finder and Desktop?

Show the WD hard drive in the Finder and Desktop

Sometimes, you think WD hard drive is not recognized by Mac because the WD external hard drive isn't showing up in Finder or on the desktop. However, the fact is that the WD hard drive is detected by macOS and it is not set to show up on Mac.

In this case, you can show the WD hard drive by changing the settings:

Step 1: Go to Finder > Preferences > General, make sure the 'External disks' option is ticked. This will make the WD hard drive show up on the Desktop.

Step 2: Select Sidebar tab on the top, make sure the 'External disks' option under Locations is also ticked.

Wd external hard drive troubleshooting

The WD hard drive is not working on Mac still?

Well, it seems that Mac really can't recognize the WD hard drive. We need to take advantage of some tools for further check.

Update incompatible WD Apps with WD Discovery

Western Digital has multiple self-developed software, including WD Drive Utilities for Mac, WD Discovery for Mac, and WD Security for Mac. Possibly, your Mac doesn't recognize the WD hard drive because the WD software is not compatible with your macOS.

In this situation, you can simply update those WD programs through WD discovery.

Check if the WD hard drive is password locked

If you are using WD hard drives like My Book Drive and it is not recognized by Mac now, you can check if the hard drive is password protected. It's because macOS won't read the partition information and mount the volumes if the WD hard drive is password locked.

You can download and install WD discovery to unlock the WD hard drive if a password has been set to protect the hard drive.

The WD hard drive is not encrypted? Then the reason for Mac not recognizing the WD hard drive is that macOS fails to access the partition and file system information.

Repair the unrecognized WD hard drive in Disk Utility

Disk Utility is a built-in disk management and repair tool on Mac computers. When a WD hard drive is not recognized or not working due to inner disk errors, you can try to repair the unrecognizable WD hard drive with Disk Utility.

Tips: Before you try to repair the WD hard drive in Disk Utility, if the WD hard drive shows up in Disk Utility but not mounted, you can select the Mount option first then the WD hard drive will be mounted on the Desktop.

Step 1: Go to Applications > Disk Utility.

Step 2: Click 'View' and choose 'Show All Devices'.

Step 3: Select the unrecognized WD hard drive from the sidebar.

Step 4: Click on First Aid on the top. Wait while First Aid verifying and fixing possible errors of the WD hard drive.

If First Aid can't repair the WD hard drive, or Disk Utility doesn't recognize the volumes of the drive, probably, the WD hard drive could be corrupted caused by bad sectors.

Use WD Drive Utilities when WD hard drives not working on Mac

If a WD hard drive won't work normally on a Mac due to bad sectors or other parameter errors, you can use WD Drive Utilities for Mac to have a diagnosis what happens to your hard drive. It's because WD Drive Utilities is a specialized utility for WD hard drives to check for potential drive failures, slow disk performance, and bad sectors.

Step 1: Install WD Drive Utilities on your Mac and then launch it.

Step 2: Plug the unrecognizable WD hard drive into the Mac.

Step 3: Click on 'Diagnose' and choose 'Run Quick Drive Test' to check the WD drive completely.

Software install on mac book air error 1. From the sidebar in Disk Utility, select your USB flash drive.

Fix the unrecognized WD hard drive by reformatting

If the unrecognizable WD hard drive can't be repaired by WD Drive Utilities, the file system of the WD hard drive might be seriously damaged or corrupted. In this case, you have to reformat or erase this WD hard drive. Before that, it's necessary to recover lost data from unrecognized WD hard drive with free hard drive data recovery software for Mac, like iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, to avoid data loss.

iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is professional in external hard drive data recovery on Mac. It supports Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, Samsung, and hard drives of other manufacturers. This data recovery software can recover lost data when hard drive is unrecognized, unmountable, unreadable, corrupted on Mac. Besides, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac can recover lost data from Macintosh hard drive, USB drives, Pen drives, SD cards, memory cards, CF cards as well as other storage devices.

Tutorial to recover lost data from unrecognizable WD hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac and reformatting

Step 1: Recover lost data from unrecognized WD hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

1. Download, install, and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

To recover your important photos, videos, music, documents, emails from this unrecognizable WD hard drive, you can free download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac.

2. Scan for lost data on the WD hard drive.

When the data recovery software is launched, you will see your unrecognizable WD hard drive in the interface. You need to select this corrupted WD hard drive and then click the 'Scan' button to scan for data on this drive.

3. Preview and recover files.

When WD hard drive is corrupted, you can't access your data on this drive. But you can use iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to preview the data on the drive, which will help you make sure your files are not corrupted before you finally click 'Recover' to recover them.

Step 2: Fix WD hard drive not recognized error by reformatting.

1. Go to Disk Utility and select the unrecognized WD hard drive from the sidebar.

2. Click on Erase on the top.

3. Follow the instructions to finish the reformatting process.

After reformatting WD hard drive process finished, you will hopefully see the WD hard drive recognized and showing up on Mac correctly.

However, if the external hard drive is not showing up in Disk Utility at all, the great chance is that the WD hard drive is physically broken. As a result, Mac can't read and recognize it. In this case, we advise you to check if the serial number of the WD hard drive is still in warranty so that you can ask for a repair or replacement service.

WD provides no-limited warranty unless your WD hard drive was purchased from an authorized distributor or authorized reseller like Amazon. So, if your WD hard drive is dead for disk corruption, please free free to contact their support team for warranty status review and product replacement.


Wd External Hard Drive Mac Software Free

Whenever a WD hard drive being unrecognized on Mac, data rescue should come first. After recovering data from the unrecognized hard drive with free data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, you can then try to fix the error in different ways without worrying about data loss. Besides, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac also helps recovering data when USB flash drives, Toshiba external hard drives, or other external hard drives that are not showing up on Mac.

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Disk Drill brings deleted files back from the dead.

Most of the time, when you connect an external hard drive to your Mac’s USB port, you soon see it mount on the desktop. Apple likes to ensure these are easy to find, so they also appear in the Finder in the left-hand column under Devices, since Mac’s treat them the same way as another computer.

However, sometimes, an external hard drive doesn't show up. It’s annoying, especially when you need to transfer something right then. And besides, there can be a risk that data on the external USB pen, hard, or flash drive is corrupt, which means you can’t transfer what you need between devices at all.

Corrupt data can be one reason your Mac won't recognize an external drive, but there are other reasons too. Let’s take a look why this is happening and how you can get an external drive to appear on your Mac and get recover data to access to your documents.

How to fix an external disk drive that won't show up on a Mac

Why an external disk drive is not showing up? There could be a few reasons why a USB flash drive isn’t making an appearance.

Open an External Drive Not Showing on Mac

Get a huge set of top utilities for troubleshooting external hard drives not mounting on a Mac

Start with the basics:

  1. Check whether the drive is properly plugged in. It sounds obvious, but since this relies on a wire - either a USB cable or HDMI cable - if it’s not connected properly then it won’t appear on your desktop.
  2. Faulty cable. Assuming it’s plugged in correctly, not wobbly or loose, the cable could be at fault. Try connecting the same device with a different cable.
  3. Damaged USB or flash drive port. It could be a hardware issue with the Mac. If you’ve got another port, try connecting the device to that one.
  4. Reboot your Mac. Sometimes, if a USB disk won't boot, the cause is macOS issue. Hopefully, some data damage that can be fixed by restarting. Choose the Apple menu > Restart. Or press and hold the power button and, when a dialog box appears, click the Restart or press R. Restarting your Mac essentially clears your macOS’s memory and starts it up fresh.
  5. Incorrectly formatted drive. Not every external drive is optimized for Macs. It could be that you are trying to connect something only fit to interact with Windows devices. If you’ve got a PC or laptop, it’s worth connecting and seeing if you can access the files through another device. The best way to look for an incorrectly formatted drive is to go to
    Apple (in the top toolbar menu) > About This Mac > Storage.
    See if the external drive shows up here. For more information, go to the same menu option, then select System Report.
  6. Mac not formatted to display external drives on the desktop. It could be that your Mac already recognizes the device, but just isn’t showing its icon on the desktop screen. Even if that is the case, the drive will still appear in the left-hand column of the Finder menu under Devices. You should be able to access your drive that way, and, in the Finder menu under Preferences > General, you can check External Drives to ensure that from now on it shows up on your desktop too.
  7. Reset NVRAM. To do this, shut down or restart your Mac, switch it back on and immediately press these four keys together for at least 20 seconds: Option, Command, P, and R. It should look as though your Mac has started again; if it has, release the keys when you hear the second startup chime. Hopefully, the hard drive has shown up now.
  8. Check Apple’s Disk Utility to see if an external drive is showing up. Disk Utility is within System Preferences, or you can find it using Spotlight. If it is visible, then click the option to Mount, which should make it visible on the desktop and in the External Drives option in the Finder menu.

Unfortunately, if none of those options has worked and the external drive still isn’t visible, then it could have crashed, or be well and truly broken. But there might still be a way you can recover the data on the external drive.

How to show connected devices in Finder

  1. Go to the Finder menu and select Preferences (Cmd+comma).
  2. From General tab tick External disks to ensure that from now on it shows on the desktop.

In the Sidebar tab you can choose which folders and devices will be shown in the left-hand column of the Finder window.

How to add cloud storages to Finder

You can also mount cloud storage as local drive on your Mac. By connecting Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon to your computer, you get more space for securely accessing and sharing files. For your ease, add cloud drives to Finder with CloudMounter app, so that you keep them close at hand. You can read detailed instructions on managing cloud storage as local drives here.

Repair the failed external drives with First Aid

If your drive is having problems, you can try to fix them yourself with First Aid and therefore get access to your files. First Aid tool will check the disk for errors and then attempt a repair as needed. It helps to verify and repair a range of issues related to startup HD and external drive problems. If you are able to fix the hard drive or SSD in your Mac (or an external drive) using Disk Utility you will hopefully be able to recover your files.

To run Fist Aid on an external hard drive:

  1. Open Disk Utility. You can searching for it using Spotlight Search or via Finder > Application > Utility
  2. Check on your external hard drive, click the First Aid tab and select Run to start running diagnostics.

If First Aid successful in fixing errors, the external drive should be available to mount. If the utility unable to repair issues, your drive truly is broken or formatted using a file system that the Mac cannot read - in this way we suggest you follow the next steps to recover data from a damaged disk drive.

How to recover data from a crashed drive

Thankfully, there is an app for that. Disk Drill is the world’s premier data recovery software for Mac OS X. Powerful enough to retrieve long-lost, mistakenly deleted files from Macs, external hard drives and USB drives and camera cards.

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An easy way to recover lost files on an external hard drive

Providing you already have Disk Drill Pro version, which you can get automatically by downloading from Setapp:

  1. Connect your drive to the Mac.
  2. Quit all other applications on the Mac, especially those that may be trying to access the external drive (e.g. iPhoto, Words)
  3. Launch Disk Drill.
  4. Click on the external drive that you are trying to recover files from. If it has partitions, you will see all of them. If, however, you still don’t see any volume to the external drive then you may need to try some of the steps above again or read the Disk Drill Scanning FAQs.
  5. To avoid the external drive being accessed during the recovery process, click Extras next to the drive or drive partition or file, then select Remount Volume As Read Only. A padlock will appear, protecting the drive during the process.
  6. Now click Rebuild (or Recover) next to the file(s) you are trying to recover. Once the scan is finished - it may take some time if the files are large - a list of files will appeal.
  7. Next, click Mount Found Items as Disk button on the bottom-left below the scan results.
  8. Disk Drill “strongly suggest saving the files to a different drive than the one you are trying to recover files from. Saving to the same drive substantially lowers your chances of recovery.”
  9. A drive icon will appear, which once you double click will give you the option to open the files as you would do before they were lost. Drag them to another location, such as your desktop or a folder on your Mac.
  10. Open the files to ensure they have been recovered properly and safely eject the external drive.

Disk Drill does have other ways to recover lost files but assuming there aren’t complications, this method is the most effective. Disk Drill Pro recovery app is available from Setapp, along with dozens of Mac apps that will make your life easier. Never have to worry about a crashed or corrupted external drive again.

A few more tips on getting your files back

  1. Macs and third-party apps that look after Macs, such as Disk Drill and iStat Menus come with a S.M.A.R.T. (also known as Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) status monitor. If a SMART check reports errors, then it could mean the hard drive is at risk of failing completely. Within Disk Utility and Disk Drill, there are several solutions for this: Repair Disk Permissions and Repair Disk. If neither work, it’s recommended that you backup all of the data from the disk, erase, then run a SMART check again. The external hard drive should show up as Verified.
  2. Partitions can get lost within hard drives, temporarily hiding all of the information contained within. Disk Drill can help to identify and restore this information.
  3. Within Disk Drill, you can restore data when a hard drive is damaged or add formatting, which is also something Disk Utility can help with.
  4. CleanMyMac, another useful app available from Setapp, can help you identify external hard drive errors and repair them. It is an essential tool worth trying when you’re having external hard drive difficulties.

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Alternative ways to recover data from an external hard drive

Reset the System Management Controller (SMC) if your Mac shuts down when you plug in an external hard drive. Then use a different port to connect the external hard drive. If you’ve got a battery that you can’t remove:

  • Shut down and unplug the power adapter
  • Press Shift-Control-Option and the power button at the same time. Do this for 10 seconds
  • Release all keys
  • Plug the power adapter back in and switch your Mac back on

For Macs with removable batteries, you need to switch them off, remove the battery, then press and hold the power button for 5 seconds. After that, put the battery back in, plug in the power adapter and switch the power on again.

What’s your file format? One reason your Mac isn’t recognizing the hard drive is the file format. Windows uses NTFS file formats, while Macs, up until the introduction of Sierra, have used HFS+. Now, Apple has introduced the Apple File System (APFS) for newer operating systems. It is possible to format a hard drive so it can be read on Mac and Windows computers, providing you format using exFAT. However, if you’re having problems accessing the files and the issue is due to formatting, you will need to connect it to a device it can be read on, and then format the files correctly for the computer you are going to use it on next.

How to make Ext2/Ext3 drives readable on Mac

The common issue is Ext2- and Ext3-formatted drives are not readable on macOS. There are two ways to access such external drives on your Mac – via Linux OS or FUSE system. The easiest would be installing Linux to a secondary drive or virtual machine.

If you go with Linux installation, dual boot your Mac with Linux on another drive and use FAT32 as a transfer intermediary. If you don’t have a drive to install Linux to, use virtual machine as an interface for it. Transferring can be done the same way – with FAT32, or via network.

Another option for reading Ext2/Ext3 disks is mounting disk with Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE). Basically, it works as an extra interface enabling file system access via specially installed modules. Here’s how to mount drives with FUSE:

  1. Install FUSE for macOS or MacFUSE as well as fuse-ext2 module.
  2. Use the following Terminal command to enable Disk Utility’s debug menu and see all partitions: defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled 1
  3. Attach your Ext2/Ext3 drive and locate the device name via Disk Utility.
  4. In your user account, create a folder to be used as a mount point.
  5. Use the following Terminal command to mount the drive as read-only: fuse-ext2 /dev/disk2s2 /Volumes/mountpoint
  6. For write support, use the command: fuse-ext2 -o force /dev/disk2s2 /Volumes/mountpoint

And that’s not the only case where Terminal helps you access external drive.

Employ the handy all-powerful Terminal, which always comes forward with solutions for difficult problems. Especially if System Information does recognize the USB or hard drive, but continues to hide it from you, disconnect the drive and try to find it using the Terminal, which you can find in Applications > Utilities.

  • Once in the Terminal, type in the command diskutil list
  • A list with information about volumes and drives should appear
  • Look for a section labelled /dev/disk_ (external, physical)
  • Make a note of the whole line after the word disk
  • Now put the following command into the Terminal diskutil info disk followed by the number or digits assigned to that disk
  • Now you should see detailed information about the drive, therefore confirming that your Mac can and does recognize it
  • Eject using the Terminal by entering the command diskutil eject disk followed by the number or digits assigned to that disk
  • Physically remove the disk from you Mac
  • Plug it back in and your Mac should recognize it

Wd External Hard Drive Setup

Console is also reliable when it comes to solving tricky problems, although it isn’t always that easy to use. You can find Console under Applications > Utilities > Console. Console shows if an external drive or any error is detected under the Errors and Faults tab. If no errors show up, then the problem is not caused by the device.

Wd External Hard Drive Mac Software Download

To sum up, there are lots of potential solutions for a Mac not reading an external hard drive. If we were to pick one, Disk Drill seems to be the most well-rounded, offering plenty of customizations and power in an easy-to-use interface. Disk Drill Pro recovery app is available via Setapp, along with 150+ Mac apps that strive to make your life much much easier. At the very least, you’ll never have to worry about a crashed or corrupted external drive ever again.