How to Open External Hard Drive on Mac

1. Download and install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac

2. Select and scan the drive/volume where you lost files

3. Preview the files and click the Recover button...Click full guide

Table of Contents

External hard drives can connect to a Mac device to transfer your data and critical files safely. Once you connect these devices, you can easily transfer your data from your Mac device to the hard drive or from your hard drive to Mac.

This article will provide you with a detailed guide on how to open your drive on Mac and methods to resolve unknown issues on your hard drive.

How to Open and Use An External Hard Drive on Mac?

External hard drives can be connected to your Mac wirelessly using Bluetooth, or you can use firewire cables, USB, or thunderbolt to connect your Mac. If your external drives come with a cable, now follow these steps:

  • Connect your external drive to your Mac by attaching the drive with the cable.
  • Now from your desktop, click on "finder".
  • In the Finder menu, you can view your connected devices.
  • Now select the files you want to transfer and drag them to the storage device.

*To grant access to the storage device:

If you are unable to access your storage device, you can grant permission by changing the sharing and permission from the settings.

How to Open An Unrecognized External Hard Drive On Mac?

Sometimes even when these devices are correctly connected, your device may be unable to open it. There can be many reasons that cause this issue, including:

  • A virus attack
  • The access is denied
  • The file on your hard drive is corrupted or unreadable
  • Maybe the device is damaged
  • Hardware issues

Besides these prompt issues, other issues can also cause your external hard drive to get corrupted or damaged. Examine the problem and try these different approaches to work your external drive on Mac.

Method 1. Mount and Repair SSD in Disk Utility

If Mac does not recognize your external hard drive, follow these steps to mount your drive:

Step 1. Click on system preferences and then select "disk utility."

Open disk utility

Step 2. On the left sidebar, click on your external hard drive.

Click External Hard Drive

Step 3. From the menu, click on "mount." You can also click "Unmount" to disconnect the hard drive.

Mount/unmount external hard drive

By following these simple steps, your Mac will now recognize your external drive, and you can easily use your device.

Method 2. Repair External Hard Drives Error with First Aid

Mac has designed a built-in first aid tool to repair corrupted apps, files, and external drives problems. If your external drive is displaying, but you cannot open it, then you can use the first aid tool to access your drive by following these steps:

Step 1. From the system preferences, select disk utility.

Find disk utility in system reference

Step 2. Select your hard drive and click on First Aid.

Click First Aid

Step 3. To start running the diagnosis and prompt Mac to fix your issue, click on the run.

Run First Aid

The first aid will successfully repair your drive, and it will be available to mount. But if you still cannot access the drive, then try the following method.

Method 3. Advanced Repair Drive by Using Terminal

Terminal always comes with a solution for solving issues in Mac. If Mac recognizes your external hard drive, but you are unable to open it, then follow these steps to advance repair your drive by using the terminal.

Step 1. Open terminal by clicking on Applications > Utility > Terminal.

Open Terminal

Step 2. Now type "diskutil list", a list of information about disks and volumes would appear.

Type Diskutil List

Step 3. Find the section labeled "/dev/disk_(external, physical)" and make a note of the line mentioned after the disk.

Type Command

Step 4. Type "diskutil info disk" and the number of digits assigned to your disk. Now you can see detailed information about your drive showing that Mac now recognizes your disk.

Type Command Info Disk

Step 5. Type "diskutil eject disk" and the numbers assigned to your disk.

Type Diskutil Eject Disk

Now remove your disk and plug it back in. Mac would now be able to recognize your disk.

Method 4. Format Unrecognized External Hard Drive on Mac

Retrieve your data and format your hard disk, which is likely to get corrupted if you cannot open it on your Mac. It will also save you from all the hassle of trying to repair your drive.

You can format your external drive using the cmd, disk management, and third-party software to retrieve your data. To format your unrecognized drive, follow these steps.

Step 1. Connect your drive to your Mac. Go to Finder and select Utilities.

Go to Finder and open Utilities

Step 2. Open Disk Utility.

Click Disk Utility

Step 3. Select the drive you want to format and click on erase.

Select External Drive and click Erase

These simple steps will help you format your unrecognized drive on Mac. But to recover your lost data from the drive, you need to install professional third-party software.

How to Recover Data from a Formatted External Drive?

Formatting an external hard drive will erase all data on it. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is an easy-to-use and professional software with Mac data recovery options. This software has a user-friendly interface that lets you complete your data recovery process without a hitch.

If you lose your data due to formatting your drive on Mac, you can install this handy tool and recover data. This software provides some exceptional features, including:

  • It can recover your formatted hard drives, emptied recycle bins, memory cards, and flash drives
  • It's easy to install with simple recovery steps
  • Free trial available 
  • Preview before recovery  
  • Supports multiple file formats  

Download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac from the button below, and start recovering your data with just three steps: choose your drive, scan files, recover the data.

Step 1. Correctly connect your external hard drive to your Mac. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, select the external disk and click "Scan" to let the software search lost files on it.

select the flash drive where data lost and click scan

Step 2. After a quick scan and deep scan, all files will be presented in the left panel in the scan results.

scan lost data on the flash drive

Step 3. Select files you want to recover and click the "Recover" button. Don't save the recoverable files to the external hard drive in case of data overwriting.

click recover now button to recover lost flash drive data on your Mac


Hopefully, we have covered both the topics on how you can open your external drive on Mac and resolve unrecognized issues on your external drive. Regardless of what caused your drive to get damaged, you can quickly recover your drive with these methods.

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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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