How To Find USB Connected Devices On Mac

If everything is working as it should, your USB drive should appear on your Mac computer when you connect it to the USB port, either on the desktop or the Finder. From there, you will be able to do everything you would expect to be able to do with a USB drive: access, edit, and add to the drive.

But what if you’re connecting a drive and it’s not showing up? Is it something wrong with the drive? Or something wrong with the Mac? Well, chances are it’s not an issue with either of your devices, and there are several ways with which you can manually look up a USB-connected device on your Mac. Read on to be accessing your USB drives in no time.

Fix 1 – Change Your Connection

fix your connection

Before we proceed any further with this article, make sure to restart your Mac, in order to rule out the most obvious fix. Restarting your Mac will clear any hardware glitches that are present. Still with us? Okay, let’s continue.

  • Remove the USB device from your Mac’s USB port and try it in another USB port.
  • If using an adaptor, try taking it out of the adaptor and plugging it into any of your ports directly.
  • Try the USB device on another Mac or PC to see if it will show up.
  • If you’re trying to access an SD card, get a Mac card reader and try it again.
  • Check none of your connections are loose.

Fix 2 – Change Your Mac’s Settings For Detecting External Drives

External drive

An easy way you can see if you can find the USB-connected device manually is to use the Finder. To do this, go to Finder, then Preferences, then General. From here, you should see an External Discs option. Make sure it is ticked. If it was not already ticked, chances are you’ve just solved the issue and it will now show up.

Fix 3 – Change Your Mac’s Settings For Recognizing External Hard Disks

Finder preferences

Similar to fix 2. While you’re in the Finder, go to Preferences, then Sidebar. Under the Locations, you should see External Drives (pictured above). Make sure this is also checked.

Fix 4 – Check the USB Drive in System Information

iMac system infomation

Is your USB connect device still not showing? The next place to look for it is in the System Information. To find this, go to Applications, then Utilities, then System Information. From here you can check the USB-connected device from the left panel (pictured above). It will also allow you to check your device’s information.

Fix 5 – Reset Your Mac’s USB Ports

Mac's port hub

Another simple fix is to reset your Mac’s USB ports. To do this, complete the following steps.

  • Restart your Mac
  • Hold Command + Option + P + R until the Apple logo pops up
  • Press Command + Option + Esc to close any application that may not be responding
  • Insert the USB device that you are working with. If it does not show up from here, hit the Apple icon and press Sleep
  • After waiting a few seconds, wake your Mac up by pressing any key
  • Now turn off your Mac. Unplug the power cable and reattach after thirty seconds
  • Turn your Mac back on and see if your USB device is now showing up.

Fix 6 – Use First Aid to Repair the USB Connected Device

Disk Utility
  • Go to Applications, then Utility, then Disk Utility
  • Select USB drive on the left panel
  • Select First Aid, then hit Run. From here, your Disk Utility should automatically repair any errors it encounters on the USB connected device
  • After this process has finished, select the USB connected device once again and press Unmount (on the top toolbar). Now remove the USB device, wait thirty seconds, then plug it back in.

Fix 7 – Use Terminal to Check and Fix Errors

Terminal

Okay, a little more technical with this one.

  • Open Utilities, then Terminal. Type: diskutil list then press return
  • Locate the disc number of your USB connected device. Then, type: diskutil info discX and press return. Replace X with your disc number.
  • Next, type: diskutil eject disc X and press return. Again, replace X with your disc number.
  • Type: diskutil list and press return. The USB connected device should now disappear from Terminal, and you can close the window and close Terminal, and remove the USB device.
  • Open Console and inspect the USB drive for errors. To do this, press Errors and Faults when in Console.
  • Insert your USB device. If no errors show up, your device is safe.

Fix 8 – Reformat your USB drive

Before continuing, realize that by reformatting your USB device, it will erase any and all saved data that is currently on it. You have been warned! On the plus side, reformatting a device will put it back to its factory settings and refresh it. This means it should once again show up when connected to your Mac. To reformat your USB device, do the following steps.

  • Open Utilities, then Disk Utility
  • Select the USB drive in the Disk Utility sidebar and click Erase at the top
  • Fill in the information prompted, which will be name, format and scheme, and then complete the reformatting of your USB connected device.

Final Fix – Update your macOS and Firmware

If you’ve completed every fix listed above in this article and your USB-connected device is still not showing on your Mac, there’s one final option: chances are you’re overdue an update to your macOS, firmware, or both.

Sometimes when Apple pushes out these updates it means your Mac will no longer recognize a USB-connected device, even if it never seemed to have an issue with it before. Additionally, firmware updates are designed to address and fix bugs and glitches that may be causing your USB devices to not show up. Make sure to check and download any and all updates available to you regularly.

Categories Mac
About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech. A lot has changed in the field since I started out as a writer back in 2009, so it's always exciting to keep up with all that's new. To me, there's nothing quite like getting my hands on a brand-new gadget or piece of software for the first time -- it's like Christmas morning every day!

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