How To View Files On My Passport For Mac Title Image

You copied your files onto your My Passport drive as your backup. Just in case. And now you want to view those files.

So, you can check and confirm that they are safe on your drive. Or get those files back.

When you’re new to using an external hard drive. Or you’ve not used your My Passport external drive for a long time and you’re struggling.

So, how do you check files stored on WD Passport for Mac?

Or on your My Passport Ultra for Mac.

Don’t worry, you use the same ways.

How To View Files On My Passport For Mac

You’ve plugged in your WD external hard drive’s USB cable into a USB port on your Mac.

Now what?

The first step in accessing your files on your WD passport drive is – seeing the drive on your Mac’s desktop?

1. Can You See Your My Passport Drive On Your Mac’s Desktop?

A few moments after your plugging in USB cable. The LED light on your My Passport will start blinking. And you should see your WD drive icon on your desktop. The drive icon will look something like this.

WD My Passport Drive Icon

It’ll have the name you gave your drive under the icon.

No drive icon on your Mac’s desktop?

2. Then check your Mac is set up to show external disks on your Mac’s desktop.

Open up a Finder window on your Mac computer.

And from that Finder window. Along the top of your Mac’s screen. Click Finder then Settings (from Mac OS Ventura). You’ll find it’s called Preferences in earlier Mac OS releases.

Finder Settings

From the menu that comes up. Click on the General tab. And put a check in External disks box.

Finder Settings Show External Disks

3. You Can Also Show Your My Passport Hard Drive In the Sidebar.

With your Finder Settings or Preferences window still open click on the Sidebar tab.

Finder Settings Sidebar

Scroll down and put a check mark in the External disks box.

And your WD Passport drive will appear in your finder window’s Sidebar.

Can you now see your WD hard drive on your Mac’s desktop? Or in your Sidebar?

Yes. Good read on….

WD My Passport On Desktop And On Sidebar

No? You can’t see your Passport external hard drive on your desktop.

Then jump further down in this post.

Where you’ll find info on seeing your files and folders. When you can’t access your My passport external hard drive.

4. Double Click On Your WD External Hard Drive’s Icon.

When you double click on your passport’s drive icon a Finder window will open up.

This is your window onto your drive.

WD My Passport Finder Window Open On

You should then see all the files you’ve copied onto your wd hard drive. Right there for you to look at.

5. Click On Your WD Drive In The Finder Window Sidebar.

You can also move onto and view your WD Passport by clicking on it in the sidebar.

WD My Passport In Sidebar

Then your Finder window will move to the drive and you can view your files on your drive. And confirm they are all there.

How To View The Files On Wd My Passport On Mac?

After you did a straight copy and paste. Or drag and drop of your files onto your passport WD drive.

And you just want to check all is ok with the files on there.

1. Double Click On A File To Open It Up.

In the Finder window of the Passport external hard drive. Double click on your file and your Mac will open it up. 

WD My Passport Click On File To View
Click On File To View

When you have a default app set up for that file. It’ll open up in that application.

WD My Passport View File In Default App

And then you’re looking at. And working on the file direct from your external drive.

Or when you double click on the file. Your Mac will ask you to choose the application you want to open the file in.

Pick and then the file on your external drive will open up.

It’s just like working on a file on your Mac. Except it’s sitting on your external Mac drive.

And when you save that file. Unless you change where it’s saved to. Your file will save onto your WD external drive.

2. Double Click On A Folder.

If you’ve got your files on your Passport external drive organized in folders.

You can simply double click on the folder in the Finder window of your passport HDD to open it up.

WD My Passport Double Click On Folder
Double Click On Folder To View Files Inside

Just as you would on your Mac. And look at the files inside the folder.

3. View Your File By Searching Your Hard Drive.

When you’ve lots of files on the My Passport. And you’re searching for a particular file on your WD drive.

Just as you could on your Mac.

In the open Finder window of your Passport drive. You can click on search.

WD My Passport Finder Window Search

And type in the name of the file you want to search for and view.

If your Mac’s Finder window isn’t set to search the current folder by default. You can pick that option at the top of your WD hard drive’s Finder window.

WD My Passport Search

How Do I View Files On My Passport For Mac In My Time Machine Backup?

So, you’ve successfully taken a Time Machine backup onto your My Passport external disk. And you just want to check all is fine with your backup files on there. You can easily take a look.

You do that by…

1. System Settings or Preferences > Time Machine.

Plug in your Western Digital drive. And depending on your Mac OS release go into System Settings (from Mac OS Ventura). Scroll down to Control Centre. Click on that.

On the right hand side of the screen scroll down to Time Machine and select to show in Menu bar. You can click on the Time Machine symbol in the menu bar.

Time Machine At Top of Desktop

Then pick Browse Time Machine Backups.

In earlier Mac releases you go to System Preferences. And from the menu there click on Time Machine.

A Time Machine Finder window opens up on your Passport hard drive.

2. Viewing Your WD Backup Files.

And you can click on the folders and walk through the files in your backup disk.

Time Machine Restore Button
Time Machine Restore Button

Or you can use the arrows at the side of the window step through your backup dates. And find the version of the file you want that way.

And if you want to restore that version of the file. Click on it and then click the Restore button.

And your backup file is restored.

Can’t Access Files Because Your Mac Can’t See Your WD My Passport?

When you can’t view your files because your WD drive isn’t showing up on your Mac.

Here are some ways to fix it.

1. Double Check Your Passport’s Hard Drive’s Physical Connections.

As long as your passport external hard drive’s LED light is flashing. The LED shows there is power to the drive. If there’s no light on your drive. Then your USB cable isn’t working. As your My Passport gets its power from your Mac.

Push in your USB cable connections. Into the drive and into your Mac to make sure they are well seated. Or try a different USB cable. It’s not uncommon that the USB cable breaks inside where you can’t see. And so doesn’t work.

When you’re using a USB hub. Then plug your drive directly into your Mac. Sometimes the USB hub ports fail to deliver enough power to the My Passport drive. So give plugging directly into your Mac a go.

If your Mac can’t talk to your drive. That means you can’t access your files on the drive.

2. Reboot Your Mac.

When you’re sure your USB cable is fine. Then sometimes a simple shutdown and restart of your Mac. Is all it takes for your external hard drive to show up on your Mac.

3. Try Your Drive On Another Mac.

It’s worth seeing if a different Mac can see your drive and view your files. Then that gives you the clue that it’s something to do with your Mac’s set up.

4. Use Disk Utility To Mount Your Drive.

Start up Disk Utility. It’s in your Applications Folder > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Check you can view all devices in your Disk Utility window.

Disk Utility View Option

Click on your Western Digital Passport drive.

And click on the Mount button at the top of the Disk Utility window to mount your drive.

Disk Utility Mount

Your Passport Mac drive should now show up on your Mac’s desktop for you. And you’ll be able to look at your files.

You’ll find a detailed article on the site all about My Passport not working on Mac. Click on the linked text and get your drive working so you can view your files.

One Thing To Note:

Western Digital sells several types of My Passport drives. Hard disk drives and SSD (solid state drives).

Plus, the My Passport drives for Mac including the WD Passport Ultra. Are formatted specifically for Mac operating systems. To work on a Mac.

The My Passport without the For Mac name are drives formatted for PC’s. And that means you can view the files on those drives. Copy files off the drives onto your Mac. But you can’t change the files on there. Not without using driver software on a Mac.

You Can See Your WD Drive But You Can’t View Your Files

There are sometimes reports of Western Digital’s My Passport HDD drive icon’s showing up on a Mac’s desktop. But you can’t view your files on the drive.

Files copied onto the My Passport drive are gone. And you’ve missing files on your WD external drive.

When that happens here’s what to do.

1. Eject Your Passport drive. Then Reboot.

Often a simple reboot of your Mac computer is all that’s needed. And then it can view your drive.

2. Run Disk Utility First Aid.

Disk Utility has an option called First Aid. And you can run that software to repair your drive.

With your Western Digital Passport plugged in.

Go into your Applications Folder > Utilities and start up Disk Utility.

Click on your WD drive. And click on First Aid across the top of your Disk Utility window.

Disk Utility Pick First Aid

Let it run and repair your drive. And your lost files should show up.

3. Ask Your Mac To Show You Hidden files.

This has worked for some Western Digital external drives.

Open up a Terminal Window.

Application > Utilities > Terminal.

Type in:

defaults write appleshowallfiles YES


And then see if the files on your external drive show up.

4. Try WD Drive Utilities to repair Your Drive.

Western Digital have a set of application software. Specifically for their drives for Mac users.  Go onto the Western Digital site and download the WD Drive Utilities for Mac.

Then run that software. And use their drive utility diagnostics to check on your drive.

In Closing

Whether you’re a complete newbie to using external drives. Or had trouble viewing your files on your My Passport for Mac.

Viewing files on your My Passport drive should now be straightforward.  And after reading this article, you’ll get going in a few minutes with your drive.

Check out the other related posts on the site for more tips and tricks when it comes to using your My Passport.

Thank you for stopping by and reading.

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