How To View Files On Seagate Hard Drive Mac Title Image

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

So, how do you view those files you’ve stored on your Seagate on Mac?

Or on your Seagate Backup Plus on Mac.

Don’t worry, you’ll find out how below.

How To View Files On Seagate External Hard Drive Mac Easy

1. Double click on your Seagate USB drive’s icon on your Mac’s desktop.

2. This opens a Finder window on your Seagate drive. Then you can view the files or photos on your Seagate hard drive.

3. Can’t see your Seagate’s drive icon? Check your Finder Settings (Mac OS Ventura). On earlier Mac OS releases it’s Finder Preferences.

How Do I View Files On My Seagate External Hard Drive Mac: More Detail

Log into your Mac. Plug in your Seagate external drive’s USB cable into a USB port on your Mac.

In a few moments your Seagate’s drive icon will show up on your Mac’s desktop.

Seagate Drive Icon

1. Double Click On Your Seagate USB Drive’s Icon.

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

This a window onto your drive.

Seagate Finder Window Open

You’ll then see all the files. Or photos you’ve copied onto your drive. They’ll be right there for you to look at.

Or if your drive is empty right now you’ll see an empty Finder window.

The label at the top of your Finder window confirms you’re looking onto your Seagate drive.

Another way of viewing files on your Seagate Mac external hard drive is:-

2. Click On Your Seagate External Disk Drive In The Finder Window Sidebar.

You can look in any open Finder window. Or open a new Finder Window.

And view your Seagate files by clicking on the drive in the sidebar.

Seagate In SideBar

Then your Finder window will move to the drive and you can view your files on your drive.

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

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

Seagate Click On File

When you have a default app set up for that file. Your file will open up in that application.

Or your Mac will ask you to pick an application to open your file into.

Seagate View File In Default App

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

And then you’re viewing and working on the file direct from your external drive.

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 the file is saved to. Your file will save onto your Seagate drive.

Can’t save your file onto your Seagate external HDD? Your drive may not be in a Mac compatible file system. Jump down this article. You’ll find a section about viewing but can’t save a file onto your Seagate external hard drive.

4. Double Click On A Folder.

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

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

Seagate Double Click On Folder

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 Seagate drive. And you’re searching for a particular file on your Seagate hard drive.

Just as you could on your Mac.

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

Seagate Finder 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 Seagate hard drive’s Finder window.

Seagate Search

I Can’t See My Seagate External Hard Drive On My Mac’s Desktop?

The first step in accessing your files on your Seagate drive is – seeing your drive on your Mac’s desktop.

A few moments after you’ve plugged in your USB cable. The LED light on your Seagate hard drive will start blinking. And in a few moments you should see your Seagate hard drive icon on your desktop. The drive icon will look something like this.

Seagate Drive Icon

But when no drive icon turns up on your Mac’s desktop. Then check your Mac is set up to show external disks on your Mac’s desktop.

1. Open Up A Finder Window On Your Mac Computer.

And from that Finder window. Along the top of your Mac’s screen.

2. Click Finder Then Settings.

In Mac OS releases Monterey or earlier it’s Finder Preferences.

Finder Settings

From the menu that comes up.

3. Click On The General Tab.

4. Put A Check In External Disks Box.

Finder Settings Show External Disks

I Can View Files On Seagate External Hard Drive But Can’t Save

Seagate Technology sells several types of Seagate external hard drives. Hard disk drives and SSD (solid state drives).

Some are in a file system format called NTFS. NTFS (New Technology File System) is a file system made for a Windows PC.

Having an NTFS drive means you can view the files on those drives. Copy files off the drive onto your Mac. But you can’t change any of the files on there. And that means you can’t save a changed version of the file on the drive.

Not without using reformatting. Or using driver software on your Mac. Driver software translates instructions from your Mac OS to your Seagate NTFS drive.

If you can copy off the files on your Seagate drive elsewhere. Or you don’t care about the files on the Seagate drive. Then you can use the disk management software on your Mac called Disk Utility to format your drive.

Other Seagate drives are in an ExFAT file system.

The ExFAT file system can be read and written to by both a Mac and a Windows PC.

But a Seagate with an ExFAT file system can’t be used for a Time Machine Backup of your Mac.

The Disk Utility disk management software allows you to format your ExFAT. Or NTFS drive into a Mac format. Follow this linked text here to find out how to use Disk Utility to Format a Seagate for Mac.

How Do I View Files In My Seagate External Drive Mac Time Machine Backup?

When you’ve successfully taken a Time Machine backup onto your Seagate external hard drive. 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…

Plug in your Seagate Technology drive with your backup on it.

Mac OS Ventura

1. Applications > Time Machine.

This opens a Finder window on your Seagate external hard drive on your Mac.

You can use this finder window to move through the files by date.  Just use the arrows at the side of the window.

2. Move To The Folder With The File You Want.

When you’ve located the file you want to restore. Click on the Restore button.

Earlier Mac OS Releases

1. System Preferences > Time Machine.

Go into Systems Preferences, And from the menu there click on Time Machine.

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

2. Viewing The Backup Files On Your Seagate External Hard Drive.

When your Time Machine Finder windows opens you can click on the folders. And walk through the files in your Seagate backup disk.

Time Machine Restore Button

Or you can use the arrows at the side of the window to 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 backed up file is restored for you to view.

Why Can’t I See My Files On My Seagate External Hard Drive Mac?

When you can’t view your files because your Seagate storage device’s icon isn’t showing up on your Mac.

Here are some ways to fix it.

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

As long as your Seagate 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 Seagate Portable drive gets its power from your Mac.

A Seagate desktop drive is independently powered.

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 a Seagate Portable external hard drive. So, give plugging directly into your Mac a go.

If your Mac can’t talk to your drive. That means you can’t view 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.

Seagate Disk Utility View

Click on your Seagate Technology drive.

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

Disk Utility Mount

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

You Can See Your Seagate Hard Drive Icon But You Can’t View Your Files

There are sometimes reports of Seagate drive 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 Seagate external hard drive are gone. And you’ve missing files on your Seagate drive.

When that happens here’s what to do.

1. Eject Your Seagate external 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 Seagate Technology drive plugged in.

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

Click on your Seagate hard 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 data files should show up.

3. Ask Your Mac To Show You Hidden files.

This has worked for some Seagate Technology 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.

In Closing

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

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

Thank you for stopping by and reading.

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