Toshiba External Hard Drive Mac Not Recognizing Title Image

It’s a lovely feeling when you buy yourself a new Toshiba Canvio Basics. Advance or other branded Toshiba external hard drive.

You rush home to put it in your Mac.

But Oh no!

When you connect it, your Mac fails to even acknowledge it’s there.

Well, here are some clear, easy solutions for you.

For a Mac not recognizing Toshiba external hard drive.

Toshiba External Hard Drive Mac Not Recognizing

Let’s work through the symptoms. And the solutions of a Mac unrecognized Toshiba external hard drive?

You’ll start with the simple checks. Followed by theeir fixes because it’s often those that trip you up first.

You may want to rush on down the list. But try to stick with each step as laid out to get the max out of this article.

Let’s begin.

1. Check Finder Settings Or Preferences On Your Mac.

When your Toshiba drive’s LED light is lit. This means your hard drive has power. But you can’t see it’s drive icon on your Mac’s desktop.

Toshiba Basics Drive Icon

When it’s Mac not recognizing external hard drive Toshiba blue light.

Particularly if this is the first time you’ve used an external hard drive on your Mac.

Check your Finder Settings (from Mac OS Ventura). On earlier Mac operating system versions it’s called Preferences.

It’s easy to do. Open a new Finder window.

And pick Finder Settings or Preferences from the Finder menu.

Finder Settings

Check you’ve clicked on the General tab. And from the options be sure that there’s a check in the box against ‘External Disks’.

Finder Settings Show External Disks

Does your Mac recognize your Toshiba drive now?


Onto the next solution.

2. Double Check Your USB Cable Is Firm Into Your Hard Drive And Into Your Mac.

Ok sounds silly. But this one has for sure tripped me up a few times.

Whether you’re using your Toshiba external hard drive for the first time. Or you’ve used your drive many times on your Mac before.

Your problem may be as simple as a badly seated USB cable.

Especially if your hard drive’s led isn’t lit. It’s not getting power.

Push your USB cable snug into at your Mac. And be sure the cable is snug into your Toshiba external hard drive.

Toshiba Cable Into Drive

3. Try Another USB Port. On Your Mac.

Sometimes the Mac OS x device manager software that sits at your Mac’s USB port hangs. It could be that other device you had plugged in before you started to use your Toshiba drive.

It just didn’t properly release the port when you ejected it. Or maybe you forgot to eject your last Mac USB device.

Either way plug into another USB port and see if your Toshiba hard drive is acknowledged by your Mac.

4. Find Yourself Another USB Cable.

USB cables can be tricky. They work fine for ages. Then they don’t and you won’t necessarily see anything physically wrong.

Because we fold them up. Squeeze them into our Mac’s laptop bag. They get pulled in and out of your Toshiba external disk drive. And for that matter out of your Mac without a care.

When your issue is a Toshiba hard drive not recognized by Mac.

Check your USB cable. Find another one you know works. And try that. And see if your Toshiba portable hard drive is recognized by your Mac.

5. Check Your USB Adaptor.

When you’re using your Toshiba external hard disk on your modern Mac. With a new type C USB port. Your not recognized issue could be down to your type A to USB C adaptor on your USB cable.

Break out another adaptor and see if that’s your solution.

6. Independently Power Your Toshiba External Hard Drive.

If your Mac is an older Mac with internal hard drives. And USB 2.0 ports. Although the Toshiba portable drives have legacy USB support for USB 2.0 ports.

The Toshiba drives get their power from your Mac’s ports. And the Toshiba hard disk drives have been found to draw too much power from those older 2.0 ports.

And this results in no led light seen.

Or your Mac recognizing your Toshiba hard drive. Then not, or your external hard drive disconnecting unexpectedly from your Mac.

If you suspect that’s your issue then get yourself a powered USB hub. And run your Toshiba hard disk drive from there.

7. Plug A Power Cable Into Your Mac.

Your Mac may be too low on power. And if it is. It’ll prioritize powering your Mac and not your portable Toshiba external hard drive.

And it could appear to you like your Mac isn’t recognizing your external drive.

Plug your Mac into external power and see if that solves your not recognizing issue.

8. Check Your USB Hub If You’re Using One.

You could have one of your external USB hub ports playing up.  

Try another port on your USB Hub.

Or plug in direct to your Mac. Try taking your USB hub out of the equation and see if that solves your problem.

9. Shutdown And Reboot Your Mac.

Sometimes all your Mac needs is a good shutdown and reboot.

A shutdown resets all sorts of registries in your Mac. As well as the Mac OS x software device manager software in your Mac’s operating system.

When you shutdown. Be sure to wait at least 10 seconds for everything to reset before you start up your Mac.

10. Try A NVRAM Reset On Your Mac.

Your Mac’s NVRAM is a small piece of memory that keeps track of your Mac’s hardware settings.

And there are times when you need to clear it for your Toshiba external hard drive to be recognized.

On an Intel Mac. Shut down your Mac.

As you power on. Hold down OPTION + Command + P + R keys. All at the same time. As you wait at least 20 seconds.

Your Mac will reboot.

Hold all the keys while your Mac reboots. Hold till your Apple logo shows on the screen. Or you hear the second start up chime.

Then log in. Plug in your Toshiba external hard drive.

And see if your mac acknowledges your external drive.

11. Try Your Toshiba Drive On Another Computer.

When your Mac is not recognizing your Toshiba external hard drive. Try it on another computer.

Can another Mac recognize your drive? What about a Windows PC?

If your Toshiba drive is recognized on another computer. That shows you haven’t a fatal problem on the drive itself.

And can hold off on the data recovery software.

Plus when that other computer can see your drive you’ve a chance to copy off your important files. And make another copy of them.

Then you can always copy your files back after you’ve fixed your Toshiba hard drive.

12. Apply The Latest Mac OS Update.

If you’re running an old version of your Mac’s operating system. And you know there is a later version. It could be that new version fixes your not recognizing issue.

If you can apply it and see if that’s your solution.

13. Is Your Toshiba External Hard Drive In A Format Your Mac Can Write To?

When you’re Google searching: ‘Toshiba hard drive not recognized Mac’. Because your Toshiba external hard drive seems somehow blocked.

You can see your files on there. But you can’t add any files. Or change anything on your Toshiba external hard disk. Then you drive is likely in a file system your Mac can’t write to.

What does that mean?

Toshiba ships many of their drives in a file system format called NTFS.

The NTFS file system is plug and play on a Window PC.

Your Mac can read a Toshiba external hard drive in a NTFS file system.

You can copy off the documents on your Toshiba external drive. And work on them on your Mac.

But your Mac can’t write to your Toshiba NTFS drive. And that includes changing files on that file system. Or put anything new on the drive.

You can either choose to leave your Toshiba in its Microsoft Windows file system.

And use driver software on your Mac to translate the drive for your Mac. And allow it to write to the drive.

But that means extra software to maintain and keep up to date on your Mac.

Though if you mainly use your external hard drive on Microsoft Windows it’s a good solution.

But if you want to use your drive on your Mac then you can format your drive to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Or APFS (Apple File System) or ExFAT if you plan to share your drive between a Mac and a Windows computer.

To Check If Your Toshiba External HDD Is NTFS Formatted?

Right click on your Toshiba drive icon on your desktop.

Right Click Get Info

And choose ‘Get Info’ from the menu.

Then see what it says for format.

Toshiba Basics NTFS File Info

If your drive is NTFS formatted you’ll find it’s read only on your Mac.

14. Format Toshiba Hard Drive To A Format Your Mac Recognizes.

You were all excited by your new Toshiba hard drive. But now you know it’s not in a format your Mac knows and can write to.

The very best thing to do is to format it. Then you know your Mac will not only recognize your drive. You can fully use it as a Mac external drive.

This is the best option when your drive is new. So, you’ve no files on there to worry about. Or when you don’t care about the data on your drive.

Because formatting wipes all the files on your external drive.

And after formatting if you want those files back. You’ll be seeking the services of data recovery software. Or a data recovery firm to recover data.

To format your Toshiba external hard drive on your Mac. You use your Mac’s disk management software Disk Utility. Disk Utility’s disk management is a standard part of your Mac’s operating system.

Format to:

  • APFS (Apple File System) or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) to copy and paste files. Or drag and drop files. Or use your Toshiba external hard drive for a Time Machine backup.
  • ExFAT to have your Toshiba external disk in a file system format both a Mac and a Windows computer can read. Perfect for an external drive you want to share between the two types of computer.

You can drag and drop, copy and paste in your Mac’s Finder. And on your PC’s Windows Explorer or File Explorer.

But you can’t use an ExFAT formatted drive for a Time Machine backup.

Learn all about formatting your Toshiba external hard drive in an article on the site.

15. Fix Toshiba Drive With First Aid To Get It Recognized.

When you’ve got your Toshiba a in formatted file system your Mac uses. You’ve got your files on there. But now out of the blue your Mac won’t recognize the files on your drive.

And you’ve google searched: ‘My Toshiba External hard drive Mac not recognizing on laptop.’ Cause your MacBook Pro or Air now longer perceives the files and folders you have on your drive.

Then your Mac’s disk management software Disk Utility can come to your aid.

Start Disk Utility. Applications Folder > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Click on your Toshiba external hard drive under the external heading.

Toshiba Internal External drive list

At the top of your Disk Utility window click the First Aid button.

Disk Utility Pick First Aid

Run Disk Utility First Aid across your drive. If it doesn’t run the first time try it again. First Aid will fix all errors it can. And may well save your files.

If not and you’ve reached this stage with no solution. Then it’s time to decide on whether you’re going to try some hard drive recovery solution.

Those options are not without cost. And don’t come with any guarantee. But, when you must try everything it’s a route to go.

Toshiba recommends some hard drive data recovery companies. You can check them out. Click to the page on the Toshiba site by clicking the linked text.

In Closing

In this blog, you found some easy, straight forward solutions. For when your Toshiba external hard drive isn’t recognized on your Mac.

If none of the suggestions fixed your drive and now your faced with a failed drive.

You have my sympathy.

It’s always best to have your data in at least two places. Have one Toshiba drive as a copy of the other.

Feel free share this site with your friends and family.

And while you’re here, please check out our other Toshiba articles on the site.

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