Toshiba External Hard Drive Not Working On Mac (13 Fixes 4U)

By Paul Gregory / September 20, 2019
Toshiba External Hard Drive Not Working On Mac Title Image

When you’ve just bought yourself a Toshiba Canvio Slim, Advance, Basic or Canvio Ready. And you’re super frustrated that it’s not working on your Mac.

You need a fix fast.

You’ll find here 13 fixes. For when your Toshiba external hard drive is not working or being recognized on your Mac.


When Your Toshiba External Hard Drive is not Working

On Your MacBook Pro, Macbook Air or iMac. What do you do when you just want your Toshiba drive to work.

1. Check Your USB Cable is Firm Into Your Mac.

You may think that’s a silly one to start off with. But when your Toshiba external hard drive is not showing up on your Mac run through the basics.

You’ll be surprised when your problem is as simple as a badly seated USB cable.

Check your cable is snug into at your Mac. And while you’re checking that, is your USB cable snug into your Toshiba external hard drive.

USB Plug in of Canvio Connect II
USB A Plug in of Canvio to Mac

2. Try Another USB Cable. Between Your Mac and Your Toshiba Drive.

Your USB cable can break and fray over time. And the damage may be inside the plastic coating and not screaming out to you.  If you’ve bought yourself a cheap cable it may well give up on you sooner than you think.

When your Toshiba external hard drive is not working on your Mac, get another USB cable. Try one that you know works.

And your Toshiba drive may well just show up.

3. Plug Into Another USB Port. On your Mac

Plug your Toshiba external drive into another USB port on your Mac.

Especially if you’ve had another device plugged into that port.

Or you forgot to eject the thing you had plugged in. Or forgot to eject your Toshiba hard drive. 

You may have hung the USB software on that port. When you plug into another port on your Mac it may make your Toshiba external hard drive shows up on your desktop.

4. Reboot or Restart your Mac.

Another good trick for fixing your Toshiba hard drive not showing up on your Mac is …

A shutdown and a reboot of your Mac. This will reset the software at your all your Mac’s USB ports.

Once you’ve restarted your Mac you’ll know the USB software on your Mac’s ports will have had a fresh start. And your Toshiba external drive could now show up.

5. Plug your Mac into External Power.

If your Mac is low on power, it’ll find it difficult to power your Toshiba Canvio external hard drive. 

Your Toshiba Canvio is powered by your Mac. And through your USB cable to your Toshiba drive.

If your MacBook Pro or Air is lacking in power because of a low battery.

Or it’s an older MacBook with a USB 2.0 port. Your Toshiba Canvio may well be drawing more power than your Mac can provide. And then your Mac could refuse to show your Toshiba external hard drive on your desktop.

Try plugging your MacBook in. Or using a powered USB hub on your older MacBook.

6. Are you using a USB Hub?

Another option is to plug your Toshiba Canvio directly into a USB port on your Mac.

Your problem may lie with the USB hub. And not with your Mac or with your Toshiba external hard drive.

Are you sure your Mac’s operating system supports your USB hub?

Try plugging straight into your Mac and see if that causes your Toshiba drive to show on your Mac.

7. Take Your Toshiba Drive to Another Computer.

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

Yes, its worth checking whether a different Mac. Or a Windows PC can see your Toshiba external hard drive when it’s connected.

This confirms that your Toshiba drive is working. And you haven’t a fatal problem on the drive itself.

If you have precious files on there, this gives you a chance to copy the files off.

That way you have another copy somewhere else.

And if you need to reformat your Toshiba drive to get it working on your Mac. You can always copy your files back when you fix your Toshiba hard drive.

8. Check your Mac’s Finder Preferences.

Is your Toshiba external hard drives LED’s lit? You’re plugged in but your drive isn’t showing on your desktop.

You’ve tried suggestions 1 through to 7 then check your finder preferences.

Is your Finder preferences set to show your external hard drives on your desktop? 

If not then your Toshiba External Hard drive’s icon won’t appear.

Apple changed this option with the Mac OS 10.13 update and these boxes are now unchecked. So this an option worth double checking.

To find out, open up a finder window. Go to your Finder Preferences.

Finder Preferences
Finder Preferences

On the General Tab. Check that the boxes ‘Hard Drive’ and ‘External Drive’ are picked so your Toshiba drive can show up on your desktop.

Finder Preferences Show External Drive
Finder Preferences pick to Show External Drive

And while you’re there click on the SideBar preferences. Check that the boxes to show ‘Hard Disks’ and ‘External Disks’ are checked there too.

Finder Preferences Side Bar
Finder Preferences Side Bar

9. Your Toshiba Drive Shows on Desktop But you Can’t Add Files.

Your Toshiba drive seems blocked.

Your Toshiba external hard drive won’t let you add any files.

Your drive seems read only and your Mac is refusing to move files to your drive.

This is why.

All Toshiba Canvio’s ship with something called NTFS.

NTFS is a file system Windows PC’s can use straight away.

Your Mac can read a Toshiba external hard drive with an NTFS file system. You can copy the documents off the drive and work on them.

But your Mac can’t change the documents on the Toshiba NTFS hard drive.

Or put fresh documents on the NTFS Toshiba drive.

Your options are either to leave the drive as NTFS formatted. And use driver software so you can change documents on the drive.

Or Reformat the drive to a format your Mac can read and write to.

How can you check if your Toshiba external hard drive is NTFS formatted?

Right click on the drive icon on your desktop.

Right Click Get Info
Right Click Get Info

And choose ‘Get Info’ from the menu.

Take a look at the next pop up window. Look down the list of options till you see the format.  Does your Toshiba drive say Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or NTFS?

Get Info Disk Format
Get Info Disk Format

If your drive is NTFS formatted, you’ll only be able to use your Toshiba drive as read only on your Mac.

10. You’ve Files on Your Toshiba Drive and Can’t reformat Your Toshiba Drive. 

Files already on your Toshiba drive and you need to work on them?

You need your Toshiba hard drive to work on your Mac without changing anything on the drive.

Then you’ll need some driver software. 

There are some considerations to using driver software. Like when you upgrade your Mac’s operating system. You’ll need a compatible version of the driver software for your Mac.

You can read more about this option in an article I have here on the site. How about going over and taking a look?

11. Formatting Your Toshiba External Drive. To Get it Recognized on Your Mac.

When your Toshiba drive is new.

Or you know there are no files you need on the drive. Reformatting your Toshiba is the best option to have it fully recognized on your Mac.

You use software called Disk Utility on your Mac to reformat the drive to either.

With Mac OS Extended (journaled) file system you can drag and drop files. Copy and Paste files. Or use your Toshiba external hard drive for a Time Machine backup.

Or ExFAT file system – This is a format your Mac can also drag and drop to.

Copy and Paste to. But you can’t use an ExFAT file system for a Time Machine backup.

The biggest benefit to you of an ExFAT file system is that both a Mac and a Windows PC can read and write to it.

Very useful if you want to use your Toshiba drive on both Mac and PC.  And without any special driver software.

You can find out how to format your Toshiba external hard drive in an article on the site.

12. Use Disk Utility to Mount your Toshiba Hard Drive.

When your Toshiba external had drive is not showing up on your desktop you can see if it shows up in Disk Utility. And mount it on your Mac from there.

You can find Disk Utility by clicking on your Applications Folder. And then clicking your Utilities folder.

Finder Application Folder Utilities
Finder Application Folder Utilities

Disk Utility is inside your Utilities folder. 

Finder Application Folder Utilities
Finder Application Folder Utilities

Double click to start up Disk Utility.

Select your Toshiba external hard drive under the ‘External’ heading.  You’ll find this on the left hand side of your Mac’s Disk Utility window.

Click on Mount at the top of your Disk Utility window.

Disk Utility Mount
Disk Utility Mount

If the option is greyed out then your Toshiba External hard drive is mounted.

You can click to goggle the mount button on and off to be sure your Toshiba drive is mounted.

13. Disk Utility First Aid to Fix your Toshiba Drive.

After you’ve tried all the suggestions so far. And your Mac is still not recognizing your Toshiba External hard drive.

Try Disk Utility First Aid

Open up Disk Utility (Fix 12 above tells you how).

Click on your Toshiba external hard drive.

Toshiba Internal External drive list
Toshiba In External drive list

Look to the top of the Disk Utility screen and click on the First Aid button.

Disk Utility Pick First Aid
Disk Utility Pick First Aid

Then you can let First Aid check the drive for any errors.

Would You Like To Run First Aid On Your Toshiba Hard Drive
Would You Like To Run First Aid On Your Toshiba External Hard Drive

Click on ‘Run’ and your Mac will run First Aid across your Toshiba hard drive.

If first aid is unable to fix your Toshiba External hard drive then it may well offer to format it for you.

If you’ve files already on your Toshiba drive then don’t choose that option.

First try a file recovery software application or a file recovery service.  Both these options cost money. But if the only copy of your files is on your Toshiba external hard drive then it could well be worth it to you.

Last Words on Toshiba External Hard Drive Not Working on Mac

And there you are the 13 fixes to try on your Mac and on your Toshiba hard drive to get it working and recognized on your Mac.

If none of the fixes here worked it could be that you have a failed and defective drive.

A file recovery solution could be your next option.

But in the future aim to have at least two places where you have a copy of your files.

A second Toshiba hard drive as a clone of your first is quite a good option.

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