Every Mac user out there has turned their Mac computer. Or MacBook off and forgot their WD My Passport drive was still plugged in.
It’s really easy to do and most of the time you didn’t even realize it.
And that meant your Mac hard drive didn’t get ejected properly.
In most cases it wouldn’t matter.
But now you’ve a massive problem.
Your My Passport won’t mount. What now?
Fortunately, here are some really simple ways to get it back and working.
You’ll find two types of scenarios worked through here. The first is where you’ve never put an external hard drive on your Mac before. And you can’t see it mounted.
The second is where you’ve had your WD drive working fine on your Mac. Something happened like you forgot to Eject the drive. And now it won’t mount.
Or it’s a complete mystery why your Passport external hard drive suddenly isn’t mounting.
No matter what the reason. Let’s work through the solutions.
Your Passport WD Hard Drive Mounting First Time On Mac
MacOS (your Mac operating system) will mount a plugged in drive automatically. But when it’s the first time that you’ve put an external drive on your Mac it may not be set up for you to see it right away. Here’s what to do.
1. Sort Finder Preferences.
Your finder preferences may not be set up to show you your external drive on your Mac’s desktop. So that you can see right away your hard drive is mounted. And you can go ahead and use your passport drive.
You can solve this by:
Click to start up a new finder window. And from the options at the top of your desktop screen choose Finder preferences.
When you pick that option a pop up window will come up. And in that window you click on the General tab.
Take a look at the heading there and check mark against the ‘External hard disk’ option.
Wait a few moments.
And your Passport external drive should come up mounted on your Mac’s desktop.
Your drive will have its own name under its icon.
Double click on your drive icon open up a finder window on your external hard drive.
And it’s there for you to use. You can find out how to use a WD My passport on Mac in this article here.
2. Check Your USB Connection.
Double check your USB cable is securely into your Mac. And into your Passport hard drive. You may not have firmly seated your cables enough.
How To Solve WD My Passport For Mac Not Mounting
When you’ve used your drive before just fine and now it’s not mounting. Lets run through all the checks to make.
1. Double Check Or Replace Your USB Cable.
It’s really, really common for USB cables to fail. Even when they look fine. One of the first basic checks to make is to try another cable.
Pick a cable that’s a USB 3.2 Gen 1 cable as the Passport external drives are this type of drive. And make sure your replacement cable is no more than 18-22 inches long. As longer cables may not work consistently.
2. Plug Into Another USB Port.
MacOS has software that sits on the USB ports of your Mac. Sometimes that software hangs. And not properly register your plugged in drive.
Try another port on your Mac and see if that solves your not mounting issue.
3. Direct Connect To USB On Your Mac.
If you’re using your WD external drive on a USB hub. You can get not mounting issues. Incidentally Western Digital doesn’t ‘support’ their Passport drives on a USB hub.
Plug in direct to your Mac and see if your hard drive mounts.
4. Has Your Mac USB 2.0 Or 3.0 ports?
You could simply be having an issue with power draw on your Mac. The USB 3.2 Gen 1 specification has increased the power draw a drive makes.
Your Passport drive gets its power to work from your Mac.
And it could be that when you’ve a lot running on your Mac. Or a lot of data on your storage device your older Mac just can’t mount the drive. So, it worked before and now it doesn’t.
In this case it’s well worth you trying an independently powered USB hub. And connecting your external hard drive to that to see how you get on.
5. Reboot Your Mac.
Plug out your WD My Passport. Close down all your applications. It’s possible that an application has your USB port tied up.
Then do a full shutdown of your Mac. Wait 10 seconds at least after your Mac has powered off. This gives the hardware registries a chance to reset. Then power on your Mac.
Wait till your Mac. Or MacBook’s desktop fully loads after you’ve logged in. Then plug in your WD external drive. And see if it mounts then.
6. Plug Your WD My Passport In and Wait 5 Minutes.
Yep just wait.
When you connect up your external hard drive. Your Mac computer registers it’s there. And runs its checks on the drive.
If your drive didn’t get ejected right the last time you used it. Because you forgot or your Mac ran out of power. Then your Mac may detect there’s something wrong with the drive.
Let it do what it can. Wait 5 minutes or longer. It could take an hour. And your drive may just mount.
Once it has mounted then go into Disk Utility and run First Aid check. Just to make sure all is well.
Don’t know how to do that? More on First Aid later.
7. Check Your WD Disk Management Software.
Do you run the Western Digital Utilities? Software like WD Drive Utilities For Mac.
Or the WD Security software to add a password onto your drive.
These software can create a lot of issues on a Mac. And it’s better to use the software that’s part of your MacOS.
Because you can upgrade your MacOS and forget about checking your WD software.
You can upgrade MacOS and find you have to wait for the compatible version of the WD software to come out. And in the meantime, your drive won’t mount.
If you want to check if out of date software is causing your mounting issues. Then use this link here to check software versions direct on the Western Digital site.
8. Is The Drive Set Up To Use WD Security.
Was the WD security software used to add password protection to the drive?
Do you have that software on your Mac? Is the version right for your Mac?
No software? Or the wrong version.
Then your drive will sit there not mounting until you have the right version of the software on your Mac. And you’ll need to use it to enter in the password your drive was set up with before it’ll mount on your Mac.
9. My Passport For Mac Not Mounting And Grayed Out In Disk Utility
You can use a software program on your Mac called Disk Utility. For when your drive isn’t mounting on your Mac or MacBook’s desktop.
You can start Disk Utility by going to your Application Folder. And then clicking in the Utilities folder. You’ll find Disk Utility in there.
You’ll first need to set Disk Utility to show you all devices.
Click on Disk Utility View. And pick the option to show all devices there.
Then look down the side of your Disk Utility window and look for your Passport drive. You’ll find it under the ‘External’ heading.
You’ll likely need to click on the arrow next to the external hard drive name. So, that you can see all the levels in Disk Utility.
Take a look at each level and check that you can see the eject symbol.
If you can’t see it on a particular level. Click on that level. Then look across the top of your Disk Utility pop up window and click on the mount button.
That manually mounts your drive. And you should now see it on your Mac’s desktop.
Don’t be put off. If it doesn’t work the first time.
Plug into another USB port on your Mac. Click mount and unmount on all the levels you can see on your passport drive. Till your external hard drive mounts.
10. Use A Terminal Window To Mount Your Drive.
Terminal is a software program you’ll find inside your Application folder > Utilities folder.
You can use it to type in a command line to mount your hard drive.
And on the command line type: diskutil list
You’ll see a list of all the drives your Mac can see.
You should see the name of your unmounted Passport drive in the list.
In this image the external hard drive is called WD My Passport.
Note its identifier. It’s the name you see in the last column against the drive name.
Then type: diskutil mount identifier
In the image the identifier is disk2s2. You type in diskutil mount followed by the identifier of your drive.
Then press return.
Your Mac should then manually mount your drive. And you should see it on your desktop. Once its mounted run First Aid.
When Your WD Passport Drive Mounts Run First Aid
Once you have your WD external hard drive mounted. Then run First Aid. First Aid is an option you’ll find in Disk Utility.
Click on your Passport drive directly where you see it first mentioned. Under the External heading in Disk utility.
Then click on First Aid in your Disk Utility window.
First Aid is a part of Disk Utility that will check and repair errors on your drive. It checks the partition map. Check for bad sectors and excludes them or repairs them if it can.
Sometimes First Aid doesn’t run the first time you try it. Don’t give up try again.
Eject your drive. Plug into another port on your Mac and try First Aid again.
11. Put Your Hard Drive On Another Mac. Or On A PC
Take your Passport drive to try on another Mac. Does it run there? What’s the difference between your Mac and this other Mac? Different operating system? That can give you a clue about what is going on.
Try your drive on a Windows PC. Does it show up there?
If your external hard drive shows up on another Mac or on a PC then you can copy your files off onto another drive.
Then you can deal with your Passport hard drive without worrying about your data.
12. You’ve Tried Everything On The List.
When you’ve reached this point and tried everything on the list several times. It’s likely that your drive has failed.
And your only option is to try out some Data Recovery software. Or a Data Recovery software firm.
Both these data recovery options are going to cost money. And fingers crossed you can get your data back.
The very best insurance against your external hard drive not mounting. Is to keep a copy of your important files on more than one drive.
Types Of WD My Passport And Mounting Them On a Mac
It makes no difference if you’ve a WD My Passport. Or a WD Passport Ultra ‘For Mac’. Or you’ve a My Passport NTFS drive for a Windows PC.
A USB drive should mount on a Mac.
But note: Your Mac can read and that means you can copy off files from a My Passport NTFS formatted drive. But your Mac can’t write to an NTFS drive.
Drives formatted on a PC and used on a Mac. Or drives delivered formatted but not formatted directly on your Mac. Can cause mounting issues.
And the issues can cause the drives to sometimes work. Then sometimes don’t. And it’s really frustrating.
Because you often don’t find out till after you’ve used the drive for a while and you’ve your data on it.
So, when you first get your drive format it on your Mac. Pick MacOS extended (Journaled), APFS, ExFAT. Make the Scheme GUID partition Map.
A drive that’s not mounting could mean that you’ve an incompatible Mac drive format. The drive may not have failed at all.
If the drive hasn’t failed. Get your data off and then reformat.
You’ve taken the time to run through all the reasons why your WD My Passport won’t mount on your Mac. And by now you’ve got it mounted. Or you’re thinking about data recovery.
Thank you for reading. We’re always excited when one of our posts is able to provide useful information on a topic like this!
While you’re here why not check out our other related articles around the subject?
About Paul Gregory
I’ve been a system administrator for various corporates for 15 years. And as admin I’ve helped many with their Mac’s and there many Apple devices.
I’m excited by watching users, armed with a little knowledge take control of their Mac’s and their files. And why not?
When I’m not at work or working on the site I like to chill with few beers. And watch a bit of car racing. From Formula 1 to stock car racing. The competition is my thing.