You’ve got your WD My Passport or WD My Passport for Mac set up for a Time Machine backup.
But for some reason it’s not working.
You want to get your backup done. Or restore your Mac or MacBook Pro.
Relax and take a look at the article below. You’ll find some reasons and fixes to solve when your WD My Passport isn’t working with Time Machine.
WD My Passport For Mac Not Working With Time Machine
WD My Passport is pretty reliable as an external hard drive for Mac. But when you do have a problem working with Time Machine. Check out these suggestions.
1. Can You See The Hard Drive’s LED Light When It’s Plugged into Your Mac?
Your Passport drive gets its power to work. And so do your backup from your Mac. If you’ve plugged your drive in and no light comes up. Then your WD My Passport isn’t getting power from your Mac.
Is your Mac charged enough? If it isn’t. Then your Mac could go into power save mode and won’t power your external drive.
2. Check Your USB Cable.
This is the most common reason for your Mac not seeing your My Passport on its USB Port. And your Passport drive not working with Time Machine.
Your USB cable can have a break inside of it where you can’t see. Test your hard drive with another USB cable. A cable that meet the USB 3.2 Gen 1 specification. As that’s the type of hard drive the WD My Passport is.
3. Plug Your My Passport Into Another Port On Your Mac.
Sometimes the USB ports on your Mac or MacBook Pro or Air hang. Particularly when you’ve plugged other USB devices in and out. Try another port on your Mac.
CLICK HERE: To Read A Review On WD My Passport For Mac
4. Are you using a USB Hub?
Try another port on the hub. Or plug directly into your Mac. Just in case there’s a power issue with the USB hub. Or the port you’re using on the hub.
5. Reboot your Mac.
It could be that your Mac needs rebooting.
A FULL shutdown. Wait at least 10 seconds. Then power up your Mac. Clears the internal MacOS registers. Restarts them and can clear issues that stop Time Machine from using your My Passport.
6. You Can See Your WD My Passport But Can’t Set It Up With Time Machine.
WD My Passport the one without the “For Mac” title. Is shipped NTFS formatted for a Windows PC.
This means that your Mac computer can read it. See it in a finder window but you cannot use it for Time Machine. As Time Machine only uses HFS+ or APFS drives.
You’ll need to format your My Passport to use it with Time Machine.
You can find out how to format WD My Passport For Mac in this article on the site. Just click the linked text.
7. Can Another Mac See your My Passport Drive?
Try your Passport on another Mac. And see if that Mac can see your external hard drive.
The other Mac, won’t be able to use any backup of your Mac on the drive. As Time Machine backups are keyed to the Mac they are taken on.
But if another Mac can see your drive, this points to a specific issue with your Mac. Are they running the same level of MacOS? Is your Mac older? Younger?
An older Mac with USB 2.0 ports may struggle to power this USB 3.2 drive. And you may need an independently powered USB hub.
8. My Passport For Mac Time Machine Not Working Check Time Machine.
When you’ve checked everything suggested so far. It’s time to check your Time Machine settings.
You can do this by going into System Preferences on your Mac. Click on the Apple menu top left on your Mac desktop. And pick System Preferences from the drop down menu.
Then click on Time Machine.
Plug in your WD My Passport drive.
And from the Time Machine preferences click on Select Disk.
Click on your WD My Passport in the Time Machine menu.
Then click Use Disk.
To be sure your Time Machine is set to work with your WD My Passport.
9. Your WD My Passport For Mac Works With Time Machine. But Sometimes Doesn’t.
This was an issue a friend of mine had. Turns out her ‘For Mac’ Western Digital My Passport wasn’t quite formatted right for Mac.
Instead of being set with Partition Scheme of GUID Partition Map. It was set with a Master Boot Record and Time Machine was never going to be happy with that.
You can check this on your own My Passport drive in the Mac app Disk Utility.
Do a spotlight search on your Mac for Disk Utility.
After your Disk Utility window opens. Check you can see all devices.
You do this from the top of the screen. Disk Utility > View. And pick the option to show all devices from the menu.
Then click on your Passport external drive under the External heading.
You click on your WD external hard drive at the top level.
Look on the right hand side of the window. You need to see that your partition Map is GUID.
Next click on your hard drive at the second level, just under the drive’s name.
On the right hand side of the screen you’ll find confirmed the format of your external disk drive. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or Apple File System (APFS).
If your WD drive says anything else other than a GUID partition Map. Or the format is not Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or Apple File System (APFS).
Then you’ll have a problem with Time Machine. And your only option is to reformat your drive.
A big pain if you already have a backup on there. But your drive is going to continue to give your trouble if it’s not set up right for your Mac.
By the way. Time Machine can only backup to an Apple File System (APFS) drive since MacOS Big Sur. If you’re running an earlier Mac operating system. Your Time Machine drive must be in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.
10. Running First Aid To Fix Your Passport Time Machine Drive.
Assuming your WD My Passport is in the right format for your Mac. It could be a disk level corruption on your drive. First Aid is an option inside the Mac app Disk Utility that repairs and fixes drive issues. In Disk Utility click on your WD drive at the top level.
Then pick First Aid.
If First Aid doesn’t run the first time. You then Eject your WD drive. Try another USB port. And run it again.
That’s often worked for me.
11. When First Aid Can’t Repair Your Passport Backup Disk.
When you’re worried that you have a corrupt WD Passport drive and First Aid can’t repair it. Then download WD Drive Utilities from their site. WD Drive Utilities is part of the WD Discovery Software set.
Download them from this Western Digital site support page.
When your Mac’s First Aid can’t rescue a drive. Sometimes, their software will allow you to run diagnostics. Erase and reformat your WD hard drive.
12. Try a NVRAM Reset Of Your Mac.
Sometime your Mac’s NVRAM needs a clear out. And once reset your My Passport Time Machine issues go away.
On an Intel based Mac you do this by shutting down your Mac. Then as you press the button to power on your Mac computer. Hold down OPTION + Command + P + R keys.
All at the same time. You hold down all the keys until you hear the second start up chime. Or you see the Apple logo.
Then let your Mac boot as normal.
13. A Time Machine Error While Backing Up.
You may have a corrupt file on your Mac. This thread on the Apple forum discusses it.
The fix uses the Apple Console on your Mac to help you find the corrupt files.
The console feature on your Mac gives you a window where you can see all the error messages from your Mac.
You can use these messages to help you find the corrupt files.
To help I’ll repeat the information in that discussion thread here.
1. Open Your Mac’s Console.
Go to Spotlight Search and type in Console.
2. Check that the name of your Mac is selected.
Under devices on the left hand side of the Console window.
3. In the search bar of the console window type “backupd” without the quotes.
If that doesn’t show anything type “backup” without the quotes.
The two yellow arrows in the above image show you where to select your Mac. And where to type in your search.
4. Start your Time Machine backup and let the problem happen.
5. In your Mac’s Console, look for the error.
It should looks a bit like “Error: (-8062) SrcErr:NO Copying /Users/NAME/Library…”
This is the corrupt file causing your Time Machine problem.
6. Find the file where your Console points to it.
Delete it or move it somewhere else. Look to back it up separately.
It may even be a file left over from a long deleted program.
7. Kick off another Time Machine backup.
Fingers crossed you’ll have only one bad file. And Time Machine finishes the backup.
If it doesn’t check for file errors and repeat step 6.
14. When You’ve Done Everything Here And WD My Passport Still Not Working With Time Machine.
You may now have a corrupted hard drive.
And if you’ve got to get to your backup then you may choose to look at data recovery software. Or use a data recovery service.
Western Digital offers this service. It’ll cost you some money, and you still might not get your lost data back.
But really, the very best protection is having your data on more than one backup drive.
And have 2 My Passport drives you use to back up to is a good idea when your files are important files.
As a Mac user you take the trouble to backup with Time Machine to protect your files.
I hope you found the answer in this article to solve Time Machine not working with WD My Passport for Mac.
One more thing. Assuming your Mac has enough free space your Mac will take a Time Machine snapshot on its internal drive.
You might find a key file you need to recover is in there.
While you’re here do take a look at the other Passport external hard drive articles on the site.
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.