Plugging in your WD My Passport drive into your MacBook. Or desktop Mac computer and seeing a steady blinking light is normal.
The LED on the disk drive blinks to tell you that your drive’s connected to your Mac. And that there’s power supply to your drive.
That’s all well and good and perfectly normal. But when your Passport drive fails to show up on your Mac’s desktop.
And you can’t access any file on your drive. Then you’re going to get rightly concerned.
So what do you do when you plug your WD external hard drive in. It’s happily blinking away at you. But you can’t get to your files. Or backup your Mac.
When you just can’t get it to work on your Mac.
Here are 14 strategies to get your WD My Passport to work. When it’s just sitting there with its LED light blinking at you.
WD My Passport Light Blinking But Not Working Mac Solutions
1. You’ve Plugged In Your WD Passport And There’s Nothing On Your Mac.
If it’s the first time you’ve used this external disk on your Mac. It could be that your Mac isn’t set to show any external drives on your desktop.
And without your WD drive icon on your desktop. It’s less convenient to use. And you could think you’ve trouble with your drive.
To solve this: Open a new finder window. And from the Finder window menu choose Finder Preferences.
And from that pop-up window click the General tab.
And put a mark in the box Hard Disks.
After that your external hard drive icon should show up after a few moments. And you can go ahead, open up a Finder window on your Passport drive. And copy and paste any file you want to your drive.
2. Check Your USB Cable Isn’t Faulty.
When you’ve used your Passport drive plenty of times. And with no issue on your Mac.
And it’s just sitting there with its light blinking and not showing up.
Then it’s worth checking your WD disk drive with another USB cable.
Because it’s very common for the cables to fail after a number of times plugging in and out of your MacBook or iMac. Just because it looks ok on the outside. Doesn’t mean your cable is completely fine on the inside. It maybe supplying your drive with power but the data transfer part could be broken.
Try another cable.
But remember your Passport hard drive is a USB drive that’s 3.2 Gen 1. So be sure you have the right cable. Or if you using one an adaptor that is up to that specification.
3. Plug Your My Passport Into Another USB Port.
When the LED light is lit up on your external hard drive. But the drive isn’t coming up on your Mac. Try your drive on another USB port.
Sometimes, especially after you’ve plugged in and out different USB device types. The software on your Mac’s port can hang. Try another port and see if your drive appears.
And if you happen to be using a USB hub. Try plugging in direct. It could be your hub causing issues.
4. Do You Need The WD Disk Management Software?
Another thing to think of. If this is the first time you’ve used this Passport hard drive on your Mac. And it’s not your external drive.
Has the drive been set up using the external hard drive utilities WD provides for Mac?
Or with the WD Security software.
When the drive was set up was a password put on the drive? Did they use the WD Security software?
Because if you’ve not got that software on your Mac then the WD Passport drive will sit there just blinking.
You’ll need to download a copy of the security software compatible with your MacOS.
You’ll of course also need the external drive’s password.
5. Do You Use The WD Software And Have Upgraded Your MacOS Recently?
Another thing if you use the WD Passport drive software. And you installed a new version of MacOS.
It could be the security software doesn’t work with your MacOS and needs upgrading. And that’s the reason you can plug in your Passport hard drive and or blinks but doesn’t work.
Download and install a copy of the software that works on your MacOS direct from Western Digital.
6. Shutdown And Reboot Your Mac.
Something to do is to close all your open applications.
It could be that one of them is still hanging onto the USB port on your Mac.
Then shutdown your Mac. Wait 10 seconds at least for everything to reset. And then power on your Mac. Plug in your WD Passport and see if it now works on your Mac.
7. Plug In Your WD External Hard Drive And Wait.
What I hear you say?
Your Mac carries out checks on your drive when you plug it in.
And if it detects that something isn’t quite right your Mac will keep working on it in the background.
It’s worth leaving your drive connected. It may take a five minutes. Or an hour or more. Plug your Mac into an external power supply and leave it to it. And your external hard drive could appear on your desktop after that.
Double check in Disk Utility First Aid if leaving the disk drive plugged in worked. Just to check all is ok with your external hard drive. If it passes First Aid then you’re fine.
More on Disk Utility First Aid A little later.
8. Check If You Can Mount Your Drive Manually.
You can use an application program on your Mac called Disk Utility. And manually mount your Passport disk drive.
Plug in your external hard disk. And run Disk Utility.
Go to your Applications folder, then Utilities folder and start up Disk Utility.
Check that Disk Utility is showing you all devices.
Click on the option View at the top of the Disk Utility window. And choose the option to show all devices.
Then you should see your WD external drive listed under the External heading. It’s at the side of the Disk Utility pop up window.
You should see two entries for your external hard drive.
You’ll want to see the Eject symbol by the side of your disk drive by both entries.
If it’s not there click on the entry where it’s missing. And then click Mount at the top of your Disk Utility window to mount your drive.
Alternatively try unmounting and remounting. As that often resets things.
Then your WD My Passport with its flashing hard drive light should show up on your Mac’s desktop. And you can use your drive.
9. Your My Passport Is Mounted, LED Flashing But Not Working On Your Mac.
When your Passport external hard drive light is blinking. You have the drive icon on your Mac or MacBook’s desktop.
But it still won’t work. Or you want to check all is ok with your external drive.
Then run Disk Utility’s First Aid on the drive.
First aid can repair the file system. And any corrupt partition maps and do partition recovery on your external hard drive.
Start the Disk Utility application. Click on your My Passport hard drive where you first see it in Disk Utility. At the first level
And then from the top of your Utility screen click on First Aid.
And run first aid on your drive to get it working on your Mac.
Sometimes the first time you run Disk Utility it fails. Then Eject the hard drive. Plug into another port on your Mac and then retry First Aid.
It often works the second time round.
10. Use Finder Window Go Computer To Get To Your Files.
When you’re WD Passport disk isn’t showing up with it’s icon and you really need to get to the files on the drive.
You can open up a finder window. And from the Finder window, click on Go. You’ll find it across the top of your Mac’s desktop. Then click on Computer from the options that come up. Then you should be able to access your files on your WD external hard drive.
11. Have A Go At Mounting Your Drive Using Terminal
Your Mac has a software program called Terminal. And you can access Disk Utility at a lower level from there. You’ll find Terminal in your Utilities folder inside your Applications folder.
Start up Terminal.
And on the command line type: diskutil list
Then press return.
Your Mac will list all the drives it can see attached to your Mac. Included your unmounted WD My Passport. You’ll find it listed under external physical. You can also identify it by the name of drive. In this picture you’ll see it listed as WD My Passport.
Make a note of its identifier. You’ll find it in the last column by the drive name.
In the picture below the drive’s identifier was disk2s2.
So I typed in: diskutil mount disk2s2.
My Mac sent the message back that it had mounted the drive. And you can see it’s drive icon on the desktop.
What if your drive doesn’t come up in the list. Or your Mac can’t mount it this way and you’ve tried everything else?
12. When Your Mac’s Disk Utility Can’t Access Your Drive Try.
Sometimes – it’s rare. Disk Utility can’t get to the My Passport drive. When you’ve tried everything else to get to your external storage device. And it’s just there with it’s hard drive light blinking then try using the WD drive utilities.
Use the WD software to run diagnostics on your drive.
You can download the software from WD here.
13. Put Your WD Hard Drive On Another Mac.
When you’ve tried all the options listed here. It’s time to plug your WD external drive into another Mac.
Can that Mac see the drive? What’s different about that Mac and yours?
If it shows up and works on another mac then you’ve a chance to copy your files off onto another drive.
Don’t leave yourself exposed. Avoid having only one copy of your important files. Keeping two copies is the best idea.
Then when you return to your Mac you can try reformatting the drive. And see if you can get it working and still use the drive. Often it’s a formatting issue throwing up odd problems on your disk drive.
14. When You’ve Tried Everything It’s Data Recovery Time.
And it is sad when you’ve arrived at this conclusion. But when you’ve tried it all. You may in fact have a failed drive. — It’s plugged into your Mac light blinking away but you can’t get to it.
Data Recovery isn’t a cheap option. You’ll either need to buy a software tool and hope it recovers something.
Or send your drive off to Western Digital. Or some other data recovery organization and pay many bucks in the hope of getting any file off your hard disk.
But you’ll have learnt something valuable. Always, Always have a copy of your important files, documents, photos. No matter what. Have your data in more than one place.
And now you’ve some simple things to try to solve some of the issues you might come across. After you’ve plugged in your My Passport drive and the light just blinks. But your drive isn’t recognized by your Mac.
Thank you for reading. And we hope we were able to help you get your WD My Passport drive working again.
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.