You just plugged in your WD My Passport drive to transfer some files over to your Mac.
The problem is that it doesn’t show up on your mac.
And now you’ve no access to your files, photos, videos, music.
Anything on that external hard drive.
All your precious data is on a drive that is not visible. So how do you fix this?
WD Passport Not Showing Up Mac Solutions
It doesn’t matter if your drive is a WD My Passport or a My Passport Ultra. An SSD (Solid State) Passport disk drive.
A For Mac formatted.
Or an NTFS drive. (NTFS is a drive format Windows PC use). Your Mac should still show your external drive on the desktop.
And when it’s not there you’ll need a solution fast.
Read on for the best ones.
1. Your My Passport Not Showing Up – Mac Desktop
If you’ve never used an external hard drive on your Mac computer before. Then it’s quite common for your WD Passport drive not to appear on your Mac’s desktop.
And not because there is anything wrong with your external drive.
Your Mac just doesn’t display external drives on your desktop by default.
You fix this by changing a couple of options in your Finder preferences.
Open up a new finder window. And pick Finder preferences.
You’ll then see a pop up window. Click on the General tab.
From the list of options double check there is a mark against the ‘External hard disk’ option.
And if that’s your issue then in just a few moments you should see an icon on your Mac’s desktop. And that icon will be your external drive icon.
Your drive will have the name given to it under the icon. Just double click and open up your WD hard drive.
While you’ve the Finder Preferences option open it’s worth clicking on the sidebar tab.
Then scroll down the list to ‘External disks’ under the Locations heading.
Put a check mark there.
That then tells your Mac to show your hard drive in the sidebar of every Finder window you open on your Mac. As long as your My Passport is plugged in. And you can get to it from there.
Now you’ve set up your Mac computer to show your external drive on the desktop. Has this solved your showing up issue?
No? To the next set of solutions.
2. WD My Passport Not Showing Up – Mac USB
It’s Now Time To Check Your USB Connections
Swap out your USB cable for another USB 3.2 Gen 1 cable.
Your Passport hard drive is a USB 3.2 Gen 1 drive. And you should try your drive with another cable that’s up to that specification. As that spec cable will support the power draw your disk drive needs from your Mac. And the data read write speeds.
It’s surprisingly common. For faulty USB cables to be the cause of WD external hdd not showing up on Mac computers.
Your cable may look fine from the outside. But have broken connections on the inside.
Plug Into Another USB Port On Your Mac
MacOS has a software part that sits on its ports listening for an external device to plug in. Sometimes that software gets stuck on one port.
But you can plug into another of your Mac’s ports just fine. So try that and see if your passport drive magically appears on your Mac.
Can Your Mac Power Your External Disk Drive
This is a particular issue if you’ve an older Mac. Especially those with USB 2.0 ports. Simply because as the USB spec’s have progressed. The faster 3.2 drives draw more power than those older Mac’s can consistently provide.
And when you’re on an older Mac this could be the issue. Try your drive on a newer Mac and see if your external hard drive shows up on that.
Shutdown And Reboot Your Mac
It could be all your Mac needs is a shutdown and a power on to restart it’s USB ports. Wait a minimum of 10 seconds on the new Apple Silicon Mac for internal registries to reset.
Then power back on. After you’ve logged in then plug in your Passport external hard drive again. And see if it turns up on your Mac.
The next option is to reset your NVRAM.
For an Intel Mac you shut down your Mac.
Power on. Holding down the OPTION + Command + P + R keys.
All at the same time. Wait for at least 20 seconds.
Watch your Mac reboot and hold the keys till the second start up chime. Or your Apple logo comes up.
Are You Using A USB Hub?
Plug into another USB port on the hub and see if that helps. Is it an independently powered hub? Does it support device that’s a USB 3.2 spec? You could have a simple power issue.
You can plug your WD drive directly into your Mac and see if it shows up then. If it does then you know you’ve a hub issue.
By the way. Western Digital doesn’t support the use of their My Passport drives on USB hubs.
3. My Passport Hard Drive Not Showing Up – Mac WD Disk Management Software
Do You Use The WD Discovery External Disk Management Software On Your Mac?
And have you upgraded your MacOS version recently. Or since you last used your external drive?
Because it could be that your WD software is out of date and doesn’t run on your version of MacOS.
If you use that software then check on Western Digital’s site for a copy compatible with your MacOS.
Use this link here to check.
Was The Passport External Drive Setup With WD Security Software
If the My Passport drive you’re plugging into your Mac was set up by someone else. And they encrypted the external hard drive with a password.
Then you’re going to need the WD Security software on your Mac. And the password for the external drive to show up on your Mac.
Plus, you’re going to need a copy of that software compatible with your Mac’s OS.
4. Your WD Drive Not Showing Up On Mac – Yet
What do I mean by that?
It could be you need to leave your WD Passport drive plugged in for longer.
MacOS runs a check on external storage devices. Before it shows them on your Mac computer’s desktop.
When you’re certain your Mac is set to show your external drive on the desktop. And your USB cable is good. Then leave your external hard drive plugged in for 5 minutes or longer. Could be up to an hour depending on how large your disk drive is.
Your Mac will run its checks, sort your drive. And your WD external drive could just show up.
Sometimes patience is the key.
5. My Passport WD Drive Not Showing Up – Mac Mount Manually
At times when your WD external hard drive doesn’t show. You can get it to appear on your desktop by mounting it yourself.
You can do this by using a program on your Mac called Disk Utility.
Use a spotlight search for the Disk Utility app. Or start it by going into your application folder. Inside that folder you’ll find a folder called Utilities. You’ll find Disk Utility in there.
The first thing is to check Disk Utility is showing you all devices.
Look for the view option across the top of the screen after you’ve started Disk Utility.
Next look at the side of your Disk Utility window. Under the External heading for the name of your Passport drive. You may need to click on the arrow to the side of the external hard drive to expand the list.
You should have there entries for your external drive. And you’ll want to see the Eject symbol by each entry.
And if for some reason you don’t then click the line where it’s missing. Look across the top of your Disk Utility pop up window and click on Mount.
And your drive should now show up on your Mac’s desktop.
You can also try clicking on Mount to unmount each Passport drive entry. Then Mount again to remount. And see if that works and your external hard drive appears.
When your disk drive appears it’s then a good idea to run First Aid across your drive.
It could be your WD drive’s partition map got corrupted. Your partition map is how your Mac understands the lay out of your drive.
Or it could be there are bad sectors on your WD external Mac drive. And that’s caused your external hard drive not to show up. And First Aid needs to repair your drive.
You run First Aid inside Disk Utility. Click on your WD hard drive where you first see it under the External heading. Then click on First Aid in the window.
If First Aid errors the first time. Eject your drive. Try another port on your Mac and run it again.
6. Check If Your WD Passport Shows Up On Another Mac
When you’ve gone through all the suggestions above. Then it’s time to see if your external hard drive will work on another Mac.
If it shows up there then you know it’s something to do with your Mac.
Run through what the differences are in MacOS between your Mac and this other Mac.
When you’ve gone through all the options in this article. And you still can’t get your Passport WD hard drive to show up on your Mac. Then you likely at the point of accepting your drive has failed.
Then you’re into finding a data recovery outfit to recover your drive. Or buy some recovery software and see if that can get your files off.
But the best safeguard for your WD Passport not showing up on Mac is to have an extra external drive. As a copy of your WD Passport. And have your key files in more than one spot.
And while you’re here…. Why not check out our other WD Passport related articles?
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.