What to do when USB is Not Showing Up on Mac?

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Are you unable to access your USB data because your Mac does not recognize the USB Flash drive? Don’t worry, read this article to know easy methods to fix USB not recognized in Mac issue.

Table of contents:

Why is the flash drive not showing up on the Mac?

How to fix the USB drive not showing up on Mac?

Basic Checks to Fix USB is Not Showing Up on Mac

Fix USB not recognized on Mac- 4 Ways

How to access data from unrecognized USB on Mac?


Mac won’t show up or not recognize the USB drive is the most common problem that USB users experience.  Here are a few symptoms and reasons that help you understand the cause behind the problem.

Why is my flash drive not showing up on Mac?

There are several reasons behind USB flash drive not recognized by Mac, a few common of them are listed below:

Problem with USB port: A loose or broken port connection may cause Mac to not recognize the USB. In such situations, all you can do is verify the connection of USB with Mac. Therefore, you will be able to find the problem with the port or cable.

Problem with USB formatting: It is important to format the flash drive before its first use. If the USB is not formatted, this could lead to the problem of the USB drive not showing up on the Mac.

USB Driver Issue: If the USB driver is outdated or corrupted the problem USB drive not showing up on Mac could be encountered.

Compatibility issue:  If the operating system is not regularly updated on your Mac OS, it may affect your system’s ability to recognize Flash drives.

Symptoms of USB not showing up on Mac

Here are a few signs that indicate your USB not showing up on Mac:

    1.   When you insert your flash drive on Mac, a notification pops up on the window about the connection on your system. If your Mac doesn’t show any notification, it is a possible sign of Mac not recognizing your USB device.
    1.   All Macintosh operating systems are integrated with Finder. Finder acts as a file manager by default and a GUI for Mac. When you connect a USB Flash drive to your Mac PC, a message pops on the Finder. If you didn’t see a message, it means that Mac is unable to read the USB.

When you encounter the above scenarios of external drive not recognized on Mac, all you must do is fix the issue immediately. Before fixing the problem, here are basic checks that you would prefer to perform.  

Quick Fixes for USB Not Showing Up on Mac

    1.   Check all your USB plug-in ports. Change the USB port and use the USB on other ports (ports from another MacBook as well). make sure you try all the accessible USB ports on your Mac.
    2.  At times, your Mac might recognize the USB but not shown in the notification. In such situations, just follow the simple procedure to make it visible on your Mac.

Go to Finder >> Preferences >> General, make sure to check the “External disks” box. Now, you’ll see the USB flash drive showing up on Mac.

    1. When you are not able to find the USB of your Mac or Finder, try to verify once in the System Information section. You can also check the USB flash drive information.

Go to Applications >> Utilities >> System Information Check if the system recognizes the USB drive. If you see USB in the system information, it is likely that your Mac recognizes the USB.

    1.   A problem could be with outdated firmware or software. Check whether your Mac is up-to-date. Also, keep check with firmware updates, various hardware issues and the scalability of the USB ports.  

If you tried all the above basic fixes and are still unable to find USB in your Mac, try the methods explained in the next section.

 4 Ways to Fix USB Is Not Showing Up on Mac

Follow the steps carefully for fixing the problem of Mac not recognizing the USB flash drive:

Method 1: Detect a USB drive by Resetting the USB ports on Mac

      1.   Restart Mac computer >> press the Command +Option+P+R keys for the Apple logo appears.
      2.   Press Command+Option+Esc keys together to close all applications.
      3.   Now, plug the USB which is not showing up to your Mac computer. If the USB flash drive is not recognized by Mac, click on the Apple icon and select Sleep.
      4. Later, wake up the computer, by pressing any key. Now shut down the Mac, unplug the power cord and reattach the USB flash drive after a few seconds.

      If this method doesn’t help you detect the USB on Mac, follow the next methods explained below.

If this method doesn’t work for you to detect the US on Mac, follow the next methods to explained in the section.

Method 2: Repair USB flash drive with First Aid

If USB flash drive is not showing up on Mac due to corruption, this method might just help you fix it. Every Mac computer comes with an in-built troubleshooting tool called First Aid in Disk Utility. The function of this utility is to detect the disk issues related to file systems and fix it.


    1.   Go to Applications >> Utilities >> Disk Utility.
    2.   Select USB flash drive on the left panel of Disk Utility
    3.   Click First Aid at the top toolbar >> click Run.
    4.   Select the USB drive >> click Unmount at the top toolbar,

    Unplug the USB and plug it back in after sometime. Surely, Disk Utility will repair any errors on the drive automatically and fix the problem of Mac not recognizing the USB flash drive.

    Method 3: Check and fix errors with Terminal to fix undetected USB on Mac

    1.   Open Terminal in Utilities and type: diskutil list >> press Return
    2.   Now, find the disk number of your USB flash drive and type: diskutil info disk2 and press Return. (Make sure you replace number 2 with the disk number of your USB flash drive.)
    3.   Type: diskutil eject disk 2 >> press Return
    4.   Type: diskutil list >> press Return. USB drives will not be appearing on the list now. close the window.
    5.   Now, close Terminal and open Console to check for any drive errors. Click on Errors and Faults to check if there are any errors.

    At last, reconnect your USB flash drive back to Mac, if no error shows up, your USB flash drive is safe and should be recognized by Mac

Method 4: Reformat the drive that is not showing up on Mac

As reformatting the drive will erase all the data from the USB, make sure you have the back up of the data. If you do not have any backup and still your USB is not detected by Mac, you can recover data from the Mac systems before you reformat the USB drive.

Steps to recover data before reformatting USB flash drive on Mac

Download and install the SFWare USB data recovery software for Mac on your computer. Connect your USB that was not recognized by Mac and launch the application. Follow the steps to recover data from the USB on Mac.

Free Download for Mac

    1.   Select Recover Drive/Partitions from the main screen. Choose Drive/Partition Recovery from the next window.
    2.   Select the unrecognized USB drive from the listed list of available drives to recover data. And click on NextSelect USB drive from the list on Mac
    3.   Select the file types that you would want to recover from the USB drive on Mac and click on Next. This initiates the scan for the formatted data from the USB.
      Select the file types you want to recover from USB
    4.   Recoverable data from the USB drive is listed on the screen. Select the data you want to save on your computer and click on Save. You can also save the recovery session and resume incase if you have to stop the recovery process in between.

As mentioned above method, reformatting will surely fix the problem of USB being unable to be detected by Mac. However, the same will cost your important data saved on the USB. In such a situation, all you need is the safe and secure data recovery software to recover formatted data from the Mac.

Steps To format the USB drive in Disk Utility:

Disk reformatting basically helps you fix several USB issues, including the not showing up USB on both windows and Mac.

      1.   Go to Utilities >> open Disk Utility.
      2.   Select the not showing up USB flash drive in the Disk Utility sidebar.
      3.   Click Erase on the top.


USB not showing up or not recognized on Mac is a common problem that users face. This can be solved with the help of the methods mentioned above in the article. If you ever come across data loss scenarios, you can always rely on the SFWate USB data recovery software to recover data from any sort of USBs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to recognize the USB on Mac?

To recognize the USB on Mac, you can make use of the basic checks with the USB ports or connection with Mac. If this is due to corrupt USB, you might have to try repairing USB with Disk Utility or with Terminal. The best method could be to reformat it. Also, you can update the software and firmware to fix unrecognized or undetected USB on Mac.

How to find the USB on Mac?

When you connect the USB Flash drive on the system, Mac OS will automatically read the Flash drive. A window will pop-up showing the content of the drive. If you are not able to see it, you can access it through Finder.

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