Accessing a USB drive on a Mac is normally simple, but if you’re new to macOS or your USB drive isn’t working properly, you can struggle. We’ll teach you how to access your USB drive in detail below, including what to do if it doesn’t work.
Find Your USB Drive on the Desktop
You should be able to locate your USB drive on your Mac’s Desktop by default. Connect your USB drive, then show the Desktop by clicking the yellow minimize icon in the top-left corner of all open windows.
If you see an icon for your USB drive, double-click it to access it. If not, go to the following instruction to access your USB device using Finder.
Related: Uses for a USB Flash Drive You May Not Have Known About
Find Your USB Drive Using Finder
Finder is Apple’s version of Windows’ File Explorer. To access it, click the blue happy face on the Dock’s left side. If you can’t see the Dock on your Mac, just move your mouse to the very bottom of the screen.
After opening a Finder window, search for your USB device in the left sidebar. It should be visible under the Locations header.
If you still can’t locate your USB device, open the menu bar at the top of the screen and choose Finder > Preferences. Then, on the Sidebar tab, check the External disks checkbox under the Locations section.
If the Mac can communicate with your USB drive, it should display in the Finder sidebar.
Why Can’t I Access My USB Drive on a Mac?
If your USB drive does not appear in Finder, it implies there is an issue with the drive or it is configured to a format that is incompatible with macOS.
How to Check Your USB Drive Format
To verify the USB drive format, open Spotlight by pressing Cmd + Space, then enter “Disk Utility” and click Enter to start Disk Utility. Select your USB drive from the sidebar of this program to show the drive format under its name.
NTFS drives cannot be read by Macs. If your disk is in NTFS format, you’ll need to reformat it.
If your USB drive is formatted in ExFAT, FAT32, APFS, or Mac OS Extended, it should function on your Mac. Click the First Aid button in Disk Utility to repair any problems with the drive, then try accessing it again in Finder.
How to Check for Physical Drive Problems
If your USB drive does not appear in Disk Utility, there is most likely a physical issue with the disk or the USB port on your Mac. Instead, try a new disk or a different port.
Alternatively, test your USB drive on a separate computer to see whether it works. If it doesn’t function anyplace, you know there’s an issue with the drive.
Check the Contents of the Drive Work With macOS
If your disk seems to be empty on a Mac, there might indicate an issue with the files you’re attempting to transfer. Not all file formats are supported by macOS. Check online to ensure that the files you’re attempting to transfer to the Mac are compatible with macOS.
Cloud Storage Is a Useful Alternative
Nothing appears to work every time you attempt to access your USB disk on a Mac. When this is the case, it is generally better to use an alternative storage type, such as cloud storage, to move your data.
Connect your USB drive to another computer that supports it, upload your files to a cloud storage service, and then access them from your Mac.
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