Fixing WD External Drive Blinking But Not Recognized on Mac

The root cause of an unrecognized WD drive that is blinking can be a faulty cable, unsuccessful mounting, or a software bug. Usually, a simple reboot can get it running again, but sometimes the problem runs deeper and requires further troubleshooting.

Hi, I’m Devansh. I’ve gone through this experience many times before: the external drive is connected to my Mac and actively blinking, but I cannot transfer data to or from it. 

So I made this guide with three quick fixes to help you get your WD external drive up and running again. If these don’t do the trick, I’ll also walk you through three in-depth solutions.

If your WD external drive is blinking but the valuable data in it remains inaccessible, keep reading!

Quick Fixes

Here are some quick fixes you should try out if your WD external drive is blinking but not recognized on your Mac.

  • Reboot: Yes, a good ol’ reboot can work magic sometimes! Just disconnect the drive and shut down your Mac. Wait a minute before powering it on again and reconnecting the external drive. In addition, you can also reset SMC.
  • Check cable and ports: In some cases, a faulty cable or port can be the root cause of the unrecognized drive issue. So, ensure the cable is sturdy and connect the drive to other ports and other Macs. Avoid using a USB hub. Try a different USB cable if you have one. 
  • Finder preferences: It’s also possible that the reason you can’t find your WD external drive on your Mac is that your Finder preferences don’t allow it. You’ll find instructions on how to change the preferences here.

If these didn’t do the trick, let’s dive into more in-depth solutions.

Top Three Solutions

Don’t be worried if the above quick fixes didn’t fix your drive. These three solutions will take some effort to implement, but promise a high chance of success.

Mount Drive Manually

Mounting allows a drive to communicate with your computer and perform read/write operations. It’s possible that your Mac failed to mount your WD external drive automatically when you connected it. So, here are the steps to mount it manually.

Step 1: Open Finder, go to Applications, Utilities, and Disk Utility.

Step 2: In the Menu Bar, click View, and enable ‘Show All Devices.’

Step 3: The column on the left will show both internal and external drives. Select your WD external drive from this list.

Step 4: Click the ‘Mount’ button.

You can also use the Terminal to mount your drive. Type ‘diskutil list’ and press Return. You will see a list of all the drives connected to your Mac. From that list, find the name of your WD external drive. Note it down, and type ‘diskutil mount’ followed by the name or identifier. After that, it should be mounted!

Run First Aid

Next, you can run First Aid to squash any other bugs and errors. Just select your WD external drive and click the ‘First Aid’ button placed on the top row. Let it do its magic, and don’t disconnect your drive while the process is ongoing.

In addition, you can also download WD Drive Utilities. It allows you to manage and diagnose issues in your WD external drive. There are also third-party Mac data recovery software worth checking out, like DiskWarrior.

Erase and Reformat Drive

The drive may be formatted in the wrong file system if it isn’t working. The solution is to choose the ‘Erase’ option and opt for a Mac-compatible file format from the list.

Although this process has a high chance of resolving the unrecognized drive issue, keep in mind that the data on the drive will be lost. So, only do it if there’s a backup version of the data on another device. Now, here are the steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Open Disk Utility and select your WD external drive from the left column.

Step 2: Select the ‘Erase’ button and choose a Mac-compatible file format, like ExFAT.

Step 3: Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Once this process is complete, you should be able to use the drive without any hiccups!

What’s Next?

If applying all of these steps still hasn’t made your WD external drive recognized by your Mac, there could be a major technical issue at play. It’s time to consider either repairing or returning your WD external drive. Type in the drive’s serial number here to check if it is still under warranty. If you want to get it off your hands, visit the RMA page instead.


It can be endlessly frustrating when you plug in your WD external drive to your Mac, but it isn’t being recognized. Fortunately, the above solutions should get it running in no time. If the damage is on a hardware level, I’ve also given you the info on how to move further with repairing or returning the drive!

Which of the above solutions worked successfully in your case? Please share with me in the comments!

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