WD My Passport Not Showing up on Mac: 5 Possible Reasons and Fixes

WD My Passport drives are great for storing your important documents and accessing them on the go. However, even if you’ve downloaded the right NTFS driver, you might still face a situation where you plug in the drive to your Mac but aren’t able to access it because it isn’t being detected.

Hi, I’m Devansh. Being both a Windows and Mac user, I often have to switch the WD My Passport drive between the two systems and have successfully dealt with many compatibility issues now and then.

In this article, I’ll walk you through common causes why your My Passport drive might not be detected in your Mac computer and the corresponding solutions. Then I’ll answer several frequently asked questions before wrapping it up.

If you have valuable data on your My Passport drive but are not able to access it on your iMac or MacBook, you’ll find your solution here!

Possible Cause #1: Wrong Port and/or Cable

OK, this is just the easiest and most direct solution to the problem, right? Simply plug out of the current USB port and try another one. Maybe the one you’re trying to plug it into has a malfunction.

Moreover, if you’re using a USB hub, connect it directly into the laptop or desktop computer instead. USB hubs are infamous for bugs like this, and it’s possible that it simply isn’t able to power the external drive too.

Consider using another cable instead too. I know this step might seem simplistic, but circling out a port- or cable-related malfunction first can save you hours down the line with software troubleshooting.

In addition to this, of course, do some basic checks too, like rebooting your Mac or plugging the drive in more slowly and carefully. If this still doesn’t cut it, move forward with the next steps.

Possible Cause #2: Wrong Finder Preferences

This is a simple cause too, although it’s not hardware-related. After all, it’s possible that what’s preventing the drive from showing up in your Finder window is the preferences of macOS itself. 

To change this, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open a Finder window, then choose Preferences.

Step 2: Under the General Tab. Make sure the External disks option is enabled.

Step 3: Once you’ve done this, you can go over to the Sidebar tab (next to Tags), and tick External disks under Locations.

Once you’ve followed the above steps, open a new Finder window to check if your My Passport drive is finally showing up.

Possible Cause #3: Not Mounted in Disk Utility

If the drive still isn’t visible in your Finder after you tweak the preferences, it’s time to get down and dirty with the Disk Utility app. Most likely, your drive will show up in it, but it will either be grayed out or not mounting.

Mounting is an essential step since it makes the drive compatible with macOS and allows it to perform data read/write operations on it. Don’t worry, this happens sometimes. 

An external drive is detected by the computer but it isn’t automatically mounted as it should be. In this case, you can just mount it manually by following these steps.

Step 1: Open a Finder window, go to Applications, open the Utilities folder, and select Disk Utility.

Step 2: Once opened, click the View option at the left corner and select Show All Devices.

Step 3: After that, you will see your WD My Passport drive displayed in the left sidebar. From there, you can simply click on the Mount icon beside it, and you’re good to go!

In case that doesn’t work, I’m sorry to say that there might be a file system error in your drive. 

Fortunately, there is a native diagnostics tool called First Aid built right into Disk Utility for exactly this purpose. To run it, first select your drive and then click First Aid on the Disk Utility window and select Run.

Once you’ve gone through the process with First Aid, follow the steps above and retry mounting the drive again. It should probably work fine this time. If it doesn’t, move on to the next step.

Possible Cause #4: Outdated WD Drive Utilities App

If you’ve updated your OS recently or if you own a brand-new Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, then you might be familiar with this error message.

This only comes if you have used the WD Drive Utilities app. One of the main features of My Passport is the option to set a secure password for the drive. Of course, if you’ve set a password for your drive, you need to input that to be able to access its content.

If the problem still persists, however, you need to download the latest version of the WD Utilities app and install it. To access that file, you can visit WD’s website.

Possible Cause #5: Faulty Drive

Finally, if none of the above options work for you, your drive might have a major malfunction in it at this point. It could be any number of reasons: inner corrosion, a melted component, or a power issue.

You can check your WD My Passport drive warranty status here. Simply select ‘WD My Passport SSD’ from the drop-down menu, select your country, and then type in the serial number of your drive. If you just want to return the drive, you can check the RMA page here.

FAQs

For some extra knowledge on the Western Digital My Passport in the context of macOS, here are some interesting questions you might want to learn more about.

Which File System Does WD My Passport Use by Default?

Western Digital installs NTFS in each My Passport drive. Because of this, you can use the plug-and-play functionality out of the box for Windows. However, they also offer a special driver for macOS, allowing you to switch between both operating systems without reformatting.

How to Connect WD My Passport to Older Versions of macOS?

As long as you’re using the downloadable NTFS driver for macOS, you shouldn’t face any compatibility problems with older versions of macOS, whether that be Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, or older. Of course, keep in mind to use the right cable and port for connecting it.

Is macOS Compatibility Affected by Storage Size?

No. Whether you get a 1TB or 5TB My Passport drive, you always have the option to download the macOS NTFS driver that Western Digital offers on their official website. This would make your drive compatible with your iMac or MacBook easily.

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully by now you’ve finally got your My Passport drive connected successfully to your Mac. As a quick refresher, here are the five primary causes I discussed in this article:

  • Wrong Port and/or Cable
  • Wrong Finder Preferences
  • Not Mounted in Disk Utility
  • Outdated Application
  • Faulty Drive

Is there another solution to this problem that I didn’t discuss in this article? Share your answer with me in the comments!

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