How to Fix and Find Not Recognizing or Showing USB Flash Drive on Mac

Is your Mac not recognizing the USB Flash Drive? Read here to learn the different symptoms, causes and how to fix it.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Apr 10, 2023 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

Is your Mac not recognizing USB Flash drive and restricted your access to the data? Read on to know about how to find USB Flash drive and access the data on Mac.

A USB drive has become an inevitable necessity for our modern life. This amazing electronic tool is used to store data, transfer files, and various other files. While Flash drives easily connect with Mac, sometimes it doesn't. It's a common problem with nothing serious to worry about. The article features everything you need to know if USB won't show up on Mac.

Part 1: Why Mac doesn't recognize the USB drive

You might have come across a situation where your friend has sent you photos on a Flash drive. But when you plug it in, your Mac doesn't recognize USB. While the reasons could be many, but first, it is essential that you rightly assess the situation.

So let's have a look at all the signs that indicate that your MacBook Pro not recognizing USB drive.

1. Symptoms of Mac not recognizing USB Drive

When you face such a situation where USB won't show up on Mac, you must check all your connections first. It includes if your USB Flash is perfectly attached to the system or not. You might check some internal settings, scan hardware setup, and examine the situation from every possible angle. It is an obvious confusion because you don't know the actual source of the problem.

But few signs directly imply that USB not showing up on Mac.

2. The cause of Flash Drive not showing up on Mac

There are numerous reasons could be responsible that your USB Flash drive is not showing up on Mac. Here is the list of possible factors that might be leading to the glitch.

Part 2: How to fix Mac not recognizing USB Device

It is quite reasonable for various electronic components of any system to lose its integrity over time. Hence, if you come across a loose cable or imperfect alignment of the Flash drives to the port, don't be surprised!

If you want to know how to find a USB on Mac, start with an examination of different parts of the system. Just follow the steps mentioned to find the source of the problem.

Step 1: Scan USB and USB ports

Thoroughly check the USB device. If there is a broken or malfunctioned wire, you can replace it with a new one to fix the issue. Make sure you check all the different ports of your system are in working condition.

Step 2: Restart Mac or use a different Mac system

Often, Flash drive doesn't detect the Mac due to some power connectivity issues. Restart the system to see if the problem persists or not. If it does, then try connecting the Flash drive to a different Mac system. This way, you will know whether the problem lies in the Mac system or the Flash drive.

Step 3: Check Finder Preferences

Open the menu bar on your Mac computer and go to Finder. When you click on the Preference option, you will see four tabs, including general, labels, sidebar, and advanced. Click on the 'General' tab and ensure that the box next to the external disks option is ticked.

If the option is not ticked, Finder will not be able to pop up any detection of external disks or Flash drives.

You'll also see the 'External disks' option in the Sidebar option. Make sure that the option is marked there as well.

external disk checked

external disk sidebar option

Step 4: Use Disk Utilities to Repair USB drives

If you want to know about how to find the device on Mac, you can use disk utility to fix the issues related to external drives.

Plug-in the USB device to your Mac system and select 'Initialize' from the prompt box. It will lead you to disk utility application.

As an alternative option, you can directly access utility application from Finder.

Select the 'View' tab from the utility application, and tap on the option 'Show All Devices.' Now, from the sidebar section, click on the device that was unreadable on the system. Tap on the 'First Aid' option. Now, click on the 'Repair Disk' tab and see if the issue persists.

Step 5: Re-format the USB drive

Although Flash drives are formatted by default for Windows, it's not the same case with Mac. If Mac is not detecting USB, you might have to do it manually before using it for the first time.

Follow the steps to see if that works for you.

Click on the 'Disk Utility' Interface option. Open it, and you will see a list of drives on your system.

Step 1: Select the 'USB drive' option.

Step 2: On the right side of the panel, you will see an 'Erase' tab. Click on it.

Step 3: Now, choose a format option that is compatible with Mac OS.

Step 4: Select a name for the USB drive and click on the 'Erase' tab located at the lower bottom of the screen.

Step 5: Re-check the whole process before formatting. Once you are sure of the process, initiate format.

Part 3: How to Access Flash Drive data after detecting USB

Considering that you have followed all the steps mentioned in the article correctly, you might have find USB on Mac. It doesn't mean that you will be able to access all the data on the Flash drive as sometimes, the data gets lost in such cases.

You can still be able to access the lost data on the Flash drive using recovery tools. But we will discuss that later!

1. How to find USB Flash drive and access USB files on Mac

When you connect the USB Flash drive on the system, Mac OS will automatically read the content of 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.

The following steps will guide you to find the USB Flash drive and access the files on Mac.

Click on the option 'Devices' on the upper-left side of the Finder window.

If you have correctly inserted the device to the system, you will see a temporary drive icon. It will be saved by the name of your Flash drive.

To access the files of the USB Flash drive, double-click on the drive icon.

Temporary hard drive icons are white, whereas permanent drive icons are gray colored.

2. How to access hidden, deleted or lost USB data on Mac

Numerous factors contribute to the loss of data from USB Flash drives. It could be malware intrusion, system crash, USB formatting, and various other reasons. But, can you recover your data from the Flash drive? Yes, you can!

There are certain things that you need to make sure if you have lost your data. For instance, you must ensure that you don't save any new data on the same drive as it may overwrite on the lost data.

If the USB drive is recognized, but you can't open and access USB files, you can use data recovery tools to help you restore USB files.

You can use Recoverit data recovery tool for Mac that can handle various kinds of data loss scenarios. Whether it is audio, video, outlook, or graphic files, it works best to recover all your data and information.

The list of instruction will help your recover data from Recoverit app on the Mac computer. Firstly, download the Recoverit app and connect the Flash drives to one of the ports of your system.

Step 1: Launch the Recoverit app

After you launch the app on your system and select the USB Flash drive from where the data was lost in the first place. Click on the 'Start' button after selecting the device.

select the external device

Step 2: Start the scanning process

As you click on the 'start' tab, it will initiate the scanning process on the USB Flash drive. It may take some time to be completed.

select the external device

Step 3: Preview and recover Lost files

Once the scanning is completed, you will be able to see all the lost files in the results.

lost files

Part 4: How to Prevent Flash Drive not showing up on Mac

Even when you have fixed the issue, it can happen in the future as well. Hence, you must take some precautionary steps to prevent Flash Drive not showing up on Mac.

Update Firmware and OS

Regular updating of the firmware and operating system of your Mac works best to fix various functionality issues. Sometimes when you experience a USB not connecting to the system, a quick update may fix the issue instantly. Whether it's your internal or external drive, timely updates ensure the best performance of your system.

Avoid Imperfect Ejection of your USB Flash Drive

Often people pull out their Flash drive even when it is connected to the system. A forceful pull out can easily damage the Flash drive and could be a possible reason why your Mac not recognizing USB. You must follow a proper way of ejection of the Flash drive. Before removing the Flash drive from the port, request for a safe ejection procedure. Take it out once you get the confirmation from the system.

Reset Mac's Configuration

A faulty configuration may also lead to USB Flash drive connectivity issues. You can reset Mac’s configuration to fix the issue. Follow the steps to conduct a proper reset.

Step 1: Shutdown the system

Step 2: Disconnect all the power cables and reconnect it

Step 3: Press Shift key, Control key, and Power key at the same time and release them

Step 4: Start your Mac system

Now, check if the USB issue is solved. Also, if you come across disabled USB accessories, fix them.

Timely Maintenance of your System

As mentioned earlier, parts of your Mac system might lose its efficiency over time. A routine checkup of your Mac system at the service center can significantly help you. Moreover, it will get you to notice all the loose ports, electrical, or mechanical faults in your system.

Closing words

Your Mac not recognizing USB is a common issue that can affect your seamless experience on the system. Moreover, it can also lead to loss of data and important files.

Thanks to the Recoverit Data Recovery app, you can retrieve the lost data from the Flash drive. If you want to know how to access Flash drive on Mac, you can take the help of the steps mentioned in the article.

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