What to Do if Your Flash Drive Isn't Displaying on Your Mac

What to Do if Your Flash Drive Isn’t Displaying on Your Mac

This article explains the potential causes of why you might not be able to find a connected flash drive on your Mac, and how to fix it.

Why Isn’t My Flash Drive Showing Up on My Mac?

In order to use a flash drive on a Mac, typically all you do is plug it in via the Mac’s USB-A port. If it doesn’t work when you do that, it’s typically:

  • Bad connection
  • Bad USB port
  • Drive is bad
  • Drive is formatted incorrectly
  • Incorrect Mac configuration setting

Some models of Mac or MacBook don’t have a USB-A port, in which case you’ll need to get a USB-C adapter to connect your flash drive. Here’s how you can figure out the problem, and what to do about it:

How Do I Get My Flash Drive to Show Up on My Mac?

What to Do if Your Flash Drive Isn't Displaying on Your Mac

Follow these steps to try to get your flash drive to appear in the Mac’s Finder. They’re arranged from least to most complicated, so try them in this order.

  1. Give the flash drive a little jiggle to see if it’s fully inserted. Alternatively, you could try unplugging the flash drive and then re-inserting it. To build a connection if the actual connection is a little bit picky, you might just need to give it a jostle.
  2. In case your Mac won’t let you connect to external devices, you may need to adjust some settings. Examine the Finder’s preferences by going to Preferences > General in the Finder’s menu bar. Under Desktop, toggle on the option to display External Disks.
  3. It’s possible that the drive is fully functional with the Mac, but that the computer just isn’t set up to recognize it. That’s right; it’s not just functional, but it’s also demonstrating its efficacy.
  4. If the flash drive is not detected, try plugging it into a different device. If the USB drive doesn’t operate with any other devices, it may be damaged or corrupted. If this solution is effective, the problem must be unique to your Mac.
  5. Your Mac’s USB port and the flash drive’s plug may need to be cleaned. Utilizing brief blasts of compressed air would be the quickest and most convenient method. A cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean the USB contacts, but extreme caution must be exercised to prevent any liquid from entering the drive or the port.
  6. To see if the flash drive can be found, launch Disk Utility on your Mac. If the drive does show up, check for any obvious problems. It’s possible that you’ll have to either format the drive from scratch, reinstall its operating system, or use the First Aid utility to fix the disc.
  7. If the flash drive is not formatted in a format that your Mac can read, you will need to format it on the Mac. Do not risk losing any data by not making a backup of the drive’s contents before performing a format. Format the USB drive to HFS+ (for OS X versions prior to Sierra), APFS (for Sierra and later), exFAT, or FAT32 when you’re ready to use it (Windows and Mac).

Read More: What Is WPS and How Does It Work?


Can You Tell Me How To Access a Flash Drive on A Mac?

If the USB device works and has been formatted correctly, you should be able to access its contents in the Finder. To access the flash drive, find it on your computer’s desktop (or the Favorites list on the left side of any open folder) and double-click it.

In What Way Do I Remove a Flash Disc from My Mac?

The flash drive could be damaged if you didn’t eject it before removing it from your Mac, so be sure to always do so. Your computer can eject a flash drive in one of two main ways. You can just find the drive’s icon on your desktop, and then move it to the trash by dragging and dropping it (the Trash icon will change to an Eject icon). You can also open a folder, find the drive, and then click the Eject symbol next to its name in the Favorites column. You can safely remove the flash drive when its icon vanishes.

What Is Mac’s Procedure for Wiping Off Data from A Flash Drive?

To delete files from a flash drive, open it, select the files, and then move them to the trash. If you do this, the files won’t be completely removed from the drive until you clear the Trash. If you put files in the Trash but don’t empty the Trash before ejecting the drive, the files will be back in the Trash when you rejoin the drive.

Where Can I Get Instructions for Encrypting a Flash Drive on A Mac?

Encrypting a flash drive on a Mac is a simple process that can be accomplished within the Finder. Make sure the drive is formatted as a GUID Partition Map before proceeding.

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