How to repair an external hard drive on Mac

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
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  • There are quite a few nifty tricks you can apply in order to repair an external hard drive on Mac.
  • To be more precise, simply check your cable and ports or try to reformat the hard drive itself.
  • Please be aware that if you erase files you should create a backup before removing any data from the external hard disk.
  • Another safe approach is to use Disk Utility to reformat and apply First Aid to the external hard disk, which we will go over in detail below.
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If your Mac’s storage capacity is not enough for your needs, an external hard drive will come in handy.

Not to mention there’s another major advantage to using an external hard drive: you free up your device’s memory and this will visibly speed it up.

But sometimes, your external drive may fail to work properly. If your MacBook can’t connect to your external hard drive or you’re getting all sorts of errors, the best approach is to repair it.

If you’ve never done that before, keep on reading this guide to learn how you can do that.

How can I repair an external hard drive on Mac?

1. Check your cable and ports

Faulty connections are often to blame for external hard drive issues. Before diving into any troubleshooting steps, make sure to plug the hard drive into another HDMI port.

If the current port is the problem, your Mac should be able to recognize the external storage device and access the files stored on it after you plug in another port.

The USB cable might also be the culprit. Use another cable to connect your hard drive to your Mac and check if the problem is solved. If the device is still unusable, go to the next step.

2. Use Disk Utility

  1. Navigate to Utilities > select Disk Utility.
  2. Click on View > select Show All Devices to list all the devices connected to your Mac.
  3. Select your external hard drive.
  4. Go to the sidebar and click on the First Aid disk utility macbook
  5. Click on Run to launch the tool. Disk Utility will now scan your external hard drive and repair the issues detected.

Disk Utility is a very useful built-in troubleshooting tool that you can use to detect and repair many hard disk issues. Use the above steps to repair your external hard drive.

Wait until Disk Utility confirms the drive has been repaired. For additional information, you can click on the Show Details button to learn what has been repaired.

If Disk Utility reports it could not repair your hard drive, repeat the same steps again. If you get the same message, you need to format your external hard drive.

3. Reformat your external hard drive

  1. Navigate to Utilities and select Disk Utility.
  2. Select your external hard drive and click on the Erase option.format disk mac
  3. When prompted, enter a new name for the hard drive and select what format to use.

Keep in mind that reformatting your external storage device will delete all the files and folders stored on it. Ideally, you should have backed up important data on another device.

There you go, we hope the solutions listed above helped you out. Tell us more about your experience in the comments area below.

FAQ: Learn more about external hard drives and Mac

  • Why is my Mac not reading my external hard drive?

Your Mac may fail to read the content on your external hard drive due to faulty cable and port connections, corrupted files issues or outdated software.

  • How do I fix a corrupted external hard drive on Mac?

To fix a corrupted external hard drive on Mac computers, run Disk Utility. This built-in troubleshooting tool automatically detects and repairs corrupted files. Alternatively, you can also run a third-party hard drive repair software solution.

  • How do I recover data from an external hard drive on a Mac?

The quickest and safest solution to recover data from an external hard drive using a Mac computer is to install a data recovery software such as Stellar. Such tools work by scanning the memory media for hidden files and folders allowing users to restore them.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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