How to fix USB drive not showing up on Mac?

Updated by Tim to Mac Data Recovery Tips on May 12th, 2021

For some reasons, my USB stick won't show up on Mac. I updated the preferences for Finder for devices and it still doesn't show up. I have very important family pictures on my flash drive that I do not want to lose, can anyone help me?

Many macOS users reported that they are unable to open and use the USB flash drives. When they plug in their USB flash drive, it will not show up on Mac. If you are fed up with the same problem, you don't have to go crazy as nothing has happened to your files within the USB flash drive. All of those files will still keep intact on the storage device. But you can't access them for some reasons.

Troubleshoot USB drive not showing up on Mac

Method 1: Access USB drive in /Volumes/ folder

The /Volumes/ folder will show all connected and mounted volumes on Mac. Launch Finder and in the menu bar, select Go > "Go to Folder…" and type the USB flash drive path what appears under Disk Utility (Ex: /Volumes/mydisk) and hit Enter. Then you will see a folder with all mounted drives and disk images. If you can find the USB flash drive here, try accessing it.

Method 2: Show USB drive in Finder

If your USB flash drive is still not showing up in Finder, you might not set to show external disks in Finder preference. Follow these steps below to set:

Go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar and make sure the "External disks" under "Locations" is ticked. Then the USB flash drive will appear in Finder.

Show external drive in Finder

Method 3: Mount the USB drive

If the USB drive continues not to show up in Finder but shows up in Disk Utility, the drive may be not mounted. Lucky for you, you can easily mount it in Disk Utility. Open Disk Utility, highlight the USB drive from the left sidebar, and then click the "Mount" button.

Method 4: Check the USB drive for errors

First Aid can be used to check minor errors on hard disks and repair them if necessary. Try the following steps to repair the USB flash drive:

Step 1: pen Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility.

Step 2: Highlight the grayed out USB drive.

Step 3: Select First Aid in the top center and select Run to perform the diagnostics and fix any issues.

First Aid built-in Disk Utility

If First Aid fails to repair the unrecognized USB drive, please go to method 5 to recover data from unrecognized USB drive.

Method 5: Recover data from unrecognized USB drive

As a professional USB drive data recovery software, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac can recover data from unreadable hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, flash drive, SD card, etc. on macOS 11 Big Sur/10.15 Catalina/10.14 Mojave/10.13 High Sierra/10.12 and Mac OSX 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8.

Tutorial to recover data from unrecognized USB drive

Step 1: Download, install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac.

Step 2: Select the unrecognized USB flash drive.

Mac data recovery software

Step 3: iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is scanning the data from the unrecognized USB flash drive.

Scan lost data from unreadable USB flash drive

Step 4: Select the found files you expect to recover and then click Recover to start USB drive data recovery process.

Recover lost data from unreadable USB flash drive

Method 6: Reformat to fix the unrecognized USB drive

If USB flash drive doesn't important data, you can directly erase it and then it will be working again after the format completes. If there is important data stored in it, you can reformat the unreadable USB flash drive after data recovery is successfully done. Following is step-by-step tutorial to erase the unreadable USB flash drive:

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility from Utilities.

Step 2: Click the icon for unreadable USB flash drive in the sidebar on the left.

Step 3: Click the Erase tab along the top of the window and enter the related information.

Erase the drive

Step 4: Click the Erase button.

Step 5: Click the Erase button to reformat the unreadable USB flash drive, the USB drive will be working again after format completes.

Detailed tutorial: How to format USB flash drive on Mac?

Method 7: Seek help from a local data recovery service

If USB flash drive is still not readable by any data recovery software, please send it to a local store for data recovery help.