How to fix WD My Passport not showing up on Mac?

Posted by Tim to Mac Data Recovery Tips on May 31th, 2021

Hard drives eventually wear out and stop working but there are lots of other things that can cause a drive to disappear from the Finder on your Mac. It doesn't always mean the drive has failed.

Let's look at some solutions you can use to fix the problem of your WD My Passport not showing up on your Mac.

What symptoms that indicates WD My Passport has a problem

You might have had your Western Digital My Passport drive for years when all of a sudden, something goes wrong. There are a few common symptoms of a problem with a My Passport external hard drive, including:

  • WD My Passport hard drive doesn't appear in Finder when it's connected to your Mac
  • WD My Passport hard drive is "grayed out" in Disk Utility
  • WD hard drive's light comes on but it isn't accessible after installing the macOS Big Sur update
  • My Passport drive won't let you open the password application on Mac running an M1 Apple Silicon processor
  • Your Mac won't unlock the My Passport drive - instead, it asks for the WD Drive Unlock application
  • My Passport drive becomes encrypted and/or unreadable on your Mac

Any of these problems means the data that's saved on the drive isn't accessible. This is naturally a little concerning, especially if you've got valuable information like family pictures or other irreplaceable files saved on the drive.

Fortunately, there are some solutions to solve these problems that can help you get back up and running, recovering all your important data in the process.

Recovering data from a WD My Passport not showing up on your Mac

Before starting the troubleshooting steps we're going to cover below, it's important to make sure you've got an up-to-date backup of the data on your drive.

That's fine if you backed up your drive before it stopped working but what happens if you don't have a backup and now it's not showing up on your Mac? Fortunately, you can use M3 Data Recovery for Mac to recover the files from a drive that's not working in Finder.

M3 Data Recovery for Mac is a professional data recovery tool that can recover deleted files on the Mac and recover files from a drive that's been formatted or is inaccessible, corrupted, or otherwise unreadable. It can do the same on USB flash drives, SD cards, and various other types of storage devices.

M3 Data Recovery works on Mac OS X and macOS versions from 10.7 through 11 and supports both Intel- and M1-based Macs.

How to recover data From a WD My Passport drive on Mac

To recover any data that you haven't already backed up, follow these steps:

1. Download and install M3 Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac.

2. Once it's installed, launch the app.

3. Select your WD My Passport drive in the list of drives on your Mac and click the Next button to start scanning for files.

4. Once the scan is complete, you can preview the search results, click on the files you want to recover, and click on the Recover button to retrieve them.

Troubleshooting a WD hard drive that's not showing ip in Finder

Before going through the following troubleshooting steps, double-check that it's not a bad USB cable or other hardware problem causing the issue. Run through the following basic checks:

1. Disconnect the WD My Passport drive from your Mac and reconnect it to the USB port. Try plugging it in quickly and then slowly if it still doesn't work. It seems strange but sometimes the USB connectors can be a little finicky so how you connect the drive can make a difference.

2. Connect another external hard drive or some other USB device to the same port to confirm whether the port itself is working properly.

3. Restart your Mac and see if the WD My Passport drive shows up in Finder afterward.

4. Connect the My Passport drive to another computer to see if it works there or not.

If none of these things help, it's time to move onto the troubleshooting steps.

Step 1: Check Finder preferences on your Mac

If your WD My Passport drive is not showing up in Finder or on your Desktop, it could be a preference setting that's causing it. The option to show connected drives might be turned off.

To solve this issue, use the following steps:

1. Go to Finder > Preferences > General

2. If the "External Disks" option is not checked, click the checkbox to turn it on

3. Click on the Sidebar tab in the toolbar and make sure "External Disks" is checked under the Locations heading.

After turning those options on, your drive should appear both on the Desktop and in the Finder.

Step 2: Use Disk Utility to check your My Passport drive

If the Finder options didn't solve the problem, the next step is to check whether the drive is showing up in Disk Utility. There are two possibilities here:

1. Disk Utility can detect your WD My Passport drive but it's grayed out or not mounting in Disk Utility.

2. Disk Utility can't detect your WD My Passport drive at all and it's not showing there either.

If the first of the two possibilities applies in your case, there are two options to resolve the problem.

Option 1: Manually mount your WD My Passport drive in Disk Utility

In some cases, your Mac can't automatically mount the external drive even though it can detect it properly. This is usually the case if Disk Utility shows the drive but it's not mounting properly.

To mount the drive manually, following these steps:

  • Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
  • Click Show All Devices in the View options at the left corner of the Disk Utility window
  • Click on your WD My Passport drive in the left sidebar and click the Mount button on the toolbar at the top of the window

You can also click on the Mount icon beside the drive to mount it immediately.

Option 2: Repair your WD My Passport drive with the First Aid tool

If Disk Utility won't let you mount the drive manually, there could be some file system issues on the drive. The file system tells your Mac how to read the information on the drive so if it gets corrupted, it can cause problems with mounting even though the data is all still there.

Disk Utility has a First Aid feature that will scan the drive for file system errors and repair basic problems. The following steps will run the repair process:

  • Open the Disk Utility app (Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility)
  • Click on the WD My Passport drive in the sidebar to select it
  • Click on the First Aid button in the toolbar at the top of the window
  • Click Done when the scan/repair process is complete

Restart your Mac and see if you can access the drive after repairing it.

Step 3: Install the latest version of the WD Utilities

Many Western Digital My Passport users have reported problems after upgrading their Macs to macOS Big Sur or when connecting to the new M1-based Macs. If this is the case, you'll see a message saying you must run the WD Drive Unlock application.

If you've used the WD utilities or created a secure password to protect the data on your drive, you have to enter a password to unlock the drive whenever you restart your Mac, disconnect and reconnect the drive, or wake your Mac from sleep mode. If you're not able to unlock the drive after upgrading your Mac, you may need to install a newer version of the WD utilities.

Download the latest version of the WD Discovery Utilities for macOS 11 Big Sur to solve the problem.

If you can't remember the password you chose when you locked the drive, the only option you have is to reformat the drive, which means you'll lose all the data on it. Make sure you take note of the password you choose when encrypting your drive this way and save it somewhere you can access if you're locked out of your My Passport drive.

There's little value in saving it on the same drive it's protecting since you won't be able to look it up when you need it most.

Step 4: Erase your My Passport drive

If the First Aid tool in Disk Utility wasn't able to fix the problem with your WD My Passport drive, it likely means the file system is damaged beyond repair. In this case, the only solution is to reformat the drive.

Reformatting will recreate the file system but it will also erase all your data on the drive at the same time. Make sure you use M3 Data Recovery for Mac to recover the data on the drive before continuing with this step.

  • Open the Disk Utility app.
  • Click on the WD My Passport drive in the sidebar to select it.
  • Click the Erase button on the toolbar at the top of the window.
  • Enter the required information (format, partition scheme, etc.) and click Erase.

This will format the drive and if it works properly, your WD My Passport will show up in Finder afterward.

What if Disk Utility can't detect WD My Passport Drive?

If your My Passport drive isn't recognized in Disk Utility at all, it likely means there's a hardware problem with the drive. In this case, you'll need to send it for repair or buy a replacement drive.

My Passport Drive maintenance tips

Hard drive problems can be caused by unsafe handling. Make sure you keep the following tips in mind when using your My Passport drive:

  • Avoid dropping the drive or any other kind of physical damage.
  • Always eject the drive in macOS before unplugging it from your Mac (right-click on the drive icon on your Desktop and click Eject).
  • Use the WD Discovery utilities included with the drive to keep your My Passport drive running well.

Hard drive problems aren't necessarily critical

If you suddenly have a problem with a WD My Passport not showing up on your Mac, don't panic. With the troubleshooting steps we've covered above, there's a good chance you'll be able to get up and running again with no data loss.

And even if these steps don't solve the problem, you can use M3 Data Recovery for Mac to recover your valuable data from a drive that's not showing up in Finder.