WD Passport Not Showing Up on Mac, Let's Find It Now

Cassie Xie
Last updated: Jun 12, 2024

If your Western Digital Passport external hard drive isn't showing up on your Mac, you're in the right place. This article explains why your Mac might not recognize your WD My Passport and how to locate it on the desktop, in Finder, and in Disk Utility.

WD My Passport external portable hard drives are popular for their sleek design, high-capacity storage, and excellent usability. When a WD external hard drive is connected to a computer and recognized by the system, you can easily store or transfer data using it. However, it's becoming increasingly common for the WD Passport drive not to show up on Mac, making the data inaccessible and the disk unusable.

Lean back! A missing WD Passport drive icon doesn't necessarily mean your data is lost. The issue might be due to specific settings, file system incompatibility, or system glitches. We'll guide you through identifying the root causes of your Western Digital Passport not showing up on your Mac and provide step-by-step instructions to get your hard drive working again.

WD My Passport for Mac Not Showing Up Anywhere, Look Here!

Why is My WD Passport Not Being Recognized on My Mac?

A lot of factors can affect the performance of a hard drive connected to a Mac computer. Here are some potential causes that may prevent your WD external hard drive from being detected or recognized by Mac.

  • Connection issues. The cable, USB hub, USB adapter, or USB port that provides the connection between WD My Passport and the Mac is loose or damaged. Outdated drivers. Your macOS is not updated to the latest version, so important drivers and patches for external drives are outdated.
  • System glitches. System bugs or software conflicts can sometimes cause disk recognition issues on Mac.
  • File system incompatibility. The WD Passport drive may be formatted with NTFS for Windows, which macOS can read but not write to without using NTFS for Mac software like BuhoNTFS. However, if you are using a WD My Passport for Mac, this shouldn't be an issue.
  • Incorrect settings. By default, a detected WD hard drive should appear on the desktop, in the Finder sidebar, and in the Disk Utility sidebar. If it is missing, the settings may have been changed to hide it.
  • Hardware problems. If your WD drive is experiencing hardware-related problems such as physical damage, firmware corruption, or circuit board failure, it will stop working.
  • Security settings. If your company manages your computer, it may have security settings in place that block external hard drives.

How to Fix WD My Password Not Showing Up on Mac - 5 Ways

Before diving into more comprehensive troubleshooting methods, follow the basic steps below to rule out connection, system, and hardware issues that may be causing your WD hard disk to not appear on a Mac computer. If you've already tried these, you can skip ahead to the five methods for fixing WD My Passport not working on Mac.

Basic steps to troubleshoot WD Passport not showing up on Mac:

  1. Detach your WD hard drive from your Mac and reconnect it using a different USB port or cable.
  2. Test the drive on another computer to see if it is recognized there.
  3. Unplug the WD hard drive and restart your Mac.
  4. Update your Mac to the latest version of macOS.
  5. Open the Apple menu > System Settings or System Preferences > General > System Report. Find the USB option in the sidebar and ensure your WD external hard drive appears in the right pane.
  6. Confirm that there is no physical damage to the WD drive and that the drive does not make unusual noises or fail to spin up.

Fix 1. Edit Finder preferences

If you can't find your WD My Passport for Mac, WD My Passport, or WD My Passport Ultra on the desktop or in Finder, your Finder preference settings may be hiding it. Fortunately, it's easy to adjust the Finder settings to make your external hard drives visible.

Step 1. Open the Finder app (the smiley icon on the Dock).

Step 2. Click Finder next to the Apple logo and choose Settings or Preferences.

Open Finder Settings

Step 3. To show the WD hard drive on the desktop, click the General option, and check the External disks box; To show the external disk in the Finder sidebar, click the Sidebar option, and check the External disks box.

Show external disks on the desktop and in Finder

Fix 2. Edit Disk Utility settings

If you have multiple partitions and Disk Utility is set to display only volumes or the sidebar is hidden, it can be easy to mistakenly think that your WD My Passport for Mac isn't showing up in Disk Utility. To let Disk Utility show your WD hard drive, use these steps.

Step 1. In the Disk Utility window, click the View button. Or you can click the View option at the top of your screen.

Step 2. Choose Show Sidebar and Show All Devices.

Disk Utility View options

Fix 3. Access your NTFS-formatted WD hard drive

Although macOS can read the Windows NTFS file system, it sometimes fails to mount an NTFS-formatted disk on the desktop or in Finder, making it seem like the drive has disappeared. To check the file system your WD disk is using, open Disk Utility, select the drive from the sidebar, and you will see the file system displayed on the right underneath the disk name.

When your NTFS-formatted Western Digital hard drive is not recognized or mounted on your Mac, you will need an NTFS for Mac utility like BuhoNTFS. It can help you recognize and mount NTFS drives on a Mac, allowing you to seamlessly read and write data. With BuhoNTFS, having full access to an NTFS external storage device is a plug-and-play. BuhoNTFS is fully compatible with the latest macOS versions and both Intel and Apple silicon Macs.

For macOS 10.13 and above

Step 1. Download and install BuhoNTFS on your Mac for free.

Step 2. Securely connect your Wstern Digital My Passport to your Mac.

Step 3. Your drive should appear mounted on the desktop. If it doesn't, open BuhoNTFS by clicking its icon in the Apple menu bar and accessing your NTFS drive from the drop-down menu.

Best FREE NTFS for Mac - BuhoNTFS

Fix 4. Mount & Repair the WD external hard drive

If your WD My Passport light is blinking but not working on your Mac, the disk may have software errors preventing it from being mounted. If the disk is not mounted, it won't appear on the desktop or in Finder. WD My Passport is greyed out in the Disk Utility sidebar.

To mount an external hard drive in Disk Utility:

Step 1. Open Disk Utility through Finder > Applications > Utilities.

Step 2. Select the WD My Passport in the sidebar.

Step 3. Click the Mount button.

If your Mac fails to mount your external hard drive, it may have file system or partition errors. Use First Aid in Disk Utility to quickly check for and repair these issues. Don't worry. Running First Aid on your WD hard drive won't affect your data.

To repair WD My Passport hard drive on Mac:

Step 1. In the Disk Utility window, select the problematic WD My Passport hard drive in the left sidebar.

Step 2. Click the First Aid button.

Step 3. Click Run when prompted to confirm the operation.

First Aid WD Passport Drive on Mac

Step 4. Once the First Aid process is complete, click Done. Step 5. If the repair is successful, your WD Passport drive should automatically mount. If not, try manually mounting the drive again.

Fix 5. Format WD My Passport for Mac in Disk Utility

If your Mac still can't recognize your WD Passport, the last resort is to erase it and give it a new file system. This will reset all errors and resolve any file system incompatibility.

Step 1. Use a Mac data recovery app to retrieve important files from the unrecognized WD hard drive as formatting will will erase all your data.

Step 2. Open Disk Utility and select the greyed-out WD My Passport for Mac.

Step 3. Click the Erase button.

Step 4. Give the hard drive a name, choose a format (ExFAT is recommended for the best compatibility), and select GUID Partition Map as the scheme.

Step 5. Click Erase.

Format WD Passport Drive Mac


If you're looking for solutions to fix a WD My Passport for Mac that isn't showing up, this article provides essential troubleshooting tips and step-by-step guidance. When a WD My Passport hard drive becomes invisible, ensure it is properly connected to your Mac and check for hardware failures. If the drive has physical damage, consider replacing it or seeking professional help.

If the WD external hard drive is still functional but not appearing on the desktop, in Finder, or in Disk Utility, try adjusting settings, manually mounting and repairing the disk, or even formatting it. If your Mac can't recognize the WD hard drive due to its NTFS format, install BuhoNTFS to enable read-and-write support for NTFS drives on Mac.

Cassie has been writing about technology for her entire career life - over 5 years. She enjoys diving into how Apple products work and then breaking it down in a way anyone can understand.