How to Recover Data from WD My Passport Hard Drives on Mac

Recover data from western digital drive

Picture this: You’re sitting in front of your trusted Mac, ready to tackle a work project, edit irreplaceable family pictures or videos, or perhaps listen to your music collection. You grab your WD My Passport external portable hard drive, connect it to your Mac, launch Finder, and start looking for your data.

But no matter how hard you look, the data is nowhere to be found. Have you accidentally deleted the data? Has someone borrowed your drive and formatted it? Is corruption to blame? It doesn’t matter because the steps you need to follow to retrieve lost files from WD Passport for Mac are always the same, and we explain them in this article.

What Is WD My Passport Drive?

wd my passport

WD My Passport drive is a portable external hard drive manufactured by Western Digital, an American hard drive manufacturer that has been in the computer storage industry for over 50 years.

The compact, lightweight construction of the WD My Passport drive makes it great for storing and transporting large quantities of data, including business documents, photos and videos, music, file archives, and more.

The drive uses a single USB connection for both power and data, and the latest version supports data transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps. Built-in 256-bit AES hardware encryption with password protection helps ensure that sensitive data won’t fall into the wrong hands.

Important: If your WD My Passport drive is encrypted, then Western Digital recovery software for Mac won’t be able to recover any data from it.

How to Find Files on My Passport for Mac

Before we explain how to retrieve lost files using Western Digital recovery software for Mac, you should double-check that the files are really lost.

Instead of rummaging through your WD My Passport drive folder by folder like a treasure hunter searching for lost loot, we recommend you take advantage of Finder’s search feature, making it your own personal Sherlock Holmes.

If you remember the names of your lost files, then you can do the following:

  1. Launch Finder.
  2. Click the magnifier glass icon in the top-right corner.
  3. Type in the name of the file you’re searching for and press Return/Enter.
  4. Specify that you want to search only the external drive. finder search specific file
  5. Look for your files.

If you don’t remember the names of your lost files, then you can tell Finder to find all files of the same file type:

  1. Launch Finder.
  2. Click the magnifier glass icon in the top-right corner and type in any search term you want (you can immediately delete it).
  3. Specify that you want to search only the external drive.
  4. Click the Plus icon below the search bar.
  5. Choose Kind in the far-left pop-up menu.
  6. Specify the kind of files you want Finder to locate.finder search kind
Note: Are you having trouble following our instructions because your drive is not showing up in Finder? Then you should check out our list of fixes.

How to Retrieve Files from My Passport on Mac

Okay, so your data is really nowhere to be found, which means it’s time to retrieve it. We will describe two methods: one inexpensive (WD My Passport for Mac data recovery software) and the other one potentially costly (data recovery services). Obviously, we recommend you start with the first method and consider the second one only as a last resort.

Method 1: Use Data Recovery Software

To recover data from a WD My Passport drive, you need to connect the hard drive to your Mac and use a suitable data recovery software application to retrieve lost data from it.

For the purposes of this article, we’re using a data recovery software application called Disk Drill, which we selected because of its ease of use, great performance, and generous free trial version that lets you preview all recoverable files without paying.

Here’s how to recover lost data using Disk Drill from a WD My Passport drive:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill on your computer.Install Disk Drill
  2. Connect the hard drive you want to recover.
  3. Launch Disk Drill and scan the hard drive.Scan your hard drive
  4. Select the files you want to recover.
  5. Click the Recover button and specify a suitable recovery destination.Select recovery destination

Method 2: Use a Data Recovery Service

data recovery service

Has your DIY data recovery attempt made you feel like a stranded sailor in the middle of a data ocean? Don’t worry! A rescue boat in the form of data recovery services is just an email or phone call away. As you can guess, data recovery services specialize in recovering valuable data from storage devices like your WD My Passport drive.

From solving simple cases of accidental deletion or formatting to performing complicated repairs of physical damage, data recovery services can tackle just about every cause of data loss and succeed even where DIY solutions fail.

As a Western Digital customer, you can retain the warranty status of your drive if your data recovery service of choice provides you with written verification of the data recovery job on its company letterhead, as explained on Western Digital’s support page.

Western Digital has several data recovery partners around the world:

  • Americas: Secure Data Recovery Services, DriveSavers Data Recovery,, Ontrack Data Recovery
  • Europe, Middle East, and Africa:, Secure Data Recovery Services, DriveSavers Data Recovery, Ontrack Data Recovery
  • Asia, Pacific, and Japan: DriveSavers Data Recovery,, Secure Data Recovery Services, Ontrack Data Recovery

Just remember that data recovery services come at a cost, and that cost can be quite substantial. If the lost data is very valuable to you, then spending a larger sum of money to get it back might be a good deal. But if the data is expendable, then we recommend you give data recovery software one more try and, if it fails to deliver the desired results, cut your losses.


Recovering data from your WD My Passport drive on Mac doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With easy-to-use data recovery software like Disk Drill, it can be a matter of a few simple steps. And if that fails, then you can always contact a data recovery service and pay experienced professionals to have a go at it.