WD My Passport Hard Drive Is Not Showing Up on a Mac: How to Fix

wd my passport is not showing up on mac

WD hard drive not showing up on your Mac? It’s more common than you think. Fortunately, it might just be an easy fix depending on what caused it.

Below, we quickly discuss the 4 possible reasons why your WD My Passport for Mac is not working. We also wrote a list of all the (free) fixes ordered by difficulty with step-by-step instructions and screenshots to guide you along the way.

Finally, we show you how to restore data from a newly formatted drive should formatting be the only way. Read on.

Why WD My Passport Won’t Show Up on Mac

Diagnosing your drive will give you a better idea on how to avoid this problem in the future. There are 4 common reasons why WD My Passport is now showing up on your Mac:

🖥️ macOS display settingsmacOS lets users decide what devices they want to be displayed both in Finder and on the desktop. Maybe you changed these settings and you didn’t notice. We’ll show you how to change it back in the next section.
🔌 Drive not mountingmacOS needs to mount your drive not only to be able to read and write data to it, but even just to recognize it. There are a bunch of plausible reasons why your WD My Passport for Mac is not recognized – in fact, fixing a non-mounting drive is easier than diagnosing it. We included all possible solutions in the next section.
⚡ CorruptionCorruption can cause your drive not to mount properly or even initiate a connection with your Mac. Corruption can also be caused by many things: virus infections, improper ejection, buggy software, and more.
🔨 Physical damageWD My Passport drives are susceptible to heat damage, waterlogging, and scratches as a result of dust, debris, or dropping/bumping it. This can cause corruption and other logical damage that usually result in data loss.

How to Fix WD My Passport That Isn’t Showing Up on Mac

Depending on why your Western Digital hard drive is not showing up on your Mac, there are multiple fixes we can try. We ordered this list by difficulty, so you can try them one by one.

Fix 1: Check Your Display Settings for External Drives

First, let’s make sure that your drive isn’t just hidden. macOS allows users to change what devices get displayed both on the desktop and in Finder. So if you’re expecting to see your drive in those places but it only appears in Disk Utility (Finder > Applications > Utilities), this may be the case. To unhide your drive from Finder and your desktop, do this:

While Finder is open, hit Finder > Preferences on the Apple menu bar. In the “General” tab, make sure “External disks” is selected.

General tab in the Finder Preferences window

In the “Sidebar” tab under “Locations”, make sure “External disks” is selected.

Sidebar tab in the Finder Preferences window

Fix 2: Reboot Your Mac

Your Mac could have gotten stuck while refreshing itself in the process of mounting your drive. This is especially true if your WD My Passport for Mac is not showing up when you have a lot of apps open. This means macOS ran out of enough resources to mount your drive.

Reboot it and avoid opening too many apps while working with your drive.

Fix 3: Use Another Cable/Port/Mac

This may seem obvious, but try swapping cables and ports. Macs are notoriously vulnerable to dust and debris, so it’s not impossible that a dirty port is preventing your Mac from recognizing the WD My Passport. Cables are also easy to break but don’t always show damage on the outside. You can also try cleaning your equipment with a dry microfiber cloth.

If you already cleaned your ports and connectors and you’ve tried multiple cables, connect your WD My Passport to another Mac.

Fix 4: Use Disk Utility’s First Aid Tool

Even if your WD My Passport is not showing up on your desktop or in Finder, it may show up in Disk Utility. Disk Utility’s First Aid tool automatically scans for and repairs file system errors, and has helped many users fix their corruption problem.

Launch Disk Utility (Finder > Applications > Utilities), select your drive, and click “First Aid.”

First Aid button in the Disk Utility window

Fix 5: Reset Your Mac’s NVRAM (For Intel-based Macs)

NVRAM (nonvolative random-access memory) stores data about device connections. This includes startup disks and external disks. Resetting NVRAM will let your Mac redo its connection with your hard drive with a fresh memory.

For Apple Silicon Macs, there’s no way to manually reset your device’s NVRAM. Your Mac will do it for you automatically.

To reset your Mac’s NVRAM, turn off your device. Then power it up and immediately hold the following keys: (CMD + Option + P + R). On older Macs, let go once you hear the second chime. For T2 Macs, let go once you see the logo appear the second time.

💡 This is a great fix to try for external device problems, such as if your USB pen drive or SD card is not showing up on your Mac or you notice missing data.

Fix 6: Format Your WD My Passport Drive

If none of the above fixes work, your last resort is to format your drive. This process will fix 2 issues: (1) if you’re using an incompatible file system, you can reformat your WD drive and use one that is compatible (such as ExFat, FAT32, or NTFS). (2) Severe corruption, errors, and viruses that were not addressed by other repair methods will all be wiped at once.

Warning: Formatting your drive will also delete all the data stored on it. We strongly encourage you to go through the data recovery section of this article before proceeding.

To format your WD My Passport drive:

Step 1. Launch Disk Utility (Finder > Applications > Utilities). Then, select your drive and click “Erase.”Erase button in the Disk Utility window

Step 2. Name your drive and select its new Format (we suggest ExFAT maximum compatibility).Disk Utility erase drive dialogue

How to Recover Data from WD Drive that Isn’t Showing Up

If you ended up having to format your drive, you’ll notice that it’s empty – after all, wiping the data on your drive is part of the process. Fortunately, we can restore data from formatted drives using data recovery software.

For this article, we’ll be using Disk Drill. Like Disk Utility, Disk Drill can usually detect a drive even if it doesn’t show up in Finder. We use Disk Drill a lot for Macgasm articles because of its excellent recovery rate and beginner-friendly GUI (graphical user interface), making it the perfect demo software for our readers. Here’s how to use it:

If your WD passport is not showing up in Disk Utility, Disk Drill won’t be able to recognize it either. Try the fixes in the last section of the article to get your WD My Passport or WD My Passport Ultra drive to show up first.

Step 1. Download and install Disk Drill.

Step 2. Open Finder > Applications, and double-click the Disk Drill icon.
Disk Drill app in the Finder Applications window

Step 3. Select your WD drive and click “Search for lost data.”
Disk Drill drive selection screen

Step 4. Once Disk Drill is done scanning your drive, click the “Review found items” button.
Disk Drill scanning screen

Step 5. Find the files you need faster by using the filters in the left sidebar or typing file names or extensions in the search bar.
Disk Drill file selection

Step 6. You can also preview your files. Hover your mouse pointer to the right of any file name and click the eye button to open a separate preview window. Or, if you prefer, you can enable preview panel by clicking icon on top of the window.
Disk Drill WD drive file preview

Step 7. Tick the boxes beside the files you want to restore, then click “Recover.” You can also leave all the items blank and click “Recover All.”
Disk Drill file selection

Step 8. Select a folder on your computer where Disk Drill will save the recovered files. Then, click “Next.”
Disk Drill save dialogue

Disk Drill Basic for Mac doesn’t offer free data recovery. However, you can preview as many files as you want for free. This is great for figuring out if your files are actually salvageable. Free data recovery exists, but they all have their own limitations.

Keep Your WD My Passport Drive Healthy

It’s inevitable to have problems with any storage device once in a while – but you can build some good habits around your drives to prolong their lifespan.

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Handle your drive with care. Hard drives are especially prone to corruption and damage due to their spinning disk. Light bumps or drops (especially when the device is in use) can already scratch the disk, causing issues.
  • Always safely remove the drive. Disconnecting your drive without properly ejecting it can result in corruption and damage over time (as you are interrupting its read and write processes).
  • Avoid overheating. Too much heat can warp and damage the drive’s mechanical components.
  • Regularly back up your data. Keep an updated copy of your data so you can regularly format and defragment your drive to keep it running optimally. And storage devices are consumable, so they will fail eventually.
  • Keep your drive clean and dust-free. Dust and debris can cause micro-scratches on a drive’s sensitive mechanical parts. This is enough to cause corruption or damage.


There is a wide range of possibilities that can cause your WD My Passport to not show up on your Mac. It may be a hardware issue, a change of settings, or severe corruption or damage. Fortunately, there are fixes for most of them – just note that you may wipe your data in the process, so make sure you’ve secured your files before proceeding.

In fact, we strongly encourage you to regularly back up your files in the future (using Time Machine or some other backup software) so you’re free to repair your drive whenever this or any problem happens again. And make sure to keep your drive safe, clean, and far away from the sun or water!


To use WD My Passport Ultra for Mac, plug it into your device and allow the drive to install the required drivers. After the initial setup, you can freely drag-and-drop the files you want to copy. Make sure to click the eject button before you disconnect your drive to avoid corruption. You may also want to download WD Discovery to backup your data and monitor the health of your drive.
To format WD Passport for Mac:

  1. Connect your WD Passport to your Mac, then launch Disk Utility (Finder > Applications > Disk Utility).
  2. Select your drive from the left sidebar, then click “Erase.”
  3. For Scheme, choose “GUID.” For Format, choose “ExFAT.” Name your drive, then click “Erase.” If you are setting it up to be an internal drive, choose HFS+ or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for its format.

Remember that formatting your drive will wipe the data.

To view files on My Passport on your Mac, connect the drive to your machine and select it in the left sidebar of the Finder window. Double-click your files to open them. If your My Passport drive doesn’t show up on your desktop or in Finder:

  1. With Finder open, click “Finder” in the Apple menu bar > Preferences
  2. Make sure “External disks” is selected in both the General tab and the Sidebar tab.

Yes, the WD (Western Digital) Passport is compatible with macOS right out of the box. However, it needs to have a Mac-compatible file system installed (such as HFS+ or APFS) in order for you to use it.

A WD Unlocker is a tool developed by Western Digital that can help you access an encrypted WD drive and access its data. You can also enable its auto-unlock feature to automatically access an encrypted drive upon connection.
To reset your WD hard drive password, you can use the WD Security app developed by Western Digital. Here’s a link to the official website’s download page. It has an option to change your password (click My Password drive icon > Change Password). Make sure that you click Update Security Settings before exiting the menu.
No, you technically do not need any Western Digital software to use a WD external hard drive. However, you may consider installing some of their tools to create backups or monitor your drive’s health.
Alejandro Santos
Chief Writer
Alejandro is Macgasm’s Chief Writer and Apple ecosystem enthusiast. He pens the majority of troubleshooting guides and software reviews for this website, tapping into his love for technology and extensive background in technical writing. He started his career by helping… Full Bio