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How to Solve – Mac Can’t Find Hard Drive after Mojave Upgrade

Vishal  | Updated on February 8, 2021 | Mac hard drive recovery   | 4 Comments   | 4 min read

Summary: In this blog post, we present a few reasons as to why macOS Mojave on your iMac, Mac mini or MacBook Pro might not find or detect an external hard drive after macOS 10.14 Mojave upgrade. We also share the solutions to resolve the plausible root causes of undetectable external hard drive after Mojave upgrade.

As a bonus, we will also share an easy method for recovering the data from the undetectable drive so that at least the data is rescued while you troubleshoot the original problem in the drive or macOS.

So, before you read further, download a free trial of Stellar Data Recovery Professional application on your Mac.

How to Solve – Mac Can’t Find Hard Drive after Mojave Upgrade
Reason Mac Can’t find your Hard Drive? Resolution of the Issue?
1.     Connector Issue: You may have not connected the hard drive correctly to your MacBook or iMac USB Port. Or, the connecting cables may have got damaged, or the connecting port may be non-functional.–      Restart your Mac as a first step


–      Use a working port for the USB cable (Thunderbolt, FireWire, or USB 3.0/2.0)

–      Reconnect external storage drive

–      Change the connector cable

–      Connect to a different USB port

–      Connect to other Mac

2.     Mojave’s Preference Issue: You may have not set your preferences that make the external storage drive visible on Desktop or Finder in macOS Mojave.–      To show drive visibility in the desktop: Go to Finder > Preferences > General tab > check External disks


–      To show drive visibility in Finder: Go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar tab > check External disks

3.     Incompatible File System: macOS Mojave will not recognize NTFS, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, or other incompatible file system format. Even older versions of macOS will not identify the device erased with APFS format (introduced with High Sierra).–      Connect the drive to a compatible computer (Windows PC for NTFS; Linux for Ext2, Ext3, or Ext4)


–      Backup the data, then format the drive to a common file system format (e.g., ex-FAT as both Mac and Windows support it) and finally restore the data to the drive

–      Alternatively, use a third-party utility that allows read and write operation with particular file system format such as NTFS for Mac

4.     File System Corruption: The hard drive’s file system is corrupt due to logical errors, bad blocks/sectors, incomplete erasure, or other reasons.



File system damage results in non-mounting of the drive in Finder. However, the drive may still be visible through the Disk Utility.

–      Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Disk Utility


–      If the connected drive is visible in Disk Utility, then select the greyed out external drive and click Mount

–      Click First Aid to fix drive issues

–      Use Terminal to know more about the external drive, eject it, and remount the drive again

–      Inspect your external drive via Console to find log and error information to pinpoint the non-detection issue

–      Erase the external drive via Disk Utility (Warning: ensure that you have the backup of the drive or else use a Mac data recovery software to recover data before erasing the drive)

5.     Hard Drive Failure: If the connected external hard drive is not visible via the Disk Utility then chances are that the drive has undergone physical damage due to head crash, scratches on its platter, component failure, and others.



Or, the hard drive may have severe logical corruption which is beyond the repair capabilities of the Disk Utility.

–      Consult the manufacturer of the drive if the media is still under warranty. Send your drive to a reliable Mac data recovery service provider for initial diagnosis and potential data recovery


–      Replace the damaged storage drive

Do-it-Yourself: Recover the Data when Mac can’t find Drive after Mojave Upgrade

Consider Stellar Data Recovery Professional software if you wish to recover data from a non-detected external hard drive after the Mojave upgrade. It can help you get back your erased files, even if you have already erased the external hard drive on macOS Mojave.

The software offers an easy-to-use interface to select the connected drive that is not recognized via Finder, perform a rigorous scan, and recover data to an external storage location.

Watch this quick video to know how to get back the inaccessible data by using the “Can’t find volume” feature of Stellar Data Recovery Professional.

Apart from facilitating data recovery in the case of can’t find external hard drive after the Mojave upgrade, the software also recovers lost data from any logical data loss scenarios. It includes permanent file deletion, emptying of Trash, file system corruption, erasure of storage drive, volume loss, encryption of volume, and such.

Stellar Data Recovery Professional supports macOS Big Sur, Catalina and Mojave and can recover lost, deleted, or inaccessible data from MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, and other Mac devices. It also recovers data from external HDDs, SSDs, SD Cards, and USB Flash Drives with APFS, HFS+, HFS, FAT, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS file system format.


The blog presented the case where users cannot find the external hard drive when connected to their Mac. The issue can be as trivial as connection problem or as critical as hard drive failure. In case of logical failure, using a data recovery software is recommended. The suggested third-party utility — Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac — is an ideal choice if your external hard drive does not show up when connected to your Mac that has undergone macOS Big Sur, Catalina, and Mojave upgrade.

Try out the software here; click the Free Download button to get a copy of the application on your Mac.


Install the utility and launch it to evaluate, scan, and preview. If you desire to save the recoverable files, the software prompts you to activate. (Watch activation video)

Visit the Stellar Data Recovery Professional Activation Page

Once activated, you are ready to save your lost data from the external drive to another drive of equal or larger size. The activated utility has an additional benefit in the form of Drive Monitor, which allows monitoring, mapping, and cloning of storage drive.

  1. Franklin Jones February 28, 2019
    • Vishal February 28, 2019
  2. Darren Robertson December 27, 2018
    • Vishal December 28, 2018

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