External hard drive sleeps when you aren’t reading or writing data from the storage medium or when Mac sleeps. macOS powers down the hard drive’s motor to save energy. But this energy-saving feature could hinder the use of some applications (e.g. video editing or pro audio tool) that work better with uninterrupted read-write access to the external hard drive.
In this blog, we’ll share a variety of D-I-Y methods on how to resolve external hard drive sleep problems on Mac.
Methods to Fix External Hard Drive Sleep Issue
1. Reconnect the External Hard Drive
Activate your sleeping external hard drive by reconnecting it to your Mac. The drive will now be visible in Finder, and you can access the storage medium for read-write operation.
2. Reboot Your Mac
With the external hard drive connected, reboot your Mac to fix any system misconfiguration, error, or otherwise. It’ll revive the inactive external storage drive, and you can use it as usual.
3. Tweak macOS Sleep Setting
To resolve Mac external hard drive sleep issue, correct the default sleep setting from the Energy Saver window. Steps are as follows:
Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Energy Saver.
2. From the Energy Saver window, deselect “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” checkbox in Battery and Power Adapter panel.
Now, your external hard disk will remain active. This setting won’t affect SSD, as it doesn’t have any moving component.
4. Reinstall Hard Drive Software
Incompatible hard drive software can prevent macOS from performing correctly. So, uninstall the driver from your Mac. Next, visit the manufacturer’s website and download the latest, compatible driver. Now, install the driver to fix the external hard drive sleep problem.
5. Install the Latest Version of macOS
Bugs in Mac OS X or macOS may also result in the external hard drive sleep problem. Update or upgrade the operating system to the latest version to patch up the issue. Steps are as follows:
Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update.
If updates are available, click the Update Now button.
For macOS High Sierra, Sierra, El Captain, or an earlier version, perform the following:
Open App Store then click Updates from the toolbar.
Click the UPDATE ALL button to download and install the available updates.
If you have Mac OS X Lion or Snow Leopard, execute the following:
Create a backup of your external hard drive before performing this fix. Once you have backed up all your valuable data, perform the following steps:
Open Disk Utility.
Select the external hard drive from the left panel then click the Erase tab.
Specify the name, format, and other details then click Erase.
Once the erase operation completes, restore the backed up data to the drive.
We hope this post will help you resolve your external hard drive sleep problem. Troubleshoot by reconnecting the external hard drive or rebooting your Mac. Go to Energy Saver window from System Preferences and ensure you deselect “Put hard disk to sleep when possible” checkbox. If the issue persists, try reinstalling hard drive software. Also, install the latest version of macOS.
In case the issue is with your external storage drive, repair the drive by using First Aid or fsck command. As a last resort, back up the drive, erase, then restore the backed up data. In any accidental data loss scenario, use the best Mac data recovery software to salvage your lost data.
Vishal is a data recovery expert @Stellar. He addresses data loss scenarios on a Mac. He intends to help people solve their macOS problems. Besides, Vishal prefers to read autobiographies, and his personal favorite is of Steve Jobs.