So you can fix all problems with hard drives on Mac — 2022

Any kind of hardware is doomed to present errors during its useful life. In the case of hard drives, whether internal or external, it can be somewhat complicated since we store a lot of information here. The moment something of this fails, we can get very nervous since we think we have lost the information, but in the case of external storage units, it can be saved.

The first thing to check

It may seem too obvious, but if you recently bought the drive and forgot check your compatibility , it may not be functional with macOS. In recent times, most accessories of this type are used for both Windows PCs and Macs, even if the format has to be changed. However, we continue to find some with limitations that prevent it from being so. Therefore, we recommend that you previously consult the guides that came with the disc and even in the box itself, since sometimes it usually appears there. You can also contact the manufacturer in case they can help you solve your doubts.

How to change the format

If the compatibility problem is due to the format of the disk that you have connected, you will have to put a format that is compatible with the Mac. It may not be recognized in Finder, but it will appear as connected in Disk Utility, so that you should follow these steps to put the APFS format compatible with the Mac:

  1. With the drive connected, open Disk Utility.
  2. Click on the disk in question in the left sidebar.
  3. locate the button Erase that appears in the top center toolbar.
  4. Choose the format APFS for the disk.
  5. Click OK.

Once you have done this, the disk will be formatted and will be left with the new format selected. This process could take several minutes, although it usually takes a few seconds. Now, you should keep in mind that all data will be erased of the disk, so if you store something important you must save it in another way beforehand.

What to do if an external hard drive or pendrive does not work

Although we are currently in the world of clouds to store data, physical storage devices They are still present in our day to day. The famous USB flash drives or external hard drives can be very useful for transferring information when we do not have a stable internet connection. But unfortunately, like any other type of hardware, it can cause some other problem.

Anyone throughout their journey through technology has found themselves in the situation of connect a pendrive or external hard drive to the Mac and it does not appear anywhere. In these cases, you must remain calm since the first thing you will think is that all the information has been lost, but it may not be so. There are always a few steps you can take to try to force your Mac to recognize your device.

Check that the device works

On many occasions when you have an external hard drive that does not work, the problem lies in the cable that connects it to the computer. In these cases, what should be done is find a new cable to test or connect the external device to another computer. It seems unbelievable but on many occasions the cable can play a very tricky trick because normally the quality of these is not very good. That is why if you want to keep all your data safe, it is better to get a new cable and not use the one that comes standard with the storage unit.

Obviously when you are dealing with a flash drive, you cannot do this cable check, but you can look at the read and write LEDs that are included. When these LEDs are flashing it means that the hardware is working perfectly. and the problem will be on the Mac itself.

Go to 'Disk Utility'

If you notice that the device works normally, either by seeing the LEDs or because you have tried it on another computer, you simply have to go to the native application ' Disk Utility'. This is a tool that shows the information of both the internal hard drive of the Mac and those that are connected.

format hard drive macOn the side it is possible detect all drives that are connected but there are some that are in light gray. This means that for some reason the computer has not been able to mount it so you must select it and in the main panel at the top click on 'Mount'. If this does not work, you can also click on 'First help' so that the software performs the appropriate checks on its operation. In this way, the hard drive will surely already appear on your desktop to be able to access it.

Also from this software we can take the opportunity to drag the icon of the hard drive or flash drive in question to the Dock to force the creation of the direct access.

Activate the view of external disks in Finder

Sometimes the most basic solutions are the ones that work best. Although it is absurd by default Apple hides external storage drives in Finder surely to avoid creating many accesses that end up harassing. In order to display these external storage units, you simply have to follow these steps:

  1. There will be a Finder window.
  2. In the upper corner click on 'Finder' and go to 'Preferences'.
  3. In the Preferences window that will open, mark the section that says 'External disks'.

Reset the SMC of the Mac

If none of these solutions have worked for you, you should opt for a more aggressive measure such as resetting the system management controller (SMC) . Restoring this driver usually solves most of the problems you may have with your Mac. In order to do so, you will have to follow a few simple steps depending on the equipment you have in your possession.

MacBook with T2 chip

  1. Turn off the computer.
  2. press the keys Control + Option + Right Shift.
  3. Hold them down for 7 seconds and then hold down the power button as well.
  4. After 7 more seconds, release all the keys and start the computer normally.


  1. Turn off your computer and unplug it from power.
  2. Wait 15 seconds and plug it back in.
  3. Boot the computer normally.


MacBook with non-removable battery

If you have a MacBook without a T2 chip and also with a battery that cannot be removed, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. press the keys Left Shift + Left Control + Left Option + Power Button.
  3. Hold down the keys for 10 seconds.
  4. Release the keys and start your Mac computer normally.

Make use of Terminal

One of the options to take into account as a last possible resource to be able to solve it involves the terminal. There is a tool called fsck and it is really complex. Keep in mind that using it can cause you to permanently lose everything on the drive, specifically because of how extreme it can get. This also adds to the fact that it is a relatively fast process. What it will try at all times is to force the drive to be recognized by the Mac even if it goes through the complete formatting of it and with a complete deletion of the files. That is why you should do it only when they have not been resolved with the previous solutions and especially if you want to recover the information.

In this case, the steps to follow on your Mac are as follows:

  1. Open Terminal through Finder.
  2. Write the command on the main line diskil list.
  3. All disks that are mounted and not mounted will be displayed. Find the drive that is not recognized.
  4. You will see an address like / dev / disk1 that you must write down to later use this in the command as such to identify on which to perform the operation.
  5. Reboot your computer and hold down Command + S as it boots up.
  6. On the command line type /sbin/fsck_hfs -fy /dev/disk1 (The term disk1 must be modified depending on what has been reflected in step four).

What to do if the internal hard drive of the Mac is not recognized

Without a doubt one of the flakiest situations you can have on your Mac is when you open it up and a folder with a question mark appears . In these cases, it is when you should start shaking because it means that the Mac is not recognizing the hard drive correctly and it is possible to start from it. In these cases where it is not possible to run the operating system, we have no option to access disk utility to check what is happening.

Therefore we find that it is most likely that a unit change will have to be made. In old units it can be done by an 'amateur' user in a simple way. But in the event that we are talking about a recent generation Mac, this will require taking it to a SAT to be diagnosed and do the disk change if necessary. Sometimes the connector may be faulty or the hard drive may have reached the end of its life. Luckily, specialized sites can extract the information from these disks that have stopped working but are in perfect physical condition. That is why you should not worry about your information but you will be forced to take out your wallet to make a payment for the services.

Magnetic hard disk (HDD)

Request an appointment at Apple or a SAT

There are several ways to make an appointment, either at an Apple Store or at a technical service authorized by the Californian company:

  • From the Apple support website
  • By phone (900 150 503 is free from Spain)
  • Going to the store in person and discussing your problem
  • From the Support app available in the iOS and iPadOS App Store

It should be noted that through these routes you can also request an appointment at a SAT (Authorized Technical Service). It is also possible to arrange a collection if you cannot attend in person and you want it to be sent to the technical service through a courier service, although this could add a small cost for shipping costs. It is important as long as they are fully authorized Apple stores. In this case you will have access to all the services and have reliable repairs and completely original parts provided by Apple itself.

Will they fix your Mac or give you a new one?

If possible, Apple will repair your device and deliver it to you as quickly as possible. Of course, if the failure is affecting other components or for any reason they classify it as irreparable, they will give you a Refurbished Mac identical to yours in features and fully functional. It should be noted that this model that they can offer you has the same guarantees of several years in case any type of problem arises.

In some cases, especially if your Mac is already old, they will give you a new generation equivalent to yours in terms of specifications. In any case, they will inform you of the entire process during the appointment you make with the technical service or, failing that, they will tell you about it by phone or email if you have had to leave it there for them to review it.

How much will have to pay for it?

Unfortunately there is no set price for these types of repairs, as it can vary depending on the Mac model and whether there are any other hardware issues. In any case, they will always offer you a quote prior to the repair or replacement, so you can always accept it or not.

In some cases it may even be offered to you completely. free as long as the problem is due to a factory defect that is totally unrelated to you and to misuse on your part. For this, it is also essential that the Mac is still within the warranty period with Apple. Remember that this period is 26 months if you originally bought it in a brand store and the first 12 months if you bought it in another store.

And you, have you had any problems with your Mac or external hard drives? Leave us your impressions in the comment box.