External Hard Drive Mount Mac App


Most Android smartphones come with 64 GB of storage. But if you have an old smartphone, chances are you’ll have either 16 or 32 GB variant. Thankfully, you can easily expand the memory by using external storage, like a pen drive or a hard drive. This comes in handy when you are traveling and want to watch your favorite movies on the go.

Related: How to Use USB Flash Drive on Android and iOS

Now connecting a pen drive to an Android is simple. Simply buy a cheap OTG cable, then use it to connect your Android and Pendrive. Next, open any file manager such as Solid Explorer, look under the device menu, you will find your Pendrive. That’s it.

Feb 08, 2020  How to Partition an External Hard Drive on Mac. If you want to create multiple partitions on your external hard drive (in fact, you should for better file organization), here’s a step-by-step guide: Step 1: Highlight your drive and click “Partition” in Disk Utility. Open the Disk Utility app and highlight your external hard drive. Apr 14, 2020  Give the external hard drive a name. Choose ExFAT as the Format. Choose GUIDE as the Scheme. After the external hard drive is completely formatted, you need to safely eject it and replug it back to the computer. The Mac/MacBook can mount and read the external USB hard drive successfully now.

But what about connecting an external HDD to Android?

For instance, I want to use my 2 TB hard drive with my Android. Will, that work?

Well, Yes and NO.

Usually, external hard drives don’t work right out of the box with Android devices. Though in my testing, I found this to be a gray area. Since every Android runs a different version of OS and has a different manufacturer, it’s not possible to say anything for sure. For instance —

#1 Some low-end devices (like my dad’s moto e) do not support OTG. And there is nothing we can do here. To find out, if your device supports OTG or not, you can use USB OTG Helper. The app is free on Google play and does not need ROOT.

#2 Mid-range devices (like moto g) support OTG with pen drive but don’t detect external HDD formatted with NTFS and HFS+. We can fix this.

#3 And finally some high-end devices (like my Nexus6) support both FAT32 and NTFS volume without using any software. But, it can not read other formats like HFS or exFAT. We will see how to fix that.

Why my External HDD Don’t Work With Android?

When you connect an external hard drive to Android, you may face 2 problems.

#1 Hard Drive is not detected

You will either hear a clicking noise or the lights on your hard drive will not blink, this means the disk inside your drive is not spinning properly.

Reason: Unlike pen drives, External HDDs needs a lot more power. And if they are not externally powered then it will take power from the device itself. So, if your smartphone is not powerful enough to power an external HDD, then it will not work.

For instance, my WD 2TB hard drive works fine with Nexus 6 but doesn’t work on my raspberry pi without external power.

Solution: Use a powered USB hub or externally powered OTG cable.

#2 Hard drive is detected but not Opening

Reason: File system error. There are many file system out there and every O.S prefer one of their own. For instance, Android supports FAT32 by default and since pen drives are also in FAT32 format, we don’t face any problem with pen drives.

But, most external HDDs uses the NTFS file system (Windows default FS) and sometimes in HFS (MAC default FS). So this mismatch in file system results in the error.

Related: Why External HDD Do Not Work with All Operating System

So let’s see how to fix it. Well, we have two option here.

#1 Format your Hard drive

You can format your Hard drive to FAT32 using your computer and then use it on your Android. Since FAT32 is compatible with all OS, it will work right away with your Android, in fact, after this, you will never face compatibility issues with any platform.

Related How to format Hard drive on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android

However, I don’t recommend formatting HDD to FAT32. Why? Well, because FAT is an old file system and lacks important features like journaling (prevent data loss), encryption. And the maximum single file size is limited to 4GB.

#2 Use 3rd Party Apps

With this method, you can retain your original File System of your HDD. Simply use a free app like Paragon NTFS or Stick Mount to use it on your Android. I have been using this for months and never had any problem. So let’s see how it works

External HDD on Android

1. USB Media Importer (Paid)

This app is designed for Nexus devices, but based on its play store reviews, it also works with non-nexus devices like moto-x and many others. Though, before you spend money, make sure you try the USB Photo Viewer. It’s from the same dev but free.

Once you install this app, it will auto-detected an external drive and you can start using it right away. However, this is read-only i.e. you cannot copy data from your Android to external HDD. Moreover, it also does not support HFS formatted drives.

Bottom line: First, try other free alternatives and if they don’t work, go for it.

2. Total commander with USB – plugin

This is the most popular (and also a free) way to use NTFS formatted HDD on Android. Here you need to install two free apps from Google Play.

Find External Hard Drive Mac


First, install the total commander app – it’s a file browser that will help us to browse the content of our drive.

Next, install USB plugin for Total Commander— it’s an extension for the file browser that will do the actual job i.e. mounting the external Hard drive.

Once done, connect your hard drive to your Android using OTG cable. Again the app will recognize your volume and you will see a notification at the bottom saying, open the drive with Paragon UMS. However, if you don’t see the notification, then simply open the app and refresh it. It should work.

There is also an option to get write access. However, since this app is still in beta, the write feature didn’t work for me. But the good part is, along with NTFS, it can also read HFS formatted drives.

3. Stick Mount (Root)

This app is made by chainfire (the developer of SuperSU). Basically, stick mount helps you to mount an NTFS partition on Android. So, you will still need to have a file manager to browse the content of your drive.

Install Stick mount from Google play and then insert your external drive and it will automatically mount it. Usually, it mounts the drive under Sdcard > USB storage, but you can find the mount location by opening the app and tap on mount option.

Bottom line: It’s free and works well. However, it still does not let you write data on your drive, neither does it support HFS drive. So better try the next option.

4. Paragon HFS, NTFS, and exFAT (Root)

Paragon is popularly known for its software to access HFS drive on Windows and NTFS drive on MAC. And guess what, they have an android app as well but this time it’s free.

This app is similar to all the other app. Install the app, connect your external HDD and it will automatically mount it and show you the path. There is also an option to format your drive, but it’s hidden under settings.

Bottom line: This is the best way. It’s free and lets you both read and write, support both NTFS drive and HFS. However, even though it’s in the name, it actually does not support exFAT (since its Microsoft propriety format) but you can use stick mount for that.

If nothing works?

Usually, an external HDD require you to plug in a cable to your computer (or in this case to your Android). But thanks to modern technology, we now have Wireless Hard drives. And it does what it says, i.e. it when you press a button on this HDD, it’ll create a Hotspot, which you can connect from your smartphone and then browse all the content of the drive using a File manager app.

You can stream your HDD from multiple devices (usually not more than 3 devices). And it also has a built-in battery, so you can use it while traveling in a car or train. However, on the flip side. It’ll cost twice as much for the same storage. For instance, a typical Seagate 1 TB external HDD cost you around $60, while a Seagate Wireless Plus 1TB will cost around $140. The HDD supports NTFS by default. So, you can not use on iOS devices.

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Most of the time, when you connect an external hard drive to your Mac’s USB port, you soon see it mount on the desktop. Apple likes to ensure these are easy to find, so they also appear in the Finder in the left-hand column under Devices, since Mac’s treat them the same way as another computer.

However, sometimes, an external hard drive doesn't show up. It’s annoying, especially when you need to transfer something right then. And besides, there can be a risk that data on the external USB pen, hard, or flash drive is corrupt, which means you can’t transfer what you need between devices at all.

Corrupt data can be one reason your Mac won't recognize an external drive, but there are other reasons too. Let’s take a look why this is happening and how you can get an external drive to appear on your Mac and get recover data to access to your documents.

How to fix an external disk drive that won't show up on a Mac

Why an external disk drive is not showing up? There could be a few reasons why a USB flash drive isn’t making an appearance.

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Open an External Drive Not Showing on Mac

Get a huge set of top utilities for troubleshooting external hard drives not mounting on a Mac

Start with the basics:

  1. Check whether the drive is properly plugged in. It sounds obvious, but since this relies on a wire - either a USB cable or HDMI cable - if it’s not connected properly then it won’t appear on your desktop.
  2. Faulty cable. Assuming it’s plugged in correctly, not wobbly or loose, the cable could be at fault. Try connecting the same device with a different cable.
  3. Damaged USB or flash drive port. It could be a hardware issue with the Mac. If you’ve got another port, try connecting the device to that one.
  4. Reboot your Mac. Sometimes, if a USB disk won't boot, the cause is macOS issue. Hopefully, some data damage that can be fixed by restarting. Choose the Apple menu > Restart. Or press and hold the power button and, when a dialog box appears, click the Restart or press R. Restarting your Mac essentially clears your macOS’s memory and starts it up fresh.
  5. Incorrectly formatted drive. Not every external drive is optimized for Macs. It could be that you are trying to connect something only fit to interact with Windows devices. If you’ve got a PC or laptop, it’s worth connecting and seeing if you can access the files through another device. The best way to look for an incorrectly formatted drive is to go to
    Apple (in the top toolbar menu) > About This Mac > Storage.
    See if the external drive shows up here. For more information, go to the same menu option, then select System Report.
  6. Mac not formatted to display external drives on the desktop. It could be that your Mac already recognizes the device, but just isn’t showing its icon on the desktop screen. Even if that is the case, the drive will still appear in the left-hand column of the Finder menu under Devices. You should be able to access your drive that way, and, in the Finder menu under Preferences > General, you can check External Drives to ensure that from now on it shows up on your desktop too.
  7. Reset NVRAM. To do this, shut down or restart your Mac, switch it back on and immediately press these four keys together for at least 20 seconds: Option, Command, P, and R. It should look as though your Mac has started again; if it has, release the keys when you hear the second startup chime. Hopefully, the hard drive has shown up now.
  8. Check Apple’s Disk Utility to see if an external drive is showing up. Disk Utility is within System Preferences, or you can find it using Spotlight. If it is visible, then click the option to Mount, which should make it visible on the desktop and in the External Drives option in the Finder menu.

Unfortunately, if none of those options has worked and the external drive still isn’t visible, then it could have crashed, or be well and truly broken. But there might still be a way you can recover the data on the external drive.

How to show connected devices in Finder

  1. Go to the Finder menu and select Preferences (Cmd+comma).
  2. From General tab tick External disks to ensure that from now on it shows on the desktop.

In the Sidebar tab you can choose which folders and devices will be shown in the left-hand column of the Finder window.

How to add cloud storages to Finder

You can also mount cloud storage as local drive on your Mac. By connecting Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon to your computer, you get more space for securely accessing and sharing files. For your ease, add cloud drives to Finder with CloudMounter app, so that you keep them close at hand. You can read detailed instructions on managing cloud storage as local drives here.

Repair the failed external drives with First Aid

If your drive is having problems, you can try to fix them yourself with First Aid and therefore get access to your files. First Aid tool will check the disk for errors and then attempt a repair as needed. It helps to verify and repair a range of issues related to startup HD and external drive problems. If you are able to fix the hard drive or SSD in your Mac (or an external drive) using Disk Utility you will hopefully be able to recover your files.

To run Fist Aid on an external hard drive:

  1. Open Disk Utility. You can searching for it using Spotlight Search or via Finder > Application > Utility
  2. Check on your external hard drive, click the First Aid tab and select Run to start running diagnostics.

If First Aid successful in fixing errors, the external drive should be available to mount. If the utility unable to repair issues, your drive truly is broken or formatted using a file system that the Mac cannot read - in this way we suggest you follow the next steps to recover data from a damaged disk drive.

How to recover data from a crashed drive

Thankfully, there is an app for that. Disk Drill is the world’s premier data recovery software for Mac OS X. Powerful enough to retrieve long-lost, mistakenly deleted files from Macs, external hard drives and USB drives and camera cards.

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An easy way to recover lost files on an external hard drive

Providing you already have Disk Drill Pro version, which you can get automatically by downloading from Setapp:

  1. Connect your drive to the Mac.
  2. Quit all other applications on the Mac, especially those that may be trying to access the external drive (e.g. iPhoto, Words)
  3. Launch Disk Drill.
  4. Click on the external drive that you are trying to recover files from. If it has partitions, you will see all of them. If, however, you still don’t see any volume to the external drive then you may need to try some of the steps above again or read the Disk Drill Scanning FAQs.
  5. To avoid the external drive being accessed during the recovery process, click Extras next to the drive or drive partition or file, then select Remount Volume As Read Only. A padlock will appear, protecting the drive during the process.
  6. Now click Rebuild (or Recover) next to the file(s) you are trying to recover. Once the scan is finished - it may take some time if the files are large - a list of files will appeal.
  7. Next, click Mount Found Items as Disk button on the bottom-left below the scan results.
  8. Disk Drill “strongly suggest saving the files to a different drive than the one you are trying to recover files from. Saving to the same drive substantially lowers your chances of recovery.”
  9. A drive icon will appear, which once you double click will give you the option to open the files as you would do before they were lost. Drag them to another location, such as your desktop or a folder on your Mac.
  10. Open the files to ensure they have been recovered properly and safely eject the external drive.

Disk Drill does have other ways to recover lost files but assuming there aren’t complications, this method is the most effective. Disk Drill Pro recovery app is available from Setapp, along with dozens of Mac apps that will make your life easier. Never have to worry about a crashed or corrupted external drive again.

Apple Mac External Hard Drive

A few more tips on getting your files back

  1. Macs and third-party apps that look after Macs, such as Disk Drill and iStat Menus come with a S.M.A.R.T. (also known as Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) status monitor. If a SMART check reports errors, then it could mean the hard drive is at risk of failing completely. Within Disk Utility and Disk Drill, there are several solutions for this: Repair Disk Permissions and Repair Disk. If neither work, it’s recommended that you backup all of the data from the disk, erase, then run a SMART check again. The external hard drive should show up as Verified.
  2. Partitions can get lost within hard drives, temporarily hiding all of the information contained within. Disk Drill can help to identify and restore this information.
  3. Within Disk Drill, you can restore data when a hard drive is damaged or add formatting, which is also something Disk Utility can help with.
  4. CleanMyMac, another useful app available from Setapp, can help you identify external hard drive errors and repair them. It is an essential tool worth trying when you’re having external hard drive difficulties.

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External Hard Drive For A Mac

Alternative ways to recover data from an external hard drive

Reset the System Management Controller (SMC) if your Mac shuts down when you plug in an external hard drive. Then use a different port to connect the external hard drive. If you’ve got a battery that you can’t remove:

  • Shut down and unplug the power adapter
  • Press Shift-Control-Option and the power button at the same time. Do this for 10 seconds
  • Release all keys
  • Plug the power adapter back in and switch your Mac back on

External Hard Drive For Macbook

For Macs with removable batteries, you need to switch them off, remove the battery, then press and hold the power button for 5 seconds. After that, put the battery back in, plug in the power adapter and switch the power on again.

What’s your file format? One reason your Mac isn’t recognizing the hard drive is the file format. Windows uses NTFS file formats, while Macs, up until the introduction of Sierra, have used HFS+. Now, Apple has introduced the Apple File System (APFS) for newer operating systems. It is possible to format a hard drive so it can be read on Mac and Windows computers, providing you format using exFAT. However, if you’re having problems accessing the files and the issue is due to formatting, you will need to connect it to a device it can be read on, and then format the files correctly for the computer you are going to use it on next.

How to make Ext2/Ext3 drives readable on Mac

The common issue is Ext2- and Ext3-formatted drives are not readable on macOS. There are two ways to access such external drives on your Mac – via Linux OS or FUSE system. The easiest would be installing Linux to a secondary drive or virtual machine.

If you go with Linux installation, dual boot your Mac with Linux on another drive and use FAT32 as a transfer intermediary. If you don’t have a drive to install Linux to, use virtual machine as an interface for it. Transferring can be done the same way – with FAT32, or via network.

Another option for reading Ext2/Ext3 disks is mounting disk with Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE). Basically, it works as an extra interface enabling file system access via specially installed modules. Here’s how to mount drives with FUSE:

  1. Install FUSE for macOS or MacFUSE as well as fuse-ext2 module.
  2. Use the following Terminal command to enable Disk Utility’s debug menu and see all partitions: defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled 1
  3. Attach your Ext2/Ext3 drive and locate the device name via Disk Utility.
  4. In your user account, create a folder to be used as a mount point.
  5. Use the following Terminal command to mount the drive as read-only: fuse-ext2 /dev/disk2s2 /Volumes/mountpoint
  6. For write support, use the command: fuse-ext2 -o force /dev/disk2s2 /Volumes/mountpoint

And that’s not the only case where Terminal helps you access external drive.

Employ the handy all-powerful Terminal, which always comes forward with solutions for difficult problems. Especially if System Information does recognize the USB or hard drive, but continues to hide it from you, disconnect the drive and try to find it using the Terminal, which you can find in Applications > Utilities.

  • Once in the Terminal, type in the command diskutil list
  • A list with information about volumes and drives should appear
  • Look for a section labelled /dev/disk_ (external, physical)
  • Make a note of the whole line after the word disk
  • Now put the following command into the Terminal diskutil info disk followed by the number or digits assigned to that disk
  • Now you should see detailed information about the drive, therefore confirming that your Mac can and does recognize it
  • Eject using the Terminal by entering the command diskutil eject disk followed by the number or digits assigned to that disk
  • Physically remove the disk from you Mac
  • Plug it back in and your Mac should recognize it

Console is also reliable when it comes to solving tricky problems, although it isn’t always that easy to use. You can find Console under Applications > Utilities > Console. Console shows if an external drive or any error is detected under the Errors and Faults tab. If no errors show up, then the problem is not caused by the device.

To sum up, there are lots of potential solutions for a Mac not reading an external hard drive. If we were to pick one, Disk Drill seems to be the most well-rounded, offering plenty of customizations and power in an easy-to-use interface. Disk Drill Pro recovery app is available via Setapp, along with 150+ Mac apps that strive to make your life much much easier. At the very least, you’ll never have to worry about a crashed or corrupted external drive ever again.

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