Western Digital My Passport / Elements not recognized on Mac

In some cases, it’s possible that a fully functional Western Digital external drive won’t be recognized on your Mac computer. It can happen with several models, such as Western Digital My Passport and Western Digital Elements external drives.

In most cases, the problem lays in the file system structure. When detaching a drive from a computer, the drive needs to be “closed” properly. Therefore, detaching the drive properly shouldn’t be overlooked. Moreover, removing the drive from the computer without properly detaching it, can cause data corruption and issues of external drives not being recognized by the operating system (Windows or Mac OS).

If you already have a drive that isn’t recognized on your Mac computer, we recommend to follow these steps (which are also recommended by official Western Digital Support):

  1. Attach the external drive to a Windows based computer (Yes, we start with Windows, to eventually have it working on Mac OS).
  2. Safely eject the drive from Windows (click the external drives icon next to the clock, and eject the relevant drive). wait for a few seconds before the icon is gone.
  3. Power off the computer.
  4. Disconnect the external drive from the computer.
  5. Connect the drive to your Mac computer. Make sure you’re connecting it directly (at least this time) without using any USB hubs.
  6. Now the drive should be recognized by your Mac computer.

In most cases, if the external drive was used on Windows, it will be formatted with the NTFS file system. In that case, Mac computers won’t be able to write to those drives, as Mac only supports reading from NTFS drives. If you’re looking to have full read & write access to your Western Digital / Seagate external drive, we can humbly recommend NTFS Mac Mounter which will allow you to mount NTFS external drives with full write support on Mac computers.

Download NTFS Mac Mounter Now