Software & AppsOperating SystemmacOS

How To Find Connected Devices on Mac

Mac With Connected Devices

Whenever you connect a new device or turn your Mac on with devices already connected, they should always show up in two places, the desktop and in the Finder, which is Mac’s version of Windows Documents.

Quick Answer

Finding which devices are connected to your Mac should be a matter of looking at the desktop. However, you can also delve into Finder.

1) Open “Finder”.
2) Select “Preferences”.
3) Click on “General”.
4) Look in “Hard Disk”.
5) Look in “Locations”.
6) Look in “Favorites”.
7) Check the “Sidebar”.

If your connected devices aren’t in any of these locations and you don’t see them represented on your desktop (and you can see that you have devices plugged into the ports on your Mac), then something is going on, and there’s an error.

Fixes for Undetected Devices

If your Mac isn’t detecting devices when you plug them in, it’s a sign that something is going on from a software standpoint unless all of your ports are messed up, which is highly unlikely, and the odds are significantly stacked against it.

Change the Mac’s Settings

The Mac has settings that enable and disable Mac’s ability to detect external drives. You accidentally turned these off somehow, or that the Mac came out of the box that way. Either way, it’s the first place you should check, and a setting you need to ensure is enabled.

  1. Click on Finder.
  2. Select “Preferences”.
  3. Locate and click on “General”.
  4. Find the “External Discs” option.
  5. Check the box if it is empty.

If there was no checkmark in the box when you reached the External Discs option, then there’s a reason that it’s not showing up on your desktop which may explain why it is not showing up under Finder. It’s possible that checking the box will make it so that you can see your external connections now.

It’s not the end-all-be-all troubleshooting tip, but it’s certainly the first option you should check over before going anywhere else.

Delve Into the Settings

If you’re still having the same problem, it’s time to delve a little deeper into the settings and see if you can’t find the source of the problem. The idea this time is to find and checkmark External Disks in another location.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Select “Preferences”.
  3. Select “Sidebar”.
  4. Locate the “External Disks” option.
  5. Check the box if it’s empty.

Once again, this fix focuses on the External Discs issue and should resolve the problem if you cannot see your connected devices after checking the External Disks option in the first scenario. It may seem redundant, but it’s worth the time and effort to go through the process and ensure that everything is checked.

Reset the USB Ports

There is an option on your Mac to simply reset your Mac USB ports, essentially like resetting any malfunctioning device. It’s the same thing that you do with your smartphone when it’s freezing up or your game console.

The solution works so well and so often that it’s the go-to solution for almost everything, and the idea is the same in this instance.

  1. Start by restarting your Mac.
  2. Hold Command + Option + P + R keys down.
  3. When the Apple logo comes up, you can release them.
  4. Press the Command + Escape keys.
  5. This will force close any applications.
  6. Put a USB drive in one of the ports and see if it shows up.
  7. If it doesn’t, hold down the Apple icon key and press the Sleep Key.
  8. Press any key to wake the Mac back up.
  9. Power down the Mac, unplug it, and wait thirty seconds.
  10. Power the Mac back up.

Sure, it’s a lengthy and arduous process. However, it often works when the USB drive isn’t reacting to devices that you connect.

Apple First Aid

Apple has a built-in program called “First Aid” that you can access to see if it will fix the issue. It may be that the device is connected and has an issue, and First Aid will try and rectify that.

  1. Go to “Applications” on your desktop.
  2. Select “Utility”.
  3. Select “Disk Utility”.
  4. Select “First Aid”, followed by selecting “Run”.
  5. Once it is done, “Unmount” your USB device.
  6. Remove the device and plug it back in after about a minute has passed.

This isn’t always the best solution, especially if you’re dealing with multiple devices not being detected across the board. However, it may work in a pinch for one device at a time.


Apple Macs and Macbooks are supposed to make finding your connected devices pretty easily, and, nine times out of ten, it will not be an issue. However, the elimination process and the steps mentioned above are more than a good step in the right direction whenever something like that happens.

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