MacBook Pro – external drive not readable

Have you ever experienced a problem, when connecting an external HDD via USB cable to your MacBook and it simply shows an error message that the external drive cannot be read by your Mac?

The typical error message is the following:

‘The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer’

I was facing this problem for the last couple of days. I tried almost everything – the most of the websites and forums recommended various fixes, especially the use of the disk utility in Mac OS. But nothing helped. And then, I found a very simple solution that fixed this issue immediately. I would like to share it here, maybe it will help you:

1. Exit / turn off all applications and running programs on your Mac.

2. In the main menu of your Mac OS, go to “Go > Last Folders” and clean it up, I mean delete the history of recent folders. The menu may be different, it depends on the version of your Mac OS, language settings, etc. If you cannot find this, just try to skip this step.

3. Connect the external HDD with the USB cable to your Mac. Keep it connected and follow the next step.

4. Go to main menu of the Mac OS and select the option “restart computer” or “reboot”.

5. After reboot, your external HDD should be normally recognized by your Mac. If it is encrypted, you may be prompted to enter the password that you used for encryption. This may be the same password that you use for your Mac – this depends on you, how you set this in the past.

Good luck and if you have any other experience and you would like to share it, feel free to leave the comment below. 🙂



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Cite this text:
Jozef Kozár, PhD (April 23, 2024) MacBook Pro – external drive not readable. Retrieved from
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"MacBook Pro – external drive not readable." Jozef Kozár, PhD - Accessed April 23, 2024.
"MacBook Pro – external drive not readable." Jozef Kozár, PhD [Online]. Available: [Accessed: April 23, 2024]

Dr. Jozef Kozár

Author, Research Scientist, Consultant.

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