My Passport will not show up on iMac running macOS Big Sur

I have reached out to WD Customer Support and exhausted all troubleshooting suggestions with them. Since my device reached End of Support in 2013, there really isn’t anything more they can do. Maybe someone else has seen this issue and might be able to help! I’m pasting below all of the troubleshooting steps I performed based on my interactions with WD Customer Support.


Since I submitted my Incident, I have upgraded my iMac to macOS Big Sur version 11.3. And the issue remains the same.

There is no error to capture in a screen shot, because the device is not recognized at all. When connecting it to the iMac, it spins on, like it should, and the tiny light comes on, but nothing happens on the iMac to actually recognize the device.

I am including a screenshot of Disk Utility, where you can see that nothing appears for the device. You can that a different Western Digital device is connected correctly, it is a 3TB device that is formatted as 2 volumes, one for regular use, and one used specifically for Time Machine Backups. Please note that I have connected the 3TB device into the same USB port on this iMac as the one I have currently plugged the My Passport into, and the USB port functions correctly with the 3TB device.

The My Passport drive was accessible and functioning properly approximately 2 months ago on my old 2009 iMac running OS X El Capitan. I just recently tried to connect it to my new late 2020 iMac, and it will not connect, just like many others who I’ve read that are having the same connectivity issues since using macOS Big Sur.

There is no physical damage to the My Passport device. And as stated above, it connected properly to my old iMac. I have not tried another USB cable, because 1) it is a special cable that is needed to connect this My Passport device, and 2) it worked just fine with my old iMac.

I went through all of the steps that were possible in the article/link you provided. I will provide a response for each step listed in the article. 1) There is no power adapter, it gets its power from the USB cable connected to the iMac. 2) As stated above, I did not change out the cable because it is not a standard USB cable and the device worked fine on my old iMac. 3) I have tried multiple USB ports on my new iMac and the results are the same, and other devices function properly in each of those USB ports. 4) I turned off the iMac, let it restart, waited a full hour, and then retried connecting the device, and it still did not work. 5) As I already stated, it worked on my old iMac. I do not agree, that there is any issue with my new iMac, every other device, including a Western Digital 3TB device, all work correctly. I am not contacting Apple about this issue, this is a Western Digital My Passport issue. 6) Since it showed up correctly on my old iMac, the device has not failed.


I have a similar problem. My WDeasystore 4TB was recognized on my 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch using a USB-C to USB 3 adapter. macOS is Big Sur; all current (11.3). Disk Utility previously successfully created three APFS containers that were used to create backup images on this drive. Shortly thereafter first one, then all three of the backup APFS containers have disappeared without being deleted. At first the emptied drive was still visible to Disk Utility, just missing the containers as if the disk had never been erased, formatted, and used without apparent trouble.

I have used 3 different cables. All worked before and continue to work with other drives. (As I write this, a Time Machine backup just completed to a similar. older “My Passport for Mac” 4TB drive. This WDeasystore drive is only 1 week old.) Disk Utility runs after normal boot for my administrative user. Same after rebooting. Also tried running Disk Utility from Recovery mode (cmd-R on re-booting). Under no condition is the presence of the WDeasystore drive seen by Disk Utility. The drive powers up every time. It can be felts spinning and vibrating, LED flashing. The pattern of vibration varies as if the firmware is trying to do something. Essentially the same results on my vintage 2011 MacBook Pro 17-inch with High Sierra installed. The formerly used APFS containers were previously functional on the 2011 computer. Now the whole drives and its containers are invisible, having disappeared.

AppleCare has been consulted several times. They have no explanation to offer for the disappearing containers, stating that APFS is supposed to be more robust that the older Mac OS (Extended) file system.

Whenever the new drive is connected to the computer the cursor turns into the spinning beachball and nothing works when clicked. Nor does the keyboard work. It is impossible to correctly eject the drive for two reasons: it is not seen, and the computer is unresponsive. Even opt-cmd-ESC does not work to access the Force Quit menu. As soon as the drive is unplugged, the spinning beachball ceases and all other applications, clicks, and keystrokes start working again.

I’m writing in response to this posting rather than others reporting invisible drives with versions of OS X or macOS because of the similarity to description including the spinning beachball cursor.