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macOS External Drives Prone to Corruption

October 17, 2020

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When you spend well over $1,000 on an Apple computer, you expect it to work perfectly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Some people have even discovered that macOS may be corrupting their external hard drives. For some macOS users, that means losing stored music and movies. For others, it means losing precious data that they need to make their businesses successful.

When Did Mac External Hard Drives Start Getting Corrupted?

User forums show that a small number of macOS users have had problems with their external hard drives for at least five years. Granted, some of the problems probably came from user error. One person in 2015 complained that his 750GB external hard drive wouldn’t mount anymore after he ejected the drive without following the computer’s safety instructions.

Such a small error wouldn’t usually damage a hard drive. Despite his best efforts, he could not get the hard drive to work again. His computer offered to reformat the drive, but that would mean losing all of his files. Mac data recovery didn’t seem possible for this user.

Why Does macOS Corrupt External Hard Drives?

No one seems to know the precise reason that macOS can corrupt external hard drives. At least one person goes into a deep explanation of how he tried to deal with his iMac’s dead SSD. The user received several error messages indicating a malfunction with his SSD. He says that he learned a few things while trying to solve his Apple data recovery problem:

  • Target Disk Mode only works well for occasional troubleshooting, so don’t expect it to fix Mac external hard drives.
  • Old Mac computers can experience performance issues when you add newer peripherals, such as more recently made external hard drives.
  • You should check your archived installers often instead of assuming that they work.
  • Don’t ignore macOS upgrades for very long or you will increase the risk of encountering problems.

He never discovered the underlying cause behind the failure. Several people who left comments on his post said that they had experienced similar issues. While the failures involved internal SSDs, there may be a connection between this story and corrupt Mac external hard drives.

Can You Fix Corrupt Max External Hard Drives?

Unless you have a lot of technical experience, you probably cannot revive your corrupt Max external hard drives. That’s not something you want to hear, but it’s almost certainly the truth.

It isn’t all bad news, though. With the right tools, you may find Apple data recovery possible.

Several tools might help you locate the files on your drive. Some options include:

  • Mac File Recovery
  • Disk Drill
  • Recoverit Data Recovery for Mac

Keep in mind that some of these tools cost close to $100, and you do not get a guarantee that they will save your data or hard drive.

Tips While Attempting Apple Data Recovery

Mac data recovery doesn’t always go as planned. One mistake could erase the data that you want to save. Do your best to keep your files protected by moving visible files on your external hard drive to a folder on your computer (otherwise, you could overwrite the files on Mac external hard drives).

You might be able to repair your external drive with macOS’s Disk Utility. Follow these instructions:

  1. Restart your computer and hold the Command and R keys.
  2. Choose Disk Utility > Continue > View > Show All Devices.
  3. Choose your hard drive (assuming that it appears in the sidebar).
  4. Choose First Aid > Run
  5. Hope for the best.

Your computer’s terminal could also help solve your problem. You don’t have to restart your Mac during this process. Just:

  1. Open Applications > Utilities > Terminal
  2. In the command line, type “cd /Volumes” and “ls.”
  3. Press Return, which should show you a list of your hard drives.
  4. Enter “diskutil repairvolume /Volumes/xxx [name of the hard drive]”.
  5. Press Return.
  6. Hope for the Best.

What If Your Max External Hard Drives Still Don’t Work?

First, take this as an opportunity to learn the importance of saving your files to the cloud. Your Mac shouldn’t require this, but you need to protect yourself from loss.

Second, bring your Mac device and corrupt Mac external hard drives to an Apple data recovery professional. At, we use several methods to recover data and diagnose the problem that caused your data loss. Our technicians can often retrieve your data and return it to you. No one can make any promises, though. A thoroughly damaged external hard drive may not have any hope.

If you have critical data that you want to retrieve, contact our office to learn more about your options. We’ll do what we can to help. With a lot of expertise and a little luck, we might recover your lost files.