America's #1 USB Company!
Call us 877.992.3766

Problems with Flash Drive and Mac

Macbook Problems

There is no question that Apple has garnered a unique following of Mac enthusiasts. These devotees are captivated by the idea of Apple, thanks to incomparable marketing as well as products with clean, unobtrusive design, innovative function and intuitive use. Nonetheless, the glamour behind Apple is also marked by a deviation from the rest of the industry’s hardware standards. Trailblazing? Yes. Frustrating to end users? Absolutely.

To put it simply, not everything that works on a PC works on a Mac. A perfect example is Mac and USB flash drives. Unfortunately, the Apple flash drive combination doesn’t always operate like you want it to. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to give up both; you just need to be aware that you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make this little relationship work.

The most complicated issue that could be hurting your flash drive Mac operation is communication. In other words, if your USB flash drive is not detected on the desktop of your Mac, they may be speaking two different languages. Since your Mac may not understand what to do with a flash drive in the USB port and vice versa, there is no recognition. Basically, it’s up to you to be the translator.

In some Mac OS’s, special USB drivers (hardware devices that allow for communication with peripherals) may need to be installed. You can check out and install Mac USB drivers on the Apple’s site. If the Mass Storage driver happened to be removed or changed, your flash drive may not be found by the computer. You may be prompted to unplug all your USB devices to download these Apple USB drivers.

Another explanation for a flash drive not detected by Mac computers is that your storage device needs formatting. To format your flash drive for Mac, go to your Spotlight search tool and type in “Disk Utility” to locate its manager. You can also use the face-like Finder menu icon. Double-click, select “Applications”, “Utilities”, then “Disk Utility”.

Highlight the USB flash drive in the left column and then click on the Disk Utility’s “Erase” tab. Here, you can rename your flash drive and choose a volume format, which should be MS-DOS (FAT). Then click “Erase”. Take caution before you erase so that you’re erasing the right drive and that you have any needed backups of your data elsewhere.

However, flash drive Mac formatting and USB drivers may not be your problem. It could be a lot simpler. Maybe you’re just unfamiliar with the interface. Click on the Finder icon, go to “Devices” and your USB flash drive could be labeled and present at this location.

Another possibility is that you’ve plugged your flash drive into the Mac keyboard’s USB port. If you’ve done this, it will likely not supply enough bus power needed for successful data transfers since a keyboard is a low-powered USB peripheral. As a result, plug your Mac USB flash drive directly into the actual computer’s port.

When in doubt, start simple with your flash drive Mac troubleshooting (where it’s plugged in) and work your way up to more involved solutions (driver installation, formatting) in order to save yourself from potential headaches.

What are the biggest issues you run into with USB flash drives and Apple products? Vent below!