How to Fix and Recover Data from Uninitialized Disk on Mac

Updated to macOS data recovery tips by Nancy on May 17, 2022 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

When you connect a new or old disk with your Mac, you may get the message indicating the disk is uninitialized. What does it mean and how does a disk become uninitialized? Generally, it happens in two scenarios.

First, if it is the first time you connect a hard disk with your Mac, you need to initialize the disk. Otherwise, it is uninitialized and it is not activated. You can’t do anything to it, nor access, write and view files there. This is especially for external hard drives, like Seagate or WD external hard drives. You need to initialize it with your Mac, letting it assign a starting value to the hard drive.

Second, if you have initialized the hard disk before, then an uninitialized disk means there is a problem with the disk and your Mac can’t recognize it at all. As for the reasons you can take the following as a reference.

If the hard disk is physically damaged, you should send it to the seller to replace or repair. As for other reasons, you can find the right solutions for how to fix uninitialized hard drive on Mac.

Part 1. How to Fix Uninitialized Disk on Mac

The answers to "how do I fix an uninitialized disk on Mac" are not unique and concrete. You will get the right one by trial and error. Let’s follow the ways one by one below.

1. Restart Your Mac. Sometimes after you connect the disk with your Mac, the macOS may not be ready to work and errors occur. In this case, the very first method people commonly used is to restart Mac. After then, reconnect the disk with Mac, making sure it is not the macOS that cause the uninitialization.

2. Reconnect Disk with Mac. If there is a connection problem, the disk is uninitialized as well. In this case, you should unplug the disk from your Mac, reconnect it again to eliminate the connection error.

3. Scan and Remove Virus. If the disk has been connected to a different computer or device, it’s very easy to get the disk infected with the virus. In this case, you should run security software on your Mac to scan and remove viruses from the disk the moment you connect it with your Mac. For security software, you can try Kaspersky, ESET, Bitdefender, etc.

4. Try First Aid in Disk Utility. Mac comes with the default troubleshooting tool, Disk Utility. It is used to deal with all kinds of errors for disks. You can use it to initialize the disk on Mac.

  1. Go to Applications > Disk Utility, launch the tool.
  2. In the left panel, choose the disk which is uninitialized.
  3. After then, you can see the "First Aid" on the top, the first option. Click it.
  4. Click "Run" to repair the disk. By doing this, the bad sectors or partition loss, file system error of the disk will be repaired.

Part 2. How to Retrieve Files from Uninitialized Disk on Mac

Yes, you can’t access to uninitialized disk at all unless it is fixed, let alone recovering data from an uninitialized disk on Mac. If you have successfully fixed the uninitialized issue, then you can manage the data there easily. If not, you need to format the uninitialized disk which will result in data loss. Luckily, there are data recovery software tools available to restore data from the uninitialized disk on Mac.

iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac is one of the reliable data recovery tools to help you recover files from an external hard drive on Mac and macOS internal disk.

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How to Recover Data from an Uninitialized Hard Drive on Mac

  1. Download and install the Mac data recovery software on your Mac.
  2. Launch it and click "Start".
  3. In the next window, select the uninitialized disk and click "Scan".
  4. Wait for the scanning process to finish. After then, select files from the scanning result window to preview.
  5. Select needed files and click "Recover" to save them on your Mac.

You can also rely on this step to recover data from unmounted hard drive.

Part 3. Questions and Answers for Fix and Get Back Data from Uninitialized Disk

Q: Is iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac safe?

Yes, iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac was released in 2015. Due to the policies of the App Store, data recovery software tools are not accepted by Apple Officially. However, people need to rescue data when there isn’t a Time Machine backup. iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac has helped thousands of people worldwide widely recover permanently deleted files on Mac or other drives. It’s virus-free and people can download and install the free trial version to display all the recoverable files before the real data recovery process begins.

Q: How do I recover data after initializing a disk?

If you have backup files for the initialized disk, then you can restore it with the backup files, like Time Machine backup. If not, you need to make use of file recovery software. iBeesoft Data Recovery has both Windows and Mac versions. You can install the corresponding version on your computer, scan the disk to preview all the recoverable files. When finding the target fiels you need, select them and click "Recover" to save them on your computer.

Q: How do you open an uninitialized disk?

When a disk is uninitialized, you can’t open it at all. To open it, you have to initialize it first on your Mac.