Question:

Question: Big Sur Disconnecting My External HDD

I recently updated to macOS Big Sur, and I am having trouble with my external hard drive. The hard drive keeps randomly disconnecting from my Mac Pro so I can't really use the drive at all. Any one else have issues with that? It's WD Caviar Black 6 TB connected with the Orico USB3 dock. Thanks!

Mac Pro, macOS 11.0

Posted on Nov 23, 2020 10:20 AM

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Folks, if it wasn't obvious (it looks like my uploaded screen-shot isn't visible...), at its worst I see the message pop up as frequently as every minute-or-two while I'm actively using my Mini (meaning: the Mac is not going to sleep, and sleep has nothing to do with the problem (at least in my case).

Posted on Jan 22, 2021 2:20 PM

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Feb 11, 2021 1:04 PM in response to KevAnesCCM In response to KevAnesCCM

Interesting!! I'm having the VERY same trouble except mine is with the iMac that I purchased in January 2021. I have two external drives connected to it, one for Time Machine backups and the other for my Lightroom editing program. Every morning they're disconnected - but not ejected. Then when I try to eject them, I get a force eject message. That's the only way to get them to connect again. But what I'm really ****** about is that I've spoken with 3 levels of Apple tech support, the latest being "senior level" and none of them have acted like they know of any sort of issue like mine! They must not look at their forum questions, right? So my Time Machine HD started grinding, yesterday, (bought it Feb 1,2021) and so I worried it was crashing. I decided to return it to Best Buy. While there, I talked to a geek with Geek Squad. I tell him my issues with my iMac disconnecting from my External drives. He's not surprised at all. He said, "Oh yeah. They're having a problem with Big Sur and external HD's. We just got another notice about it this morning." Really Apple??? Even when I asked if Big Sur might have a bug, they all played dumb! The senior level Apple tech, Brian, even made a copy of my whole computer to send to engineers to look at. Never once have they admitted it could be a Big Sur problem. Why is that? My guess, because they don't know how to fix the problem so they don't want to admit there is a problem. This is what I call a coverup! Meanwhile, what do we do? Maybe we need to buy an HP.




Feb 11, 2021 1:04 PM

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Jan 14, 2021 4:47 AM in response to msuwpu In response to msuwpu

OK, I have been doing some experiments and have not had a disconnection for a couple days. It appears (for me at least) as the trigger for the "DID NOT EJECT PROPERLY" event is when the Mac goes to sleep. I suspect it may be a combination of factors which I have not deciphered yet, including 1) Sleeping, 2) HHD, 3) TimeMachineBackup, and possibly marginal hardware.


By setting Energy Saver settings as follows and not manually entering sleep I have avoided the Disconnect for a couple days where it was reliably occurring at least once a day.


Can someone please try this and tell us if this works for you.


I am on an iMac where battery is not an issue so staying awake just wastes energy. This will have a more significant impact on Laptop users trying to conserve battery.


I have opened a Bug Report but it would be nice if Apple would at least acknowledge this is an issue that will be fixed. Apple?


Jan 14, 2021 4:47 AM

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Nov 23, 2020 10:37 AM in response to Cancerinform In response to Cancerinform

It’s a real disconnect and I got a notification in the Notification Center that I should eject before I disconnect. The drive will reconnect automatically and then disconnection again after a minute or two. So if I just left the drive on, I’ll come home to hundreds of those notifications

Nov 23, 2020 10:37 AM

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Nov 23, 2020 10:57 AM in response to KevAnesCCM In response to KevAnesCCM

I had a similar problem with such hard drive but not only with Big Sur installed. I wanted to use the hard drive on a different computer, and it also ejected improperly sometimes with me doing nothing. What I did in the end on an older computer was to erase the hard drive and reformat as Mac os Journaled, GUID partition map. Then I ran into the problem that the disc was occasionally unmounted, when I connected and somehow erasing again failed. So I went to disk utility again and selected partition and then selected Mac os Journaled again. The disk was erased, and now it seems stable and working, although I am using it for a different computer with Catalina.


If you can you may want to reformat your disk again but may be somebody has a different suggestion.

Nov 23, 2020 10:57 AM

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Dec 7, 2020 6:43 PM in response to Cancerinform In response to Cancerinform

I am seeing this too. I have an USB connected hard drive which spontaneously disconnects ever few hours. I stopped Time Machine and still happening. I reformatted and created the partitions to all be APFS, still happening. Move the drive to an old High Sierra iMac and stays connected. Isolated to Big Sur spinning drive. No trouble with SSD drive. Wondering if I should not be using APFS on spinning drive.

Dec 7, 2020 6:43 PM

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Dec 11, 2020 4:54 AM in response to wacheski In response to wacheski

I have been experiencing this as well.


I have reformatted the drive. Disabled Time Machine, Verified the Same Drive doesn't disconnect on non-Big Sur macs. Still happens.


I believe it may be related to the Music App. In some other forums the complaint is their Music Library is lost.


Do you all have your Music Library on the external disconnecting drive? I wonder if it is triggered by the Apple Music app.

Dec 11, 2020 4:54 AM

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Dec 11, 2020 2:54 PM in response to gnormb In response to gnormb

Well I was running Apple Music today from a new completely local library. In fact no file content just purchased songs. Still had a disconnect. I am wondering if Big Sur may have changed the USB power threshold. Usually you get a "UsB devices disabled" Unplug the device using too much power. This is a frustrating issue. It has cost be a couple days work since my IDE used the external drive.

Dec 11, 2020 2:54 PM

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Dec 31, 2020 6:35 AM in response to KevAnesCCM In response to KevAnesCCM

Anyone contact Apple on this or figure out a way around this without reformatting? I have been having same issue since install of Big Sur. I had my external drive being backed up via cloud service which hasn’t seen drive in 30 days and will be deleted from cloud. I need this data on the drive and cannot risk reformatting.

Dec 31, 2020 6:35 AM

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Jan 1, 2021 6:37 AM in response to gnormb In response to gnormb

I am running 11.1 and still being the problem.


It happens the Time Machine is off.


I thought the USB power was being turned off when in sleep mode (new in Big Sur). However, when I use Option-Command-Eject or Menu > Apple > Sleep the disk stays spinning. I have not left it sleeping for long.


I unchecked "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" Energy Saver.


I opened a Bug Report with Apple.



Jan 1, 2021 6:37 AM

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Jan 4, 2021 5:33 AM in response to KevAnesCCM In response to KevAnesCCM

I am having this problem too. It is happening on a new MacBook Pro, M1 chip, purchased in December, running 11.1. I have two other MacBook Pros, the first running 10.13.6 (late 2011 model), and the second also running 11.1, purchased in June 2020 (Intel chip), and the problem does not occur with either of these computers, with the same external drives. I wonder if it is a hardware issue? I'll be putting a call into Apple when I have time, I'll report anything useful back.

Jan 4, 2021 5:33 AM

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Jan 6, 2021 10:13 AM in response to wacheski In response to wacheski

Exactly the same experience and solution I tried. My drive is an older OWC 60Gb SSD using SATA to USB cable. Does not disconnect during drive activity, just randomly throughout the day with an overabundance of annoying notifications that I can't seem to exclude.

Jan 6, 2021 10:13 AM

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Jan 12, 2021 6:14 PM in response to KevAnesCCM In response to KevAnesCCM

I've had the same issues and got so frustrated that I had to go back to Catalina... I could not afford to lose my data after my hard drive kept ejecting and possibly corrupting each time. They need to fix this asap... I'm staying on Catalina until that is corrected.

Jan 12, 2021 6:14 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Jan 14, 2021 4:47 AM in response to msuwpu In response to msuwpu

OK, I have been doing some experiments and have not had a disconnection for a couple days. It appears (for me at least) as the trigger for the "DID NOT EJECT PROPERLY" event is when the Mac goes to sleep. I suspect it may be a combination of factors which I have not deciphered yet, including 1) Sleeping, 2) HHD, 3) TimeMachineBackup, and possibly marginal hardware.


By setting Energy Saver settings as follows and not manually entering sleep I have avoided the Disconnect for a couple days where it was reliably occurring at least once a day.


Can someone please try this and tell us if this works for you.


I am on an iMac where battery is not an issue so staying awake just wastes energy. This will have a more significant impact on Laptop users trying to conserve battery.


I have opened a Bug Report but it would be nice if Apple would at least acknowledge this is an issue that will be fixed. Apple?


Jan 14, 2021 4:47 AM

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Question: Big Sur Disconnecting My External HDD