Solution: Apple Mac does not recognize the built-in SSD

If you have given your Apple Mac, MacBook or iMac a new SSD hard drive or replaced the HDD with it, it may not recognize it. This is especially annoying if you have to set up the computer again with the new storage medium and the macOS installer does not display the hard drive. The Mac does not recognize the built-in SSD and this begs the question: Why? In the following you will not only find the answer, but of course also the solution to the problem, so that you can also install the Apple operating system macOS on the converted iMac, MacBook and Co.;)

The Mac does not recognize the built-in SSD and you cannot find it when installing the operating system? Your search for answers is now over;)
The Mac does not recognize the built-in SSD and you cannot find it when installing the operating system? Your search for answers is now over;)

Problem: Mac recognizes built-in SSD - Solution: Disk Utility

Can you be sure that the new hard drive is not defective and did you cable it correctly? Then the error is probably not caused by the hardware. On the software side, the solution to the problem is this Disk Utility. So before you remove the USB boot stick with the one on it Installer for Mac OS X or macOS Connected to the Mac, you call the disk utility. If that's not about the safe mode works, you can call the utility for hard disk management partly as part of the installer execution. 

Sample screenshot for Disk Utility. If the newly installed SSD is not displayed in the installer, the hardware does not have to be defective. Look into this program, maybe it just needs to be formatted or partitioned.
Sample screenshot for Disk Utility. If the newly installed SSD is not displayed in the installer, the hardware does not have to be defective. Look into this program, maybe it just needs to be formatted or partitioned.

You can also start the Mac from the USB stick and then call up the hard disk utility via the folder structure Applications -> Utilities -> Hard disk utility. The said boot stick is also worthwhile for this, even if you want to install the current operating system or the most recently available operating system for your Apple computer from the Internet. How this works and what different options are available for using the "Recovery Mode" or recovery mode on the Apple Mac, you can read in this post: On Mac Restart - Recovery Keyboard Shortcuts.

Depending on the operating system: Specify the file format and / or partition

Depending on which generation Mac, iMac, MacBook, Mac Mini or other Apple computer you have and which operating system version you want to install, a certain procedure is necessary in the hard disk service program. Sometimes a partition has to be created, sometimes the newly installed SSD simply has to be brought into the correct file format - for example, formatted for HFS + or APFS. If you want to install two different macOS versions on one hard drive, you also have to choose between APFS volume and partition. You can find the individual advantages and disadvantages in this post.

Possible solution for the SSD not recognized in Mac, iMac and MacBook

The Mac does not recognize the built-in SSD - while looking for a solution to this problem, I found various instructions, forums and technical pages. Most refer to the Disk Management Utility, so this is my main focus for this guide. It will be in one too Thread mentioned in the Apple Talk Forum; However, a user (Post # 5) described there that trying things out and not using a specific approach helped. Even after one RAM reset the SSD in the iMac was not recognized and the utility was simply closed and reopened on a trial basis. Lo and behold - the new hard disk was displayed. So if in doubt, just try instead of studying: D

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14 Responses to "Solution: Apple Mac does not recognize the built-in SSD"

  1. May be because: SSD uses NVME mode and not AHCI. Older macOS versions than High-Sierra cannot cope with it. Example with the Transcend SSDs ...

    1. Hello Edersee Pirate! Thanks for the interjection. I have no idea about that, but it sounds like a plausible explanation. By the way: if you have the Edersee as a habitat, we are almost neighbors. ;-)

  2. Replacing my HDD (1TB) with “Samsung SSD 860 Pro 2TB” was OK for 5 months, then suddenly no more booting (I tend to overload the HDD and/or SSD with files). Externally, everything is OK, even on a 2nd Samsung SSD 860 Pro 2TB. OS X El Capitan installation was performed externally but not on the internal SSD in any attempt at every opportunity. It was not completed because no volume number was assigned.
    Desperately I reinstalled the old HDD and lo and behold everything is OK again and the SSD also worked externally, so it is not defective.

    What now? All advice as far as possible has so far been unsuccessful.

    1. Hi Peter! I'm not an expert when it comes to self-built SSDs as boot drives, but I've had reports from readers who had problems after a macOS update or something like that. Most of the time I think the firmware or driver is a problem. You may find new firmware on Samsung and get it working again. I don't think the Mac currently recognizes them as a drive to boot from. But maybe other readers have another tip.

  3. Now with every update from Monterey it seems to be getting harder to get a PCIe SSD running on a Macbook (2017 without TB). The SSD is displayed in recovery mode, but when installing from the stick it suddenly disappears and cannot be found,
    I put the original back in and it works. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to create a clone under Monterey, at least without Apple's own tools. Otherwise I would have simply cloned the SSD with CCC and then installed it before that. Unfortunately that is no longer possible. Now I don't know what to do anymore, but well then I live with the 120GB and an external 1 TB solution.... it's even faster than the originals over Thunderbolt. It's just stupid that I always have to have the external one with me and a USB.C port is constantly occupied...

    1. Hello Mac users! What's the problem with making a bootable with CCC? I made one of my Monterey using Carbon Copy Cloner and there were no errors. If the Mac doesn't want to start up from it, the problem may be with the Startup Security Utility. Or what mistakes do you have?

  4. Hello everyone
    Interesting info. However, I have the problem on my MacBook Pro 2015 that no SSD is recognized, but the SSD's all work externally.
    I would rather suspect a controller error or something else! Does anyone have any ideas how to find out?


    1. Hi! Which means they work "via external"? So if you install them in the MacBook, they won't be recognized, but in a case on the external port they will be? Could also be that he needs a driver or something. I'm not much of a hobbyist, but can you install an original Apple SSD and see if it is recognized?

  5. Thanks for the feedback. All of a sudden, when booting, I just got a gray screen with a question mark in a folder icon.
    I have another Macbook to which I can attach the disk externally via an adapter and it is recognized there, can access it, format, etc. Even with a new SSD, the same effect. Not recognized in the device, no problem externally. It's not new, but I really don't want to throw it away.

    1. Gray folder with question mark sounds like it doesn't have a system to boot from. I think your guess might be correct. I would send the Mac to Sadaghian. Take shipping and take a look and troubleshooting is free. After that you will know and can see if you can have it repaired.

  6. Hi all.
    I have my MacBook Air Mid 2013 with an SSD and a corresponding adapter
    converted and installed Ubuntu Mate.
    Everything was working fine for a while until the MacBook suddenly froze.
    Turned off, turned on – nothing.
    Linux Live USB stick inserted, booted up - runs, but does not recognize the installed SSD.
    Okay, bought a new SSD because the previous one was older - nothing.
    Bought a new adapter and installed a new and old SSD - nothing.
    The MacBook suddenly no longer recognizes hard drives, except for the originals with MacOs.
    Maybe someone has the relevant tip?

    1. Hello Eric! Unfortunately I have to pass because I don't do this kind of conversion work on Macs. But more attention would be given to your question here in the forum receive. There are some specialists reading along who understand more about it than I do. 😊

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