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 assume that the new hard drive is not defective and have you cabled it correctly? Then the problem is probably not in the hardware. On the software side, the solution to the problem is Disk Utility. So before you get 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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6 comments

  1. Edersee Pirate says:

    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 ...

    • sir appleot says:

      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. Peter P Frank says:

    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, even on a second "Samsung SSD 2 Pro 860TB" everything is OK. OS X El Capitan installation was carried out externally, but not when every possible option was attempted on the internal SSD. It was not executed to the end 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.

    • sir appleot says:

      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. Maco user says:

    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...

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      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?

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