Top 8 Ways to Fix Android Phone Not Showing Up on Mac

While an Apple Mac works perfectly fine with company hardware like iPhone or iPad, the same isn’t true for Android. You need to rely on third-party apps and other tricks to transfer files from your Android phone to a Mac or vice versa. The confusion starts when your Android phone fails to show up on Mac in the first place. If you face the same, here are the best ways to fix the issue.

You can always use a cloud storage service or Wi-Fi transfer tool to exchange files between Android and Mac. But it’s time-consuming and inconvenient at times. Besides, nothing beats the speed and reliability of a wired connection. Let’s troubleshoot the ‘Mac not detecting Android phone’ issue once and for all.

1. Install the Android File Transfer App

Unlike Windows, you can’t simply plug your Android phone into the Mac and access device storage from the default file manager app. That means, your Android phone won’t show up in Finder on Mac.

Google offers an Android File Transfer app to move files between an Android phone and Mac. You can visit the link below to install the Android File Transfer app on Mac. Connect your phone to the Mac and the app should automatically launch and show your phone content.

Continue with the tricks below if the issue persists on your Mac and Android.  

2. Check the USB Cable

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Your Android phone may not show up due to a loose connection or a faulty cable. You should carefully check the connection. You can also use the USB cable with another device. If you face the same with other devices, it’s time to replace the cable with a new one.  

3. Allow the Accessory to Connect

When you first connect an Android phone to a Mac, macOS asks for permission to allow the accessory to connect. Make sure to hit Allow to check your Android phone on Mac. Check the screenshot below for reference.

4. Use Another Port

Most MacBooks come with several ports USB ports to utilize. If a specific port malfunctions, use another port to connect the Android phone.

5. Enable File Sharing on Android Phone

By default, when you connect an Android phone to a PC or Mac, the system starts charging the phone. If you want to access your phone to transfer files, enable the File Transfer permission on your Android phone.

Step 1: Connect your Android phone to a Mac.

Step 2: Unlock your Android phone and swipe down from the home screen. Select Android System notification.

Step 3: Tap the radio button beside ‘File transfer/Android Auto.’

Step 4: Launch the Android File Transfer app on Mac, and your phone folders should appear.

6. Use OpenMTP

The default Android File Transfer software is basic at best. We often ran into issues with transferring files from our Android phones. There are alternative methods to complete the file transfer job. Among them, OpenMTP is a free capable alternative to Android File Transfer on Mac. Let’s check it in action.

Step 1: Download and install Open MTP using the link below.

Step 2: Connect your Android phone to a Mac using the data cable and launch OpenMTP.

Step 3: It shows your Mac storage on the left side and Android device on the right.

Step 4: You can drag and drop photos from your Android phone to your Mac and vice versa. The entire software experience is smooth, intuitive, and works without breaking a sweat.

7. Don’t Use Dongle

Are you trying to connect your Android phone to your Mac via a dongle? You may run into errors due to a corrupt dongle. Since most Android phones come with a Type-C port, use a Type-C to Type-C cable and connect it directly to the Mac.

8. Update macOS

An outdated macOS build may prevent you from connecting external devices on your Mac. It’s time to install the latest macOS update.

Step 1: Click the Apple icon in the menu bar and open System Settings.

Step 2: Scroll to General and open Software Update.

Download and install the latest macOS software and try again.

Make Android Play Nice with Mac

You can also restart the Mac and Android phone and connect them. With third-party apps, you can wirelessly send files from Android to Mac. Read our dedicated post to use Nearby Share on Mac to transfer files from Android.

Last updated on 21 July, 2023

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