If you are one of those who adopted in recent months use the iPad as a laptopTaking full advantage of its USB-C port and mixing the tablet with using a Mac, you may have encountered a connection issue with some external hard drives. This does not happen on everyone, but in some cases these disks may not mount properly on the Mac.
This is something that happened to me recently, and after researching I was able to find the reason why this is happening. It’s not a mistake, but there seems to be a read conflict between iPadOS and macOS with ExFAT format discs. And this conflict manifests itself when we use the disk on multiple devices.
When macOS does not want to mount a disk until it has been scanned
It all starts when we connect, through a hub or adapter, an external hard drive with the ExFAT file system to an iPad. iPadOS reads this drive correctly, but after unplugging the drive and connecting it to a Mac, macOS does not mount it. If we go to the Disk Utility application (located in the Utilities folder in the system applications directory), we will see that the external drive is detected, but it just does not mount. A manual attempt to do so gives us this error after a few moments of waiting:
What is happening here? The good news is, it’s not too bad. After the drive has been used by iPadOS and connected to a Mac, for some reason, macOS detects that something has gone wrong. Their reaction is not to mount the disk and run a process called fsck to do a scan.Depending on the capacity of the drive and the performance of the Mac, this can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour.
If we open a terminal window and kill this process, which is not recommended, macOS will mount the drive but in read-only mode, warning that it cannot guarantee data integrity. He will advise us to copy the entire contents of the disc to another part and reformat it. If on the other hand we do nothing and wait a long time, the disc will finish mounting without any problem once the scanning process started by macOS finishes normally.
At this point the player can be used as usual, but if we use it again on the iPad and connect it again on the Mac, we will have to follow the same sequence of events. There seems to be some kind of incompatibility or conflict with the file system, or at least with some models of drives that are not ready. To date, for example, I did not have this problem with USB flash drives HFS + formatted.
What can we do to prevent it? Well, for now, and without being able to make sure that it is fixed, try having the drive in another file format or looking for alternatives like cloud storage. Hopefully, Apple developers eventually find the problem and an iPadOS update will fix it.