I have a M1 MacBook Pro, 2021, with Sonoma 14. I attached a Seagate 16TB External USB 3.1 drive, to use as my time machine and an archive of video projects.


I have an APFS container with 2 volumes:

  • Time Machine
  • Expansion

Drives mount fine, I can move files around, everything's grand.

Except, often when a file picker is spawned (such as saving a PDF from my web browser), the file picker won't navigate my file structure. Whatever directory it is in is the ONLY directory I can select. I can‘t select folders, I can‘t move up in the tree, I can‘t select a Favorite. The file picker is frozen; all I can do is exit the file picker.

I noticed recently that when the file picker appears, my external drive starts seeking. So, as an experiment, the next time my file picker froze, I unmounted the Expansion drive and Time Machine, re-opened the file picker, and it worked correctly.

I have consistently been able to "unfreeze" my file picker by unmounting the expansion drive. Which is very irritating, especially as it's my Time Machine. The drive doesn't have a power switch, so the only way I know to remount it is to unplug the USB cable and plug it back in again, which is difficult due to the drive's placement.

I would really love to know if (1) this is a common occurrence and (2) if there's a way to fix this.

  • 1
    I don’t have this drive, but are you using the software supplied by Seagate, and if you are, is it the latest version available from the Seagate website?
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 23:11
  • @IconDaemon , the software listed is Windows and Linux software, backup software and a SMART tool. No Mac tools. And I checked my serial number, the drive doesn't have firmware updates necessary. I'm just using Apple tools at this time.
    – Zoey Green
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 0:32
  • 1
    As for remounting the drive, it should show up in Disk Utility as unmounted, and you can easily remount with a mouse-click. There should be no need to physically unplug/replug to remount. Furthermore, should the drive mechanism suffer catastrophic problems rendering it useless, you’ve lost both the Time Machine and the Expansion volumes in one fell swoop. Having suffered data loss by having a disk partitioned into separate TM and storage volumes, I have separate TM drives and external storage drives.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 1:25


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