SanDisk G-Drive ArmorATD with macOS Monterey

I recently purchased a new 24” iMac (in purple, with 16GB of RAM) and wanted to replace my ancient Time Machine drive with something newer that supported USB-C. While I was ordering a few other items from Best Buy, I noticed they had a 4TB SanDisk G-Drive ArmorATD for a reasonable price, so I bought one to use for Time Machine backups.

The drive arrived today and when I plugged it into the iMac, the only thing it did was flash its light at me repeatedly. It wouldn’t mount, and I couldn’t format it in Disk Utility.

I started searching to see if others had run into this problem, and found this support article from Western Digital that says it’s a known issue and has been reported to Apple. As a temporary solution, format the drive on another non-Monterey system as exFAT, and the drive should show up.

That solution is fine if you just need to store some files on the drive, but Time Machine doesn’t work with exFAT disks. I kept searching and came across this post in the Apple discussion forums.

The solution he found was to use a USB-C to USB-C cable from Apple instead of the one that shipped with the drive. I have a few laying around so I gave it a try, and ta-da, Monterey detected the drive and asked if I’d like to use it for Time Machine backups.

I ended up formatting it as APFS (it shipped as MacOS Journaled), and the iMac is happily backing up to it right now:

I suppose the lesson here is to always check your cables since the janky feeling one that the manufacturer shipped may indeed actually be janky and not work.