External Drive Formatting For Mac

To format an external hard drive for Mac with Time Machine, you must follow the steps below. Step 1 Open Finder, Applications, then go to Utilities and Disk Utility. Step 2 Follow the steps above to format the drive, and then you can use it with Time Machine on your Mac system. Part 3: Bonus Tip – Data Recovery from Formatted Hard Drive on Mac. The best format for video production is exFAT. The maximum individual file size for exFAT is 16 EB. 1 EB, or exabyte, is 1 billion GB. That said, if you are using smaller file sizes — FAT32 can suffice. Format Hard Drive (Mac) 1. Connect the external hard drive to the computer.

Format Any External Hard Drive for an Apple Mac Tutorial with Images

So you’re shopping for a new hard drive for your mac but you noticed a few things on the box.

  • Some don’t specify they are Apple Mac Compatible
  • The ones that say Apple compatible are sometimes more expensive

The great news is it does not matter which brand you buy. You can easily format the drive in a few simple steps that I will show you. I’ve even heard sales staff in shops try to up-sell a more expensive hard drive to customers because they used an Apple Mac.

How I Pick an External Hard Drive

See full list on wikihow.com

Me personally, I shop based on hard disk drive size and price. Usually, but not always I get great deals on Western Digital Drives or Seagate external hard drives. Whatever is the least expensive with the biggest capacity is the one I will get.

No Mention of Mac Compatibility on the Box? No Problems!


I just purchased a Seagate 2TB Expansion drive from a local office supplies store. One the side of the box it says “Compatible with Windows”. There’s no mention of Apple anywhere on the side. This means the disk is pre-formatted so you can plug it into a PC and it will just work fine. The great news is we can re-format the disk to work for mac in 8 easy steps listed below.

How to format any drive to work with an Apple Mac in 8 Easy Steps

STEP 1: Unbox the hard drive and plug this side of the cable into the hard drive.

STEP 2: Plug the blue USB connection (below) into a free port on the computer. The blue color denotes that this hard drive is USB 3.0 Speed. If your cable is plain black it could be a USB 2.0-speed drive. It doesn’t matter either way for storage usage. USB 3.0 is faster to transfer files but it’s not a big deal.

Once you have the hard drive plugged in you can see it come up on the Desktop

If you double click inside the drive you see files already in the drive. This is usually the case for any Windows drive because it comes with free software we don’t even need. Let me show you how to format this drive properly for Mac.

How To Convert A Mac-Formatted Drive To A Windows Drive

STEP 3: Click on the Launchpad Icon from the Task Bar

STEP 4: Start Typing “Disk” and “Disk Utilities” will come up. Click on the Disk Utilities Icon

STEP 5: You are now presented with the Apple Mac Disk Utility Tool. Click on the new hard drive you just installed. Usually, it has the name of the brand on the drive. As you can see below the new drive in my case is called Seagate Expansion. If you purchased a WD drive it will say Western Digital or WD for example.

STEP 6: After selecting the proper drive click the “Erase” button at the top of this same view.

STEP 7: After clicking Erase on the prior step you are greeted with this popup. You can now rename the drive easily to anything you like. For my use I am calling it YouTube 2019 as I will be storing all the new video files I produce on this drive.

STEP 8: This step is critical or it won’t work. Please use the format drop-down menu and click MAC OS Extended (Journaled). Next click Erase

Disk Utilities will go through the following steps automatically:

Once you see the Green Tick you are all done! ✅

Congratulations! You have now formatted your new external Hard Drive to work with your Apple Mac running Mojave.

Please Remember:

This is the process for formatting any External Hard Disk Drive to work with an Apple Mac running OS Mojave or High Sierra. The process is also the same for the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac Pro, iMac, and MacMini computers.

It doesn’t matter what brand of hard drive you buy. It all comes down to the formatting applied to the drive. This process will work for Solid State (SSD) drives as well as any other hard disk drive not pre-formatted for Apple Mac. There’s no need to spend the extra dollars on a drive that is pre-formatted. Once you have done this once the process is so simple I’m sure you’ll now be able to show your friends how to do the same exact thing as this article.

If this tutorial is helpful please share it with anyone who might require help with this topic.


Yo just got a new external hard drive and want to use it on your Mac. However, the Mac OS does not allow you to write data to the drive. You may wonder how to reformat an external hard drive on Mac. Follow the tutorial below, you'll get everything covered.

  • Bonus: How to Recover Data from Formatted External Hard Drive on Mac

Reformatting an external hard drive for use with Mac OSX is not as difficult as it might seem. In a few simple steps you are ready to go and can save your back-up files to the external drive, keeping your information safe and giving you peace of mind. Keep in mind that a MAC can generally read other file formats, but for the best performance and to create a bootable disk, formatting exclusively for MAC is required.

Part 1: Which File Format You Should Choose?

Before you begin formatting the drive, there are a few things to do. The most important, you should decide which format to use.

There are a few file formats you can use, but it depends on the purpose you want to use the drive for. Which one is right for your circumstance? We'll describe them here, you'll know your choice after reading the details.

APFS: This is the default file system in Macs with High Sierra. It is efficient and reliable. However, it won't be readable and usable on machines that are not running Mac High Sierra, and Windows or Linux PCs. What's more, it is compatible with SSD and flash storage devices only.

Mac OS Extended (Journaled/HFS+): If you didn't update your Mac OS to High Sierra, the default file system on your Mac shoule be Mac OS Extended. Mac OS Extended (encrypted) would be an ideal option if you probably carry your laptop or external drive here and there. You can encrypt it so that no one can access the contents on your drive.

MS-DOS FAT (aka FAT32): In addition to Mac, it can also be written and read by Linux and Windows. It enables you to regularly share files with your friends who own a PC. Nevertheless, this older file system is limited to no more than 4GB and there might be security issue and disk errors.

ExFAT: It is similar to ExFAT which can be read by both Windows and Mac, but it can store more than 4GB files.

NTFS: As the default file system in Windows, it can only read by Mac OS, writing to it is not available. Luckily, there are third-party tools to help you do so.

Part 2: Format External Hard Drive for Mac with Disk Utility

Formatting an external hard drive would erase everything on it. Hence, you must backup your important files before reformatting the drive if you want to save them. The easiest way is to drag it from one drive to another.

All is set, then you can go ahead to format the drive on your Mac. Disk utility - the MacOS utility application can help you with this. Just follow these steps below:

Step 1. Connect the external drive or the USB drive to the MAC.

Step 2. Start the Disk Utility, located under Applications > Utilities.

Step 3. Find the name of the drive in the left side of the Utilities window and select it. And click Erase button.

Step 4. Follow on-screen prompts to choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system and allow the disk to format.

Bonus: How to Recover Data from Formatted External Hard Drive on Mac

In case you forgot to backup files before formatting the external drive. Here comes the cure - iMyFone AnyRecover - a one-stop solution to recover deleted, lost or formatted files from Mac.

Follow these simple steps using AnyRecover to get your files back!

Get Ready!

First, download and install AnyRecover, following on-screen prompts to accomplish the task.

AnyRecover 20% off Coupon Code: ANY-ART-D20

Don't miss the opportunity to get AnyRecover license at the lowest price on the market. Don't know how to apply it, check the instructions here:

How To Format A Hard Drive For Both Windows And Mac Laptop Mag

Get Set!

External Hard Drive Reformat For Mac And Windows

  • 1. After loading AnyRecover, plug your external hard drive into your Mac directly or via USB.

  • 2. Next select the drive under 'External Removable Devices' tab, click 'Start' to begin scanning lost files on the drive.


  • 1. AnyRecover takes a moment to scan your drive. Once done, it will list out all scanning results by file type.

  • 2. Double click a single file to preview it before recovery.

  • 3. Select the files and press Recover to get them back.

What If?

What if my files were not found? Fear not. We can take this a step further. Enable 'Deep Scan' to try one more time, follow the steps above just as before to locate and recover your files.

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Best External Hard Drive For Macbook Pro

It is plain to see that AnyRecover for Mac is a tool worthy of top shelf treatment in your arsenal of items that are used to defend, recover and keep your system up and running. Don't get caught without the file you need for that meeting or stumbling looking for baby photos that were stored on disk and suddenly 'hid' from your view. Allow AnyRecover to find and recover your lost files. AnyRecover is easy to use but provides sophisticated results that mean you know what you're doing!

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