Tuesday, February 7, 2023
HomeHow To GuidesHow to Format an External Hard Drive for Your Mac 

How to Format an External Hard Drive for Your Mac 

Did you know that most external hard drives are designed to be compatible with Windows computers? So, for anyone looking to connect an external hard drive to a Mac, formatting the hard drive is a no-brainer. You have to format it before use. But, how do you do that?

Caution: If you previously used your external hard drive on a PC, make sure to back up your files on it. Formatting your drive will get rid of all your data in it. You can follow ways to back up your Mac.

Follow these simple steps to Format an external hard drive

  • Start by connecting an external hard drive to your mac. It’s worth noting that some external hard drives need to be plugged into an outlet to function. 
  • Hover over to Spotlight Search, type in Disk Utility, and select the first option. Here you’ll find all the internal and external drives connected to your Mac. 
  • Next click view in the top-left corner of the window-Make sure to select all Devices.
  • Click the external hard drive you wish to format-
  • On the top menu, click Erase-This action will open a small pop-up window with a warning that erasing the hard drive will delete all your data. 
  • Name the drive- Ensure the name is descriptive, and leave the default settings: OS X Extended format & GUID partition map. Reason: You want your drive to be formatted in OS X’s HFS+ filetype for compatibility with Time Machine 
  • You can now Erase the drive-OS X and format it. 
  • Earlier you selected the drive in Disk Utility, go ahead and click Partition
  • You now need to select the amount of space for Time Machine.
  • Once you’re done Click Apply
  • Select the new untitled partition to format it as exFAT for use in both Mac and Windows devices. 
  •  Go ahead and Click Erase 
  • Name the partition and select exFAT for the format.
  • Click Erase to complete

Remember using a drive frequently between Windows and Mac could easily corrupt your files, so it’s always recommended to back up your files on the shared drive. When you format an external hard drive you could be doing so for a number of reasons, such as removing old data, changing the file system, or improving the hard drive’s performance.

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