How To Format An External Hard Drive For Mac

Need some extra storage space on your mac? This guide will show you how to format an external hard drive for Mac.

How to format an external hard drive for mac

Last Updated on

We’ve all been there, you’ve filled the storage space on your laptop, and need more, so you buy a nice shiny new external hard drive for some extra storage, but what if it’s not compatible with macOS?

Not to worry! In this article, we’ll be showing you how to format an external hard drive for a mac, so that you can get some much-needed extra storage, without having to fork out for a brand new laptop!

What Is An External Hard Drive?

External hard drives are essentially free storage space when it comes to using any laptop or mac in this case.

External drives are different from regular hard drives because their use is intended for external usage. Which just means anything that’s not actually inside of the computer or any other device you’re using.

This means they’re best used in situations like this, where you just need some added storage. First, though, you’ll just need to be able to reformat your external hard drive.

Which Format Should I Use?

When it comes to formatting an external hard drive, the most difficult part of the process is choosing the file format that you want to use with your external hard drive.

This differs from person to person, but the file format that you choose is going to largely depend on what operating systems you’ll be using the most.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the file formats that might be right for you.

Mac OS Extended

If you want something that’ll work really well with your mac, then mac OS extended is going to be your best choice straight out of the gate. It’s the default file format for Mac OS Sierra or anything before, and that’s because it runs great on all macs.

The downside of this file format is that it won’t work for Windows or Linux, so if you’re using any other operating systems this one is best missed.

APFS

Introduced as the newer version of Mac OS extended, APFS is all about speed and compatibility with other similar operating systems.

In saying that, this won’t be compatible with Windows, Linux, or any MacOS before High Sierra, so your options are limited. But if you have a mac with high sierra or later, then this is a great choice if speed is of importance to you.

FAT32

FAT32 is a default file format for many due to its compatibility. It’ll work across Windows, Mac and Linux, so you’ll be able to transfer files with ease.

Its only drawback is that its filing system is limited to 4GB, so you’ll find yourself running out of storage space incredibly quickly.

1

How To Format An External Hard Drive To Mac

It’s worth noting that reformatting a drive will always delete everything you have on it, so make sure to transfer any files you need before you start this.

Step

1

Connect External Hard Drive To Mac

First, connect your external hard drive to your mac.

Step

2

Open Disk Utility

Open disk utility, you can search for this by using spotlight (command+space)

Step

3

Select External Hard Drive

Select the external hard drive from the subheading on the left hand side.

Step

4

Erase Button

Hit the erase button

Step

5

Rename The Drive

Enter the name of the drive and rename it to whatever you’d like

Step

6

Click Erase To Reformat

Click erase to completely reformat your drive. This shouldn’t take too long!

Step

7

And You’re Done

You’re all done! After this you should be ready to use your external hard drive.

Final Thoughts

It’s as simple as that, make sure you understand what file format you’ll be selecting before you begin reformatting your hard drive, but otherwise, if you follow these steps you’ll have your external hard drive working in no time!