How to Format Seagate External Drive for Mac

t Seagate External Drive for Mac

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Formatting a Seagate external drive for Mac is easy! Just have your Mac computer on, connect the Seagate external drive and choose the correct formatting options. You can get the job done within five minutes.

I’m a tech enthusiast who switched from a Windows laptop to a MacBook Pro. While I had my Seagate hard drive handy, it wasn’t configured to work with Mac.

In this article, I will walk you through the detailed step-by-step guide on how to format Seagate external drives for Mac correctly so that you can save time and avoid any errors in the process. 

Let’s get started!

What Do You Need to Prepare?

Thankfully, you do not need a lot of extra devices to get through with the formatting process. All you need is your Mac computer and the Seagate external device.

In my case, however, I had to buy a Type A to Type C USB Adapter with Thunderbolt-3 compatibility. This is because my new MacBook only had Thunderbolt-3 ports (USB-C) while the cable that came along with the external drive had a Type A USB connector.

If you have the same problem, just get the USB-C adapter offering Thunderbolt compatibility. Those who already have a Seagate drive with supported cable can skip this purchase.

How to Format a Seagate External Drive on Mac?

As I promised, you won’t need to spend hours completing the formatting process. Just a few minutes and you can start using your drive on Mac for read-and-write operations (more below). 

Step 1: Connect the Device

First, make sure the Seagate external hard drive is connected to your MacBook. If you are using the USB-C adapter, connect the Seagate drive to the adapter and the other end of the adapter to your MacBook.

Step 2: Go to Disk Utility

To open the Disk Utility window, go to the Finder menu bar on the top of your MacBook. Click on Go and then choose Utilities from the menu. 

 choose Utilities from the menu

You will find the Disk Utility app inside the Utility folder. 

Disk Utility app

Step 3: Locate the Seagate External Drive

On the Disk Utility Window, look for Seagate Drive on the left side of the screen. 

Seagate Drive

If you can not find it there, click on View on the same window and choose Show All Devices.

Step 4: Format the Drive

Choose the Seagate external drive from the left column and click on Erase. A new window will pop up. Here, you can change the name of the drive and choose the file system from the drop-down menu.

For the format option, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled). And click on the Erase button.

 Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

Confirm your selection when asked in the pop-up window. Then follow the instructions before it’s complete.


File Systems Quickly Explained

A file system is a process that defines the way data is stored, retrieved, and managed on storage disks. Therefore, the Seagate Backup hub comes in two different models. NTFS is the one for Windows and Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is for macOS. 

With my old Windows laptop, the external drive was formatted as NTFS. So, I was able to read files from my Seagate drive on Mac OS but was NOT able to write on it. 

Simply put, it is possible to copy folders and files from an external Seagate drive on Mac but the opposite is not supported. Also note, unlike Mac, Windows does not support either reading or writing to hard drives formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Apart from NTFS and Mac OS Extended, there are a few other file systems that aren’t as common as these two. These are:

  • exFAT: This file system supports both Mac and Windows. However, it isn’t a journaled file system. That said, exFAT is more vulnerable to errors such as data corruption that happens when the drive runs into problems when ejecting from the computer improperly.
  • FAT32: This is a file system for low-capacity hard drives. Hence, the file system is not common among modern hard drives. Also, FAT32 is also compatible with Mac as well as Windows. 

Tips: Format your Seagate drive to exFAT only if you need to use the drive between Windows and Mac. Only choose to format using FAT32 if your computer is running an older operating system. This file system isn’t for the latest OS.

Final Words

Formatting the Seagate external drive for Mac only takes a couple of minutes. If you have the needed devices and cables handy, you can carry out the process anytime.

Just remember to choose the correct file format to avoid any problems. Otherwise, you might have to spend more time figuring out what went wrong. 

Also, always remember to back up your data to another device or the cloud before formatting your drive. Better not lose the important files and regret later!

About Lorena
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Lorena holds a 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip. Her role involves editorial management from writing to editing and ensuring that the articles are informative, useful, and relevant to readers who are new to Mac.

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