How to Format an External Drive for Mac
You just purchased a new external hard drive or portable SSD and wanted to use it on your Mac, but macOS won't allow you to write data. This is because the file system format has been initialized as Windows NT File System (NTFS), which only works with PCs. Mac computers use a different file system than Windows.
That's right, Mac users: your external hard drive might not be automatically formatted for you so that it'll work on your computer. The good news? It doesn't take much time at all to format, and this article will show you how to format an external drive for Mac. Below are the steps:
Format an External Drive for Mac
1. Connect the external hard drive to your Mac
2. Open Disk Utility. The fastest way to do this is to use Spotlight search (click the search icon on the upper right corner or use the keyboard shortcut Command + Space) or go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
3. Choose View and select Show All Devices.
4. Select the drive you want to format
5. Select erase
6. Select the Scheme pop-up menu, then click GUID Partition Map
7. Chose a name for the hard drive, Select APFS in Format, and wait for the process to complete
*APFS or APFS Encrypted disks are the preferred format for a Time Machine backup disk
8. When the operation is finished, click Done.
Your external drive is now fully compatible with macOS. You can edit, read, and write files as you please.
How to Add APFS volume on External Hard Drive
Time Machine is an excellent tool for creating backups, and as such, it takes up the entirety of your disk. If you want to store any files other than Time Machine on your disk, use Disk Utility to create an additional APFS volume on the same device. Here's how to do that:
1. Open Disk Utility. The fastest way to do this is to use Spotlight search (click the search icon on the upper right corner or use the keyboard shortcut Command + Space) or go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
2. Select the drive you would like to add an APFS volume
3. Click the Add Volume button + in the toolbar
4. Choose a name for the APFS volume
5. When the operation is finished, click Done.
Hopefully, we helped you learn how to format an external drive for Mac!
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