Hard Drive Format For Mac

Posted on

A drive can be used on any type of computer - PC or Mac. But in order for the computer and drive to talk to one another, the drive has to be formatted. This article explains about file systems and provides instruction to format a drive on Windows and Mac.

Western Digital (WD) portable hard drives are really helpful. They offer high capacity storage, universal connectivity and are also compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0.

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. Launch Disk Utility and then click to select the external hard drive listed on the left. Click the 'Erase' tab, choose a volume format from the drop-down menu and then type a name for the drive. The Mac OS X Extended volume format is optimal for Macs; the Journaled option enables the system to.

If you want the WD external hard drive to work on your Mac or PC, you need to format it first. So, if you are looking for how to format your WD drive, you are on the right page. Here, we provide a step by step guide on the same.

Hard Drive Format For Mac And Linux

Hard Drive Format For Mac

Securing your data

Once the formatting process begins, all the data on the drive will be lost. Therefore, you will have to extract or back up your data first before you start the process.

You can do that by copying your files to a new location one by one. If the data to be transferred is massive, then you should use a professional back up software (e.g EaseUS Todo Backup).

Read Also:How to fix itunes error 9039

Formatting your WD hard drive for Mac

Formatting your drive to FAT32 or exFAT is easier using Mac’s built-in Disk Utility. Below are the steps for the process.

  • Connect your WD hard drive to your Mac computer.
  • If your driver doesn’t turn up, navigate to Finder then select Preferences.
  • In the small window that appears, check the boxes next to Hard Disks and External Disks. Your WD external hard drive should now be visible on your screen.
  • Double-click on the driver icon that appears on your desktop.
  • Click on Applications from the left pane
  • Go to Utilities
  • Select Disk Utility
  • Click on the drive with the WD label in the left pane of the Disk Utility.
  • Click on Erase in the Disk Utility file menu. The Erase dialogue window appears.
  • Select the Volume Format drop-down list
  • Choose MS-DOS (FAT)or ex-FAT File System.
  • Click on the Erase button then wait a few minutes and let the macOS erase data on the drive.
  • Reformat the drive by FAT32 or ex-FAT
  • Once formatting is complete, you can use the drive in your MacOS or OS X as a regular hard drive.

Note: ex-FAT is a better choice for formatting your WD on Mac.

Read Also: How to delete Google Drive from Mac

Formatting your WD hard drive for PC

Below are the steps to follow when formatting the WD Drive for Mac.

Hard Drive Format For Mac And Windows

  • Connect your WD hard drive to your Windows PC
  • Click on the Start button and select This PC. A new Windows Explorer window opens.
  • Right-click on the icon assigned to the WD Drive.
  • Click on Format in the pop-up menu.
  • Select the File System from the drop-down list then choose either ex-FAT or FAT32
  • Type a name in the Volume Label This is the name that will represent your drive when you connect it with your PC or Mac.
  • Select the Quick Format option then click on Start.
  • Wait for a few minutes for the process to complete. After successful formatting, you can then save or move files to it.


Hopefully, the steps above will enable you format your WD external hard drive for Mac successfully. Should you encounter any problem with the same, let us know in the comments section.

Read Also: How to add Google Drive to Mac Finder

Most external hard drives are designed to work for Windows computers. So if you’re trying to connect an external hard drive to a Mac, you might have to format the drive before you can use it. Here’s how to do that:

How to Format a Hard Drive for Mac

Note: If you already used your external hard drive on a PC, be sure to back up any files on it. Formatting your drive will wipe out all the data in it.

  1. Connect an external hard drive to your Mac. Some external hard drives need to be plugged into an outlet to work.
  2. Go to Spotlight Search, type in Disk Utility, and click the first option. This will open the Disk Utility app, where you will find all the internal and external drives that are connected to your Mac.
  3. Then click View in the top-left corner of the window and select Show All Devices.
  4. Click the external hard drive you want to format. You can find this on the left-hand side of the screen under External Hard Drives. For the best result, select the disk (the highest option in the external tree).
  5. On the top menu, click Erase. This will open a small pop-up window with a warning that erasing the drive will delete all data stored on it and that it can’t be undone.
  6. Choose a name, format, and scheme for your drive. You can choose whatever name you want, and you should choose GUID Partition Map for the Scheme in most cases. However, you can choose between the following formats:
    • Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is the best option for most Mac users since it is compatible with all Macs.
    • APFS (Apple File System) is only for newer Macs running macOS 10.13 or later.
    • exFAT is compatible with both PC and Mac.
    • MS-DOS (FAT) is also compatible with Mac and PC, but you can only transfer files smaller than 4GB.
  7. When you’re done with providing the setup details, click Erase. This will immediately wipe the entire drive.

If you get an error message that states, “Erase process has failed. Click done tocontinue,” don’t freak out about it. This is an issue caused by Time Machine running on your externaldrive.

You will need to turn off Time Machine. You can do this by opening System Preferences and unchecking the boxnext to “Back Up Automatically”.Then click Options beside “ShowTime Machine in menu bar.” This will open another window. Click Cancel and it will turn off the Time Machine.

After you turn off the Time Machine, redo steps 4 to 6.

How to Partition anExternal Hard Drive on Mac

If you have formattedyour drive, you can then partition the drive, which will splitthe drive into two formats. This is perfect for anyone who uses Macs and PCsand wants to transfer files between the different operating systems with anexternal drive. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open Disk Utility and select the drive that you want to partition. It is best to click View > Show All Devices so you can selectthe disk rather than a container.
  2. In the top menu, select Partition.
  3. Then click the plus sign at the bottom of the pie chart. Every time you click this plus sign, a new partition will becreated.
  4. Choose a name, format and size for each partition. You can also change the size of each of the partitions bydragging the white dots at the edge of the circle.
  5. Finally click Apply.
Hard Drive Format For Mac

Why Partition a Hard Drive?

Partitioning an external hard drive allows youto have separate drives for Mac, PC, and any other operating system. Now youdon’t have to go out and buy hard drives for every computer you use.

A partition also gives you a dedicated space foryour Time Machine back-up files or a bootable backup of your operating system.It also helps protect your data if your drive gets infected with malware, as itwould be contained within one of the partitions.

Now that you know how to format an external drive for Mac, check out our blog on the difference between an HDD and an SDD.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles