Can I Use Any External Hard Drive With Mac

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REASONS TO AVOID. The best external hard drives for Macs are more vital than ever, especially with the latest MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch being even pricier than their older. Nov 07, 2019 Are all external hard drives compatible with Mac? Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn’t matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Question: Q: External Hard drive use with Mac Mini I am considering purchasing a 2018 Mac Mini with the standard 258GB SSD drive then purchasing an external 500GB SSD drive or 1TB external drive depending on the cost. So, this is how to startup Mac from external drive. Follow the frequently asked questions to clear any doubts that you have while booting from external hard drive Mac. In case, you want to recover any lost or deleted Mac files after a boot, we highly recommend you to go for Tenorshare Any Data Recovery for Mac. It is a utility data recovery. Answer (1 of 6): You can use any external drive over USB or Thunderbolt. If I had to suggest a drive, one I’d be using constantly instead of occasionally I’d probably get an OWC Envoy Express enclosure and stick an NVME SSD in it.

How To Connect External Hard Drive To Mac?

Plug the hard drive into the Mac using the cable that came with it. Most hard drives connect via USB, so you’ll just need to plug the USB cable into an open port on your Mac. You’ll typically find at least one USB port along each side of the Mac.

How do I get my external hard drive to work on my Mac?

Mount an external hard drive on Mac

Go to System Preferences > Disk Utility. Check that the external disk is listed in the left sidebar. Highlight your hard drive and select Mount. It should now appear under devices in the Finder.

Why can’t I use my external hard drive on my Mac?

Sometimes when you connect an external hard drive to your Mac, you’ll find that it’s set to read only. This happens because the drive is formatted with Microsoft’s NTFS filesystem, which macOS doesn’t support by default. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix so that your external hard drive is no longer read only.

Can you use any external hard drive with a Mac?

Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn’t matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting in HFS (Mac OS Extended) or FAT32 or NTFS-3G can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility.

Why can’t I see my USB drive on my Mac?

If your flash drive or external hard drive is not showing up there, go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar, and under Locations, you need to tick the option “External disks”. By selecting this option, we can make sure that the connected external USB hard drive or flash drive will normally show up in the Finder.

What do I do if my external hard drive is not detected?

Does NTFS work on Mac?

Apple’s macOS can read from Windows-formatted NTFS drives, but can’t write to them out of the box. Here are a few solutions for getting full read/write access to NTFS drives. This could be useful if you want to write to a Boot Camp partition on your Mac, as Windows system partitions must use the NTFS file system.

How do I make my hard drive compatible with Mac without formatting?

If you want to fix external hard drive read only on Mac without formatting, using a cross-platform NTFS driver for Mac is the best choice. iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is the best pick. This easy-to-operate NTFS for Mac software can make the NTFS read only external hard drive writable on Mac.

Do I need to format external hard drive for Mac?

Yes, connecting an external hard drive or USB flash key to a Mac will generally read and work fine as is because the Mac can easily read other filesystem formats, including Windows MSDOS, FAT, FAT32, ExFat, and NTFS formats, but unless you intend on using the drive between a Windows and Mac machine, formatting it to be

How do I see hard drive on Mac?

Go to the Menu bar, and then, move to “Finder”. Next, click on the “Preferences” option. Next, select the “General” tab when the Finder preferences window appears on your Mac screen. After that, check the box “Hard disks” under “Show these items on the desktop”.

How do I get my computer to recognize my WD external hard drive?

Locate and right-click on your WD drive and click Change Drive Letter and Paths…. Click Change. Then select from the drop-down menu to assign a letter and click OK. Restart your computer and check if your WD external hard drive not recognized problem has been solved.

How do I enable my external hard drive?

  1. Plug your external hard drive into your desktop or laptop PC. …
  2. In the Windows 10 search bar, type This PC.
  3. Click This PC.
  4. Click the external hard drive listed. …
  5. Access any files on the hard drive like you would with an ordinary internal hard drive.

Is NTFS for Mac free?

A: Mac can read NTFS drives for free by default. All you need to do is to mount the disk in Disk Utility by: 1.

Why can I not copy files to external hard drive Mac?

If you can’t move or copy a file or folder, you might need to change its permissions settings. You might also need to change permissions settings for the disk, server, or folder where you want to move the item. On your Mac, select the item, then choose File > Get Info, or press Command-I.

Do I need NTFS for Mac?

Running a Mac and having NTFS formatted external disks, you definitely need NTFS for Mac. It is well priced <…> and enables read and write access to your NTFS drives no matter what size. The speed at which you can read and write the data on these drives is the best of any competitor if there really is one.

How do I format my external hard drive for Mac without losing data?

Answer: A: Answer: A: Open Disk Utility, select your drive from the left side list, then click on the Enable Journaling icon in the toolbar. This will do what you want without losing anything.

How do I connect my Seagate to my Mac?

Simply plug in the power, plug in the USB cable, and the drive should appear in (My) Computer/This PC and Windows Explorer/File Explorer. For Mac, you will need to reformat the drive prior to using it because it will be read-only on a Mac, which means you will be unable to copy or move data to the drive.

What format does Mac use for external hard drive?

Apple File System (APFS)

While APFS is optimized for the Flash/SSD storage used in recent Mac computers, it can also be used with older systems with traditional hard disk drives (HDD) and external, direct-attached storage. macOS 10.13 or later supports APFS for both bootable and data volumes.

What is exFAT on Mac?

ExFAT is a cross-platform solution for use with Mac and Windows devices, now serving as a base for files shared and edited between the two platforms. If you work with Mac and Windows computers often, ExFAT may be the best option for your Mac.

What is the best format for an external hard drive on Mac?

If you need to format a drive, use the APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format for best performance. If your Mac is running macOS Mojave or later, use the APFS format. When you format a drive, any data on the volume is deleted, so make sure you create a backup if you want to keep the data.

How do I add a hard drive to my favorites on a Mac?

Add a folder or disk to the sidebar: Drag the item to the Favorites section. If you don’t see the Favorites section, choose Finder > Preferences > Sidebar, then select at least one item in the Favorites section.

Why does my WD hard drive not show up?

Go Disk Management > Find your external hard drive and right click it by choosing Change Drive Letter and Path… Assign the drive with a new letter that doesn’t exist in your PC and mark the Partition as Active. Click OK. Restart PC and your External hard drive will show up and work again.

Why is my WD Passport not recognized Mac?

Check whether the USB cable or USB port is broken by connecting other hard drives to this USB port or cable and see if that makes a difference. 4. Reboot your Mac to see if your My Passport for Mac drive is showing up in Disk Utility/Finder or not.

What is the Mac equivalent of NTFS?

If you have an NTFS drive you can use macOS’ Disk Utility to reformat it to FAT32. This is simple to do and means the data on your drive/USB stick can be read and written on both Macs and PCs. Be aware that the FAT32 format isn’t as efficient as NTFS: it only supports files sizes of up to 4GB.

How do I mount an NTFS external hard drive on a Mac?

How to use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to mount NTFS drives on Mac? Step 1: Download, install, and launch iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your computer. Step 2: Connect your Windows NTFS external hard drive to your Mac. Then, you’ll be able to open your NTFS drive and write to it after the drive has been mounted successfully.

How do I format my external hard drive to NTFS on Mac?

How do I drag and drop files to an external hard drive on a Mac?

Click the Finder icon in the Dock to open a Finder window, then do one of the following to move your files. Move files to the storage device: Select one or more files on the desktop or in a folder, then drag them to the storage device, listed below Locations in the Finder sidebar.

How do I transfer photos from Mac to external hard drive?

Connect your external hard drive to your Mac. Open System Preferences. Click Time Machine > Select Backup Disk.

3.Transfer your photos
  1. Connect your external hard drive to your Mac.
  2. In Finder, go to your Pictures Folder.
  3. Drag your iPhoto or Photos Library onto your external hard drive.

How do I move files on a Mac without copying?

Just keep the Cmd key pressed while yoy make the drag & drop. The Finder will move them instead of copying. Hold the Command key down as you drag. The Finder will then copy the file to the new location and delete the original once completed.

What does NTFS stand for?

NT file system (NTFS), which is also sometimes called the New Technology File System, is a process that the Windows NT operating system uses for storing, organizing, and finding files on a hard disk efficiently. NTFS was first introduced in 1993, as apart of the Windows NT 3.1 release.

Can Mac use FAT32?

The first format, FAT32, is fully compatible with Mac OS X, though with some drawbacks that we’ll discuss later. … If the drive’s format comes up as MS-DOS (FAT) or, less likely, ExFAT, you may be able to simply leave the drive as-is and not bother reformatting it.

Does reformatting an external hard drive erase it?

Yes, formatting the drive will erase your data. Since it is a drive you have been using, it should not tell you to format the drive though.

Does reformatting hard drive delete everything?

Formatting the hard drive is a bit more secure than simply erasing the files. Formatting a disk does not erase the data on the disk, only the address tables. … For those who accidentally reformat a hard disk, being able to recover most or all the data that was on the disk is a good thing.

Will I lose data if I format my external hard drive?

In the Devices and Drives section of the main window, you should see your external hard drive. Right-click on the drive’s icon to bring up the context menu, then select Format from the list. … If you do a full format of your drive, you will lose all your data.

How To Make Any External Hard Drive Mac Compatible

How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac? [6 Methods]

How To Format an External Hard Drive for Mac – Everything You Need To Know

How to Set Up & Use External Hard Drive on MacBook Air


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It doesn’tmatter if it’s your photos from that special holiday. Or your mega musiccollection in iTunes.

You want toknow how to connect an external hard drive to your Apple Mac. And you need toknow now.

Can i use any external hard drive with mac operating system

Because youneed a backup of your important stuff.

In this article Connect External Hard Drive to Mac. You’ll find out the 12 things you must know to hook up an external hard drive.

You’ll likethis article if you have a MacBook, or MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

Or if youhave an iMac.

Or if you’rerunning Mac OS Sierra or higher.

You’ll find your connection options from your MacBook late 2010. Through to the connection options on your 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 Macs.

You’ll findthe answer to these questions;

How toconnect an external hard drive to a Mac?

How to findthe external hard drive on a Mac? And the answer to some other questions you may nothave thought of yet.

The Delivery Man Is Here …

Your external drive hard has arrived.

Go on,remove the packaging.

And you’llfind inside;

  • Your external hard drive.
  • A USB cable.
  • Is there a power adaptor?

You’ll needone only if your hard drive isn’t powered by your USB cable.

Now take alook at your Mac and find out what ports it has.

1. USB Connections And Your Mac

Your USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable connectsyour Mac and its external hard drive. This cable allows your Mac to transferfiles to and from your external drive.

Your USBcable can also provide the power to your drive.

Assumingyour drive is USB powered as many of the portable external hard drives are now.

Your USBcable is a standard cable, yes.

But thereare different ‘standards’ of USB cables and different plug connections. And whatyour Mac needs depends on when your Mac was made.

Your Macused the best USB standards of the time.

But as theUSB standards progressed, the physical connections changed. And the speed fileswere sent between a Mac and its external hard drive increased.

And the electrical power supported changed. The newer USB cables carry more electrical power compared to earlier USB cables.

2. USB External Hard Drive Compatibility On An Apple Mac

The greatthing about the USB standard is its inbuilt backwards compatibility.

For example: USB 3.1 and USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0.

USB 3.0 is thefaster protocol (5 Gbit/s minus overheads).

Externalhard drives that meet the USB 3.0 standard send their files at USB 3.0 speed. Aslong as your USB 3.0 external drive is connected to a Mac with a matching USB3.0 port.

But what happens when a USB 3.1 or 3.0 external hard drive connects to your Mac with a USB 2.0 port. Your drive will send files to and from your older Mac at USB 2.0 speed. (480 Mbit/s minus overheads).

Greatbecause it means your older Mac can use the newer, external hard drives.

It doesn’tmatter whether your Mac is an older so slower Mac. Or a newer faster Mac.

Or if your external hard drive is slower or faster than your Mac. Your Mac and the drive will work out who can do what. And at what speed.

3. Connecting An External Hard Drive Your Older Apple Mac

When youlook at the ports on your Mac. Do they look like this?

These aretype A USB ports.

Older Macs.

For exampleif you have a MacBook Pro 2010 it will have type A ports that support USB 2.0.

Macs with USB3.1 gen 1 and 2 ports will also have type A ports.

Along withMacs with USB 3.0 ports.

They allhave type A ports.

And itmeans all the ports on all those Macs look the same. And use the same connectorto plug in.

Your USBcable will look like this at the end that plugs into your Mac.

And yourUSB type A cable end may have a colored blue strip in the connector. If it doesthis will help you spot with what type of cable you have.

Does yourexternal hard drive have a type A plug on the end for your Mac?

Does yourMac have type A ports?

Yes, thenyou’re good to plug in. If not read on.

4. Connecting An External Hard Drive To A MacBook Pro 2011

Check. Doesyour Mac have a Thunderbolt 1 or 2 port?

Dependingon the age of your Mac it may have a Thunderbolt port as well as USB type Aports.

How can youtell?

Apple introduced the Thunderbolt USB ports with the 2011 edition of the MacBook Pro.

You’ll seethese ports because they have the tell tale lightening bolt symbol beside them.

You canplug a type A USB cable end straight into your Mac’s type A ports.

Or if theyare full and you want to use the Thunderbolt port then …

TheThunderbolt ports are faster. And were made for connections to a Thunderboltscreen, or FireWire or gigabit Ethernet. As well as external storage.

You’ll findthe port looks very like a mini display port. But it is not the same so don’tget them mixed up.

That’s whyApple put the lightening bolt symbol right next to the port.

The beauty of Thunderbolt is that it can connect many devices at the same time.

You’ll notice that the Thunderbolt ports are different to USB type A ports. If your Mac has one of these ports and you want to use it, you’ll need a USB cable end that looks like this.

If you havea type A USB cable end from your external drive for your Mac then you’ll needto get yourself an adaptor. Or adaptor cable. Then you can plug any USB 3.1,3.0 or 2.0 external hard drive into your Mac’s Thunderbolt port.

Becauseapart from the different physical connection it will work.

Here is anexample for you of an adaptor you can buy from Amazon.

Kanex Thunderbolt eSATA plus USB 3 Adaptor (Commissions Earned)

You can find more info on Apple Mac ports in this Apple article on the Apple website.

5. Connecting An External Hard Drive To A MacBook Pro 2015

USB C typeconnections were introduced first on the MacBook 2015 edition. The 2015 MacBookhad a single USB C port, which supported the speed and protocols of USB 3.1 gen1.

You’ll knowyou have one of these ports because you’ll use it to charge your MacBook.

The goodnews is that you can get an adaptor cable so that you can use an external harddrive.

Strange. Thisparticular port does not support Thunderbolt devices or displays.

So there isno point you buying a Thunderbolt external drive to connect if you have a 2015 MacBook.A USB 3.0 or 3.1 drive will work fine with the right adaptor.

6. Connecting An External Hard Drive To A MacBook Pro 2017

Your neweriMac (2017 onwards) and iMac Pro.

Mac mini(2018)

And MacBook Pro (2016 and later) and MacBook Air 2018, 13 inch with Retina display came with USB C type Thunderbolt ports. And they look like this.

All thoseports support Thunderbolt devices and are Thunderbolt 3 ports.

So if youreally need a fast external hard drive you can by a Thunderbolt 3 drive. Put iton and your good to go. …

They docome in at quite a price.

Don’tworry, again because of USB’s backwards compatibility, you can put USB 3.1, 3.0and earlier external hard drives on.

And allyou’ll need is the right adaptor cable.

Here is the Apple one and its on Amazon. (Commissions Earned)

And if you’ve bought a MacBook with only 1 or 2 USB C ports. You may find yourself running out of ports to connect your external drive into. And have it plugged in along side your other USB gadgets at the same time.

Then a USB hub like the Satechi Aluminum Multi-port Adaptor V2 maybe just what you’re looking for. Click the link to check out a post all about it.

Ok, nowyou’ve had a run through on the different type of USB ports and cables.

Can I Use Any External Hard Drive With Mac Os

Gotyourself an adaptor cable if you need one. It’s time to plug in your externalhard drive into your Mac.

I found for you this document on Apple’s website. It shows the different type of ports available on the different MacBook generations. And the different kinds of adapter cables you can get for your Mac.

You may find it useful.

7. Powering Your USB External Hard Drive From Your Mac

As the USBstandards moved forward, drives got bigger and faster. And so external drivesneeded more power.

The USBcables became thicker to move your files faster and to power the drives.

So whatdoes this mean for you?

Are youwanting to replace a shorter USB 3.1 cable on a Mac with a USB 3.1 port. Andare you connecting an USB 3.1 external drive?

Want thetop line speed your USB 3.1 external hard drive is capable of? You’ll need tobuy a USB 3.1 type A replacement cable.


If you’rebuying a USB 3.1 external hard drive. And plan to connect it to your Mac with aUSB 3.0 or a USB 2.0 port.

Your Mac can’tsend your files to the drive at USB 3.1 speed.

But you can buy yourself a longer USB 3.0 cable. Backwards compatibility means your USB 3.1 external drive would work. And at the speed your Mac is able to work at.

Understand that;

Faster USB 3.1 hard drives. And SSD drives draw more power from the USB port than an older Mac. One with USB 2.0 ports can support.

To power those drives you’ll need to help your older Mac out.

And buy a powered USB hub. One with its own power supply.

8. Does Your External Hard Drive Need A Power Cable On Your Mac?

Desktopexternal hard drives typically need a separate power plug.

If you’vean external power adaptor for your drive, don’t turn on the power yet. Put yourexternal drive on a firm surface before you power it up.

Spinning,powered up drives, won’t appreciate knocks and shakes. You’ll shorten the lifeof your hard drive.

And riskcorrupting your files.

Unless youhave a Solid State drive (SSD). SSD’s don’t have moving parts. And you wonthave to be so concerned.

Externaldrive on a firm surface? Good. Power it up.

You mayhear the fan or see a light come on the front of your drive to tell you it’spowered and working.

9. Now Connect Your External Hard Drive To Your Mac

Open up andsign into your Mac then plug in its USB cable. Plus the adaptor if you’re usingone.

If yourdrive is USB powered it will power up when you connect the USB cable into yourMac.

10. Now Your Drive Is Connected, How Do You Find Your External Hard Drive On Your Mac?

There areseveral ways to find your connected external hard drive on your Mac.

First lookat your Mac’s desktop screen. Within a few seconds you should see a new icon onthe desktop. That icon lets you know your external hard drive is connected andseen by your Mac.

Double click to open up a window to the drive so you can see your nice empty drive.

You can also find your external hard drive in a finder window on your Mac. Open up a new finder window and you’ll see your drive listed under devices.

f yourexternal hard drive is not there either as an icon or in the finder window. Checkthe frequently asked questions below.

11. How You Use Your Connected External Hard Drive On Your Mac

Using aconnected up external hard drive on a Mac is as easy as using any other finderwindow on your Mac.

Just as youwould copy and paste from one finder window to another on your Mac. You cancopy and paste to your hard drive’s finder window.

Once your finder window is open on your connected external hard drive. You can use all the commands you’re used to using.

You can drag and drop.

Or copy and paste from a finder window on your Mac to a finder window on your hooked up external hard drive.

As long as your drive is connected, your Mac treats your external drive the same as your internal drive.

12. Disconnect Your External Hard Drive From Your Mac

The last importantthing for you to know is how to disconnect your external hard drive.

That wayyou’ll be sure you’re not accidentally corrupting the files you have on there.

You do thisby ejecting your external hard drive from your Mac computer.

Hover overthe external drive icon on your desktop.

And rightclick. Choose the Eject option from the menu that comesup.

Or go to the finder window of the connected external hard drive. And click the arrow to the right of the drive name. That will also eject the hard drive.

Wait a fewseconds for the external drive icon to disappear.

This makessure your Mac writes whatever it needs to the disk.

You mayhear the fan on your external hard drive wind down.

Or thelight on the external hard drive flicker and go out. Or flicker and staysteady.

Now you can remove your USB cable from your computer. And your power cable if you have one for the external hard drive you’re using.

You can now safely pick up and move your disk drive.

Connect An External Hard Drive To Mac Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do I Find Out What Ports And What USB Types My Mac Supports?

If you’renot sure from looking at the pictures in this article, then there is anotherway to find out.

Look at thetop left of your desktop. Click on the Apple symbol. And pick the option “Aboutthis Mac”.

Your next popup window lets you to choose different options that tell you what is on your Mac. And what your Mac is capable of.

You’ll see a window like this.

The red arrow in the photo tells you this Mac has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Your screen will show you how many and what type of ports your Mac has

Then take a look at the side of your Mac.

You can take a look at the ports your Mac has. Your USB C ports will look like this.

And if your MacBook has USB 2.0 or 3.0 (also known as USB A). They will look like this.

You’ll see that USB A type A ports are rectangular and USB C are oval shaped and smaller.

This page on the Apple website is useful for more information as well.

2. Your Connected External Hard Drive Not Showing Up?

Can’t seeyour connected hard drive on your iMac or MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

There are afew things you can try.

2.1 Check Your Finder Preferences

Be sure to check ‘External Drive’ on your finder window preferences.

You can find it under the General heading.

Then yourexternal hard drive will show up on your desktop.

2.2 Another Thing Is Sometimes Stuff Can Happen To The Software On Your USB Port On Your Mac.

For exampleif you had something else plugged into the port. And it wasn’t disconnected properly.Try plugging into another port on your Mac. Does the connected external harddrive show up on your Mac? No?

Then a Restartof your Mac will reset all the external ports and sort any issues.

2.3 If You’ve An Older Mac 2010 Or Earlier.

And you’re using a new USB 3.0 portable drive powered by its USB cable. It could be the power needed by the drive is more than the USB 2.0 protocol supports.

This is an issue with some of the external hard drive manufacturers. The ones who didn’t stick to the USB standards. I guess they think all the older MacBooks should be retired.

Check on the power draw of your drive. If it is too much you may need a drive powered by an external power cable.

3. Your Mac Won’t Use Cour Connected External Hard Drive

Can you seewhat is on the drive? Can you open up documents but you can’t update or put anyfiles on the drive?

And thedrive seems some how write protected. Or read only. Then the odds are you havean external hard drive in a format your Mac can’t write to.

You may already know the external drive was on a Windows PC. Some external hard drives are delivered to work on a PC. They have a file system called NTFS. NTFS is a file system a Windows PC can use straightaway.

But yourMac can only read it. And copy files off.

You’ll needjust a little more effort for the drive to work on a Mac.

It willneed formatting to work on your Mac.

Don’t worry. Know that in a few minutes you’ll have the drive up and running. Want to know how? You can learn how here.

Once you’veformatted the drive. You’ll be happily playing, copying, pasting and backing upall you want onto the drive.

Formatting wipes all the documents on the external hard drive. If you don’t want to do that but still need to use the external drive on your Mac. Take a look at my article here.

It goes through your options for using an NTFS drive without reformatting on your Mac.

Last Words

And now youhave the 12 things to know when you connect an external hard drive to Mac.

Now you’rein the know, are you ready to choose an external hard drive for your Mac? Take a look at some of the best.