External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc

  1. External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Software
  2. External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc For Sale
  3. External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Connection
  4. External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Wireless
  5. Seagate External Hard Drive Compatible With Mac And Pc
  6. External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Computers
  7. External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Windows 10
By Juno Posted to NTFS for Mac Tips, updated on November 18th, 2020

LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 compatible, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant, for Mac and PC Computer Desktop Workstation Laptop, 1 Month Adobe CC (STFR2000800). Sep 15, 2020 Options For Having An External Hard Drive For Mac And PC Without Formatting 1. Use a Software Solution – You get a piece of software that sits on your Mac. Or one for your Windows PC. Use a Hardware Solution – An extra external hard drive. This allows you to have your documents set up so. The drive is compatible with Mac, PC, and even Android. There’s no shock protection, but so long as you’re careful when travelling, it shouldn’t be a concern. SSD’s do not use moving parts so there is less risk for damage. A 3-year limited warranty is included on purchase. Most Affordable Thunderbolt External Drive – Buffalo MiniStation. You can format the external drive to exFAT both on a PC or a Mac. The instructions below are conducted on a Mac running macOS Mojave. Step 1: Connect the external drive to the Mac. Step 2: Go to Finder Applications Utilities Disk Utility. Step 3: Select the external drive at the left sidebar. Step 4: Choose Erase at the top tool bar. Nov 22, 2021 Best external hard drive and SSD for 2021: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox. It has a USB-C interface and includes both USB-C to USB-C and USC-A to USB-C cable. Is compatible with Mac and Windows PCs.

Though the default hard disk file system (also known as format) of Windows and Mac are different, there should be some ways to format an external drive for both Mac and PC. This post will conclude these tutorials:

  • A comparison of common File Systems for Mac and PC
  • Guide to format external hard drives for Mac and PC
  • Guide to partition an external hard drive for Mac and Windows PC
  • Make external hard drives compatible with Mac and PC without formatting

Then, after reading this post, you'll know what is the best file system for your camera's SD card and what is the best format for your Mac and PC. More importantly, you will know how to format flash drives for Mac and PC and make hard drives compatible with macOS and Windows.

Common File Systems for Mac and PC

The file system is one of the most important part for an external hard drive because it manages how your files are stored and retrieved. So, every hard disk needs a proper file system, including desktop drives and portable storage devices like external hard drives, USB flash drives and SD cards. However, different file systems have different advantages and disadvantages. So before you know how to format a hard drive, you should know the pros and cons of each file system.

1. FAT32

Best External Drive for Mac and PC Interchangeable: Our Picks in 2020 1. G-Technology Portable External Hard Drive 2TB. This drive is preformatted just for you, offering a high transfer. LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 compatible, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant, for Mac and PC Computer Desktop Workstation Laptop, 1 Month Adobe CC (STFR2000800).

FAT file system includes three major file system variants but the majorly used one is FAT32. FAT32 is commonly used in floppy disks, SD memory cards, USB flash drives, digital cameras, as well as many portable and embedded devices.

Pros

  • Works universally with all versions of Mac, Windows, Linux, game devices, as well as other devices supporting a USB port.

Cons

  • Doesn't support a file size larger than 4GB and a drive partition size larger than 32GB on Windows.
  • Doesn't support the drive partition larger than 2TB on macOS.

2. exFAT

exFAT is a good option for external hard drives (e.g. Seagate Backup Plus Slim), especially for large-capacity removable storage devices. It also is frequently used in flash memory drives such as USB flash drives and SD cards. exFAT is easily often implemented in firmware that has low memory and low power requirements, such as cameras, mobile phones, media players, etc.

External

Pros

  • Supports the largest partition and file sizes by today's standards.

Cons

  • Not compatible with too much old operating systems.
  • Not a good option for drives less than 32GB because it can't maximize space utilization.

3. NTFS

NTFS is a proprietary journaling file system developed by Microsoft. It is used as the default file system of Windows system hard drive (e.g. Windows 10). NTFS does well in data security based on its encryption, access permission control, and log file.

Pros

  • Improved performance, reliability, and disk space use.
  • Performs better in protecting data security, data management.
  • Compatible with all versions of Windows and latest hardware.

Cons

  • Read-only in macOS and the disabled-by-default write support for NTFS in macOS is unstable.

4. Mac OS Extended (HFS+)

HFS Plus or HFS+ is a journaling file system developed by Apple Inc. It's the startup disk’s default file system before macOS High Sierra. It also frequently used as Time Machine backup external hard drives of WD, Seagate, etc.

Pros

  • Supported by all versions of Mac OS X and macOS.
  • Has journaling, compression, and encryption features.

Cons

  • Has no access permission control.
  • Perfoms slow or crash in dealing with a large number of files.
  • Harder for data recovery when an HFS+ hard drive is corrupted.

5. Apple file system (APFS)

APFS is the new proprietary file system of Apple. It has been known to increase read/write speeds on solid-state drives (SSDs), as well as increase storage space due to the way in which it calculates the available data on disk.

Pros

  • Allows full-disk encryption with single or multi-key encryption for added security.
  • Efficient in management of free storage space

Cons

  • Not good for Time Machine backup due to no support for hard links to directories.
  • Can only be used on macOS 10.13 and above.

After knowing their unique specifications, it becomes easier to choose the best file system for your storage device. For instance, you would know why exFAT is better for camera SD cards, or why NTFS is better for external backup drive on Windows 10. In a word, you can format or reformat your external hard drive per your requirement, either for Mac and PC.

Warning: Formatting will erase data on this drive. So, make sure you have a backup. However, if you have formatted this drive and lose files, you can recover lost data from formatted external hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

How to format external hard drives for Mac?

To format external hard drives on Mac, you'll need the built-in disk management tool called Disk Utility. Then, you need to choose the best file system for your external hard drive when erase it.

Tips: Remember to back up the files on the external hard drive if you have saved anything important on it.

• Guide to format external hard drive on Mac computer.

How to format external hard drives for Windows computer?

Similarly, you can also format your drive on Windows computers with a utility called Disk Management.

Tips: To prevent data loss during formatting, make sure you haven't saved important files on the drive. If you have, backup them first.

• Guide to initialize and format external hard drive on Windows computer.

How to format an external hard drive for Mac and PC?

It's important to know how to format an external hard drive for your Mac and PC before you use it to free up space and transfer files between computers. If you don't format the external hard drive correctly, it won't work to the utmost extent. For instance,Windows uses NTFS, while Mac uses HFS+ or APFS. Out of the box, Windows can't read or write to HFS+/APFS drives and Macs can't write to NTFS drives either.

Best External Hard Drive For Mac And Pc Interchangeable Tool

Sometimes, users need to use the same external hard drive interchangeably on Mac and PC. To make it compatible with both macOS and Windows, you need to reformat the external hard drive.

Whether you are using an APFS/HFS+ or a Windows NTFS formatted external hard drive on Mac, you can reformat the external hard drives for both Mac and PC. File systems like FAT32 and exFAT can make the external HDD compatible with both Macs and Windows PCs.

Warning: Reformatting will wipe files off the external hard drive. So, you should make sure you have backed up your files on the external hard drive before you continue any steps.

When should you choose FAT32 file system?

FAT32 works with almost any operating system as well as video game consoles, Android USB expansions, media players, and other devices. However, FAT32 can only support files up to 4 GB in size. So, If all your files on the external hard drive are smaller than 4 GB, and the drive itself is smaller than 2 TB, then FAT32 is a better choice for you to use the hard drive on Mac and PC.

When should you choose exFAT file system?

Similarly, exFAT is also a widely compatible file system. The difference is that exFAT has no limitations on file size and hard drive size. So, when the external HDD you want to used for both Mac and PC is larger than 2 TB, exFAT is the best choice.

After you choose the best format for your drive, you can format or reformat the external hard drive in Disk Utility as it was introduced. Then the external hard drive will work both for Mac and PC.

When should you choose NTFS file system?

External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Software

Some users would prefer to the features of Windows NTFS file system. However, naturally, Disk Utility can't format external hard drive to NTFS. If you want an hard drive that you can only read on Mac but have full access on Windows, NTFS is the best choice. You can also use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to reformat the external hard drive with NTFS on Mac.

  • 1. Download and install iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your Mac.Then, restart your Mac.
  • 2. Connect the external hard drive to your Mac and launch this software.
  • 3. Find Disk Management in its main menu and click on it.
  • 4. Locate the volume you want to reformat, select it, and then click on Erase to NTFS.

What to do if you can’t format the external hard drive on Mac?

Usually, to format the external hard drive as FAT32 or exFAT, you are advised to do this on a Mac computer via Disk Utility. But if you have formatted the external hard drive under the Windows system, it would cause some inconvenience. You can't add or re-partition volumes of the external hard drive again on Mac. In this case, your only choice is to backup your files and reformat the whole disk.

How to partition an external hard drive for Mac and Windows PC?

Except for having the whole external hard drive formatted, you can also split this disk with two partitions. One is formatted with the file system that is compatible with macOS, another partition is compatible with Windows conversely. By this means, you can use all the advantages each format has on the respective system.

Warning: Still, you need to back up files on this drive before you begin to create two separate partitions to work for Mac and Windows PC.

For some Mac models, the partition option would be greyed out in Disk Utility. So, we suggest that it's better to use a PC to partition an external hard drive for macOS and Windows. Here are the steps to partition an external hard drive for Mac and Windows PC, which is a little tricky.

Step 1: Connect the external hard drive to your PC and then launch Disk Management.

Step 2: Check if the external hard drive is initialized or not.

If the drive is not initialized, you need to initialize the external hard drive with Master Boot Record (MBR). Then you can create two new partitions. You need to format one of them as NTFS for Windows use and format the other as your wish.

If the external hard drive is initialized, you need to right-click the disk to check if it's an MBR external hard drive.

  • If you see Convert to GPT Disk in the context menu, be it greyed out or lighted, it’s an MBR hard drive. Then you can create two or more partitions. And you need to prepare one partition for NTFS file system, and reformat with any file system.
  • If you see Convert to MBR Disk in the menu, it's an GPT hard drive. In this case, you need first backup files, delete the existing partitions, then click the Convert to MBR Disk button. Then, you can create two new partitions. You need to format one partition as NTFS for Windows use, and then format the other randomly.

Step 3: Up to now, there should be at least two partitions on the external hard drive. And one of them (the NTFS one) is ready for Windows use. Then, you need to safely remove the external hard drive and plug it into a Mac.

Step 4: Open Disk Utility and select the other partition (not the NTFS one) under the name of your external hard drive.

Step 5: Click Erase on the top, choose Mac OS Extended format when it asks, and chose Erase to finish.

Up to now, the external hard drive will have two partitions. One is HFS+ formatted for Mac, and the other is NTFS formatted for Windows.

By creating two separate partitions, you can use this external hard drive on both Mac and Windows. You won't be able to write to the Mac partition from your Windows computer, and vice versa. Thus, it's a good solution for people who need to swap between two operating systems but with separate work.

Best External Hard Drive For Mac And Pc Interchangeable Monitor

Make external hard drives compatible with Mac and PC without formatting

Many famous external hard drives like Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch and WD My Passport are pre-formatted with NTFS. However, the NTFS file system is a hassle for users who need to use the same external hard drive on both Mac and Windows. The external hard drive is not letting you add files if you use an NTFS external HDD on Mac. It will be read-only and you can't write to this drive normally in this case.

Many users don't know this and use the external hard drive directly. And when they want to reformat the hard drive to use it interchangeably, only to find that files on the drive are erased as well.

Then, can you solve external hard drive read-only without formatting?

Definitely! If you want to use NTFS formatted external hard drives on Mac, software like iBoysoft NTFS for Mac that might be helpful.

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac - professional NTFS driver for Mac

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is a professional NTFS for Mac software, which can automatically mount NTFS drives in read-write mode on Mac. It supports macOS Big Sur 11/Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13.

With this useful tool, you'll have full access to NTFS drives on Mac and make your external hard drive interchangeable between Macs and PCs without formatting. Also, you can mount and unmount NTFS drives from the Mac menu bar with advanced and optimized options.

What's more, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is also a handy tool to manage NTFS external drives. You can use it to easily mount, unmount, repair, erase NTFS external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, CF cards, pen drives, etc. on Mac.

Best External Hard Drive For Mac And Pc Interchangeable Windows 7

Tutorial to mount NTFS external hard drive on macOS with read-write mode with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

  • 1. Free download, install, and launch iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your computer.
  • 2. Connect your NTFS external hard drive to Mac, and iBoysoft NTFS for Mac will automatically mount it.
  • 3. Write to NTFS external hard drive after the disk has been mounted in read-write mode successfully.

If you want to use HFS+ or APFS formatted external hard drives on Windows, you can also attempt to install HFS+ for Windows software or APFS for Windows software on your PC to get read and write access to this external hard drive.

Best External Hard Drive For Mac And Pc Interchangeable Monitors

Conclusion

To sum up, it is easy to format an external hard drive for both Mac and Windows PC. You can either choose to format the whole disk as exFAT/FAT, or you can create two separate partitions of HFS+ and NTFS if you prefer. But compared with formatting, an NTFS for Mac driver like iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is a better and feasible solution.

Game consoles today come with 1TB drives (equivalent to approximately 1,000GB of hard drive storage), but the drives get full quickly if you aren't good about taking games off the drive as you add more. And most new computers don't come with much internal hard drive storage space unless you're splurging on a high-end model -- they usually have 256GB or 512GB. One way to manage it all is to find the best external hard drive and SSD for your needs.

A traditional hard drive or mechanical drive that uses 'old' hard drive technology (mechanical platters and a moving read-write head to access data) is adequate for the majority of users, thanks to speedier USB-C and USB 3.0 (as well as 3.1/3.2) interfaces. Prices have dropped significantly in the last few years, with even the high-capacity external hard drive models tipping the scales at 5TB but costing just over $100. A solid-state drive doesn't have moving parts and the external SSD drive has up to four times faster read and write speed, but it costs a lot more per gigabyte.

Most of the options on this list of the best external hard drive models will work across platforms -- whether you have a Windows PC, Mac computer, PlayStation 4 or Xbox -- so long as the drives are correctly formatted for the right platform. But a lot of times they'll be designated as working with a specific platform out of the box and sometimes come with backup software that's platform-specific. Unless otherwise indicated, all the PC drives mentioned here are compatible with Windows but can be formatted for a Mac. Many of them include cables or adapters to accommodate USB-C and USB-A ports. But if they don't happen to be included, you can easily buy dongles for about $10.

And remember: A single backup doesn't cut it. Ideally, you'll want redundant backups either off-site or using cloud storage for key data and large files (such as family photos) in case of theft or fire. And make sure to encrypt your data, too.

One important note for console gamers is that the newer PS5 and Xbox Series X (and Series S) consoles are much more restrictive about using external drives. The PS5 can store and play PS4 games from an external drive, but not PS5 games; the Xbox Series X can store Series X games, but you'll have to transfer them to the main SSD to actually play them. The Xbox Series X does offer a proprietary Seagate-made storage expansion card, but it costs $220.

With those caveats noted, our current top picks for the best external hard disk drive and external solid-state drive are below. These (or nearly identical models with less storage capacity) have been used or anecdotally tested by CNET editors. We'll update our list of the best external hard drives and SSDs as we test new products.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Western Digital, which owns SanDisk, sells its WD My Passport SSD as well this SanDisk External Portable SSD for basically the same price. I like the design of this model a little better and it's technically ruggedized with an IP55 rating, meaning it can withstand a sustained spray of water. It's also shock-resistant and has a USB-C interface.

The cheaper 'older' version has transfer speeds up to 550MBps while the next-gen version nearly doubles that speed with up to 1,050MBps (just over 1GB per second) and only costs slightly more for the 1TB version. The price for the 2TB model of this external drive jumps to $280 for the newer version.

Your speed will vary if you're moving a mishmash of files to or from the USB drive, but when copying a single large file you should be able to get close to those fast transfer speeds.

Amazon

If you're looking for a high-capacity external drive for your Xbox One, the WD Black P10 2TB portable hard drive is a good value at around $80 (The 5TB version is about $140). It gives you portable storage for your coveted game collection. This external drive also comes with a digital code that gives you one month of Microsoft's Game Pass Ultimate if you're a new subscriber. There's also a standard version of the portable hard drive, which also works with PCs and the PS4 for slightly less (it's missing the Xbox branding but is otherwise the same drive). The portable drive can deliver speeds up to 130MBps.

Amazon

External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc For Sale

For $115, you can get an external drive so you don't have to worry about managing the storage space on your PS4 (you can play games without lag directly from the portable hard drive). The 2TB version of the Seagate Game Drive is about $30 less at $80. But you might as well spend the extra dough and get 4TB for this portable external hard drive.

Note that Seagate makes an SSD Game Drive For Xbox but not PS4. The storage drive costs around $200 for 1TB.

David Carnoy/CNET

You can use any SSD with your PlayStation PS4/PS5 or Xbox One, Xbox One Series X or Series S to store PS4 and Xbox One games and other content and pick up a nice speed bump when loading games compared with a standard external hard drive like the WD Black P10 above. Note that with the Xbox Series X, you can only archive Xbox Series X and S games to this drive, you can't store full games on it (the Seagate Storage Expansion Card is required for that). The PS5 has the same restriction -- you can only store full PS4 games on external drives.

On its surface, then, the WD Black D30 game drive isn't all that special (it has up to a 900MBps transfer rate, which is basically what a console's USB 3.1 connection caps out at). But it's really its design that sets it apart. It's thicker and more rugged-looking than your typical SSD or flash drive and includes a detachable stand with rubber feet to keep it from moving around wherever you place it. This is an NVMe SSD (Non-Volatile Memory Express) that provides efficient performance and interoperability.It essentially looks like a mini hard drive, which is kind of cool.

The standard version works with PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and One X and S consoles, as well as PCs. The Xbox version shown in the image simply includes an Xbox logo and a month of Game Pass Ultimate, a $15 value, for $20 more. Alas, only new subscribers can use the included code, so if you already have a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you're really paying the extra $20 for the logo.

The 1TB version starts at $150 while the 2TB version starts at $270.

David Carnoy/CNET

SanDisk makes the Extreme Portable SSD (see above) that delivers speeds up to 1,050MB per second transfer rates. But if you're a photographer or videographer looking for an even faster SSD drive for your PC or Mac, the Extreme Pro Portable SSD is the way to go for extra storage space. The latest version is capable of delivering up to 2,000MBps (2GBps) read/write speeds if you pair it with the right equipment (in order to get the maximum speed, you need a host system that supports USB Gen 3.2 Gen 2x2 speeds).

Compatible with Macs and Windows PCs, it's technically ruggedized with an IP55 rating, meaning this can withstand a sustained spray of water. It's also shock-resistant and has a forged aluminum chassis that acts as a heatsink. It has a USB-C interface and includes both USB-C to USB-C and USC-A to USB-C cable. The 1TB version is around $230 while the 2TB model jumps to $364.

External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Connection

Amazon

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB is one of the more compact non-SSD drives, making it the best external hard drive for those who are looking to save some space. And at less than $60, this backup drive is also a good value. This Seagate external hard drive can also be connected to Macs that have a thunderbolt port. Available in a few color options, it also comes in 1TB ($55), 4TB ($93) and 5TB ($115) versions, but the higher-capacity drives are thicker.

WD

This drive is about as future-proof -- and backward-compatible -- as they come. You pay a bit of a premium over the standard WD drive, but this newer model offers a USB-C connection, meaning it has the latest and greatest USB cable connectivity for Macs and PCs. No USB-C on your system? No problem: Western Digital also tosses in a USB-A to USB-C adapter, so this storage device will work with pretty much any computer straight out of the box.

Amazon

The WD My Book desktop drive is available in up to a 18TB configuration, but the 8TB is the best value at around $200. Unfortunately, it's so popular it's out of stock.

Read our WD My Book (Fall 2016) review.

Amazon

After Seagate acquired LaCie several years ago, LaCie became the company's premium brand and this external HDD 5TB model can be found on a lot of video editors' desks (including plenty at CNET). This rugged hard disk drive uses a USB-C interface, is compatible with Mac and Windows PCs and is water and shock-resistant. A 4TB Thunderbolt with USB-C version is available for Thunderbolt-equipped Macs for about $200.

David Carnoy/CNET

Crucial's X6 external SSD is considered entry-level because it's just not as fast as higher-end models, which can offer read/write speeds that are twice or even four times as fast (the Crucial X8 is the step-up model). Even so, the X6 is about 4x faster than a non-solid-state drive, with transfer speeds of up 540MBps for the 1TB and 2TB versions and up to 800MBps for the new 4TB version, which has one of the lowest prices for a 4TB SSD at around $490.

External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Wireless

Comparatively, the 4TB SanDisk Extreme SSD, which has a transfer speed rating of up to 1,050MBps, costs $700. So you're basically looking at a $240 savings if you're willing to take a bit of a speed hit (again, at least the 4GB version of the Crucial X6 has been bumped up to 800MBps from 540MBps).

Seagate External Hard Drive Compatible With Mac And Pc

Be the first to know the newest hot deals from CNET.

External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Computers

More home computing recommendations

External Hard Drive Compatible With Both Mac And Pc Windows 10

  • 3 great VPNs for Xbox in 2021
  • Best Mac VPN of 2021
  • Best MacBook for 2021
  • What to look for in a cheap gaming laptop
  • Best Chromebooks for 2021
  • Best printer for 2021
  • Best Android VPNs of 2021
  • Best controllers and accessories for Xbox Cloud Gaming