Do You Need To Format An External Hard Drive For Mac

If you are a Mac user, you may have noticed your external drive not showing up on Mac. This may be because your external disk’s format does not match the file format on your Mac.

So, you must format your external hard drive to be compatible with the Mac OS. Which file system would be most suitable, and what is the process of formatting an external drive for a Mac? No need to fret.

This ultimate guide will tell you what to do when your external drive is not showing on your Mac.

What To Do When Your External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac

Upon connecting a hard drive to your Mac, you anticipate its appearance in the Locations section of Finder alongside your remote disk and the computer.

However, if the external drive is not showing up on Mac, numerous factors could contribute to this, such as an unreliable connection, a defective cable, or corrupted data on the hard drive in the most dire circumstances.

Whatever the circumstance, feel certain that a solution can always be found to solve the problem. Some of the solutions include:

1. Edit Your Preferences

It won’t be a concern if you’ve used an external hard drive before and encountered a similar problem. Nonetheless, verifying your preferences as a precautionary measure would be good.

Your settings are not configured to show external hard drives on your desktop.

To fix this:

  • Open Finder and choose the Finder option from the menu at the top of your screen
  • Proceed to Preferences
  • Select General
  • Click Display these items on the desktop
  • Ensure that you mark the checkboxes adjacent to External disks and Hard disks
  • Next, visit the Sidebar section and confirm that Hard and External disks are checked there.

2. Ensure your cable has sufficient power

Specific hard drives require a more significant amount of electrical power compared to others, and the energy provided varies across different cable types and brands. A normal USB 1.0 or 2.0 connection may provide the maximum 500 mA a device requires.

However, if your hard disk requires more power, it can run more slowly than expected or fail to make a connection. You must ensure that your USB cable can supply the hard disk with enough power.

Utilizing an extra power supply or a self-powered USB hub is an alternative that may help fix the problem by boosting the power your Mac provides. Remember to keep your Mac’s charger connected.

3. Try other gadgets for power supply

If you discover that regardless of the kind of cable you employ, the hard drive remains undetectable, the issue may lie within the hardware of your Mac. Consider utilizing a different Mac device as an alternative — should it exclusively function on a PC, your hardware probably lacks the formatting to function on a MacOS device.

If the external hard drive does not appear on Mac after applying these solutions. You may proceed to format your external hard drive.

Do You Need To Use A Mac To Format An External Hard Drive?

Indeed, a Mac-compatible external hard drive is required. External hard drives serve various purposes, including data storage, transfer, and capacity expansion. However, not all external hard drives are suitable for Mac systems.

Irrespective of your motive for disk formatting, selecting the most suitable file system format for Mac is imperative when choosing an external hard drive. The following section will delve into the various file systems available.

What Is The Best Format For A Mac External Hard Drive?

If you own a computer system, there are various file systems, such as:

  • NFTS: This is the default file system used by Windows
  • APFS: Utilized by Mac operating system 10.13 or later
  • HFS+: Utilized by MacOS 10:12 or earlier
  • exFAT: It only works with a USB connection
  • FAT32: Used by older file systems.

Therefore, which option is the most fitting for Mac? Out of all the file system formats available, ExFAT stands out as the superior choice.

It facilitates seamless compatibility across multiple platforms and boasts impressive speed, allowing for the efficient handling of huge files. Once you ascertain the suitable file system for your Mac, you can format your external hard drive accordingly.

How To Format An External Hard Drive For Mac?

On a Mac, you can finalize the formatting of exFAT or alternative formats using the built-in disk tool provided by the system.

Additionally, you can accomplish the formatting procedure on Mac by entering the appropriate command. The steps to format an external hard drive include the following:

  1. Use Mac to Format an External Hard Drive with Disk Utility
  2. Use Mac to Format External Hard Drive with Terminal Command

1. Use Mac to format an external hard drive with disk utility

Mac includes an integrated Disk Utility feature, which allows you to format external hard drives and establish, erase, or format partitions. If you intend to format an external hard drive on your Mac. Use Disk Utility and proceed with the following steps.

Step 1:  Connect the external hard drive to your Mac system

Step 2: Click Command + Space Keys to find Disk Utility and open it

Step 3: Select the external hard drive and click Erase to format

Step 4: Name the external hard drive and choose ExFAT as the format

Step 5: Click on Erase to complete formatting your external hard drive.

2. Use Mac to format an external hard drive with terminal command

This approach entails a higher level of complexity. To format the external hard drive for Mac, you can employ command inputs. The following steps are to format an external hard drive with a terminal command.

Step 1: Establish a connection between your Mac and the external drive

Step 2: Hold down the Command+Space keys simultaneously and type Terminal

Step 3: Type diskutil list and look for the external hard drive

Step 4: Input the command sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 MBRFormart/dev/disk2 and click Enter

Step 5: Wait for it to complete formatting and click Close.

Final Thoughts

Formatting an external hard drive for Mac is crucial to ensure compatibility and optimize performance. Following the troubleshooting and formatting steps for a drive not showing up on Mac, you can resolve issues and prepare the drive for seamless usage.

Remember to back up your data regularly and keep your macOS updated. Practicing proper external hard drive handling is also integral to maintaining optimal performance. You may maximize the use of your external hard drive on your Mac system by following these suggestions and industry best practices.

David Huner
David Huner
David Huner is a tech lover. After completing his graduation from the University Of Phoenix, he started gather his knowledge mostly on latest technologies that keeps his life smart and cool. Now he wants to spread his knowledge with people who loves technologies.

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