Can I Use A Seagate Hard Drive On A Mac Title Image

The answer is yes.

A solid yes.

You can use any Seagate external hard drive on your Mac.

There are some things to know.  And perhaps some things to do first depending on the Seagate external hard drive you have. Or plan to buy.

Can I Use A Seagate Hard Drive On A Mac?

Yes. But you may need format your Seagate drive for a Mac.

You’ll need to format a Seagate NTFS formatted external hard drive to use on your Mac. Or you download and use NTFS software driver for your Mac.

An ExFAT Seagate external hard drive you can use straight away. But check your drive has a GUID Partition Map as the scheme. Not Master Boot Record as that is for PC’s and you’ll need to format

For a Time Machine Backup you’ll need for format all Seagate hard drives. Format with Disk Utility to APFS (Apple File System) or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system.

The File Systems Seagate Hard Drives Are Sold With And Using On Your Mac

A drive from Seagate Technology has either an ExFAT file system. Or an NTFS file system on it, depending on the Seagate drive.

For example, you’ll find the Seagate Expansion external hard drive is ExFAT formatted.

Another example is the Seagate Backup Plus Hub. That Seagate external hard drive is NTFS formatted.

A Seagate SSD (Solid State Drive) comes ExFAT formatted.

Using A Seagate ExFAT Formatted Hard Drive On Your Mac

When you plug in your Seagate drive with an ExFAT file system on it. Your Seagate external hard drive will show up on your Mac’s desktop.

Your Mac will be able to read your Seagate external hard drive. And write to it.

Because your Mac computer can read and write to an ExFAT formatted drive.

An ExFAT formatted drive is a great choice when you plan to share your external drive between a Mac and a Windows PC. As it’s a sharing file system.

But, beware. Check the formatting scheme your drive from Seagate Technology is shipped to you in. Because a Mac. And more modern PC’s use a GUID Partition Map as the scheme. And I’ve noticed some of the Seagate ExFAT drives ship with a Master Boot Record as the scheme.

Seagate Partition Map Master Boot Record

This means your drive will seem to work fine on your Mac to start with. But over time have odd issues.

It’s safer to reformat your Seagate ExFAT external hard drive on your Mac.

You have inbuilt disk management software as part of your Mac OS X called Disk Utility. Use this software to reformat your drive on your Mac and skip those issues.

If you’re using your drive only on your Mac then format using a native Mac OS X file system. Like Mac OS Extended or APFS.

Both these file systems are more robust and have better inbuilt file level security.

Can I Use A Seagate ExFAT Hard Drive For A Time Machine Backup On My Mac?


Time Machine will not work with an ExFAT formatted Seagate external hard drive.

You’ll need to reformat your Seagate drive with Disk Utility. And change the format to a native Mac file system. Like APFS or Mac OS Extended.

With Mac OS Ventura or later your Mac will format you Seagate as part of the Time Machine set up.

Format and then you can use your drive for a Time Machine backup of your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or M1 Mac.

Can I Use A Seagate NTFS Formatted Hard Drive On My Mac

A Seagate NTFS formatted hard external drive is a drive made and set up for a Windows computer.

A Mac can see a Seagate NTFS formatted drive when you plug it in.

Your Mac can read the files on your Seagate hard drive with its NTFS file system on it.


When you come to put new files on your NTFS formatted Seagate hard drive the drive will seem locked.

Or when you want to update a file on the NTFS Seagate external drive your drive will seem somehow blocked.

Because although Macs can read an NTFS external drive. A Mac computer can’t write to it.

So, what to do?

You can either take 5 or so minutes to reformat your Seagate drive.

Which is fine if the Seagate drive is new and you know there are no files on there.

But what if you have files on there? Files put on there by a Windows computer. Or the files the Seagate hard drive ships with. And you want to use those files later.

You can copy those off the Seagate NTFS hard drive and then reformat.

Learn how to reformat your Seagate hard drive on your Mac in this article.

Can I Use A Seagate External Hard Drive Without Formatting On My Mac?

It depends.

If you have an NTFS formatted drive and you don’t want to format. Then you can use special software to allow your Mac to write to your drive.

This software is called driver software. And Seagate sells some of their drives with driver software that you can download and run on your Mac.

For the Seagate ExFAT based drives. As long as the partition scheme is GUID Partition Map. Then you’re fine there too. There’s no need to format.

If your ExFAT Seagate external drive has a Master Boot Record partition scheme. Then you should reformat to reliably use your drive on your Mac.

Can I Use Seagate External Storage In NTFS With Time Machine?


Your Mac’s backup software Time Machine won’t work with an NTFS formatted Seagate external hard drive.

You’ll need to reformat and change the drive’s file system to either APFS (Apple File System). Or Mac OS Extended and turn it into a Mac external hard drive.

Time Machine

Can I Use A Seagate Hard Drive For A Mac And A PC?


An advantage of having an ExFAT Seagate external hard drive. Is both a Mac and a Windows PC can read and write to an ExFAT drive.

And no driver software needed.

Plug in your Seagate hard drive into your Mac and copy and paste. Or drag and drop your files on there.

Or update and change the files already put on there from a Windows computer.

As long as you have software on your Mac that can read the files on the drive you’re good to go.

Plug in your Seagate external hard drive into your PC and copy and paste. Or drag and drop files on there. Or update files put on there from your Mac.

And again, as long as you have software on the PC that can read those files from your Mac, you’re fine.

Mac Drive Icon

Can I Use: Plugging In Your Seagate External Hard Disk To Use On Your Mac

It’s worth checking the physical connections to your Mac when you buy your drive.

Some Seagate hard drives are USB 3.0 drives. These drives come with USB cables with type A connectors on the end.

USB A Cable End
USB A Cable End

To plug those drives into your Mac with a type C USB port you’ll need an adaptor plug or cable.

These are easy to source from Amazon.

Other Seagate hard drives are USB 3.0 but Seagate sells them with the USB C adaptor. Just use the adaptor to connect your Seagate hard drive into your Mac.

Yet other Seagate drives have USB C ports and plug straight into your USB C Mac.

USB C Cable End
USB C Cable End

All the Seagate portable hard drives take their power from your Mac using their USB cable. You’ll just need to make sure your Mac has enough battery power when you’re using your Seagate USB drive on your Mac.

The Seagate desktop hard drives come with separate power. Plug in those drives into external power first. Then plug their USB cable into your Mac.

How Can I Tell What Type Of Seagate External Storage I Have On My Mac?

It’s quick and easy to tell. When you plug in your Seagate hard drive you’ll see its drive icon on your Mac’s desktop.

Seagate Drive Icon

Then start up Disk Utility.

Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility

Click on your Seagate USB drive on the left hand side of the screen.

Seagate USB And Master Boot Record

On the right you’ll see whether the drive is NTFS. ExFAT, APFS or Mac OS Extended formatted.

And if the partition scheme is GUID Partition Map. Important for Mac compatibility on ExFAT, APFS or Mac OS formatted drives.

In Closing

So, there you are. You’ve found out that you can use your Seagate external drive on your M1 Mac, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

While you’re here why not take a look at my other articles about Seagate external storage on the site?

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