How to Format A Seagate Hard Drive For Mac Title Image

Looking for simple straight forward help on how to format your Seagate hard drive for your Mac?

Because you just want to get your Mac’s backup done.

Or you need your drive to free up space on your Mac.

Then download that mass of photos because you don’t want to pay for any more storage in the cloud.

Then you can have your photos at home. Without the worry of someone breaking into your cloud storage.

Read on for your simple, easy to follow instructions.

Want a high level view?

Here’s what you’re going to do when you format your Seagate External hard drive for your Mac.

1. Log in. Plug your Seagate drive into your Mac.

2. Spotlight search Disk Utility. Press return.

3. Pick your drive under External on the left.

4. Click on Erase at the top.

5. Type in a name. Pick your Format from the menu.

6. Pick GUID Partition Map for Scheme.

7. Click Erase bottom Right to Format.

Just Before You Format Your Seagate For Mac

Wait, just one moment.

Before you format on your MacBook or iMac. Ask yourself.

Are there any files on there you want?

Because formatting means you’ll lose those files on the drive once you’ve formatted it.

If you know there are files on your Seagate hard disk or SSD then copy them somewhere safe first. Then you can go ahead and format.

An example of the kind of files you may have.

For instance. Files put on there by Seagate. These let you to register your Seagate storage device for warranty. And download some of Seagate Technology’s software tools.  

The Simple And Easy Steps To Formatting Your Seagate Drive On Your Mac

1. Log Into Your Mac. And Plug In Your Drive.

Your Seagate portable hard drive unless it’s one of Seagate’s desktop drives. Takes its juice, its power from your Mac, along its USB cable.

And that means you’ll need enough battery power in your MacBook Pro or Air for your drive.

Formatting a desktop Seagate external drive? Then plug in its power cable to power it up.

Depending on the model of drive you may need an adaptor cable to plug into your Mac’s USB port.

Not sure what you might need? Then go over to my document here that walks you through the different generations of Macs. Their USB ports and the type of USB adaptor you need to look for. Connect External Hard Drive To Mac.

When you’re plugged in and powered up. Your Mac will show the Seagate’s drive icon on your desktop.

Seagate Backup Plus Drive Icon

If for some reason you can’t see it. Take a look at your finder window preferences.

Finder Preferences
Finder Preferences

Open a finder window. And go to your preferences.

Finder Preferences Show External Disks
Finder Preferences Show External Disks

Make sure the box show ‘External Disks’ on your desktop is checked.

You’ll find it under the General heading.

2. Spotlight Search Disk Utility.

You’ve free software on your Mac. It’s part of your Mac’s operating system. And that software will format your Seagate drive for you.  The name of the software is Disk Utility.

You find it by doing a Spotlight search.

Click on the Spotlight icon at the top of your Mac’s desktop screen.

Spotlight Search Symbol
Spotlight Search Symbol

Then type in ‘Disk Utility’ and press the return key.

Format Seagate Spotlight Search Disk Utility

Double click on Disk Utility to start up the program.

3. Pick Your Seagate Drive Under External.

Once Disk Utility has started up you’ll see its pop up window.

On the left hand side of the pop up window you’ll see a list. 

The list has all your attached drives on it.

You’ll find your drive listed under ‘External’. 

Seagate Internal External Drive List
Seagate Internal External Drive List Circled in Yellow

Click on your Seagate drive in the list.  The yellow arrow on the photo below shows you where.

Select Seagate Expansion at the Right Level
Select Seagate external hard drive at the Right Level

It’s important that you pick your drive at the right level. Or your formatting may not work.

You may need to expand the list to see the levels. You do that by clicking on the down arrow to the left of the drive icon on the list.

No List? Nothing under external? You’ll need to change your view.

Pick view from the top menu on your Mac’s desktop.

Disk Utility Show All Devices
Disk Utility Show All Devices

From the drop down menu pick ‘Show All Devices’.

That will show the levels you need. The drive and the volume.

4. Click On Erase At The Top.

At the top of your Disk Utility pop up window you’ll find the Erase button. Click on that.

Select Erase
Select Erase

Only click on the Erase button after you’ve clicked on your Seagate drive at the top level.

This will take you to the next pop up window. There you’ll set up how you want to format your external hard disk for your Mac.

5. Name Your Seagate Hard Drive And Pick Your Format

Now you put in the details for your drive’s format.

Seagate Expansion Format Pop up
Seagate Format Pop up

Choose and put in a name on the menu where it says Name.

Your Mac will show this name on your desktop under the drive’s icon.

Next pick your format.

You have a few options here.

Formatting Your Drive To Only Use On Your Mac?

Then pick Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or APFS (Apple File System).

You pick these formats when you want to copy and paste your files.

Or drag and drop your files to your Seagate hard disk drive.

What To Know About Formatting Your Seagate External HD As APFS?

The new Apple file system (APFS) was originally for SSD’s (Solid State Drives.)

And it’s designed to take advantage of the speed of those drives.

But it runs on hard drives as well

And as of MacOS Big Sur. Time Machine now supports a backup to APFS.

But not for older versions of MacOS.  If you want your drive as a Seagate backup drive for Time Machine on MacOS Catalina. Or earlier then format as Mac OS extended.

If you find that APFS doesn’t come up as an option. Then it’s likely that your Seagate is in NTFS format. Format as Mac OS Extended first. The next time you format you’ll see the APFS format option come up.

Formatting To Use Between A Mac Computer And A Windows PC

Then pick ExFAT.

You can drag and drop your files. Copy and paste your files.

Between a Mac and a Windows computer.

But you can’t use an ExFAT formatted storage device for a Time Machine backup.

Don’t choose FAT32 unless you have to. It’s an old MSDOS file system. FAT32 is less robust and has file size restrictions. You wouldn’t choose it unless you were using your external disk for a device that will only talk to FAT32.

Pick your Format option.

You choose from a list that you open up using the up/down arrows at the end of the Format field.

File System Formats
File System Formats

6. Pick GUID Partition Map For Scheme

The next option you choose when formatting your drive for Mac is Scheme. 

Pick GUID Partition Map.

This is the scheme your Mac likes to use. It doesn’t matter if you’ve picked Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or an ExFAT format or APFS. You Pick GUID Partition Map.

7. Click Erase Bottom Right

Set your formatting options. And when you click on the Erase button at the bottom right of the window you’ll kick off the formatting.

Seagate Format Pop up Pick Erase
Pick Erase

In a few moments the formatting of your Seagate storage device on your Mac will be all done.

When Disk Utility is finished you can get rid of its pop up window.

And in a few seconds your Mac will show your Seagate external hard drive on your Mac’s desktop.

Eject Your Seagate Drive When You’re Finished

After you have copied what you want to your drive. Or used it for a Time Machine backup. Be sure to Eject before you pull your USB cable.

Your Mac keeps stuff in its memory when you use your drive.  Ejecting tells your Mac to copy everything in memory down to your Seagate.

And then it’s safe to plug out.

You Eject the drive by hovering your cursor over the drive icon on your Mac’s desktop. Right click. And choose Eject from the menu that comes up.

Right Click to Eject
Right Click to Eject

In a couple of moments your Seagate’s drive Icon disappears from your desktop.

Wait for the light on your drive to go out. Or your fan to wind down and you take out the drive’s USB cable.

And that’s it.

You’ve learnt how to format your Seagate hard drive for Mac.

YouTube Video Showing Formatting A Seagate Hard Drive For Mac

Would you like to see a video?

Take a look at this video. In total it’s nearly 13 minutes.

But when you’re formatting, you’ll see all you need to know in the first 3 minutes.

Seagate External hard Drive How to Setup on Mac

Video Credit: Tech & Design

Please check out the other related documents on the site.

Seagate Time Machine, How to Set Up In 5 Minutes

Can I Use a Seagate Hard Drive on a Mac? (Find Out)

How to Use Seagate External Hard Drive on Mac, 16 Ways

Seagate Expansion Review, 10 Reasons to Buy Your Mac This Portable

Seagate Expansion VS Backup Plus Who’s on Top For Mac