You’ve looked at buying a Seagate Backup Plus – Ultra Touch, Slim or Portable.
Your Seagate external hard drive comes ExFAT formatted. But you may want to format it on your Mac for your Mac. Why?
Because Mac computers are particular about their external drives. And you want to get it right.
And in this article, I tell you how.
You can click on the image above to read a review of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim
How To Format Your Seagate Backup Plus For Mac
Before you jump in and format your Seagate Backup Plus on your Mac or MacBook Pro or Air. Know that formatting wipes all the information on the drive.
If you have files on your drive, copy them off first. Or you’ll need the services of a Data Recovery company or Data Recovery software to get them back.
1. Log Into Your Mac And Connect Your Backup Plus.
Plug your USB cable into your Seagate Backup Plus before plugging it into your Mac.
Whether you have an Ultra Touch, Slim or Portable. Your hard drive is powered by your Mac through its USB cable.
All the Seagate Backup Plus drives ship with a USB A cable. And a USB C adaptor for modern Macs with USB C ports.
When you’ve plugged in your Seagate Backup Plus Slim, Ultra Touch or Portable. Its LED light will light up to show your drive is working.
2. Look For Your Backup Plus Drive Icon On Your Desktop.
In a few moments, your Backup Plus drive icon will show on your Mac’s desktop.
If you don’t see it? Check your Finder Window Settings. (Mac OS Ventura). In earlier Mac OS releases it’s called Finder Preferences.
Open a new Finder Window. Or click on an already open Finder Window. Then pick Finder Settings or Preferences.
Under the General tab.
Click the box to show ‘External Disks’ on your desktop.
3. Open Disk Utility.
The Disk Utility app is the disk management software on your Mac. You’ll use it to change your Seagate external hard drive’s format.
You can find Disk Utility by doing a spotlight search.
The spotlight search magnifying glass is at the top of your desktop screen. Click on it.
Then type in Disk Utility.
Double click to start up.
4. Click On Your Backup Plus.
You do that by taking a look at the left hand side of the Disk Utility pop up window. There you see all the drives connected to your Mac.
Both the internal drives and external drives. Your Seagate Backup Plus drive is listed under the ‘External’ heading.
If for some reason your Seagate external hard drive is not on the list. Jump down to the FAQ section at the end of this article.
Open up the levels view of your Backup Plus. The little arrow head to the left of your Backup Plus drive’s name will open up the different levels.
Click on your Backup Plus.
Take care to click at the top level. Exactly where you see your Backup Plus drive directly under the External heading.
Your drive formatting won’t work if you click on your drive at the wrong level.
Can’t see all the drive levels?
At the top of your desktop. Click Disk Utility view.
Then pick the option to show all devices.
Then click your Seagate drive.
5. Click On Erase.
Concerned about clicking on Erase?
Nothing actually happens until you fill in some information on the next screen. Erase is the Mac’s way of reformatting your Seagate Backup drive.
6. Pick Your Format Options.
The first thing to do is give your Seagate external hard drive a name.
Pick a name that makes it easy for you to find your Backup Plus on your desktop. Or a name that tells you what you’re using this hard drive for.
Next set the format. Click on the up, down arrows to pick a format.
You choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled), Or APFS (Apple File System) if you plan to only use your Backup Plus on your Mac.
To format as APFS you’ll need to format your drive as Mac OS Extended first. Then run through the backup steps a second time to pick APFS.
Pick either of these formats to copy and paste your documents to the Seagate drive.
Or when you want your Seagate Backup Plus for a Time Machine backup of your Mac.
Since Mac OS X Big Sur. Time Machine supports a backup to an APFS external hard drive. If your Mac is running an older Mac OS X version then pick Mac OS Extended Journaled.
If you’re planning to share the Seagate Backup Plus with a Windows PC choose ExFAT.
ExFAT is the file system format both a Mac or a Windows computer can understand and use.
Note that Time Machine can’t use an ExFAT formatted Seagate Backup Plus drive for backup.
Next, for Scheme pick GUID Partition Map. It doesn’t matter whether you format as Mac OS Extended, APFS or ExFAT, your Mac needs GUID Partition Map as the scheme.
7. Click On Erase To Start Your Backup Plus Formatting.
Your Seagate hard drive formatting only takes a short while. You’ll be surprised how quickly it finishes.
When your Backup Plus formatting finishes, you can get rid of the Disk Utility window.
After formatting, your Seagate Backup Plus drive icon will appear on your Mac computer’s desktop.
Now your drive is ready to use. Want some pointers on how?
Have a look at my article all about how to use your Seagate Backup Plus at this link.
When You’re Finished Formatting Or Using Your Seagate Backup Plus
When you’re done with your Seagate drive be sure to eject your drive. Do this before unplugging the USB cable from your Mac.
While you’re busy copying and pasting files to your Backup Plus. Or just using the drive day to day your Mac keeps some information for your drive in memory.
By ejecting you tell your Mac to write anything it’s holding in memory down to your Seagate Backup Plus. Closing everything off nicely.
If you forget to do this you risk ruining the information on your drive.
You do this by right clicking on your Seagate Backup Plus on your desktop.
And choosing Eject from the Menu.
Wait till the drive icon has disappeared from your desktop. Then you can plug out your USB cable and put your Seagate external drive away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Format Seagate Backup Plus – Why Would You?
Previously some of the Seagate Technology Backup Plus external hard drives had an NTFS file system.
Your Mac can read an NTFS formatted drive but not put new files on it. Not without special driver software or reformatting. You would reformat so you can fully use the drive on your Mac.
You may also need to change the ExFAT shipped Backup Plus to a native Mac format. Like Mac OS Extended or APFS. Because then you can use your drive for a Time Machine backup.
And when you’re only using your Seagate hard drive on a Mac those file systems are faster and more secure for a Mac.
You also may want to reformat to wipe everything on your Backup Plus. Because you want to start fresh.
Help! My Seagate Backup Plus Doesn’t Appear On The Desktop Or In Disk Utility.
There are a few answers to this. One of these will be the issue.
1. You may have a problem with the USB software on the USB port you’re using on your Mac. Try plugging into another port.
2. The previous device you had on that USB port may not have ejected properly.
A restart of your Mac will reset the software driver on your Mac’s USB port.
3. You might have a broken USB cable. Try a USB cable you know works.
4. Put your Backup Plus on another Mac. Can that Mac see the drive? What is the difference between that Mac and yours?
5. You may need to update your Mac OS X version. Check if there is a new operating system version for your Mac.
6. You may be unlucky and have a corrupted Seagate Backup Plus drive.
I hope you enjoyed my article. And by now you’ve got your Seagate Backup Plus formatted how you want.
While you’re here do check out the other Seagate Backup Plus related articles on the site.
About Paul Gregory
I’ve been a system administrator for various corporates for 15 years. And as admin I’ve helped many with their Mac’s and there many Apple devices.
I’m excited by watching users, armed with a little knowledge take control of their Mac’s and their files. And why not?
When I’m not at work or working on the site I like to chill with few beers. And watch a bit of car racing. From Formula 1 to stock car racing. The competition is my thing.