Whether your precious Mac is a MacBook Pro. Or a MacBook Air. Or an iMac.
You’ve relieved your wallet of several dollar bills and bought yourself a SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. Or a SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD for your Mac.
And now your question as a Mac user is:- ‘How to use SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD on Mac?’
I’ve played with a SanDisk Extreme external SSD to get you the answers.
Either read this post in full or use the table of contents to hop to the tidbit you want to know all about. And start using your V2 Portable on your Mac super quick.
Ways You Can Use Your SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD on Your Mac
1. Drag And Drop. Or Copy and Paste Your Files To.
2. Work Direct Off Your SanDisk Portable.
3. As A Place To Put Your Photos And Videos.
4. To Back Up Your Mac.
5. Use To Share Files Between Your Mac And A PC.
And this is only for starters.
Does The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD Work On A Mac?
Absolutely it does. You’ll find your solid state drive in an ExFAT format when you buy.
What does that mean?
Your Mac can read and write to your SanDisk storage space right away. And so can a Windows PC.
But you should think about reformatting it anyway. Even if you plan to share your storage space with a PC.
Because your Western Digital SanDisk external SSD comes set up as a Master Boot Record.
This is fine for a PC.
But when you’re using only on a Mac. Or mainly on a Mac. Your Mac won’t like that over time. You Mac needs GUID Partition Map as the scheme not Master Boot Record.
It takes less than 5 minutes to change. And you use software already on your Mac called Disk Utility to do it. You can find out how in this article here. Format SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD For Mac.
Or you can watch this video.
Just remember that if there are any files on your SanDisk drive you want to keep. Copy them off somewhere else first.
Formatting erases your Sandisk external storage.
Video Credit: MacTakeAwayData
How Do I Connect My SanDisk Portable To My Mac?
First things first.
Some quick facts.
Your SanDisk Extreme Portable drives come with a USB C port on them.
And a USB C 3.1 Gen 2 cable in its box.
Connecting Your SanDisk Portable To Your Newer Mac
And if you’ve a Mac that’s a 2017 or later MacBook Pro. Or you’ve a MacBook Air 2018 or later.
Or perhaps an iMac 2016 or later. They all have a USB type C port.
Use the cable that’s in the box with the drive and plug straight in,
Your Mac NOT one of those?
Connecting Your SanDisk Portable To Your Older Mac
Then no worries USB will work on older USB ports.
Yes, your older USB type A ports are different. But YAY! In your SanDisk Extreme’s box, you’ve an adaptor.
Put that on the end of the USB C cable that comes with your portable SSD.
Just be sure to match up the arrows.
One more thing …
Connecting Your SanDisk Portable To Your Mac With USB 2.0 Ports
You can plug in using the adaptor. But;
USB 2.0 is from the days when SSDs with such speed weren’t around for your Mac.
Your SanDisk Extreme Portable drives will draw more power than your Mac can give them through its USB ports. And your drives won’t work reliably.
This means you’ll need to get yourself a USB hub with its own power. And use that to connect up your SanDisk portable SSD.
Now you’re ready to use.
How To Use SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD On MacBook Pro Or Any Other Mac
It doesn’t matter if it’s a M1 Pro, MacBook Pro, M1 MacBook Air Or iMac it’s the same.
You plug in and the SanDisk’s drive icon comes up on your desktop.
Drive icon not there?
Then go to Finder Settings (Mac OS Ventura). In earlier Mac OS releases it’s called Finder Preferences. And make sure the box ‘External Disks’ is checked. This will show your SanDisk external storage on your desktop.
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD Mac Setup
Format your SanDisk Extreme external SSD with Disk Utility first.
Unless you only sometimes use your SanDisk on your Mac. But mainly use on a Windows PC. If that’s you because the drive comes in an ExFAT format. You can skip this step.
But if it’s your main drive. Save yourself issues later. And format first.
Bounce on over to an article here on the site that has photos and a video. The article shows you how to do format your SanDisk Extreme Portable.
You’ve a choice on how you format. Depending on what you’re using your Western Digital SanDisk external SSD for.
Check out the best format for SanDisk on Mac post at this link.
The article will explain your choices and why.
Pick your format in Disk Utility. And do your formatting in less than 5 minutes, and bounce back here.
Files Already On Your SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD
There are files shipped with your SanDisk Portable SSD. And on the SanDisk Pro SSD flash drive. And you may have copied them off before formatting.
And if you didn’t, no matter, you can download them again from the SanDisk site.
What are they?
PDF’s and a program to access the hardware encryption on your SSD.
Anyhows. The Mac version of the SanDisk hardware encryption program isn’t on the drive. And you’d have to download that anyway.
You can download them if you’d like from this link here.
To Use The SanDisk Portable SSD Encryption Software… Or Not
You may decide that you’d like to use the SanDisk hardware encryption on your SSD.
But know if you do. That you’ll need the software to access your drive. And you’ll need it on which ever Mac you decide to use the drive on.
And you’ll have to wait and double check. Before you do any upgrade of the operating system on your Mac.
Because you’ll need to check that there’s a version of the hardware encryption driver for your Mac. One that works with your Macs operating system.
You can use the encryption features inbuilt into your Mac’s OS.
That way you don’t have to worry about OS versions. Your Mac and other Macs will be able to read the files on your drive. Without any special software. You’ll just need your password.
But for goodness sake don’t forget your password.
Whether you’re using the SanDisk Encryption software. Or the encryption on Mac. There is no coming back from forgetting your password.
You’ll lose your files.
How To Use Sandisk Extreme External Storage For Your Files
And you can use your SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable the same way.
For those who prefer a YouTube video. Here’s one that covers all the points. It’s 3 minutes 8 seconds. Take a Look.
And then follow the photos and notes below video.
How To Use Your SanDisk Extreme Portable With Your Mac
Video Credit: MacTakeAwayData
Create Folders On Your SanDisk Portable
Double click on the SanDisk Portable drive’s icon on your desktop.
That’ll open up a Finder window.
Then Finder > File > New Folder.
You can then name your folder what you want. And store your files inside.
Copy And Paste To Your SanDisk External SSD
Open up the folder you want to copy your files from.
Then double click on your SanDisk’s drive icon to open a Finder window. If your sorting your files into folders on your SanDisk. Then click to move to that folder.
Click on the file you want to copy.
Right Click and pick copy from the menu.
Then move to the Finder window on your SanDisk Portable.
Right Click and choose paste from the menu.
Want to copy several files?
Shift and click on each file you want to copy before right clicking and picking copy from the menu.
Or create a selection window by clicking in an open space. A space where there are no files.
Hold down your cursor and drag across your files to select them all. Then right click on one of your files.
You copy folders just the same way.
Drag And Drop To Your SanDisk External Storage
Like when you copy and paste. Have both Finder windows open.
Both the Finder window where you’re going to drag your file from. And the Finder window open on your SanDisk flash drive.
Click on the file you want to drag and drop.
Shift and Click on all the files if there are a few. Or create a selection window just like in copy and pasting.
Then click to hold down your cursor key on your file. And while holding down move your cursor to the Finder window on your SanDisk.
When you release your cursor key the files drop onto your SanDisk.
Deleting Files From Your SanDisk Portable
Double click to open up the Finder window on your SanDisk USB storage. Move to the file. Or files you want to delete.
Click on it. Shift and click to select a few. Or create a selection window.
Then right click on your files. And choose ‘Move To Bin’ from the menu that comes up.
One more thing.
Click on your Mac’s bin and empty it. Do that before ejecting your SanDisk from your Mac. That way you won’t have ghost images of the files you’ve deleted on your SanDisk Drive.
Working Directly From Your SanDisk Portable SSD
Or from your SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD is very simple. Take advantage of ultra fast write and read speed.
Copy or move the files you want to work on into your SanDisk SSD portable Finder window.
When you double click on the file, the program for the file will start up. And you’ll be working on your file directly from your Western Digital’s SanDisk USB drive.
As a fast SSD drive. You’ll notice the transfer speed bump working direct from your drive gives you compared to an external hard drive.
How To Backup With Time Machine Using Your SanDisk Portable
It’s quick to set up.
From Mac OS Ventura Onwards
1. Open System Settings.
Scroll down to General. Click. Then scroll down to Time Machine and click there.
2. Click The Button Add Backup Disk.
Pick your SanDisk Portable SSD drive, then click Setup Disk.
3. If you’ve previously set up a backup drive for your Mac.
You may have upgraded your Mac from Mac OS Monterey and your Mac remembers your previous backup drive.
And you want to add another backup drive or change from your previous backup drive. Then click the + button.
Pick your SanDisk Portable drive. Then click the button Setup Disk.
Your Mac will then format your SanDisk SSD drive as a Mac drive. And set your drive up for Time Machine.
4. Set Up To Show Time Machine Icon In Menu Bar
You can set your Mac to show the Time Machine icon in your Mac’s menu bar.
In System Settings click on Control Centre. Then scroll down to Time Machine. Then Click the option ‘Show In Menu Bar’.
On Mac OS Monterey Or Earlier
First have your drive formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) first.
Or from Mac OS Big Sur you can also format as APFS (Apple File System). APFS is designed by Apple to take advantage of the faster speed of SSD drives. Like your SanDisk Extreme.
Would you also like to watch a video showing the Time Machine set up?
You can view this 1 minute 35 seconds video, and follow along with the written how to below.
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD Time Machine [How To Set Up]
Video Credit: MacTakeAwayData
1. Start Up System Preferences And Pick Time Machine
You can find System Preferences in your Applications Folder. And Time Machine is toward the bottom of the window that comes up.
2. In The First Time Machine Window
You uncheck for now the box to back up automatically to your SanDisk Portable when it’s plugged in.
Check the box to show Time Machine in the menu bar. You can use this feature to check on the progress of your backup.
Click on the button to ‘Select Disk’.
3. The Second Time Machine Window.
You click on your SanDisk external drive in the ‘Available Disks’ list.
In the picture you’ll see the SSD has the name Untitled. What you called your SanDisk when you formatted it will be on the ‘Available Disks’ list.
Then if you want to Encrypt your backup you can check the box where the arrow shows. You’ll get prompted for a password. If you choose to encrypt your backups then you’ll need this password to use your backups. Or backup to your drive.
When ready click on the ‘Use Disk’ button.
Now check the box to automatically backup. And you’re done. You can dismiss your Time Machine window.
It could take a while preparing your backup. How long depends on how much you have to backup.
You can check on the progress of your backup by clicking on the Time Machine backup symbol.
You’ll find it at the top of your desktop.
Once your backup is complete.
Don’t just pull out your USB cable when your backup is done.
Be sure to right click on your SanDisk’s drive icon and Eject your drive.
How To Share Your SanDisk Portable SSD Between Your Mac And A PC
It’s simple. And for the Extreme Pro SSD too.
Use the formatting guide link earlier in this post to format your SanDisk SSD to ExFAT.
And use all the commands described to copy and paste. Or drag and drop your files to your SanDisk Portable.
When you’re done Eject.
Plug into a PC and your files are there ready for you to use.
When You’re Finished Using Your SanDisk Portable SSD Eject
Each and every time.
Before plugging out your SanDisk Extreme external storage. Right click on the drive icon on your desktop. And from the menu pick Eject.
Your Mac holds all sorts of necessary things in its memory when you’re using your SanDisk Portable. Ejecting tells your Mac to write everything in memory down to your SanDisk external drive and tidy up.
When your SanDisk’s drive icon disappears from your desktop. Wait a few seconds more. There is no flashing light on the SanDisk Extreme Portable. A flashing light on the drive tells you your Mac hasn’t finished with the drive yet.
Waiting a few more seconds is the safe thing to do before you pull out your USB cable and put away your drive.
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.