Using a Seagate Backup Plus on a Mac is straightforward once you know where to start. Thank you for visiting our site we aim to show you in this article ‘How to use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac’ how to take a maximum of 15 minutes to get started.
Before we Begin
It is worth understanding that there are four main products in the Seagate Backup Plus range of external hard drives.
Here is a comparison table detailing what your options are for the file systems installed on the Seagate Backup Plus drive when you buy.
|Backup Plus||File System Format|
|Slim||NTFS or HFS+|
|Portable||NTFS or HFS+|
|Backup Plus Fast 4TB||NTFS|
You’ll observe from the table above that the Backup Plus external drives can be purchased with either NTFS or HFS+ file systems pre installed. The Backup Plus Ultra Slim and Fast 4TB are provided with NTFS file systems only.
What is a file system format and why is it important?
It is the software layout of the external hard drive that allows the Mac to see, understand and read from and write to the drive.
NTFS is the file system understood and written to by a Windows PC.
Macs can see an NTFS file system, read the file system but cannot write to it.
HFS+, which is also known as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system, is the file system Macs use.
It is important to know which file system you have preinstalled as this has a bearing on how you go about using the external drive on your Mac.
All the Backup Plus external drives support USB 3.0 connections and read and write speeds (up to 5 Gbits/s minus USB protocol overheads).
Depending on which kind and type of drive you purchase they are available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB capacity options.
If you would like to read further details on the Seagate Backup Plus range of external drives you can read more in my article here
Seagate Backup Plus Connection to your Mac
Once you understand what you have, the next thing you’ll want to do is connect your Seagate Backup Plus to your Mac.
Let me tell you a bit about USB cables.
USB cables are known by types. The size and shape of the connection and the USB standard they support.
The cable for the Backup Plus drives are USB 3.0 cables with a type A connection on the end that goes into the Mac and a type B Micro USB that goes into the Backup Plus drive.
Switch on your Mac and log in.
Then plug the end of the Backup Plus’s USB cable for the drive into the external hard drive before you plug the cable into your Mac.
Here is the end for your Seagate Backup Plus drive.
And here is the port on the drive itself.
The Seagate Backup Plus range of external hard drives are all powered via the USB cable and the external drive should power up as soon as you plug it in. This is why it is best to plug the cable into the external drive first, have your Mac on and for you to be logged in.
Problem with the Physical connection on your Mac?
USB 2.0 ports and USB 3.0 Ports on Macs that support those standards all have type A connections
Newer Macbooks and IMac’s 2016 and later have either a USB 3.1 (USB-C) or Thunderbolt connections and you will need an adaptor cable before you can connect the Seagate Backup Plus drives.
Should you need more information on this you can read more detail about the Mac generations and the USB connections supported from an article I have on the site
Once the Backup Plus Drive is Connected
Now you are physically connected your Backup Plus drive should power up and be visible as an icon on your desktop.
Note: Your drive may not say Untitled, what is written under the drive would depend on which drive was purchased.
Read on and look at the options you have for using the Seagate Backup Plus on Mac.
How to Use Seagate Backup Plus Slim for Mac
Remember earlier I talked about file systems formats? Here is where that information is now important.
Let’s have a look at a scenario where you have purchased the ‘for Mac’ version of the Backup Plus Slim or indeed Portable and the drive has a HFS+ file system on it. HFS+ is also known as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system and that is how you will see it referred to on the Mac.
I will cover NTFS formatted drives in the next section of this article.
Assuming you’re happy to have the whole drive available to use to drag and drop files to or to use the whole drive for Time Machine backups on your Mac you are good to go. Your Mac understands HFS+ directly and you can use your drive directly.
Jump down to my section on Drag and Drop or the section on setting up Time Machine to use your drive.
Should you want to both things, i.e.
have a part of the drive where you can copy files to and assuming the Backup Plus drive is large enough to do your Time Machine backups, then you will need to format and partition the Seagate Backup Plus. Don’t worry it is easy to do and you should have it cracked in well under 15 minutes.
Skip down to later in this article and take a look at the section Format and Partition Seagate Backup Plus on Mac
How to Use Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim on a Mac
And for that matter any of the Backup Plus drives that are purchased as NTFS formatted, whether that is the Slim, Portable or Fast 4TB.
Mac OS will see the drive is connected but the drive will not be writable on a Mac without a little effort.
There are several ways to go about being able to see and write to the Backup Plus drive.
It is worth having a think about how you plan to use the Seagate Backup Plus external drives on a Mac before you decide.
Here is a selection of options for a NTFS formatted Backup Plus.
1. Download the Paragon driver either using the Seagate Dashboard software that is installed on the drive (instructions in the Seagate Dashboard section below)
directly from the Seagate Technology site, install it on your Mac and the Mac will be able to read and write from the drive.
The plus points for doing this are –
- once the driver is downloaded there is nothing more to do in terms of setup
You can head to the drag and drop part of this article and copy files to and from the drive or read files on the drive. This is a good solution if you mostly use the Seagate Backup Plus drive on a Windows PC and need to access files from your Mac occasionally.
The minus points for doing this are –
- you need the installed driver to write files to and from your Mac. The driver has to be installed on all the Macs you plan to use this drive on
- It is additional software on your Mac and if you upgrade the OS the driver needs to be kept compatible or you will not be able to access the files on the drive
- If anything happens to your Mac, this driver must be installed and working before you can use the files on the drive
- You cannot use an NTFS formatted drive for Time Machine backups
- And you are going to the trouble of downloading software anyway to be able to access the drive
- if you are mainly using the drive on a Mac you may as well set it up with the right files system so your Mac just understands the drive
2. Format the entire drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system.
The plus points are –
- you can freely use it on your Mac for drag and drop or for Time Machine backups.
The minus points are –
- A Windows PC cannot read a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system. This is only an issue if you want to share the drive with a Windows PC.
3. Format the entire drive as an ExFAT file system and use between a Mac and a Windows PC.
The plus points are –
- you can freely use the drive between your Mac and a Windows PC without the need of the Paragon driver as both can read and write to an ExFAT file system.
The minus points are –
- takes a little bit more effort as you have to format the Seagate Backup Plus with an ExFAT file system.
- An ExFAT formatted drive cannot be used with Time Machine.
4. Format and partition the drive if it’s large enough. Partitions on a large enough hard drive gives you great flexibility. You can;
- Create an area (also known as a partition) for Mac OS to copy and paste files to and/or
- create another partition for Time Machine to backup to (or a few Time Machine partitions if you are backing up several Macs) and or
- create an ExFAT partition to share with a Windows PC.
- or any variation on the above. Once you know how to format and partition a drive you can set the drive up exactly as you want it.
And it should take you less than 15 minutes to do. Head down to the section on Format and Partition Seagate Backup Plus on Mac.
Seagate Dashboard Software
All the drives come with the Seagate Dashboard software and depending on which version HFS+ or an NTFS drive dictates what you can use.
The Seagate Dashboard software on an NTFS drive has backup software as part of it. This backup software is only for a Windows PC and not for a Mac. Time Machine is the backup software of choice on a Mac.
The Seagate Dashboard also has facilities to allow you to backup your social media accounts and to upload files from your Seagate drive directly to your social media accounts which may be useful for some.
Once the Backup Plus Drive icon appears on your desktop double click on it.
You will see the files that are preloaded on the drive. Click on the ‘start_here_Mac’ files and the Mac version of the Seagate Dashboard software will start up.
The software allows you to register your Seagate Backup Plus drive for warranty purposes, once registered the next screen asks if you want to download the Paragon driver for Mac OS. If it is a NTFS drive and you want to install the NTFS driver go ahead.
Otherwise you can click ‘next’ to click past this option if you do not want to download the driver.
You can also download the toolkit for Mac OS. A pdf document with the Warranty information is also on the drive. Take a look at this AskSeagate YouTube video to see how the software works and what the screens look like ahead of time.
YouTube Video: ToolKit for MacOS – First Time Setup
Video Credit – AskSeagate
If you are planning on formatting and partitioning your Seagate Backup Plus drive and want to use this software in the future copy it off onto your Mac so that you can copy it back on again later.
Format and Partition Seagate Backup Plus on Mac
Once you have decided how you would like to set up your NTFS drive or for that matter your HFS+ drive head on over to my article ‘Connect External Hard Drive to Mac, 12 things to Know‘. Jump down to the format section where you’ll find instructions, images and a video on formatting an external hard drive.
Then if you want to go ahead and partition up your Seagate Backup Plus drive on your Mac, head to my article ‘External hard drive for Mac and PC interchangeable‘ again you’ll find instructions, images and a video on partitioning up a hard drive.
The document is valid and the procedure for creating partitions is the same to create partitions whether you plan only ever to use the Backup Plus on a Mac.
You can Also Watch this YouTube Video.
The video is 13 minutes long and Acguevara shows how to format and partition a Seagate Backup Plus on Mac OS Sierra
Seagate – Backup Plus Slim – how to set up/ How to Use – Guide for Mac
Video Credit: Acguevara
Once you have the Backup Plus set up how you want, then you can head back here.
How to use Seagate backup Plus on Mac Drag and Drop
Assuming you have a ‘for Mac’ Backup Plus Drive
- formatted as HFS+ or
- have already formatted an NTFS drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or
- have a partition formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or
- have a drive or partition formatted as ExFAT or
- using the Paragon NTFS driver
you can freely copy and paste or drag and drop from your Backup Plus external hard drive.
And it is simple and easy as using your Macs internal drives.
It useful to give your Backup Plus drive or partition on your Backup Plus drive a name that helps you quickly identify it on the desktop.
Want to change the name? Click on the text under the icon and type in what you want.
Double click on the icon representing your Seagate Backup Plus drive or indeed partition if you have created one – either will appear on the desktop.
A new finder window will open as in the picture above.
You can now create new folders, as you wish on the Backup Plus drive.
Open up a new finder window on your Mac and move to the files you want to copy across to the Seagate Backup Plus or you can select a file from your desktop in the same way by right clicking on the file
Then go to the finder window on the Seagate Backup Plus and right click and select paste.
Alternatively you can select files.
Click on the first file in the list and hold down the shift key and click on the last file in the list to highlight them all. or
create a selection window
Click in an empty spot in the finder window and while holding your cursor drag a window across all the files you want to select.
Once the files you want are selected.
Go to the top of the finder window on your Mac and click edit then select copy
then go to the finder window on the Seagate Backup Plus and click on that window then select Edit then paste and the files are copied across.
And it is as easy as that.
Understand that if the files on the Backup Plus are the only copies of the files you have and you lose your Backup Plus drive then those files will be lost.
Have a copy of them somewhere else, either on another external drive or on your internal drive.
When you are finished using the Backup Plus drive
Eject the drive from your Mac by right clicking on the disk icon on your desktop and selecting Eject.
And if you have deleted files from the Backup Plus empty your trash before ejecting the drive so that the deleted files are cleared properly from the external hard drive before it is ejected.
How to connect your Seagate Backup Plus to Time Machine?
Using your Seagate Backup Plus – either the whole drive or a large enough partition on the Seagate Backup plus as a place to store a copy of everything you have on your Mac is a great way to use the external hard drive.
Large enough Partition?
Yes, if you have 600GB of files to backup, you should ideally have 1.2TB of space to backup to for Time Machine to work correctly.
What does Time Machine backup?
Time Machine backs up everything. Your Macs operating system, your files, your applications, photo’s, music.
If you have used iTunes to backup your iPhone and iPad to your Mac then when you do a Time Machine backup those backups will be backed up as well.
Unlike the PC software supplied with the Seagate Backup Plus Time Machine allows you to completely recreate your Mac should the worst happen. And it is incremental forever. What does that mean?
The first backup is a full backup and after that only the changes to your Mac are backed up.
It makes the subsequent backups quicker to do and Time Machine understands how to use the incremental backup along with the original full backup to recreate everything on your Mac.
1. Have your Seagate Backup Plus connected and formatted correctly. Either as the default HFS+ or you have formatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system. Then you are ready to fire up Time Machine. Time Machine can be found via a spotlight search.
Type the text System Preferences and double click on the System Preferences program. System Preferences may also be part of your Dock. If it is then you can select it from there.
From the System Preferences popup window, double click on Time Machine
2. Within Time Machine if this is your first time setting it up on your Mac you will see a button slider to turn Time Machine on. While you are on this screen check the tick box for Time Machine to back up automatically. And toward the bottom of the Time Machine window check the box to show Time Machine in the menu bar at the top of your desktop screen.
This screen also shows you all available disks Time Machine can see. The name you have given the Seagate Backup Plus will be there in the list or if you are using a partition for backup the partition name will be there. Select the drive or partition.
click on ‘Use Disk’
And you are done. It is that simple. The Seagate Backup Plus will be used by Time Machine for its backups when the drive is connected to the Mac.
3. To start a backup job straight away, go to the top of your desktop and click on the Time Machine symbol.
A menu will be shown where you can select Backup Now.
Time Machine will start preparing your backup. If this is your first backup this could take a while, particularly if you have a lot of files to backup. Be patient. Make sure your Mac is connected to power and leave it to prepare the backup and then do the actual backup.
If you are the impatient type you can also click on the symbol while the backup is taking place to check the progress of your backup.
And to check when your backup is finished.
The icon on the desktop representing your disk will change to green once the backup is completed.
Eject the drive from the Mac when you are done and ready to store your Seagate Backup Plus.
Seagate Backup Plus Password Protection or Encryption of Your Files
You can choose to set up a password and encryption when you format the Seagate Backup Plus click on the Security Options on the formatting page itself and select the options you want.
Time Machine will encrypt your backups for you should you want.
On the screen where you choose the drive to use as your backup drive there is another check box where you can select for the backup to be encrypted.
Its at the bottom left corner of that screen.
These kinds of software features on a Mac is by design secure.
Even the FBI has problems accessing Mac data that has been secured. If you lose your password you will have a sad face for a very long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Seagate Backup Plus not Recognized
You may plug your Seagate Backup Plus into your Mac and you see no icon on the desktop what to do?
- unplug the USB cable and try again – you may just have got a bad connection.
- If there was some other device plugged into that port and it wasn’t ejected properly sometimes the port software can get hung up. Try another USB port if you have one.
- A reboot of your Mac will reset the USB software at the port and can clear problems.
- Are you sure you don’t have a broken USB cable? try another cable
- Check if you can see the drive in Disk Utility sometimes an NTFS formatted drive doesn’t appear correctly on the desktop but can be seen in Disk Utility. Select the drive from there.
- Can you see the drive appear under devices in a finder window? Make sure your finder preferences has the external disks check box checked.
- try the drive on another Mac or Windows PC, you may be unlucky and have a corrupted drive.
2. The USB cable provided with the Seagate Backup Plus is too short?
Yes, it is only 18 inches long and depending on where you want to place the drive compared to your laptop you may want a longer USB 3.0 cable. Check out my article on the Seagate Backup Plus for Mac for suggestions
You have made it!
And now you should know how to use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac – have your drive connected, formatted and partitioned if you choose to. Well done, feel free to check out my other articles on the site
Want to take a look at the Seagate backup Plus range of drives and their features.
I have a document here on the site that goes through them all.