How to Use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac, 15 Mins and Start

By Paul Gregory / October 1, 2019
How To Use Seagate Backup Plus On Mac

So you’re asking yourself the question ‘How do I use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac?’

You’ll be reassured that the answer is: using your Seagate Backup Plus on your Mac is easy.

And knowing where to start is the key.

By the end of this article you’ll find out how to use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac.

And what is even better is that you’ll need a mere 15 minutes to get started.

Ways you can use your Seagate Backup Plus on a Mac

  1. As a place for your Mac to take a backup to.
  2. To free up space on your Mac’s internal drive by keeping your files there.
  3. To copy files on your Seagate Backup Plus so that you can take them with you.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you this site earns a commissions through certain image links, Amazon button and text links should you buy.


Before You Begin. What Seagate Backup Plus Do you Have?

When you want to know the best way of using your Seagate Backup Plus on Mac, it pays to know which Backup Plus you have.

There are three main products in the Seagate Backup Plus range of external hard drives. And the way they are set up when you buy means they either plug straight in and work on your Mac. Or there is a little work to do first.

This table below shows you the file systems installed on new Seagate Backup Plus drives.

Backup PlusFile System Format
Ultra TouchNTFS
SlimExFAT
PortableNTFS

The Seagate Backup Plus’ are available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB capacity options. The capacities available depend on which you buy.

You’ll find an article on the site all about the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB if you would like to check out its features.

What is a File System On the Backup Plus

And why knowing the file system you have is important to using your Backup Plus?

Let me explain.

A file system is how your Mac understands what’s on the Seagate Backup Plus. And how it stores your documents, photos and videos.

It is the software layout of the external hard drive that allows the Mac to see and understand. And read from and write to the drive.

In the table above you’ll see that the Backup Plus’ drives come with either NTFS or ExFAT file systems.

Seagate Backup Plus for Mac? Which File System

What is the difference between ExFAT and NTFS on the Seagate Backup Plus?

When you plug in your ExFAT Backup Plus your Mac will know all about your Seagate Backup Plus straight away.

And you can drag and drop your files onto your drive.

And it’s a file system that a Windows PC can read as well. This means you can share files on your ExFAT Backup Plus drive with a PC.

But an ExFAT formatted Seagate Backup Plus can’t be used to backup to with Time Machine

But don’t worry. You can easily change this format if you want. Please read on …

The Other Type of File System on the Seagate Backup Plus is NTFS.

NTFS is a file system made for a Windows PC.

When you use your Seagate Backup Plus with a NTFS file system on your Mac your Mac can see it.

Your Mac can read the documents, photos etc on there.

But your Mac cannot put new files onto the drive. Or change files that are already on there.

Not without you changing the NTFS format on there first.

Or you use special software. Software like the Paragon software. It translates your Backup Plus’ drive so that your Mac can understand it.

Want to find out about using the Paragon software with your NTFS Seagate Backup Plus? Take a look here.

The other option is to change the format of the Seagate Backup Plus drive. You can change it to HFS+ so your Mac can read it direct. It’s easy to do, takes a few minutes and you can find out how here.

Change the NTFS or ExFAT format or download and use the Paragon driver and head back here afterwards.

How do you Find Out If you have a ExFAT or NTFS Seagate Backup Plus?

It’s important for you to know which file system you have preinstalled.

Check the box your Backup Plus came in to find out.

As this tells you how quickly you can use the Seagate Backup Plus on your Mac.

Plugging in the Seagate Backup Plus on Your Mac

To use your Seagate Backup Plus on your Mac the next thing you’ll want to do is plug on in.

All the Seagate Backup Plus’ external drives use USB 3.0 connections. And come with a USB cable to plug into your Mac.

So what?

Let me tell you a bit about USB cables.

There are different types of USB cables.

And the cable comes with different plugs at the end of the cable. And support different USB speed standards.

The cable for the Seagate Backup Plus drive is a USB 3.0 cable. You’ll find a type A connection on the end that goes into your Mac.

USB A Cable End
USB A Cable End

And a type B Micro USB on the end that goes into the Backup Plus drive.

Seagate Backup Plus USB Cable
Seagate Backup Plus USB Cable

Seagate Backup Plus Connection to your Mac

Switch on your Mac and log in.

Plug the end of the Backup Plus’s USB cable for the drive into your Seagate backup Plus.

Do this before you plug the cable into your Mac.

Here is the end for your Seagate Backup Plus drive.

Seagate Backup Plus USB 3.0 cable Micro B
Seagate Backup Plus USB 3.0 cable Micro B

And here is the port on the drive itself.

Backup Plus Slim USB Port Micro B
Backup Plus Slim USB Port Micro B

Your Seagate Backup Plus gets its power from the USB cable.

And your Backup Plus should power up as soon as you plug it in.

Problem with the Seagate Backup Plus Cable on your Mac?

Older Macs have USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. You use type A USB cables to plug into your Mac. This is the cable that comes with your Backup Plus.

USB Type A Ports on the Mac
USB Type A Ports on the Mac

Newer Macbooks and IMac’s 2016 and later have either a USB 3.1 (USB-C). Or Thunderbolt connections.

USB C Thunderbolt 3 Ports
USB C Thunderbolt 3 Ports

Unless you’ve bought a Backup Plus Ultra Touch. Because this drive comes with a USB C adaptor cable.

You’ll need to get yourself an adaptor cable before you can connect your Seagate Backup Plus drive.

My favorite adaptor cables are; (Commissions Earned)

1. USB C to Micro B Cable, QCEs

2. Apple USB-C to USB Adapter

Should you need more information about cables you can read more in my article here.

Once You Connect Your Seagate Backup Plus Drive

Now you’re Mac is connected up to your Backup Plus, the drive should power up and be visible as an icon on your desktop.

New Drive Icon On Desktop
New Drive Icon On Desktop

Can’t see your Seagate Backup Plus on your desktop after you have plugged the USB cable in?

You’ll need to change your finder preferences.

Open up a new finder window and go to your finder preferences.

Finder Preferences
Finder Preferences

Click on the options to show ‘Hard Disks’ and ‘External Disks’ on your desktop.

Finder Preferences Show External Drive
Finder Preferences pick to Show External Drive

And your Seagate backup plus should show up.

Read on and learn all about how to use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac.

1. Give your Seagate Backup Plus a Name

You’ll find it useful to give your Seagate Backup Plus drive a name. A name that is easy for you find on your desktop when you want to use it.

Drive and Partition Icons
Drive and Partition Icons

Want to change the name?

Click on the text under the icon and type in what you want.

And there you have it. You have changed your Seagate Backup Plus’ name.

2. Starting to Use your Seagate Backup Plus on Mac

To put your documents on the Seagate Backup Plus the first thing to do is to open a finder Window. You do this by double clicking on the drive icon on your desktop.

If you have created a specific partition for your documents you do the same thing.

You double click on the name of the partition on your desktop.

When you double click on your backup plus icon a new finder window will open.

Start Here Mac
Start Here Mac

You’ll see there are preloaded files on the drive. Click on the ‘start_here_Mac’ files and the Mac version of the Seagate Dashboard software will start up.

This Seagate software allows you to register your Seagate Backup Plus drive for warranty.

Once you’ve 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 Paragon NTFS driver go ahead.

Otherwise you can click ‘next’ to click past this option. Don’t download the software and instead reformat your Backup Plus to HFS+ to use the drive without any additional software.

If you’ve a freshly formatted your NTFS Seagate Backup Plus drive you’ll see an empty finder window like this one.

Seagate Backup Plus Empty Finder Window
Seagate Backup Plus Empty Finder Window

This is your window onto your Backup Plus drive.

3. Create a New Folder on the Seagate Backup Plus

Within the Seagate Backup Plus’ finder window you can now create new folders. And use them to organize the documents, photos or music you store on your Backup Plus drive.

You create new folders just as you would on your Mac’s internal drive.

Finder Create New Folder
Finder Create New Folder

Click in the finder window on the Seagate Backup Plus.

Go to the top of your desktop and select File, then New Folder.

Next give your untitled folder a name by typing it in.

4. How to use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac Drag and Drop

It doesn’t matter if you’ve a NTFS Backup Plus you’ve formatted as as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). .

  • Or you have a partition formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  • Or you have a drive or a partition on that drive formatted as ExFAT
  • Or you are using the Paragon NTFS driver

You’ll find the information here on how to transfer files from your Mac to your Seagate Backup Plus.

You’re free to copy and paste your documents.

Or drag and drop your documents from your Seagate Backup Plus external hard drive.

To Drag and Drop to your Seagate Backup Plus

Open up a new finder window on your Mac.

In the window on your Mac, move to the files you want to copy across to the Seagate Backup Plus.

Or you can select a file from your desktop.

Click and hold your arrow over the file you want to drag. Move your arrow to the finder window on the Seagate backup plus. And release the file there by lifting your finger off your Mac’s track pad.

It’s as simple as that.

To Drag and Drop Several Files to your Seagate Backup Plus

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

Create Selection Window
Create 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 you select the files you want.

Click and hold. Move your arrow to the finder window on your Seagate Backup Plus drive.

Release the files there by lifting your finger from your Mac’s tracker pad.

Copy and Paste a File From Your Mac to the Seagate Backup Plus

Open a finder window on your Mac and find the file you want to copy and paste across to your Backup Plus drive.

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.

Click on that finder window.

Go to the top of your desktop. When you select Edit then Paste you’ll be pasting your file onto the Seagate Backup Plus.

Your file is copied across.

And it is as easy as that.

Copy and Pasting Many Files From Your Mac to the Seagate Backup Plus

In a Finder window find the files or folders containing files you want to copy across on your Mac.  

Click on the first file or folder.

Hold the shift key down and then click on the last file or folder in the list.

This highlights all the files or folders on your Mac.

Right click on the highlighted files and select copy from the menu.

Right Click Copy
Right Click Copy

Then head over to the finder window on the Seagate Backup Plus.

You right click in the finder window on your Seagate Backup Plus. And select paste from the menu.

Example of Pasted files
Example of Pasted files

If you are copying and pasting. Or dragging and dropping a lot of files from your Mac to your Seagate Backup Plus it could take a while.

But don’t worry your Mac will show you the progress as the files copy across.

YouTube Video Clip On Copying and Pasting to your Seagate Backup Plus

Would you prefer to see how it’s done. I’ve set this YouTube video to start where you’re shown how to copy and paste your files. Enjoy!

Seagate – Backup Plus Slim – Guide for Mac

Video Credit: Tech and Design

5. Using the Seagate Backup Plus to Free Up Space on your Mac

You can copy and paste files, drag and drop files from you Mac to your Backup Plus and free up space.

Fantastic.

But be aware. If the files on the Seagate Backup Plus are the only copies of the files you have. And you lose your Backup Plus drive then you will loose those files.

Have a copy of them somewhere else. Either on a Time Machine backup.

Or learn how to backup an external drive. Just like your Seagate Backup Plus to another external drive on your Mac in an article here.

Or copy and paste them to another Backup Plus.

You can head over to Amazon to get a second Seagate Backup Plus at this link. (Commissions Earned)

You’ll be grateful I suggested it. Particularly if the worst happened to your Backup Plus.

6. Using Seagate Backup Plus on Mac As a Place for Your Backups

If it is the first time you plugged your drive in after you’ve formatted it your Mac may well ask you a question. Do you want to use your Backup Plus as a destination for Time Machine.

If your Mac asks this and you plan to use the ‘whole drive’ for Time Machine backups then say yes.

What if you have bought a large drive?

But if you have bought a large drive you may have other thoughts. Thoughts about using the Backup Plus in many different ways.

You might want a section where you copy some of your files off your Mac to free up space. And have a separate section for Time Machine or even another section to share files between your Mac and a PC 

And why not if your drive is large enough?

Then say no, and set up the Seagate Backup Plus exactly as you want it. Take a look at use 9 of this article.

If your Mac hasn’t asked you to connect your Backup Plus to Time Machine and you want to. It’s quick to do and take a look at my article here all about it.

7. How to Use Seagate Backup Plus NTFS on a Mac

When you buy a Backup Plus drive delivered as NTFS formatted.

Mac OS will see the drive connected. But you’ll not be able copy any of your documents, videos or photos onto Backup Plus drive. Or any of your files.

Or use the Backup Plus as a place for your Time Machine backups.

Not without a little effort. And it is only a little effort.

There are a few ways to go about using an NTFS Backup Plus drive.

And it is worth having a think about how you plan to use the Seagate Backup Plus external drives on a Mac.

You can:

  • Use the Paragon driver from Seagate to read and write to your Seagate Backup Plus drive. Hop over to my article here to find out more about it.
  • Change your drive to HFS+ so that you can use it direct on your Mac
  • Create different sections on your larger drive dedicated to different things. Have one section for putting some files on. Another section to share with a Windows PC. Or have a section for your backups. It’s up to you how you split up the drive.
  • Change your Backup Plus’ file format to something called ExFAT. Then you can to share the drive whole between a Mac and a PC.

8. How to Eject Seagate Backup Plus Drive

When you’re finished using your Seagate Backup Plus on Mac you need to tell your Mac.  This is because your Mac holds information for the drive in memory. Just in case you ask for it again.

When you’re done with the Backup Plus’ drive Ejecting is an important signal to your Mac. It tells your Mac to write anything it has for the drive in memory down to it. And prevents you from corrupting your files on the Backup Plus.

You eject the drive from your Mac by right clicking on the drive icon on your desktop. Then you select Eject from the right click menu.

Right Click to Eject
Right Click to Eject

Wait until the drive Icon disappears from your desktop. And then it’ll be safe to remove your Seagate Backup Plus.

One more thing.

If you have deleted files from the Backup Plus you’ll need to empty your trash before ejecting the drive.

This is so that the deleted files clear properly from your Backup Plus.

9. How to Use a Seagate Backup Plus 4TB or 5TB On Your Mac

A large 4TB or 5TB Backup Plus drive is overkill for most Mac Users.  Unless you have a large high definition photo or movie collection you want to store.

Though a large drive like this is great parceled up. You could use as a backup destination for several Mac’s if you’re a multi user Mac household.

Or have a section where you can share and or store files from your PC’s.

You might have Mac’s and PC’s at your home.

Separating your Seagate Backup Plus is called partitioning. And you can find out how to do it in this article here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Seagate Backup Plus not Recognized

You may plug your Seagate Backup Plus into your Mac and see no drive icon on the desktop.

What do you do?

1. Unplug the USB cable and try again – you may just have got a bad connection.

Another device plugged into that port before may have hung the port software. Or sometimes it wasn’t ejected properly.

2. Try another USB port if you have one.

3. A reboot of your Mac will reset the USB software at the port and can clear problems.

4. Are you sure you don’t have a broken USB cable? Try another cable

5. Check if you can see the drive in Disk Utility.

Sometimes an NTFS formatted drive doesn’t appear on the desktop. But you can see it in Disk Utility. And you can select the drive from there.

6. Can you see the drive appear under devices in a finder window? Make sure your finder preferences has the external disks check box checked.

7. Try your Seagate Backup Plus drive on another Mac or Windows PC.

Can you see it? If not 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 Slim for suggestions.

Last Words

You have made it!

And by now you should know how to use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac. You’ll have learnt how to transfer files from Mac to a Seagate Backup Plus.

You’ll have your drive connected with your files on it.

Well done.

Feel free to check out my other articles about the Seagate Backup Plus on the site.

Seagate Expansion VS Backup Plus Who is on Top For Mac