How to Use Toshiba External Hard Drive on Mac [Solved]

By Paul Gregory / September 17, 2019
How To Use Toshiba External Hard Drive On Mac Title Image

Stuck moving files from your MacBook Pro or Air onto your Toshiba external hard drive?

Want to know how to setup and get your Toshiba external hard drive working on your Mac?

Solve this here.

4 ways Use Your Toshiba External Hard Drive on Your Mac

1. For backing up your Mac.

2. To drag and drop to.

3. As a portable hard drive. Take your photos with you.

4. To share your documents between a Mac and a PC.


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Ahead of Using Your Toshiba On Your Mac

You’ll find that it doesn’t matter whether you have a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac.

Or whether you’ve a Toshiba Canvio Basics, Canvio Advance or Canvio Slim.

When you’re asking yourself the question does Toshiba Canvio work with Mac?

The answer is yes.

But, you’ll need to prepare your Toshiba drive for your Mac.

This is because your Toshiba drive as sold by Toshiba is formatted in something called NTFS.

NTFS is a file system. And one designed to be plug and play on a Windows PC.

Your Mac can see and read the documents on an NTFS drive. Giving you the illusion that all is ok.

But when you try to change anything on those documents your Mac will say no.

Or if you try to put new files on your Toshiba external hard drive your Mac will say no.

To your Mac your Toshiba is read only. So you can copy the files off. And change them when they’re on your Mac. But that’s it.

So what are your options?

Using Your Toshiba External Hard Drive without Getting Rid of the Files on There.

When you have files already on your Toshiba drive. Files put there from a Windows PC. Changing the entire drive so your Mac can write to it may not be an option.

Because you’ll need to reformat your Toshiba drive.

And reformatting gets rid of the documents on there.  But you need them.

Your alternative is to install driver software on your Mac. That software will allow your Mac to write to your Toshiba external hard drive. And without changing anything on the drive.

But there’s a cost to the software. And when you upgrade your Mac you’re going to need to upgrade the software too. You’ll need the software to match the operating system level of your Mac.

It’s a great solution when you use your Toshiba drive on your PC and less often on your Mac.

You can find out the pro’s and con’s of using your Toshiba external hard drive without reformatting in my article here.

Your other option is to reformat your Toshiba external drive.

How do you find Out if your Toshiba External Hard Drive is NTFS Formatted?

When your Toshiba drive is plugged into your Mac.

Right click on your Toshiba external hard drive icon and pick ‘Get Info’ from the menu.

If you see the drive is NTFS then you’ll either need to reformat the drive or use a NTFS driver.

How to Install Toshiba External Hard Drive on Mac

Your first step to using your Toshiba external drive on your Mac is to plug your Toshiba drive in.

Ok, Ok, I know you’re thinking this is obvious. But bear with me.

Is your MacBook from 2016 or later?

MacBook Pro 2017, MacBook Air 2018 or iMac 2016 or later? These Macs have USB C ports on then.

Your Toshiba external hard drive comes with a USB type A connection on the end that plugs into your Mac.

USB is backwards compatible and your USB 3.0 Toshiba external hard drive will work fine on your Mac.  You just need to get yourself an adaptor.

Or a USB 3.0 cable with a USB C end for your Mac and a USB MicroB for the end that plugs into your Toshiba drive.

Once you have your cable. Put your Toshiba external drive on a firm surface. Log into your Mac and plug in your drive.

Your Toshiba drive should now show up on your Mac’s desktop as a hard drive icon.

New Drive Icon On Desktop
Drive Icon On Desktop

It’ll look something like this.

If you can see no sign of your drive’s icon you should check your finder preferences.

Open a new finder window and go to 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 you should now see your Toshiba external hard drive on your desktop.

Formatting Your Toshiba Hard Drive for Your Mac

When you’ve plugged in your Toshiba drive for the first time your Mac may well ask you to format the drive.

You’ve a choice. You can say no and just copy files off the drive onto your Mac. If that’s all you want to do.

Or you can use driver software to read and write to the drive.

See my point above on using your Toshiba external hard drive without getting rid of the files on there.

Or you can reformat your Toshiba drive. You’ll find an article taking you through how to do that on this site.  Just follow this link.

And then you can head back here to find out more uses for your Toshiba external head drive.

Set Up Your Toshiba Hard Drive On Mac YouTube Video

Here is an 11 minute 36 second video from Tech & Design. Taking you through setting up your Toshiba external hard drive on Mac.

Toshiba External Hard Drive Setup Guide for Mac 2019

Video Credit: Tech & Design

Using Your Toshiba External Hard drive to Backup To

You can use your Toshiba Canvio drive as a destination for your Time Machine backups.

But you can only use drives formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system for a Time Machine backup.

Or if you’ve partitioned your Toshiba external hard drive. You can use a partition formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) to backup to.

You won’t be able to use your Toshiba drive for a Time Machine backup if you’re using an NTFS driver. As the drive is still formatted as NTFS.

And if you plan to share the drive with a Windows PC and so you formatted it as ExFAT. You can’t use an ExFAT file system for a Time Machine Backup.

You can find out how at this link here and connect your Toshiba drive to Time Machine.

How to Use Your Toshiba On Your Mac – Create Folders

You’ll want to create folders on your Toshiba external hard drive to organize the files you drag and drop. Or copy and paste.

Double click on your Toshiba’s drive icon on your desktop.

That will open up a finder window for you.

You’ll see your Toshiba external hard drive is lovely and empty. Ready for you to use.

You can create new folders by clicking in your Toshiba’s finder window. Click on ‘File’ at the top of your desktop and choose ‘New Folder’ from the menu. Your Mac will create a new folder on your Toshiba external hard drive that you can use.

Toshiba External Hard Drive Create New Folder
Toshiba External Hard Drive Create New Folder

How to Transfer Files to Your Toshiba External Hard Drive on Your Mac

You should know that only a Toshiba drive formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Or as ExFAT can have files transferred without driver software on your Mac.

Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is the native file system your Mac uses.  Your Windows PC won’t be able to read a Toshiba drive formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

But both a Mac and a Windows PC can read a Toshiba external hard drive formatted as ExFAT.

How to Use Your Toshiba On Your Mac – Drag and Drop

Or to copy and paste.

With your Finder window on your Toshiba drive open.

You open up another Finder window on your Mac and go to the folder you’d like to drag and drop or copy and paste from.

Click and hold over the document you’d like to Drag to your Toshiba drive.

Toshiba Click and Hold On Your File
Toshiba Click and Hold On Your File

While holding down your cursor. Move to the open Finder window on your Toshiba external hard drive. Let go of your cursor in the Toshiba’s Finder window.

Toshiba Dropping Dragged File
Toshiba Dropping Dragged File

You’ve just dragged a file to your Toshiba external hard drive.

Click on the first file.

Then hold down your shift key to select more files.

Click and hold and drag them across to your Toshiba’s Finder Window and let go of your cursor there.

Drag and drop moves your files from your Mac to your Toshiba external hard drive.

How to Use Your Toshiba On Your Mac – Copy and Paste

When you want to copy and paste files to your Toshiba external hard drive you.

Open up two finder windows.

One on your Toshiba external drive.

The other on your Mac.

Then on your Mac you go to the file you want to copy to your Toshiba drive.

Right click on the file to highlight it. Choose copy from the menu.

Toshiba External Hard Drive Copy File
Toshiba External Hard Drive Copy File

Then put your cursor onto the Finder window of your Toshiba external hard drive.

Right click and choose Paste from the menu.

Toshiba External Hard Drive Paste File
Toshiba External Hard Drive Paste File

You’ve just pasted a file to your Toshiba external hard drive.

To pick several files you pick the first file you want to copy and hold down the shift key while you pick more.

And you do the same thing.

You can also select several files by clicking in an empty space near the files you want to choose.

And drag your cursor across the files you want.

Toshiba External Hard Drive Selection Window
Toshiba External Hard Drive Selection Window

And you can use the same ways to transfer folders from your Mac to your Toshiba drive.

Side Note:

Just as it’s best not to have the only copy of your files on your Mac.
In case something happens to your Mac.
It’s why a backup is a good idea.
If the only copy you have of your files is on your Toshiba drive.
Think about getting another one as backup. And have a copy of your files on there as well.

How to use Your Toshiba External Hard Dive on Mac and PC

You’ve found out earlier in this article about using driver software. So that you can read your Toshiba NTFS external hard drive on your Mac.

But what if you’d prefer not to buy and maintain separate software on your Mac. Or vice versa for your Windows PC.

As long as you’ve no files already on your Toshiba drive you can format your drive to ExFAT.

ExFAT is read and writeable by both your Mac and a Windows PC and there’s no need for driver software.

To learn how to format your Toshiba drive as ExFAT go over to my Toshiba formatting post to find out how.

When You’re Done with Your Toshiba Drive Eject

Whether you’re using the drive on your Mac or on a Windows PC don’t just plug your Toshiba out when you’re finished.

You risk corrupting the files on the drive. 

This is because your Mac holds all sorts of information in its memory while you are using the Toshiba drive.

Eject tells your Mac to write down what it needs to to your Toshiba external hard drive.  And when it’s done that you’re free to disconnect.

To eject your Toshiba drive, you right click on the drive’s icon on your desktop.

Right Click to Eject
Right Click to Eject

Choose Eject from the menu.

And once the drive icon has gone from your desktop you’re free to plug out your USB cable.

Last Words

By now you should be confident that you could use a Toshiba external hard drive perfectly well on your Mac.

Use it to store your precious documents, for a backup or take it with you and share files with a Windows PC.

As you are here.

How about you take a look at other Toshiba articles on the site?

Toshiba Canvio Advance for Mac A Review for a Mac User

Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Review, 9 Points for a Mac User

Toshiba External Hard Drive Not Working On Mac (13 Fixes 4U)