Are you worried that if you buy, a WD My Passport drive. Will it work on your Mac?
You’ll find here 7 ways to use as a Mac drive.
Plus ways how to use WD My Passport for Mac.
For the self confessed raw beginner.
WD My Passport Which One Have You Got?
There are two products under the WD My Passport title.
One is WD My Passport and it’s made for plug and play with a Windows PC.
The other is WD My Passport for Mac.
The ‘for Mac’ part of the title means that you can plug right into your Mac.
It’s in a format that your Mac understands and will work with straight away.
But for that ease of use it costs a little more.
So, why pay the extra dollars for the one sold and branded for Mac.
When they both will work on your Mac?
And with a tiny bit of know how you can have the WD My Passport non Mac version working fine on your Mac.
Go ahead and open the box.
Inside you’ll find your WD My Passport external drive, USB cable and quick start guide.
CLICK HERE: To Read A Review On WD My Passport For Mac.
Installing Your WD Passport Drive On Mac
Turn on and log into your Mac. Then you’ll be ready to connect up your My Passport drive.
What Connections Do You Have On Your Mac?
Both the WD My Passport and the My Passport for Mac use superspeed USB. And are both powered by your Mac’s USB port.
The My Passport (not for Mac version) has a type A cable end on the end you connect to your Mac.
And assuming your Mac has a USB 3.0 port you can plug straight in.
But if your Mac is one of the latest Macs. Then it’ll have USB C ports.
The ports are physically different.
But are backwards compatible. You just need the right USB cable. Or Adaptor.
Buy yourself a USB A to USB C adaptor. These are easily bought on line.
In contrast the My Passport For Mac comes with two cables. And you just pick the one that’s right for your Mac.
Once You’ve Plugged In Your WD My Passport Into Your Mac
There is an LED light on the front of your Western Digital My Passport portable.
Your Mac should see you’ve plugged in. And you’ll see a drive icon on your Mac’s desktop. This is your external hard drive.
Now you’re ready to set up and use your Passport WD drive.
No Drive Icon After You’ve Plugged In Your WD My Passport Drive Into Your Mac?
Open up a Finder window. And choose Finder Settings (from Mac OS Ventura). In earlier Mac operating system releases it’s called Preferences.
Check the boxes to show ‘External Disk’.
Now your WD external hard drive will show up.
Decide What You’d Like To Use Your My Passport Drive For On Your Mac
And then set it up that way.
What do I mean by that?
- For copy or pasting files of specific types of e.g. Music or Photos
- Transfer files from one Mac computer to another
- As a backup destination for Apple Time Machine
- or to share your documents between a Mac and a PC
You can have your WD drive for one thing. Say your backups.
Or section up your drive. This is known as partitioning. And use a large WD Passport for several roles.
How To Use My Passport For Mac? Where To Start
If you’ve a WD My Passport for Mac it comes HFS+ formatted. Ready to use on your Mac.
And you may pick to skip past this bit.
But you’ll find it’s best to format both WD My Passport and WD My Passport for Mac on your Mac.
Macs can be picky about the drives put on them. And they often like them formatted on a Mac. Rather than the manufacture formatting.
It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes.
And you’ll use software that’s free on your Mac called Disk Utility to do it. You’ll find an article showing you how to format WD My Passport for Mac.
You’ll also find a ton of helpful images.
When you’re finished then head back here.
Great! Now let’s get to the meat of how to use your WD external hard drive on Mac.
How To Use 1: Create Folders On Your WD My Passport Drive
With your Passport your Mac portable storage plugged in.
Double click on the hard drive icon on your desktop.
You’ll see that this opens up a Finder window.
In this screen shot you’ll see the Finder window on My Passport drive is empty. That’s because there is nothing on the hard drive yet.
You’ll find it’s best to create one or more folders on your new My Passport drive. You can use them to organize the files you’re copying across.
To create a new folder. You click in your WD My Passport Finder window. That picks the window.
Then head to the top of your Mac’s screen.
Pick File. Then New Folder to create a new folder.
To give your new folder the name you want.
Click on the ‘untitled folder’ text. And then type in the new name you want.
Repeat to create more folders.
How To Use 2: Copy And Pasting Files On To WD Passport From Your Mac
You can quickly copy and paste. And drag and drop files to your new My Passport drive.
Open up a new Finder window on your Mac’s internal hard drive.
Then move to the directory with the files you want to copy across to your WD Passport drive.
In this screen shot you’ll see the files I want to copy across in the left Finder window. And the My Passport drive’s empty new Finder window on the right.
Now there are a few ways you can pick the files you want to copy across.
1. Click in a clear area in the Finder window with your files in.
And drag a selection window across all the folders or files you want to copy.
That selects the files you’re interested in.
Then go to the top of your desktop Finder screen. And pick Edit. Then Copy from the edit menu that comes up.
That copies the files.
Then head across to the Finder window of your My Passport drive.
Click once to pick that window.
Then go to the top of the desktop Finder window. Pick Edit again. And from the menu that comes up pick Paste.
And after a short wait your files are pasted across to your Mac portable storage.
2. Pick each file or folder you want to copy.
Click on the first file or folder in the list to highlight it.
Move to next file. Hold down the shift key and click.
Do that for each file. Or folder you want to copy.
Right click and pick copy from the menu that comes up.
Move to your My Passport Finder window.
Right click inside it. And pick paste from the menu.
If you’ve a lot of files you’re copying across it could take a while for all the files to pasted over.
Don’t get rid of your windows until all the files copy over.
How To Use 3: Drag and Drop Files From Your Mac On To WD My Passport.
Pick the folders or files you want to move to your WD Passport drive.
You can use either of the two ways shown in the copy and pasting section above to pick them.
Click and hold down your cursor on the files you’ve picked.
Move to the Finder window of your WD drive. And release your cursor.
All your files will move across from your Mac. To your passport external hard drive.
Important Note When You Drag and Drop
If the only copy of the files you have are on your My Passport.
You’ve put yourself in a risky position.
Because if anything happens to your My Passport. And you lose the drive.
Without another copy of your files. You’ve lost your files.
Make sure you have a copy of the entire hard disk drive.
Or copies of your files just in case.
How To Use 4: Moving Files Or Folders Off Your WD My Passport Drive Onto Mac
When you’ve files on your WD drive you want to copy across. Or move to your Mac’s internal hard drive.
You do the same as copy or paste. Or drag and drop shown above.
Just in reverse.
Open up a Finder window on your My Passport hard drive. And a window on your Mac’s internal drive.
Create a folder. Or move to the folder you want to copy the files to on your Mac.
Select your files on your My Passport drive. And use the steps above to copy and paste. Or drag and drop your files.
How To Use 5. Eject Your My Passport From Your Mac
Be sure to eject your My Passport drive safely when you’ve done using it.
Ejecting your hard drive tells your Mac to copy anything your Mac has in its memory for your drive. Down to your drive.
And you won’t risk causing problems on your drive.
To do this you right click on your My Passport drive icon on your desktop.
And pick Eject from the menu.
YouTube Video Showing How To Use For Mac
Tech and Design’s YouTube video shows you set up and format your WD My Passport on your Mac.
You should find the video useful.
WD My Passport External Hard-Drive Set Up Guide For Mac
Video Credit: Tech And Design
How To Use 6: WD My Passport For Both Mac And PC
Want to make your WD hard drive shareable between a Mac and a PC? You’ll need to format it to ExFAT.
Follow this link to WD My Passport For Mac And Windows. To find out how.
Then head back here after.
When your WD My Passport drive is setup so you can share between Mac and a PC you can:
1. Plug your WD My Passport drive into your Mac.
2. Double click on the desktop icon for your Western Digital portable drive.
3. You can copy and paste or drag and drop your documents on your My Passport drive. The how to use sections 2 and 3 above show how. And when you’re done.
4. Eject your drive by right clicking on the drive icon.
And then you can plug your portable drive into your Windows PC. And view and use your files there.
How To Use 7: WD My Passport With Time Machine
Want to know how to use WD My Passport on Mac for backup?
Then Apple Time Machine is the backup software to use on your Mac.
Rest assured this is really easy to do.
Since the Mac OS version Ventura Time Machine will format your external drive as part of setting up Time Machine.
In earlier Mac OS versions you’ll need to format your My Passport first. Since MacOS Big Sur you can format your drive to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) File System. This file system is also known as HFS+.
Or as APFS (Apple File System). APFS was designed for a Solid State drive but you can format a hard disk drive to APFS.
But note if you’re Mac computer is running an even earlier release of Mac OS X like Catalina. Format in the Mac operating system Extended (Journaled). As this is the most compatible drive format for older Mac OS’s.
If you’ve bought a WD My Passport for Mac. It will come formatted out of the box as HFS+
But if you have a WD My Passport. You’ll need to reformat it with Disk Utility on your Mac.
Just pop over to this article and see how to format WD My Passport on your Mac.
Now you’re ready to tell Time Machine on your Mac to use your WD My Passport hard drive.
Plug in your passport portable drive into your Mac. Or MacBook Pro or Air.
In Mac OS Ventura or Later
1. Open System Settings.
Scroll down to General. Click there. Then Scroll down to Time Machine and click that option.
2. Click The Button Add Backup Disk.
Pick your WD My Passport drive, then click Setup Disk.
3. Your Mac Will Then Setup Your My Passport.
Your Mac will then format your WD My Passport hard 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’.
In Mac OS Monterey Or Earlier
1. Open Up System Preferences.
You can do that by doing a spotlight search. You’ll find the spotlight search symbol at the top of your Mac’s desktop window.
Type in ‘system preferences’ into the spotlight search window.
The system preferences application will show in the list. Double click on it to start it up.
2. Click On Time Machine Inside System Preferences.
3. Time Machine may start and right away.
And ask you if you want to use your Western Digital My Passport as the backup drive for Time Machine.
If it does say yes. If not take the check mark off the box to turn on Time Machine automatically.
4. Click On Select Disk.
Then your Passport external drive attached to your Mac will show up in the next window. Click on the drive. You’ll see its name in the list.
If you want an encrypted backup, you can also check the check box to encrypt backups here.
You’ll see the option at the bottom left corner of the Time Machine screen.
5. Click On Use Disk.
Now you can check the box to ‘Show Time Machine in menu bar’.
You can also check the box to ‘Back Up Automatically’ now.
You can do that if you’d like your Mac to kick off a backup whenever you plug your WD My Passport backup drive into your Mac.
You Can Kick Off A Time Machine Backup Right now
Head to the top of your desktop and click on the Time Machine symbol.
And from the menu choose backup now.
Clicking on the Time Machine symbol while your backup is happening. Will show you the progress of your backup.
If you would like more detail on this subject. Head over to the article “WD My Passport Time Machine (Set Up, How To Use)“.
Once Your Backup Finishes
Be sure to right click on your My Passport drive icon. And safely eject your Passport Mac drive from your Mac.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. If I Use Time Machine Do I Only Have Access To The Drive From One Computer?
Because you plug your drive into your Mac using a physical cable. A USB cable.
Your My Passport drive connects to one Mac.
But there’s no reason why a My Passport drive that’s large enough. Can’t be split into partitions.
And you can have one partition acting as the backup partition for one Mac.
And your second partition as the backup to another Mac.
You just point Time Machine to the right partition for each Mac.
And when plugged in. Time Machine will pick the right partition to back up to.
2. Can I Use My Passport On Mac And On A PC?
Your WD My Passport For Mac drive comes HFS+ formatted. And without special software your Windows PC can’t read it.
To use it on a PC you’d need to reformat it.
Your WD hard drive (non for Mac version) would also need reformatting. As it’s set up so a PC can read it. But a Mac can’t.
But both a Mac and a PC can read an ExFAT drive.
And you can format both WD My Passport and WD My Passport for Mac to ExFAT.
Or if you’ve a WD My Passport drive large enough. You can section it up. And create partitions. And have a partition formatted as ExFAT.
What Are Partitions?
Partitioning allows you to take advantage of the cheaper cost per terabyte of larger My Passport hard drives.
Divide your Mac drive into sections and use the drive for different things.
A for instance is;
You can create one partition for your Mac to use and format that to Mac operating system Extended (Journaled) file system.
Create another partition formatted to ExFAT. So, both your Mac and a PC can see and use the ExFAT partition.
You’ll find an article about ‘How to Partition WD My Passport for Mac‘ click the link to learn how.
Is your mind at rest knowing that not only can you use WD My Passport on a Mac?
You know now the different ways. And that this portable hard drive works really well on a Mac.
Don’t be shy … Check out these other articles here on the site.
About Simon Irons
As an admin I spend my day helping folks with their Mac issues. From the guy at work, through to unofficial 911 support for family and friends. I swear they have me on speed dial.
For fun I like testing out and playing with new stuff. I think Apple make the best products on the planet.
In my spare time I like to fish and play around with boats.