Partition WD My Passport For Mac Title Image

As the cost per GB of hard drive space falls. It’s more and more practical to buy a larger external hard drive. And use it for several things.

And that is exactly what partitioning up – splitting a drive into different sections allows you to do.

Using the Mac operating system software Disk Utility you can easily do it.

You’ll find images and a link to a video below. So you can feel confident to do this yourself.

And teach yourself in 8 steps, how to partition WD My Passport for Mac.

Can You Partition WD Passport On Mac?

Yes, you can. You will need to format first to prepare your Passport drive for partitioning.

Western Digital makes two types of WD My Passport portable hard drive.  One has for Mac as its name. And its shipped HFS+ formatted. Your Mac calls this Mac OS Extended (Journaled) File System.

The other type is NTFS formatted. It’s simply called WD My Passport – no for Mac after the title. It’s mainly sold for a Windows PC.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve the WD My Passport for Mac. Or have bought the Windows PC NTFS version. They both can be used on Mac.

It’s best to format either first before partitioning.

Take a look at this article on how to format WD Passport for Mac.

Your WD My Passport all formatted? Great!

Now you’re ready to partition your My Passport external drive.

CLICK HERE: To Read A Review On WD My Passport For Mac

How Do I Partition My Passport For Mac?

Decide on the number of partitions you want to divide your WD My Passport drive into. It’s best not to have more than 3.

And choose the size of each partition. Then you’re ready to start.

How to: Teach Yourself In 8 Quick Steps

1. Turn On, Log Into Your Mac.

And plug in your USB cable into your Mac, MacBook Pro or Air.

With your My Passport hard drive already formatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) File System. And with GUID Partition Map for scheme. You’re good to go.

2. Open Up The Disk Utility Application.

By heading to spotlight search at the top of your desktop.

Spotlight Search Symbol
Spotlight Search Symbol

Type the letters Disk Utility.

Disk Utility In Spotlight Search
Disk Utility In Spotlight Search

Double click to open Disk Utility. And the application will start up.

3. Pick Your Formatted My Passport Drive.

At the top level of the hierarchy.

The Mac operating system throws out random errors. If you don’t select your Mac drive at the top level of the hierarchy. So double check.

Select Drive At The Right Level
Select Drive At The Right Level

4. Look At The Top Of The Disk Utility Screen And Click On The Partition Button.

Select Partition
Select Partition

5. The Partition Pop Up Window Now Shows On The Screen.

In this window you can set up the number of partitions you want on your WD drive. And the type of partition you want.

Remember before we started I said to have a think about the number of partitions you would like and their sizes? Now is the time to use that information.

Your first task is to set up your first partition. Give your first partition a name to help you remember what you set this partition up to do.

Partition Pop up window
Partition Pop up window

For this example we’ll set this up as a partition to be used for a Time Machine backup.

Time Machine needs a partition formatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) File System). You can also use an APFS (Apple File System) since Mac OS x version Big Sur.

You do this by picking the up and down arrows to the right hand side of the format option.

Next, put in the size of your WD external drive partition on the next line. Type in the number. Use the up and down arrows so say whether it is in TB, GB, etc.

6. Now Click The Plus Sign At The Bottom Of The Pop Up Window.

Click Plus
Click Plus

This creates a second partition.

Give your WD drive partition a name that helps you remember what you’ll use it for. In the example image. This is a partition used for copying and pasting photos to.

Copy and paste. Or drag and drop partitions you format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Or you can pick APFS.

Set the size you want.

Second Partition Screen
Second Partition Screen

7. Click The Plus Sign Again If You Want To Create A Third Partition.

Or if you have the number of partitions and type you need. Then you can now jump down to step 8.

If you want a WD Passport partition for Mac and PC. Choose ExFAT as the partition format.

That way files will be visible to. Readable and writeable by both operating systems.

Often you’ll find the partition sizes adjusted after you’ve entered specific sizes.

This is because the act of partitioning uses up file system space.

Partition Circles
Partition Circles

Click, hold and move the partition circles to adjust the partition sizes. Till you get largely what you want.

MacOS calculates on the fly the partition sizes. And the space it needs to create the partitions.

8. Click Apply.

And a pop up screen will appear confirming the partitions you’re setting up.

Click on the Partition button.

And away Disk Utility will go, creating your partitions.

Click Partition to Create Partitions
Click Partition to Create Partitions

The process of creating the partitions will take a few minutes. When complete you’ll see your partitioned Passport portable hard drive with its partitions. Different colors show the partitions you have set up.

Completed Partitioning
Completed Partitioning

The partitions will also appear on your Mac’s desktop as disk icons. Each partition looking like a separate disk that you can use.

partition desktop icons
partition desktop icons

You can now dismiss the window because the partitions on your WD external hard drive are ready for you to use.

YouTube Video On Partitioning WD My Passport On Your Mac

Here’s a YouTube video showing the partitioning of Western Digital My Passport.

You’ll find the video set to start at the point where Tech and Design shows partitioning of the WD hard drive.

WD My Passport External Hard-drive Set Up Guide for Mac

Video Credit: Tech and Design

Why Partition Your Western Digital Hard Drive?

Partitioning is a form of disk management. It allows you to divide your external drive into different areas.

And each area acts like separate Mac hard drive.

It’s a great way to use one large disk drive for different things.

Like have a section for your Time Machine back up. And another to copy and paste your files to.

When you use the copy and pasting part of your WD hard disk to save you files. You won’t see the section with your Time Machine backup.

Creating a section of your WD external hard disk for Mac and PC is a good idea. As the shared partition needs formatting so that both your Mac and PC can read and write from the drive. And this type of partition is not compatible with Time Machine.

Plus PCs are more prone to getting viruses. Having a separate partition won’t prevent the most destructive viruses. Though it will restrict some.

Before You Partition Your My Passport

Think about what you plan to do with your WD hard drive. And the size of partition you’re going to need for each section.

Creating A WD Partition For Time Machine

For a Time Machine drive partition. You format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Or APFS (since the operating system Big Sur only).

The WD backup drive partition needs to be about twice the size of the data you’re backing up. Or to keep things simple twice the size of the Mac drive you’re backing up.

If you have two Macs you want to back up using your Passport external hard drive. Then create two partitions of the right sizes. And dedicate each partition to a particular Mac computer.

Creating A My Passport Partition To Copy And Paste Files To

Partitions used for copy, pasting. Drag and drop are formatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) File System. Or if you’re running MacOS Big Sur or later. You can also format the partition to APFS (Apple File System).

Both Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and APFS are only read and writeable from a Mac.


If the only copy of your files is on the WD My Passport external drive you will need a backup of those files.

Hard drives fail over time. And the best practice is to have at least two copies on separate drives if not three copies of your files.

Creating A My Passport Partition To Use Between Mac And PC?

A partition where you want to read and write files between a Mac and a PC you format as ExFAT.

ExFAT is a file system format understood by both Mac and PC. And when you plug in your WD My Passport that partition will be visible to both computers.

A PC cannot see. Or recognize partitions formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) File System. Or APFS.

If you would like to take a look at an article comparing the WD My Passport drive to the WD Elements external drive. Take a look.

Partition WD My Passport Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Does Creating Partitions And Formatting Reduce My Hard Drive Space?

Formatting and creating partitions takes up room on your Passport external hard drive. This is why it is a good idea to buy an external hard drive larger than you need. Particularly if your requirement is right on the size capacity of a hard drive.

What I mean by this is. If you total up your data needs and it’s 3TB of data. Don’t buy a 3TB disk, buy a 4TB disk. Because the formatting and writing file systems take up space. And you won’t have the space you hoped for.

2. I Have A Corrupted Partition How Can I Get To My Files?

This is one reason a backup of your entire disk is always a good idea. Failing that enter disk utility and run first aid on your drive to see if MacOS can recover the corrupted drive.

As another option. You can also download a Mac compatible version of the WD Drive Utilities software. And use that to run a disk health check. This can sometimes recover the partition enough for you to use.

3. I Try To Partition And I Get An Error From Disk Utility

Unfortunately, this is sometimes the case. And something that arrived with MacOS Sierra and High Sierra. Just try again.

4. How Do I Re-Partition My WD My Passport Drive?

Want to change the size of your partitions or remove a partition or add a partition. You use Disk Utility in the same way I’ve described above to put in your new partitioning information.

However … and this is important.

If you have existing data in your partition you must copy it off first. Because partitioning will remove the existing file system information. And this will mean you’ll lose any data on your Western Digital hard drive.

Make sure you have a copy of your data elsewhere.

In Closing

I hope you have enjoyed this article on partitioning WD My Passport for Mac.

Now you should feel confident to do this yourself. As you can see how straight forward and easy it is.

Feel Free to check out some of my other Western Digital articles on the site.

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