MacTakeAwayData Rank – 4/5
Take a run through on what a prospective Mac owner needs to know before purchasing the Seagate Backup Plus Slim for Mac 1TB. Decide what is important for you so that you can make the right decision for your files and your Mac.
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- The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is reasonably priced
- With a good range of storage capacities starting at 500GB with 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB options
- Fun, modern hard drive enclosure design and colors
- Available as preformatted HFS+ for Mac, with a downloadable HFS driver for Windows PC.
- Straightforward set up and use, powered via the USB cable supplied.
- No direct USB 3.1/Thunderbolt connectivity. An adaptor cable is required for newer Macs
- The software provided on this drive, depending on your circumstances may not be useful to you. Find out why in my article below.
A great external hard drive, popular with Mac users with a wide selection of drive capacities.
Features Overview of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim For Mac
What does the Mac owner need to know?
The Seagate Backup Plus family of products consists of four types of external hard drives. The Ultra Slim, Slim, Portable and Fast 4TB (see section below)
Comparison Table of the
Backup Plus High Level Features
|Backup Plus||Ultra Slim||Slim||Portable|
|Capacity||1TB & 2TB||500GB, 1TB, 2TB||4TB & 5TB|
|Format||NTFS||NTFS or HFS+||NTFS or HFS+|
|Headline Speed||120 Mb/s||120 Mb/s||120 Mb/s|
|Connections||USB 3.0||USB 3.0||USB 3.0|
|Size||2.99″ x 4.48″ x 0.38″||2.99″ x 4.48″ x 0.48″||2.99″ x 4.50″ x 0.81″|
|Weight||4.8 oz||5.7 oz||8.7 oz|
|Warranty||2 Years||2 Years||2 Years|
Backup Plus Fast 4TB
Released in 2014, the member of the Backup Plus family not in the table above is the Backup Plus Fast 4TB. The reason it isn’t included is that it is a different kind of beast to the drives above and it’s important to understand why it is different.
See my section on the Backup Plus Fast 4TB later in this article. Or to jump quickly to it, click on the link to the section in the table of contents toward the start of this article.
For now, here is a table to give you an overview of the Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4TB.
|Backup Plus Fast 4TB|
|Headline Speed||220 MB/s|
|Size||3.07″ x 4.57″ x 0.88″|
Backup Plus Design, Size and Weight
All the Seagate Technology Backup Plus drives are small, conveniently sized to be easily transported.
The Backup Plus Ultra Slim, the latest edition to the family is the smallest, but only by 0.1 of an inch compared to the Backup Plus Slim. And the lightest at 4.8 ounces compared to the 5.7 ounces of the Backup Plus Slim.
The Backup Plus Portable is the next step up size wise being that tiny bit longer and deeper and heavier at 8.7 ounces.
The Backup Plus Fast 4TB is the largest in terms of its overall dimensions of all the drives in this line up but still weights in at less than 11 ounces.
Note that; despite these Seagate Backup Plus drives being sold as portable that these drives are mechanically based. This means inside there are moving parts and that results in the drive being less rugged than an SSD (Solid State Drive). Dropping or rough handling could damage the drive and it would be a good idea to carry around in a protective case – unlike the lady in the picture!
Here are some of my preferred protective cases on Amazon.
Backup Plus Available Colors
Seagate are clearly attempting to go after a younger hipper audience with the Backup Plus line up. There are metallic finishes on all the Backup Plus drives.
The Backup Plus Ultra Slim is available in Gold and Platinum
The Backup Plus Slim and Portable are available in Black, Silver, Red and Blue
The Backup Plus Fast 4TB comes only in Black.
All the drives are passively cooled, this means that airflow is brought in via holes in the bottom. Watch for overheating of your drive. Hot drives fail much more quickly. Consider how you position the drive in heavy use to keep it as cool as possible.
Backup Plus Physical Connection to your Mac
What does the Mac owner need to know?
All the Backup Plus drives support the USB 3.0 standard, which maintains backwards compatibility with USB 2.0.
The drives are all powered via the USB connection from your Mac so there is no need for a separate power adaptor.
The drives come with USB 3.0 Type A connection at the Mac end and USB 3.0 Micro B connection at the end that plugs into the Backup Plus drive.
Take a look at my section below on the Backup Plus Fast 4TB as it’s important to understand how that connects and supports USB 2.0.
The USB cable is 18 inches long and depending on how you want to store and use your Seagate Backup Plus Slim you may want to get yourself a longer USB cable.
Here is my choice for a longer USB cable.
There are no direct Thunderbolt (USB-C) connections without the use of an adaptor cable. So if you have a newer Macbook or iMac;
- 2016 or later Macbook or
- 2015 Macbook with a single USB-C port or
- iMac 2017 or later
You will need an adaptor cable – Thunderbolt (USB-C) to USB type A 3.0 adaptor cable. The backwards compatibility of Thunderbolt means that your Mac would talk to the Seagate Backup Plus Slim and transfer files at USB 3.0 speed, which is usually fine for backup and most home user applications.
Need more information on connecting to your Mac? Take a look at my article
Do You Need The Speed of Thunderbolt?
In reality unless you are doing something that demands top performance you’re your hard drive such as gaming or video editing then it’s is unlikely.
The headline speed of Thunderbolt, theoretically 10 GBits/sec (you’ll get less because of the USB communication overheads) any of the Seagate Backup Plus hard drives will be a lot less expensive than Thunderbolt native drives and work well for most applications.
Performance of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim for Mac 1TB
The performance level of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim was certainly reasonable. In testing, I observed 120 MBps writing speed and nearly 114 MBps reading speed, which makes this drive good for most users wanting a drive to copy their files to and from or for their Time Machine backups.
Seagate Technology YouTube Video
Backup Plus Ultra Slim
Video Credit: Seagate Technology
Seagate Backup Plus NTFS versus HFS+
The beauty of the Seagate Backup Plus range of hard drives is that you can choose which file system format you need the most. Ok, so what do I mean by that.
At a high level I mean that if you are going to use the Backup Plus on your Mac then you could choose to buy a HFS+ formatted hard drive.
Seagate refer to those drives as ‘for Mac’. HFS+ is the file system format Macs use and read (also known as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system and that is typically how you will see it referred to on your Mac). Let me net that out a little more.
If you bought the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB for Mac it would be supplied preformatted for Mac, you plug in install the drive and away you go. Maximum convenience.
The Seagate Backup Plus Portable comes in a ‘for Mac’ version which is HFS+ preformatted.
That makes it easy for those who want to do the minimum to get their hard drive up and running.
And if you decide you want to also access the data on the drives from a Windows PC, you could download the HFS Paragon driver on the Windows PC. With that driver the PC could see the files on the drive.
You would need the HFS driver on all the PC’s you want to access the files on the Backup Plus HFS drive.
What about the NTFS Preformatted Drives?
Well, you could use those too. Really.
Seagate provides a NTFS Paragon driver for the Mac that you can download from their support site.
The driver allows you to use the drive without the effort of reformatting however it is worth noting if you are copying and pasting files to the Backup Plus drive make sure those files are not the only copies you have.
Copy and pasting, drag and drop your files is not a backup strategy. If those are the only copies of your files and the drive should fail you could loose those files.
Utilizing the Paragon driver leaves the Backup Plus drive formatted as NTFS so the drive cannot be used to do time machine backups.
If you have several Macs and want to use the NTFS formatted Backup Plus drive with them they each need to have the NTFS driver software on them.
Have a problem with your Mac and you’ll need to have this software installed on your Mac before you can access your files – not ideal.
So this solution is fine for specific circumstances.
With a little know how and knowledge you could buy the Backup Plus Ultra Slim because you like the look, you think its cool or like the size or the color. It’s available as NTFS formatted only but within a few minutes you could reformat it for your Mac and use to copy and paste files to or for your Time Machine backup without the need for additional software.
You Might Need to Reformat Anyway
There are several reasons why you may want to format the Seagate Backup Plus on your Mac.
You want to buy a larger drive and use it for several purposes;
- Want to backup two different Mac’s? You’ll need two partitions
- Want to split the drive into different areas? The Mac uses one area and a Windows PC using the other. You’ll need two partitions
- You might want an area to drag and drop files to and another area for your Time Machine backups.
All the scenarios above means that you’d be best taking a few minutes formatting and partitioning on your Mac so the drive is set up just how you want it.
This means that there is no additional software needed on the Mac or the PC.
And this means that you could use any of the drives in the range.
Seagate Dashboard Software
What are the things the Mac owner need to know?
All the drives come with pre-installed Seagate Dashboard Software
On the Seagate Backup Plus Slim for Mac the software comes allowing you to do a mobile backup of your IOS and Android mobiles devices over wifi.
And a Social backup software which allows you to share the files from the drives on your social media networking accounts such as Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. It also allows you to backup your social media files from those sites too.
Useful for those who have a large social media presence.
There is also a PC Backup component of the Seagate Dashboard but this is only provided for the NTFS version of Backup Plus drives. It is for a local backup of your PC and is not for Mac as Mac has Time Machine. Also it appears that it only takes copies of your PC’s files and does not allow you to rebuild the Windows PC should it fail.
Thank goodness we have Time Machine on the Mac as that fully allows you to rebuild your Mac and restore all your files, photos, video’s, application software. Everything in fact, in case of a major failure.
I have a couple of additional comments on this software.
Mobile backup over wifi could be problematic as there is potential for your mobile to flood your wifi network while it is backing up. For example you’ve taken a load of pictures and videos and now your mobile or iPad is back in range it’s busy backing them up.
Personally I think its better and you get faster performance by physically connecting your mobile devices to your Mac. Use iTunes on your Mac to back your mobile devices up to and then when you backup your Mac, everything is backed up at the same time.
At least that way you know for sure you can rebuild your iPhone, and iPad from the iTunes backup.
What Do you get in the Seagate Backup Plus Box When you Buy?
Of course the Seagate Backup Plus hard drive you’ve chosen.
A Quick Start Guide.
All the quick start guides are minimal.
A diagram of how you plug in with no real information on how to use the drive. – I have written an article on How to use the Seagate Backup Plus on Mac for you to learn more about using the drive in reality.
YouTube Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim UnBoxing Video
I thought you may be interested in seeing what is in the box. This video shows what’s in the box and lasts under two minutes.
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable Hard Drive Unboxing.
Images and Video Credit: Finding With PK
How to use Seagate Backup Plus Slim on Mac
Once physically connected the drive icon appears on your desktop and it’s like using the files from the folders you already have on your Mac.
Double click on the desktop icon and a finder window opens up.
You can create folders as you wish.
Open up another finder window on your Mac and Copy and Paste files using all the methods you are used to using from the finder window on your Mac to the finder window on the Seagate Backup Plus Slim for Mac.
When you are finished and want to disconnect the Backup Plus hard drive take care to eject the drive properly from your Mac by right clicking on the disk icon on your desktop and selecting Eject.
This will help to stop you accidentally corrupting your hard drive.
How to use Seagate Backup Plus Slim on Mac and PC
What a Mac owner needs to know.
There are two main ways.
- Purchase a ‘for Mac’ version of the drive and it comes preformatted in HFS+ and use the downloadable HFS+ driver for a Windows PC.
Plus points – the HFS+ driver sits on the PC and its easy to use. Minus points – it needs to be installed on each Windows PC and if you have more than one you want to connect to then this could be a pain. Particularly if you don’t control those PC’s. The PC can see the entire drive and all the files on the drive. You may not want that.
- Purchase any of the drives and format the drive as ExFAT.
Plus point – both the Mac and Windows PC can see the drive, read and write to the drive and no additional software is needed. This is also a Minus point – if you want to segregate data.
Alternatively format and partition up the Backup Plus drive, have a part for Mac, have a part formatted as ExFAT for the Windows PC. Plus point – no additional software is needed to make this work and it allows you to use the drive exactly as you want. Minus point – takes a little more work up front. That said in a few minutes of know how you can have it done.
Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4TB Need to Knows
Seems Similar to the other Backup Plus drives? Not quite. Read further on in this article on key areas where it’s not.
220 Mb/s headline speed
Yes, Seagate claims twice the transfer speed for the Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4TB drive, however it is important to know how this is achieved. The 4TB total capacity is actually because this package contains two 2TB hard drives.
The drives are set up as Raid O, which means your files are copied to both drives at the same time. Hurray, I hear you say.
Extra copies of my files means extra security in case something goes wrong and I loose a hard drive. Mmmm. Yes sort of.
But think about it, both drives are spinning up and running at the same time, files are written to the drive at the same time, the duty cycle you are putting the drives through are the same. One fails the other one may not be far behind. Plus if one drive can’t be read and errors are seen on the other as well, you’ve lost the whole thing and will need specialist help to recover your data.
Sounds to me that you may just as well have one 4TB drive or even two individual 2TB Backup Plus Slim for Mac and be done with it.
Backup Plus Fast 4TB Used on an Older 2.0 USB Mac
Something to keep in mind if you have an older Mac with USB 2.0 interfaces, to use this drive with that Mac a splitter cable is provided. Why?
Because USB 2.0 specifies maximum power that can be drawn from the USB port. Two drives on a single USB 2.0 port exceeds that standard and those Macs are not able to power this external hard drive combination from a single USB port.
The splitter cable plugs into two USB 2.0 ports.
Yes you will need two USB 2.0 ports to power this baby.
This drive also comes with the Seagate Dashboard. There is a downloadable HFS+ driver on the support section of the Seagate site so that you can use this drive without reformatting on a Mac – like the other drives in the range.
But if you want to use this drive with Time Machine, you will need to reformat.
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Warranty
All the Seagate Backup Plus external hard drives come with two years warranty except the Backup Plus Fast 4TB. Two years warranty is the industry average for this type of consumer portable drive.
You can take a look at the Seagate Backup Plus Warranty page here
My Verdict on Using the Seagate Backup Plus Slim for Mac
The question we started out with was ‘Seagate Backup Plus Slim for Mac 1TB What are the Mac need to knows?” the Seagate Backup Plus for Mac, in its varied capacities and sizes can be used on a Mac and work well on your Mac.
Thousands of these drives have been sold and if you keep in mind that only a fraction of users leave reviews, there are many happy users out there. You can check on those reviews yourself by clicking on the link in the above paragraph and scrolling to the bottom of the Amazon web page.
Want to see how the Seagate Backup Plus compares to the Seagate Expansion? Click Here or
Images Credit: Certain images reproduced by courtesy of Seagate Technology.