Are you asking yourself … Can I use my Seagate Expansion with a Mac?
The answer is a big Yes! You can.
And it doesn’t matter whether you’ve a 1TB, 5TB or an Expansion with larger storage space. An SSD expansion or a desktop drive.
You can use your Expansion external drive on your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac.
And you’ll find out all the things to know and keep in mind. Right here in this article.
Feel free to use the Table of Contents to find what you need. And jump straight there.
Is Your Seagate Expansion Compatible With Your Mac?
The latest Seagate Expansion drives now come ExFAT formatted. And this means out of the box you can plug straight into a Mac computer or a PC.
Before, that the Seagate Expansion drives were NTFS formatted.
NTFS format is a PC based format. And meant that your Seagate Expansion would plug straight into a Windows PC.
A Mac can read a Seagate NTFS drive. But you can’t update or put new files on your Expansion in NTFS from a Mac. You’d need to reformat first.
Even with an ExFAT based Seagate Expansion external drive. It’s likely you’d be best formatting anyway.
Because I’ve noticed that some of the ExFAT expansion drives come with a Master Boot Record as the partition map. And a Mac works best with an ExFAT drive with a GUID Partition Map. Newer Windows computers support the same partition map format as a Mac too.
Plus, Time Machine doesn’t support backing up to an ExFAT formatted drive.
Formatting is something that only takes a few minutes to do. And it’s easy once you know how.
You’ll find out how later in this post. Or use the Table of Contents to jump right to it.
You might want to check on the current format of your Seagate Expansion. Take a quick look at this post here ‘How To Check Format Of External Hard Drive On Mac‘.
Then head right back here after.
Seagate Expansion On Mac: Plugging In
When you plug your Seagate into your Mac computer.
Your Seagate portable hard disk drive. Or SSD gets its power from your Mac through your Macs USB’s port via its USB cable.
The desktop Expansion drives have a separate power cable. Because those drives are larger and need the direct power.
Your Seagate external hard drive has a USB cable with a type A connection at the end for your Mac. And a MicroB USB at the end that plugs into your Seagate storage device.
Your Seagate Expansion On The Latest Macs
For those of you with newer Macs. Anything since 2016 Macs with USB C or USB 3.1 ports you’ll need an adaptor cable.
The USB type A and USB C connections are physically different but compatible.
If you want a more detailed explanation of the different USB ports on Mac with images. You can find them in this article on how to connect an external hard drive to your Mac.
Interested in a new Seagate hard drive? And was just checking if you could use on Mac? Take a look at this Seagate Expansion Review here.
Starting To Use Your Seagate Hard Drive On Mac
Power up your Mac. Log in. And plug your USB cable into your Mac’s USB port.
If you need to use an adaptor for your Mac’s USB C port. Then put that on before plugging in.
For your portable drive. Or SSD it’s worth checking that your MacBook has enough charge in its battery for your Seagate USB drive. Or plug your Mac into external power.
Once you’ve plugged in your Seagate Expansion, your Mac will take a few seconds.
Then your Seagate external disk drive’s icon will come up on your Mac’s desktop.
If your Seagate external disk’s drive icon doesn’t appear on your desktop. Check your Finder Settings (Mac OS Ventura). In earlier Mac operating system releases it’s called Preferences.
Check the box ‘External Disks’ to show your Seagate Expansion on your Mac’s desktop. You’ll find it under the General tab.
Formatting Your Seagate Expansion For Mac?
You can format your Seagate Expansion as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system. Or APFS (Apple File System). Or reformat to ExFAT if you find your Seagate isn’t quite formatted right for your Mac.
APFS is best to use on your Expansion SSD drive. As it’s made for fast SSD’s.
Formatting only takes minutes.
If you know there are documents you want on your Seagate external hard drive. Say no to the formatting.
Copy those files off first before formatting your Expansion external hard drive. Or you’ll lose those files.
1. Log Into Your Mac And Plug In Your Seagate’s USB Cable.
In a few moments you’ll see your Seagate hard drive icon on your desktop. If your drive’s icon doesn’t show up. Scroll up this post and read the starting to use section just above.
2. You Start Up Disk Utility.
You’ll find Disk Utility in the Applications folder. Inside the Utilities folder.
3. Click On Your Seagate Under External Drives.
You’ll see all the drives connected to your Mac on the left hand side of your pop up window.
You’ll find your Seagate external drive under the ‘External’ heading.
Click on your Expansion external hard drive or SSD at the top level.
This is important.
If you don’t select your drive at the right level. You can get random errors with formatting your Seagate storage device.
If you can’t see more than one level listed then choose ‘View’ at the top of your Disk Utility window.
Then pick show all devices.
4. Then Click Erase.
It’s at the top of your Disk Utility popup window.
5. Set Your Expansion Drive’s Formatting Options.
The next popup window is where you select how you want to format your Seagate Expansion drive for Mac.
Give your Expansion external hard drive or SSD a name.
The first time you format your drive pick Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Even if you want to format as APFS or ExFAT. When you’re changing a drive’s format you pick Mac OS Extended first.
For the scheme choose GUID Partition Map.
Then click Erase at the bottom right of the window.
Your Mac will now do its work. And within a few moments you’ll have your Seagate Expansion formatted.
Then if you want to format as APFS or ExFAT. Skip through the steps again, and this time you can pick APFS or ExFAT. With GUID Partition Map for the Scheme.
You’ll find an article on the site with more detail at this link here. Seagate Expansion Format For Mac. – it covers how to format. And how to choose which format to pick.
How To Format And Partition Your Seagate Expansion For Mac YouTube Video
You can watch this 13 minute YouTube video by Tech & Design. The video explains the formatting process really well. Watch and use alongside my notes.
And even if you feel you’re technically challenged can see how easy this is to do.
Seagate External Hard Drive How To Set Up On A Mac
Video Credit: Tech & Design
Want To Partition Your Expansion On Your Mac?
Partitioning is a great way of using larger storage capacity Expansion drives.
Partitioning lets you split up 4TB or larger drive into different areas.
You’ll find an article on the site that shows you how.
Take a look at my article Partition Hard Drive for Mac and Windows.
Using An NTFS Seagate Expansion On Your Mac
Older Seagate Technology Expansion drives were sold NTFS formatted. Your Mac can read the files on your Expansion drive in its NTFS format.
This means that you can copy files that are on your Seagate external hard drive to your Mac and use them there.
But you can’t copy them back onto an NTFS formatted Expansion. Or edit or change any files on your Expansion drive on a Mac.
You can buy yourself some NTFS driver software and use your Seagate Technology Expansion as it is. Without changing the format of the drive.
If you want to know more about this option then take a look at my article here. ‘External Hard Drive For Mac And PC Without Reformatting‘.
Using Your Seagate Expansion To Drag And Drop Files Onto Your Mac
Is as easy and as familiar as using the internal drive inside your Mac.
On your Mac you drag and drop. Or copy and paste files from one Finder window to another on your Mac.
Instead, you’ll be dragging and dropping. Or copying and pasting from one Finder window on your Mac. To another Finder window on your Seagate Expansion Portable.
Now your Seagate Expansion is all formatted. You’ll see its icon on your desktop.
Double click on your Seagate Expansion’s icon and a Finder window will open up.
You’re now able to create new folders on your Expansion hard drive. Just as you would on your Mac.
Open up a new finder window on your Mac. And move to the folder with the files you want to copy or move to your Seagate Expansion.
Use all the usual ways you normally pick your files. And drag them across to the finder window on your Seagate Expansion drive.
If the files on your Expansion external hard drive are your only copy of your files.
Ensure you have a copy of them elsewhere. Or better yet buy two Seagate Expansions. And have the second as a backup of your first.
You can check out the latest Seagate Expansion Review if you need a 2nd drive.
Deleting Files From Your Expansion Drive
When you’ve deleted files from your Seagate external drive and finished using it.
Be sure to empty your Mac’s Bin.
Do this before ejecting and plugging out your Expansion external drive.
Otherwise ghost images of the deleted files could still appear on your external drive.
When You’ve Finished Using Your Seagate Expansion On Your Mac
Be sure to Eject the drive from your Mac before plugging out your USB cable.
You do this by right clicking on your Seagate Expansion’s icon on your desktop. And then choose Eject.
A Mac Seagate Backup To An Expansion Drive
Time Machine is the software on a Mac that you’ll use to backup.
Apple Time Machine will happily use your Seagate Expansion for backup.
From Mac OS Ventura onwards your Mac will format your Seagate Expansion for Time Machine as part of you Time Machine setup. In earlier Mac OS releases like Monterey and earlier, you’ll need to format your Expansion drive to APFS. Or Mac OS Extended Journaled.
Take note though. You can use APFS but only since Mac OS Big Sur. This because previous Mac OS X versions did not support a Time Machine backup to APFS.
After your Seagate storage is formatted right. You simply set it up in System Preferences > Time Machine.
And now in Mac OS Ventura it’s called System Settings. Click the General heading on the left hand side of the screen. You’ll see Time Machine on the right hand side.
You can find out more at this article here. Seagate Expansion Mac Time Machine. Click on the linked text to go over to the article.
While you’re here do check out the related articles all about your Seagate expansion 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.