Are you asking yourself …
Can you use your Seagate Expansion with a Mac?
If you can then what do you need to know?
The answer is a big Yes!
You can. And it doesn’t matter whether you’ve a 1TB, 2TB, 4TB or 5TB or bigger Seagate Expansion.
Or if it’s an SSD expansion or a desktop drive.
You can have it and use your Seagate Expansion 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, the Seagate Expansion drives were NTFS formatted.
NTFS meant that your Seagate Expansion would plug straight into a Windows PC.
You could use your Seagate Expansion on Mac. But you’d need to reformat first.
It could be that you’d be best formatting any hows.
Particularly if you wanted to use your Expansion for a Time Machine Seagate backup. Because 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.
Plugging In Your Seagate Expansion Into Your Mac
When you plug your Seagate into your Mac computer.
Your Seagate HDD (hard disk drive), or an SSD gets its power from your Mac.
All the documents and files you want to send to your Expansion travel down its USB cable. Along with the power your drive needs to work.
The desktop expansion drives have a separate power cable. Because those drives are larger and need the direct power.
Your Seagate Expansion 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 Earlier Macs
Those Macs before the late 2016 models have type A USB ports.
This USB cable will plug straight into those Macs.
Your Seagate Expansion works faster than your older Mac.
But because of backwards compatibility. Your Seagate Expansion will get your files at the slower USB speed.
Your Seagate Expansion On Your Late 2016 Mac Or Newer
For those of you with newer MacBooks. Those 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.
You can easily get these cables from Amazon.
*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you this site earns a commission through these links.
My preferred USB cables to use for Macs with USB C ports are;
You can use the links above to view them on Amazon.
Though USB C ports are much faster. Your Mac works out how fast your Seagate drive can go. And will send over your files at the speed your Seagate Expansion can take.
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 Expansion? 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 in.
If you need an adaptor then you’ll need to put that on before plugging in.
For your portable drive. Or SSD it’s worth checking that your Mac has enough battery power for your Seagate Expansion.
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 Expansion drive’s Icon will come up on your Mac’s desktop.
Depending on your operating system release. Your Mac may well offer to format your Seagate Expansion right away.
If you know there are documents you want on your Seagate Expansion drive. Documents put on there by a Windows PC. Say no to the formatting.
Copy those files off first before formatting your Expansion external hard drive. Or you’ll lose those files.
How Do You Format Your Seagate Expansion For Mac?
You can format your Seagate Expansion as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system. Or APFS (Apple File System).
APFS is best to use on your Expansion SSD drive. As it’s made for fast SSD’s
And formatting only takes minutes.
1. Log Into Your Mac And Plug In The USB Cable.
Do this to connect up your external hard disk drive.
In a few moments you’ll see the drive icon on your desktop.
If your Seagate Expansion’s drive icon doesn’t appear on your desktop. Check your Finder preferences.
Check the boxe ‘External Disks’ to show your Seagate Expansion on your Mac’s desktop.
2. You Start Up Disk Utility.
Go to your Mac’s dock at the bottom of your desktop.
Click on the Applications folder.
Inside that folder you’ll find the Utilities folder.
Double click to open the Utilities folder.
Double click on the Disk Utility program.
3. Once Disk Utility Has Started Up.
You’ll see all the drives connected to your Mac on the left hand side.
Your Seagate Expansion will be listed under the ‘External drives’ heading.
Click on the Seagate Expansion 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 your Seagate Expansion drive listed then choose ‘View’ at the top of your Disk Utility window.
Then choose to show all the drives and the volumes and your Seagate Expansion should appear.
4. Then Select Erase.
It’s at the top of your Disk Utility popup window.
Erase is the part of the Disk Utility program that formats your Seagate Expansion drive.
If you’ve used your Seagate Expansion on a Windows PC. And it has files on it you want to save. Copy them off first.
5. Put In The Settings For Your Seagate Expansion’s Formatting.
The next popup window is where you select how you want to format your Seagate Expansion drive for Mac.
Give your Seagate Expansion a name.
Choose APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for the format.
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.
And all ready for you to copy and paste your work documents, holiday photos or music.
Or drag and drop your Excel spreadsheets. Or backup your Mac to your Seagate Expansion with Time Machine.
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
How To Format Your Seagate Expansion For Mac And PC
When you’ve both Macs and Windows PCs and want to use your Seagate Expansion for both. The best format to choose is ExFAT.
Both your Mac and your Windows PC can read and write to ExFAT. And without you needing any special driver software.
But you can’t use ExFAT if you want to use the drive for a Time Machine backup.
To format your Seagate Expansion compatible with both Mac and PC. You follow the formatting steps above to step 5.
You still give your Seagate external drive a name. But you pick the ExFAT file system.
You use the up and down arrows to the right of the format option to reveal all the other formatting options. There you choose ExFAT.
Don’t choose MS-DOS (FAT). That file system is old and has file size restrictions.
And you would only use it if you had to.
Say for those devices that must use MS-DOS (FAT) operating system. And yes there are still a few about out there.
Choose the ExFAT format.
And GUID Partition Map as the Scheme.
Then click on Erase.
Within a few minutes you’ve formatted your whole drive. And then both your Mac and a Windows PC can read and write to your Seagate Expansion.
Partition Your Seagate Expansion On Your Mac
Want to have a part of your Seagate Expansion for your Mac to use?
For you to copy your documents to. Or for you to use for a Time Machine backup.
And a part to share your documents with a Windows PC?
It’s a great way of using a larger 4TB or 5TB or larger Expansion drive.
You can do this by splitting up your Seagate Expansion into different areas.
I have an article on the site that shows you how. It just takes a few minutes more.
It covers the steps for partitioning a hard drive. And formatting each partition for what you need.
Now you have your Seagate Expansion all formatted ready to use. What now?
Carrying Your Seagate Expansion Around With Your Mac
Seagate sells your Seagate Expansion hard drive and SSD’s as portable.
And they are for sure a convenient size and weight to carry around with you.
But take care with your Seagate Expansion portable hard drive as it’s a mechanical drive.
And it has moving parts inside. Unlike the Expansion solid state drive. Accidentally dropping your hard drove could well damage it. So, it’s best to think about protecting your Seagate with a protective case.
A Bit About Using Your Seagate Expansion In NTFS On Your Mac
Your Mac can read your Seagate Expansion in its NTFS format.
This means that you can copy files that are on your Seagate Expansion to your Mac and use them there.
But you can’t copy them back onto an NTFS formatted Seagate Expansion.
Or edit or change any files on your Expansion drive.
You can buy yourself some NTFS driver software and use your Seagate Expansion as it is.
This software will allow you to read and write files to your Seagate Expansion. And without changing anything on there.
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.
The drag and drop commands you’re used to using on your Mac are the same.
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 Seagate Expansion are your only copy of your files.
Because if something happens to your Seagate Expansion then you could lose them.
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 Seagate Drive
When you’ve finished using your Seagate external drive and have deleted files from it.
Be sure to empty your trash.
Do this before ejecting and plugging out your Expansion external drive.
Otherwise ghost images of the files could still appear on your Seagate Expansion.
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.
How To Use Your Seagate Expansion To Backup Your Mac?
Time Machine is the software on a Mac that you’ll use to backup.
Time Machine will happily use your Seagate expansion for backup. You’ll need to format your Expansion drive to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system.
You can format your drive as APFS. But only if you’re planning to only use that backup drive on MacOS Big Sur. This because previous MacOS’s do not support a Time Machine backup to APFS.
Take a look at the formatting steps above if you need to format.
Connecting up your Seagate Expansion to Time Machine is a simple process.
Log into your Mac. Plug in your Seagate Expansion
1. Start up Time Machine.
To find Time Machine go to spotlight search.
Type in System Preference and double click when it comes up.
Select Time Machine from the System Preferences window.
2. In Time Machine.
You’ll have a check box for Time Machine automatic backups.
Check that box off for now.
Another useful checkbox is the one at the bottom of the pop up screen.
This shows Time Machine in the menu bar at the top of your desktop screen.
Check that box.
3. Click on Add or Remove backup disk.
On the next pop up window you’ll see your Seagate Expansion listed under available disks.
You’ll see the name you gave it when you formatted your drive.
Or if you’ve created a partition to back up to, you’ll see the name you gave your partition.
Click on your Seagate Expansion.
And then click on ‘Use Disk’.
And that’s it, your Seagate is now set up with Time Machine.
4. To start a backup straight away on your Seagate Expansion.
Look at the top of your desktop screen and click on the Time Machine symbol.
Then select ‘Backup Now’ from the Menu.
You can also click on the Time Machine symbol while your backup is happening. Then you check the progress of your Seagate Expansion’s backup.
And to check when your Expansion drive has finished your backup.
If this is the first you’ve backed up your Mac to your Seagate Expansion it could take a while.
Your Mac prepares your backup. Then it does the backup.
Plug your Mac into power and leave your first backup to get done.
You can read more about backing up your Mac in this article. ‘How to Backup a MacBook Pro to an External Hard Drive’.
Be sure to eject your Seagate Expansion from your Mac when your backup has finished.
And you’re ready to put your Seagate Expansion away.
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.