Seagate Expansion vs Backup Plus Title Image 2

Want to know which is better for you and your Mac?

Seagate Expansion or Backup Plus?

Are you turning and swirling this question around your mind?

When you’re weighing up the Seagate Expansion vs Backup Plus.

Put your feet up and read on for the pros and cons of each.

Seagate Backup Plus vs Expansion Quick Facts

You’ll find the Seagate Expansion the budget drive of the two.

With the Backup Plus drives higher priced.

The Backup Plus Slim and Ultra Touch are smaller and lighter at 4.5 oz and 5.3 oz. Versus Seagate Expansion’s 6 oz (1 and 2TB).

The Backup Plus Portable is the heaviest at 9.3 oz.

And you’ve 1 year warranty on your Expansion v 2 year’s warranty on the Backup Plus drives.

Pros Of The Seagate Expansion

You’ll find it’s a well priced basic drive for a Mac
With great read write performance. And this means you’ll tingle when you put your files onto your Seagate Expansion
You’ll revel in the widest range of storage options. As it comes in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 5TB sizes. Plenty of choice for your storage needs.

Pros Of The Backup Plus

You buy your Backup Plus Slim formatted as ExFAT. And this makes the Backup Plus Slim easy for you to share between your Mac and a Windows PC
The Backup Plus Slim is smaller and lighter than the Seagate Expansion. So this drive is the easiest to carry around with you
The Backup Plus range has snappy colors and smart Aluminum outer cases. Perfct to impress your friends

Cons Of The Seagate Expansion

You’ll find it’s NTFS formatted out of the box. You’ll need to reformat for your Mac. Or use driver software on your Mac
You’ll get no direct Thunderbolt connectivity to your Mac. You’ll need to buy yourself an USB C adaptor to plug in. Or use a replacement USB cable with the right ends on it for your Mac with USB C ports
It’s a little larger and heavier than the Backup Plus Slim

Cons Of The Backup Plus

Your Mac can read and write your files to the ExFAT format of the Backup Plus Slim. But your Mac’s Time Machine software can’t use ExFAT for a backup. You’ll need to reformat to use for a Time Machine backup of your Mac
The Backup Plus Ultra Touch and Backup Plus Portable both come NTFS formatted. And you’ll either need to use a software driver to use on your Mac. Or format these drives.
Like the Seagate Expansion, no direct Thunderbolt plug in. You’ll need an adaptor or replacement USB cable.

Verdict On The Seagate Expansion Vs Backup Plus

When you go to buy and find the price of your Seagate Expansion and Backup Plus Slim are the same.  The Backup Plus Slim comes out tops.

But when there’s a small price premium for the Backup Plus Slim you might decide that;

  • the ExFAT formatting means connecting to your Mac and a Windows PC is an advantage,
  • the Aluminum case and jazzy colors are worth paying a bit extra for

When you find there’s a significant premium.

Or when you don’t need the Backup Plus Slim’s ExFAT formatting. Or the smart colors of the Backup Plus drives. Then the Seagate Expansion, with more storage options wins out. 

You Can Watch This YouTube Backup Plus Video

This short, 36 second YouTube video gives you a quick peak at the Backup Plus Slim and Backup Plus Portable. Take a look.

The All-New Backup Plus Family. Slim and Portable

Video Credit: Seagate Technology

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you this site earns a commissions through those links.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Red

Curious about the price?

Take a look at the Backup Plus Slim on Amazon (Commissions Earned)

Table Of Contents

Seagate Expansion vs Backup Plus Features

Take a look at the bankable features of these two drives.

Choose which is a benefit for you.

And what comes out on top for you and your Mac.

Seagate Backup Plus v Seagate Expansion Market Position

Seagate markets the Seagate Expansion as a basic entry level drive.

The Backup Plus drives are their midrange and high end portable external hard drives.

Side by Side The Backup Plus Range

You’ll notice that the Backup Plus isn’t just one type of drive.

Seagate has a few drives in the Backup Plus range.

The top of the range is the Backup Plus Ultra Touch. You’ll get here the slimmest, lightest and generally the priciest portable drive. It’s only available in 1TB and 2TB.

Next in mid range you’ve got the Backup Plus Slim. Also in 1 or 2TB sizes.

Then you’ve the Backup Plus Portable. You’ll find its the largest storage capacity of the Backup Plus Portable range with 4TB or 5TB size options.

At A Glance Comparison

Seagate Expansion VS Backup Plus

You’ll find below the headline differences between the Expansion and Backup Plus drives.

Seagate Expansion Backup Plus Slim
Format NTFS ExFAT
Colors Black Black, Blue, Red, Silver
Capacity 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 5TB 1TB or 2TB
Warranty 1 Year 2 Years
Ultra Touch Backup Plus Portable
Format NTFS NTFS
Colors White, Black Blue, Silver, Black
Capacity 1TB or 2TB 4TB or 5TB
Warranty 2 Years 2 Years
Seagate Expansion 4TB

Have a look at what buyers have to say about the Seagate Expansion on Amazon (Commissions Earned)

Plugging Your Backup Plus Or Expansion Into Your Mac

Both the Backup Plus and the Seagate Expansion are USB 3.0 type drives.

Both drives are USB powered.

This means that the USB cable takes power from your Mac to run these external portables.

And on both drives you’ll find an 18 inch USB cable.

Backup Plus USB Cable
Expansion and Backup Plus USB Cable

You may decide the cable in the box is a little short for your liking.

And you may want to think about buying a longer USB cable.

So you can put your drive further away than 18 inches from your Mac.

The USB cables are standard.

So any USB 3.0 cable with type A at one end and type B Micro at the other end will work for you.

Plugging Both Drives Into Your Early Mac

For your early Mac with USB 2.0 ports. The USB cable shipped has the type A plug on the end and will plug into your Mac just fine.

Both the Seagate Expansion and Backup Plus have USB 2.0 backwards support.

Plugging Into Newer Macs With Thunderbolt Ports

Apple introduced the Thunderbolt ports with the 2011 MacBook Pro.

That Mac has Thunderbolt and type A ports. And so these drives will plug right in to the type A ports.

But if you’ve other devices already connected. And are running out of available ports.  Then you’ll need to find an adaptor to connect these external drives to your Thunderbolt port.

Thunderbolt Port on Mac

Plugging Into Even Newer Macs With Thunderbolt USB C Ports

MacBook 2015 and later, iMac 2017, MacBook Pro 2016 and later have USB C ports.

Ports that support USB 3.1 gen 1 or 2 depending on the MacBook and iMac generation.

USB C Thunderbolt 3 Ports

Backwards support in the USB standards is your friend.

Because your Mac will send your files to both the Backup Plus. Or the Seagate Expansion Portable at USB 3.0 speed.

But you’ll need an adaptor cable to plug in:

  • the Expansion Portable or
  • the Backup Plus Slim or
  • Backup Plus Portable

into your Mac.

Because although there’s support the ports are physically different. And you’ll need to get yourself a USB C 3.1 or 3.2 adaptor cable.

You’ll find the Backup Plus Ultra Touch is helpfully supplied in the box with an adaptor for easy USB C plug in.

You’ll find an article on the site that has more detail on USB connections. And what you need to plug into the different models of Macs, so do take a look.

When it comes to plugging in your Seagate Expansion versus your Backup Plus they are the same. It’s either  easy because your Mac has type A ports and you can plug right in. Or you’ll need an adaptor depending on your generation of Mac and choice of Backup Plus drive.

So add that into your costs for either of these external hard drives.

Seagate Expansion YouTube Video

You might enjoy taking a look at this Seagate Expansion YouTube video. Because it shows you the drive itself. And you’ll see how it attaches to a Mac.

The video is just over 2 minutes long.

Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable

Video Credit: TJS Mind

Seagate Expansion and Backup Plus Storage Options

You can buy the Backup Plus Slim and the Seagate Expansion with 1TB or 2TB of storage.

The Seagate Expansion goes all the way up to 5TB for when you need much larger capacity.

Seagate Expansion Portable1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB
Backup Plus Slim Capacity1TB, 2TB

You’ll find inside their beautiful cases equal quality drives.

So there’s no point you paying more for a 1TB Seagate Expansion v a 1TB Backup Plus solely on capacity.

Storage Options of the other Drives in the Backup Plus Range

Backup Plus Ultra Touch1TB or 2TB
Backup Plus Portable4TB and 5TB

Expansion vs Backup Plus Working on Your Mac

You’ll find the out of the box format of these drives means your Mac treats them differently.

Seagate Expansion v Backup Plus Formats When you Buy

Seagate ExpansionNTFS
Backup Plus SlimExFAT

Formats of the Ultra Touch and Portable

Backup Plus Ultra TouchNTFS
Backup Plus PortableNTFS

Out of the box your Seagate Expansion Portable is formatted as NTFS

Macs can read NTFS external drives. But cannot write to them unless:

a. You reformat

b. You have a software driver to allow you to read and write to the drive.

Choosing to format your Seagate Expansion is quick to do and only takes 5 or so minutes.

Your Backup Plus Slim drive comes out of its box formatted as ExFAT

Your Mac and a Windows PC can read and write to an ExFAT drive.

This means you can plug your Backup Plus Slim straight into your Mac.

And you can drag and drop your files.

Or copy and paste your files to your Backup Plus Slim.

But ExFAT is not a format your Mac can use to backup too. 

Do you plan to use your Backup Plus Slim for a Time Machine backup of your Mac?  Then you’ll need to reformat to the Mac’s HFS+ file system.

Backup Plus Ultra Touch and Backup Plus Portable Formats

You’ll find both these drives come out of their box formatted as NTFS.

Just like the Seagate Expansion you’ll need to format or use a software driver for both these drives on your Mac.

Using your Seagate Expansion or Backup Plus on Your Mac

Power up and log into your Mac.

Plug in your USB cable. After a few seconds your Mac will see either drive is connected.

Both the Backup Plus and Seagate Expansion will show up as a drive Icon on your Mac’s desktop.

Your Mac may well see your Seagate Expansion is NTFS formatted. And ask you if you would like it to format it. You can find out how to format it here.

Your Backup Plus Slim is in ExFAT format. And as long as you’re happy with that you can go ahead and drag and drop. Or copy and paste your photos, movies or what ever file you want.

But if you plan to use your Seagate Backup Plus for Time Machine. Then you’ll also need to reformat your Backup Plus on your Mac.

Want find out how to do that? Take a look at my article here.

Seagate Expansion Easy Connection to Mac

Seagate Backup Plus and Seagate Expansion Portable Size Comparison

Both the Seagate Expansion and the Backup Plus drives come in a neat convenient package. Perfect when you need to take your drives with you.

You’ll see the Backup Plus Slim is the smaller lighter drive. Not by much but the difference may be important to you.

Is it enough to justify a higher cost if the Backup Plus is more expensive when you come to buy?

Size Weight
Seagate Expansion 1TB, 2TB 4.7in x 3.2in x 0.6in 6 oz
Backup Plus Slim 1TB or 2TB 4.52in x 3.1in x 0.5in 4.5 oz
Size Weight
Seagate Expansion 4 or 5TB 4.7in x 3.2in x 0.8in 8.4 oz
Ultra Touch 4.52in x 3.1in x 0.5in 5.32 oz
Backup Plus Portable 4.52in x 3.2in x 0.83in 9.3 oz

You’ll see the Backup Plus Slim is the slimmest.  And lightest of the Backup Plus range. The Backup Plus Portable is the heaviest.

Both the Seagate Expansion and Backup Plus are marketed as portable.

But neither of these drives are rugged in any way.

Yes, they are small enough to put in your purse or backpack without adding significant weight.

But they are mechanical drives. Should you drop any of your drives or get them wet you’ll likely damage your drives.

When you’re taking either drive around with you think about buying a protective case.

Seagate Expansion or Backup Plus Good Looks and Design

Your Seagate Expansion’s look is … well functional. You’ll find a smart diamond pattern on the case. And your Expansion portable only comes in Black.

Seagate Expansion 4TB

Now in contrast the Backup Plus has Aluminum cases. And looks more fun and interesting. It’s for you if you like to team your drive color with your mood.

The Backup Plus choice of colors are;  

  • Black, Blue, Red, and Silver.
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1tb colors

Will it be the colors of the Backup Plus that sways you from the Expansion Portable?

Without doubt the Backup Plus’s are the snappier looking external drives.

Seagate Expansion vs Backup Plus Speed Test

My favorite site for speed test tests is usb.userbenchmark.com.

They compare many user benchmarks.

And the closest comparisons I found was for the 4TB sized drives.

The 4TB Seagate Expansion’s desktop type drive and the Backup Plus Portable.

Here is a link to the test results page. Take a look.

Over all they found the Seagate Expansion on average was 12% faster than the Backup Plus

Read speed 120 Mb/s versus 85.1 mb/s = 41% faster

Write speed 112 Mb/s versus 92 Mb/s = 22% faster

On the 4K Random Mixed i/o test, the Backup Plus 4TB came out faster with

0.3 Mb/s versus 0.48 Mb/s = 60% faster

Most uses of external hard drives are random reads and writes. And on this the Backup Plus comes out ahead.

What do the Users of the Seagate Expansion vs the Backup Plus Think?

You’ll find that both external hard drives have many happy users on Amazon.

A lot of them are Mac users.

It’s always worth taking a look yourself to find out what the latest buyers have to say on Amazon. 

Click on the buttons and visit each of the Amazon sales pages.

Scroll down to the Amazon Reviews. And choose the latest reviews, rather than the top reviews.

(Commissions Earned Through Amazon Button Links)







What’s In The Seagate Backup Plus And Seagate Expansion Boxes?

Their boxes of course have the Seagate Portable hard drives inside.

An 18 inch USB 3.0 Type A cable

A Quick start Guide.

Seagate Backup Plus Quick Start Guide

The Ultra Touch has a USB C adaptor in the box and free download of the Paragon NTFS software driver for Mac.

You’ll find all the quick start guides brief.

Just a quick picture on how to plug in and that’s about it for usefulness.

You’ll at least find better information on the Seagate Technologies site for the Backup Plus Slim. You can use the link below to see its Manual.

Seagate Backup Plus Manual

Using the Seagate Expansion v Backup Plus on a Mac

Let me give you a fly by on how easy they are to use on a Mac.

Dragging and Dropping Or Copying and Pasting on your Mac

Once you format your Seagate Expansion or Backup Plus Portable for your Mac. You can copy and paste your photos, music or documents. Or use it for your Time Machine backup.

If you’re only planning on using your Backup Plus Slim for copying your files onto. Or dragging and dropping too then you can plug in and just use.

And the ExFAT formatting means that you’ve the benefit of using on a Windows PC as well. For when you plan on sharing your files with a PC.

Backup With Time Machine

Your Seagate Expansion and your Backup Plus will need formatting. You’ll need to do this before you can use any of them on your Mac for a backup with Time Machine.

It’s quick and easy to do if you know how.

You can find out how to format your Seagate Expansion for backing up your Mac, in my article here.

For the Backup Plus you can learn how to format here.

Want To Share Either Drive With A Windows PC?

Your Backup Plus Slim comes ready to share with a Windows PC and a Mac.

You’ll need to format your Seagate Expansion to ExFAT to share the drive between your Mac and a Windows PC. The same for the Backup Plus Portable.

Seagate Expansion vs Backup Plus Security

You won’t find any special security hardware or software on either drive.

But your Mac’s operating system is there for you.

There’s a standard piece of software on your Mac called Disk Utility.

Disk Utility allows you to add a password and encrypt your drive when you format.

And so keeping all your files safe if your drives get stolen or taken.

And your Mac’s Time Machine backup software lets you to encrypt and add a password to your backups.

Last Words

Did you find this article ‘Seagate Expansion VS Backup Plus Who is on Top For Mac’ valuable?

Then please feel free to look at some other articles on the site.

Related Articles

If you want a detailed look at the Seagate Expansion you can take a look at the review article here

If you’d like a more detailed look at the Seagate Backup Plus Slim. Head on over to the review article here.




Image Credit: Certain images are reproduced by courtesy of Seagate Technologies.