Are you wondering is WD Elements compatible with Mac?
And can you use your WD Elements on a Mac?
The answer is yes it is compatible. Just change the NTFS format it’s shipped in. It only takes a few minutes to do.
Then your Western Digital Elements external drive will work peachy on your Mac. And here in this article you’ll find out all about WD Elements for Mac.
Why Is Your WD Element Drive Read Only. Or You Can’t Update Your Files?
When delivered. Your Western Digital Elements external drive is in a format called NTFS.
NTFS is a Windows PC file system format.
Your Mac will see and read your Elements NTFS drive.
And that means you can copy off files and work on them on your Mac.
But when you’re ready to put documents onto your Elements drive. Or update any files on the NTFS drive. Your Mac says no.
Your Elements external hard drive seems read only.
You can change this formatting.
Just reformat your drive for your Mac. You’ll see how later on in this article.
Plugging In Your WD Elements Cable Into Your Mac
Your WD Elements portable hard drive or Elements Desktop drive. Comes with a USB cable that’s 3.0 type A on the end that plugs into your Mac’s USB port.
Why is that important?
Is your Mac an iMac 2017 or later? Or MacBook Pro 2016 or newer?
Or MacBook Air later than 2018?
Likely your answer is yes.
Then your Mac computer will have USB C ports on it.
You can easily use your WD drive. But you’ll need an adaptor to plug the cable from your Elements hard drive into your Mac.
Get a type A USB 3.0 to USB C adaptor.
Or a cable with USB micro B on one end and USB C on the other.
You’ll find adaptors. Or replacement USB cables are easy to get on-line.
And should your Mac be an older Mac with USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 ports.
Then the cable in your Elements box works fine.
Powering Your WD Elements On Mac?
Your Elements WD hard drive is bus powered.
What does that mean?
It means your Elements external drive gets its power from your Mac.
Your USB cable powers your WD drive. And transfers your documents backwards and forwards to your drive.
Great. Because you won’t have a separate power plug to carry around with you.
But because your WD Elements portable drive gets its power from your Mac. Be sure that your Mac has enough charge.
Or plug in your Mac so that you won’t run out of power while you’re using your Elements drive.
Can You Format Your WD Elements For Mac?
Yes, it’s easy,
And it only takes around 5 minutes.
To use your Western Digital Elements drive natively on your Mac. You need your Elements drive in HFS+ format.
This format is also called Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system. Or since Mac OS x Catalina you can format in APFS (Apple File System)
Don’t worry about the names.
Just know that they make WD Elements compatible with Mac.
They are file systems that your Mac uses and understands.
And means that you can copy and paste. Or drag and drop files from your Mac onto your WD external hard drive.
Plus, use your Elements drive for your Time Machine backup.
Use these formats when you want to use your WD Elements drive just for your Mac.
Or to use across more than one Mac.
How Do You Format Your WD Elements For Mac?
You use your Mac disk management software. It’s part of the operating system of your Mac called Disk Utility.
But if you’ve important files already on your WD drive. Beware, formatting will remove them. Copy them off somewhere safe first.
Here’s an outline of what you do.
1. You Start Up Disk Utility.
2. Click On Your Elements Drive.
3. Click Erase In Your Disk Utility Window.
4. Give Your WD Elements Drive A Name.
Pick Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for Format. And GUID Partition Map for Scheme.
5. Click Erase Bottom Right.
And in a few moments you’ll be done.
For a more detailed walk through you’ll find an article here on the site. Follow the linked text. Format Your WD Elements Hard Drive.
How Can You Use Your Elements Storage Device Without Reformatting?
Formatting will erase any documents you have on your Elements external HDD.
So, if you’ve already used your Elements external drive on a Windows PC.
And you’ve put files on there. Erasing might be the last thing you want to do.
When you really want to use your drive on your Mac without changing anything on there.
Then there’s a software solution for that.
It’s called driver software.
It leaves your Elements drive exactly how it is. And the driver software translates NTFS for your Mac. And allows your Mac to write to your drive.
It’s the option to choose when you mainly use your WD hard drive on your Windows PC. And only sometimes you use your Elements hard drive on your Mac.
Using driver software means there’s extra software to maintain. And keep updated on your Mac?
And each time you update your Mac’s operating system. You wait until there’s a new version of the driver software.
The alternative? Read on.
Using Your Elements External Hard Disk On Your Mac And A PC
And without special driver software?
Yes. And it’s pretty easy to set up.
Just format your Western Digital Elements hard drive on your Mac and use ExFAT format.
You use ExFAT because a Windows PC can’t see. Or use a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) formatted drive. Or an Apple File System drive. Those formats are strictly for Macs.
But, ExFAT is freely read and writeable by both your Mac and Windows PC.
Both operating systems can see an ExFAT file system. And use the files, photos, movies, music. In fact, any data on your Elements drive where you have software that can read and use that data.
Just remember that applications made for Mac. Work on Mac. And applications made for a Windows PC work on PC’s. You can’t swap application software.
To format to ExFAT.
You use the disk management software on your Mac called Disk Utility.
Find out how you can Format your WD Elements external hard drive for Mac and PC. Via this article link.
What about formatting WD Elements on Mac to FAT32?
Yes FAT32 is compatible with Mac and Windows.
But these days the FAT32 file system is way outdated and not as reliable.
ExFAT is the file system of choice when formatting your WD Elements for Mac and PC.
Mac Using WD Elements – Some Easily Solved Wrinkles
Plugged In And Your WD Elements Drive Wont Show Up On Your Mac?
Plugged In And Your WD Elements Drive Wont Show Up On Your Mac?
You’re logged into your Mac.
Plugged in your WD Elements external hard drive. You’re looking for your WD drive icon on your Mac’s desktop.
But it’s not there?
Check is your Finder Window Preferences.
Open up a finder window. Go to preferences.
In the finder preferences pop up window. Be sure you’ve checked the ‘External Disks’ box under the General tab.
Then your WD drive’s icon should appear.
What If Your WD Elements Is Still Not Showing Up On Your Mac?
Here’s a post. All about fixing WD Elements not showing up on Mac. Check it out for more fixes.
Your WD Elements Drive Not Working Reliably On Your Mac?
Does your Western Digital Elements hard drive work.
Then later not work on your Mac?
1. When you formatted your WD drive did you check that the format scheme was GUID Partition Map?
You’ll have problems with using your drive without setting the scheme right.
Maybe you forgot and the drive is using the same scheme it had when it was NTFS formatted.
And that’ll mean odd problems with your Elements drive when you use it.
2. Try Repairing your Elements portable in Disk Utility.
Using the First Aid option.
That may solve your problem.
If the drive is in a poor state First Aid may well tell you to erase your drive.
Which means starting from scratch and loosing the files on there.
Try to copy important files off first.
3. Have You Installed WD Drive Utility Onto Your Mac?
WD Drive Utility, it’s part of WD Discovery software. It lets you to run a check on your Elements external HDD.
You can see if the WD Utilities software reports any errors on the drive.
4. But did your drive problems show up after you downloaded the Western Digital Software?
Double check you’ve a version of the software that works with the version of your Mac’s OS.
You could have Mac problems caused by WD Discovery. And the other WD software. WD Drive Utility and WD Security. It’s common for the software to clash with versions of Mac OS or other software you run on your Mac.
Uninstall the Western Digital software.
Sometimes the driver software just causes problems on Mac.
Click on the linked text to learn how.
Or check out this article ‘WD Elements external hard drive not working on Mac‘. For more fixes.
Want Western Digital Elements Drive For Time Machine Backup?
Time Machine is the backup software of choice on a Mac. And as long as your WD Elements drive is formatted for your Mac. You can use it for backup with Time Machine.
Actually, often immediately after you format your drive. Your Mac will ask if you want to use your Elements drive for backup.
Click on over to this post on the site to find out about setting up Time Machine for your WD Elements.
Yes, WD Elements offers well priced basic storage for your Mac.
And it works great on Mac. After you’ve formatted to make WD Elements Mac compatible.
Use the tips here and have your WD Elements formatted. So you can read and write your docs. Or backup your Mac to your Elements hard drive.
You can discover other articles on the site all about your external drive.
Why not check them out?
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.